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Our digital modules are broken into the 4 key areas of board governance. You can use this fast index to go straight to the module of your choice or access each module through one of the key topic area pages. 


Approving Board Minutes

School boards are required to have written records of their meetings. How does this process occur? Learn more here.

Appointing a Presiding Member

Each school board is required to have a board member preside over the meetings. In this module you will learn about a process to appoint or elect such a presiding member

Board member vacancy

What does a board do when there is parent board member vacancy?

Board meetings speaking rights

How does your board handle requests from the public to have speaking rights at your board meetings? What are some of the approaches and strategies that can be used? Find out more here.

Hautū self-review tool background 

This module introduces Ka Hikitia (a Ministry of Education strategy) and the importance of Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori. It also introduces Hautū-Māori cultural responsiveness self review tool for school boards which has been designed to support English medium school boards to self-assess their own cultural responsiveness.

How to become a Student Member

What is the process for a student to become a student member on the board?

Returning Officer - Start Point

The school board works with the returning officer to ensure that the returning officer (R.O.) has the specific dates and requirements for the board member elections.

Make sure the R.O. for your elections has registered as a Returning Officer on the NZSTA trustee elections website.

Returning Officer - Preparing the electoral rolls

Before an election can take place, the rolls of those who are eligible to vote must be made. For triennial elections, these rolls are for both the parent representative and the staff representative elections. It is the responsibility of the returning officer to prepare a roll that contains the name and address of every person entitled to vote. This roll is referred to as the main roll and after it closes a supplementary roll needs to be opened.

Returning Officer - Calling for and accepting nominations

The returning officer is required to call for, accept and record valid nominations. Communication with the presiding member is important at this stage especially if there are insufficient valid nominations where the board will need to promote the elections further.

Returning Officer - When an election is required

A voting election is required when there are more valid nominations received than the number of positions advertised. Voting papers must be posted or personally delivered to everyone on the electoral roll after nominations close and by nine days before the election date. Find out more in this module.

Returning Officer - Declaration of results 

Voting closes at noon on election day. Find out more about the role of the returning officer at this point and their role in the declaration of the results.

State Integrated Schools 1

This module contains information about state integrated schools and the makeup and responsibilities of their boards.

State Integrated Schools 2

This module contains further information about state integrated school boards and their responsibilities.


A New Board Member's Start

What was your first time as a school board member at a school board meeting like? Some school board members can feel they are 'new' and not feel confident. If this is you, keep viewing this module.

Board Constitution Who is on the board?

The term ‘board constitution’ describes how a board is made up. A school board has a specified number of board members.

Board Constitution 2 Who is on the board?

The term ‘board constitution’ describes how a board is made up. A school board has a specified number of trustees.

Board Decision Making - Student suspensions

Each board has flexibility and choice how to implement its own policies and practices, to ensure orderly, productive meetings. No one board needs to be organised the same as another, though practice and procedures must be consistent with legislation and charter obligations. 

Find out more about the commonly used process which boards use for decision making processes.

Board’s key relationships

To achieve it's primary objective the board requires effective relationships with its stakeholders. Learn more about these relationships here.

Boards 4 areas of governance

NZSTA  divides board governance into 4 areas. Find out more about these 4 areas here.

Boards and key legislation

Boards of trustees need to work within key legislation. Find out more here.

Concerns and Complaints

From time to time concerns and complaints arise in a school environment. What policies and processes does the board and school have in place to effectively manage these? Find out more her

Curriculum - NZC and TMOA

There are two curriculum documents in NZ schools. Find out more about them here.


Each school board is a crown entity and has the authority to govern the school. At times the board may delegate or pass aspects of authority to other people and/or committees to complete certain aspects. Find out more in this module.

Governance and Management

What is the difference between governance and management? Which role does the board play? 


This module assists understanding of effective governance in Māori medium schools

Inclusive Schools

Inclusive education is about the full participation and achievement of all learners. Inclusive schools are welcoming, accommodating of and adaptive to the needs of students, staff, parents, whānau  and visitors alike. What is the board's role in leading an inclusive school environment?

Leading an effective board

Do you wish to find out more about the presiding member role? Find out more about the key legislative requirements for the presiding member role and meetings and managing key relationships.

Managing conflict - FairWay Resolution Limited

FairWay Resolution Limited (FairWay) is a specialist dispute resolution organisation with experience facilitating conversations within schools. FairWay work in partnership with NZSTA to assist in conflicts that involve the school board. 

 FairWay also offer a range of dispute resolution services that are outside of the board’s jurisdiction to assist you to:

  1. Deal with issues quickly to avoid prolonged and ongoing disruption to your students’ education and the working environment of your staff;

  2. Reduce reputational risk from unwanted and unnecessary media attention;

  3. Preserve relationships between staff, students, parents and members of the community.

In this module, FairWay discusses common causes of conflict.

