Legislation that governs New Zealand's education system and legislative changes affecting schools, kura and early learning services.

We work to make sure that everyone in the New Zealand education system is aware of and meets their legal responsibilities under the education legislation, especially the Education Act 1989 and the Education Act 1964 (external link) .

Key legislation - Education Act 1989

The Education Act 1989 (external link) establishes the legal framework for our education system, from early childhood education to compulsory schooling to international education and tertiary education.

The Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017

The Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 (the Act) came into effect on 19 May 2017. This amends the Education Act 1989 (the Act) to make the achievement and learning of children and young people central to the early childhood education and compulsory schooling Parts of the Act.

Go to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 page to find out more.

The Education Act 1989 also sets up the Crown entities and the independent statutory bodies in the education sector, for example:

Compulsory schooling legislation

Read the compulsory schooling ‘legal toolkit’, the National Education Guidelines (NEGs).

Information about The National Administration Guidelines (NAGs) - statements of desirable principles of conduct or administration for specified personnel or bodies.

The National Education Goals (NEGs)

Learning support

The Education Act 1989, the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, all guide our Learning support policy.

International students’ legislation

Two regulations cover the care and wellbeing of international students studying in New Zealand - the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code Of Practice 2016 and the International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS). 

There is also legislation that outlines the definition of a domestic student for schools and tertiary and information on the Export Education Industry Development Fund and Levy.

Tertiary education legislation

Important legislation for tertiary education includes:

Amendment bills

Bills are drafts of proposed new laws. Once a bill passes through Parliament, it becomes an Act. 

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