NZSTA Glossary

Find out what an abbreviation or term means.

NZSTA Governance Framework

NZSTA governance framework offers an example of policies for New Zealand school boards'. Boards should determine their own model of governance. These policies may be added to and amended to suit the needs of the individual school board.

Publicly Excluded Business

Public excluded business (PEB) is sometimes referred to 'in-committee'. What does the board use this meeting process for and how does it manage the process?

Roles and Responsibilities 1

The board and the principal of a school both have different roles and responsibilities to perform. The board's role is to govern. The principal's role is to manage.

Roles and responsibilities 2

The board and the principal of a school both have different roles and responsibilities to perform. The board's role is to govern. The principal's role is to manage.

Strategic plan-brief

The strategic plan is the main document for the board. Find out more here.

Student Achievement and Assessment

Student achievement is the main focus for boards of trustees. Find out more about achievement and assessment here

Trust and Accountability - Principal and Board

Developing a strong, healthy relationship between the school board and the principal is one of the most crucial aspects of governing your school effectively. To do that, you need to balance two seemingly conflicting needs: the need to build a respectful and trusting relationship and the need for accountability.

Wellbeing @School Tool Kit

The W@S self review tools explore how different layers of school life contribute to creating a safe and caring climate that deters bullying. Use this toolkit if your school wants to improve social wellbeing and relationships for all  and create a safer climate that deters aggressive and bullying behaviour.

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Childrens’ Act 2014

The Children's Act (CA) came into law in 2014. This Act requires boards and schools to comply with this legislation. Find out about the key features of this Act.

Childrens’ Act 2014 Policies

Each board of trustee is required by law to have a Child Protection Policy in place. Learn more about what is required in these policies and view sample policies.

Childrens’ Act 2014 Definitions 

Find out what that an abbreviation or term means. Click into the first letter of the term to find out more.

Child Matters 

Child Matters is a non-government organisation, registered with the Charities Commission. Child Matters is a national charitable trust dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Child Matters works throughout New Zealand, educating, supporting and inspiring adults to protect children.

Cyber security - What is it?

Cyber security is the protection of computer systems from the theft or damage to the hardware, software or the information on them. It is also the disruption or misdirection of services. In this module you will learn what this can be, who is being attacked, who is doing the attacks, and some of the reasons why they occur. 

Cyber Security 5 Principles 

In this module we look at the 5 principles to help us understand and manage cyber security risk.  By understanding your exposure, you can add to your risk management processes, know what you can expect from your school's management team and be able to better manage the risk. 

Cyber Security Education is the key

Now you know the cyber security risks your school is exposed to, how do you manage them? Cyber security is a relatively new challenge for schools. It’s important that staff, students and parents are educated to reduce the risks.In this module we’ll look at how to identify your school community’s education needs, and how to implement a successful cyber security education programme.

Cyber Security Plan for an incident

In this module we will look at ways to keep your organisation operating when a disaster of one form or another strikes.We will look at Business Continuity, Incident Response, & Disaster RecoveryBy planning in advance, we can reduce the risk when things go wrong.

Cyber Security Take Ownership

Cyber security is more than an IT issue – a cyber incident can have serious wide-ranging consequences for your school and community.This module is a brief overview of the basic steps which are outlined in our other Cyber Security modules.

Employer Role-delegations

The board of trustees may delegate certain tasks to the principal to undertake. However the board is still accountable. Find out more here.

Employer Role-policies and proceduresEmployment policies set the direction for the board, principal and school. Find out more about these here.

Employer Role- Roles and Responsibilities

One of the most important roles for the board of trustees is that of the legal employer of all school staff. Find out more here.

Health and Safety at Work- Introduction 

An introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and what this means for boards of trustees.

Health and safety at Work- culture

The board of trustees as the PCBU, is responsible for creating a safety-conscious culture. This requires the board to have visible leadership and consistent messaging, along with policies and processes to ensure a safe environment for all.

Health and Safety at Work-Worker engagement and participation

The HSWA has a strong focus on worker engagement and participation, recognising that this is essential to fostering a safety-conscious culture. The HSWA sets out these overarching duties of the board as the PCBU.

Health and Safety at Work- Risk Assessment

As part of creating a healthy and safe environment, it is important that the board has good systems and processes in place for hazard and risk management. In this module you will also learn about the difference between a hazard and risk as well as what is meant be 'reasonably practicable'.

Principal Appointment- Plan

Principal appointment is one of the most important and critical processes in enhancing the success of the school and raising student achievement. This module describes the planning stage of this process. 

Principal Appointment- Prepare 

Preparing documents, time frames and the process for principal appointment.

Principal Appointment-  Shortlist 

Shortlisting is the process of narrowing down the applicants received to a shortlist of candidates the board wishes to interview. Learn more about this process here.

Principal Appointment- Safety

Check References and safety checking may be done at any time. It can be done prior to shortlisting, but must be done prior to any final selections being made.

Principal Appointment- Interview 

This module assists the board for the interview process of appointing a principal.

Principal Appointment- Appointment decision 

The appointment committee/board seeks to select the best suited person for the position. In making this decision, the law requires that this is undertaken in a fair and balanced manner.

Principal performance agreement-What is it? 

The board has responsibilities for performance management of their principal. The board is required to develop a performance agreement and conduct the annual review. In this module we look at what this is.

Principal performance agreement -Why do it? 

The principal performance review is required for a number of reasons;It is an employment agreement which is part of the Collective Employment agreement conditions. The Teaching Council New Zealand Matatū  Aotearoa requires principals to have current practising certificates- this process is tied into appraisal. Student achievement is the main focus of the board and the principal. The review process endorses a focus on this vital aspect.

Principal performance agreement -Process basic overview 

This module discusses the cycle of performance review, what to consider if the board is also using an external consultant, and policies related to principal performance review.This module provides  the basic information which supports clear understanding for the board, the principal and the consultant (if used).

Principal performance agreement -Creating the performance agreement and completing the review process 

The principal performance review process is a key part of the board's role as employer, and as well is a key contributor to improving student achievement. Getting the agreement set up well and everyone knowing their roles and the review process is crucial.

Wellbeing @School Tool Kit

The W@S self review tools explore how different layers of school life contribute to creating a safe and caring climate that deters bullying.

Netsafe - Learn more about what they do here; 

Netsafe – Key Information 

In this module you will learn about Netsafe, key legislation which relates to internet use in schools, and agencies which support schools and board of trustees in keeping their people and places digitally safe.

Netsafe- Responding to issues 

In this module you will learn some basics of what to do and where to go when responding to an issue.

Netsafe- Policy and Agreements 

Policies, guidelines and user agreements play an important role in building a culture of safe and responsible technology use in schools and kura by helping to form shared understandings in the use of technology for both staff and students. Find out more here.

Netsafe  - The Netsafe Schools Programme 

The Netsafe Schools Programme has been developed for schools. The programme helps schools establish, develop and promote online safety in their school community. Learn more about it here.


Boards understanding of an ERO Visit

What is Education Review Office role? Why do they visit schools to do reviews? Material is used from:
School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success ERO 2016
Effective School Evaluation: How to do and use internal evaluation for improvement ERO 2016

Boards and Electronic Meetings 

The Education Act 1989 allows for school boards to meet using electronic methods. What does this mean and what would a board need to consider? Find out more here.

Curriculum progress tools

The Curriculum Progress Tools include the Learning Progression Frameworks (LPF) and the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT). Together, the two tools support progress in reading, writing, and mathematics. The Curriculum Progress Tools have been created by the Ministry of Education. Find out more about these tools which can assist school boards in their role of monitoring and raising student achievement.

Conflict of Interest

From time to time a school board may be challenged around a decision that it has made and how it reached that decision. The most common challenge to how the board reached its decision is around not having followed a sound and fair process and often this is around board members who have a conflict of interest. 

Digital Technology in the School Curriculum 

What is Digital Technology and how does this change schools' teaching and learning? What does it mean for ongoing board monitoring and planning? Find out more here.
Source material from New Zealand Ministry of Education. 

Evaluating the Principals report

The board monitors, reviews, and evaluates the data from the principal’s reports. The data gives the board updates on student achievement  and progress towards the annual implementation plan and strategic plan. Therefore the board is required to pose questions, scrutinise the data, investigate, understand and be assured of how the students are progressing and what might be 'next steps' to ensure continued progress towards the strategic and annual goals.

Firearms in Schools -The Boards Role

What is the board's role deciding whether or not firearms maybe involved with student learning and activities? What should the board have in place?

Firearms in Schools – Developing a policy

A firearms policy is to ensure students and staff are safe in the event that firearms are proposed to be on a school site or if students are to be involved in an offsite activity involving firearms. Find out more on developing a policy for your board.

Firearms in Schools -School community engagement

A school environment involves students, staff, parents, neighbours, other schools and businesses, as well as other local interested parties. Having school activities which involve firearms will create interest from the community. Having effective communication with the community is an important factor.

Firearms in Schools -definitions, and code

This module contains definitions, NZ Arms Code, and links to the legislation relating to firearms.

Local Curriculum

Local curriculum (also known as 'school curriculum') is part of the New Zealand Curriculum. Local curriculum is what your school and teachers use to give young people meaningful learning experiences which are connected to their community(ies).

Natural justice, fair and reasonable

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspension processes. Part of this process is based upon natural justice. Find out more here.

Principal’s report  - overview

The principal prepares a report for board meetings. What should the board be expecting and how does it interact with this report?

Privacy ABC for Schools

Welcome to Privacy ABC for Schools. This course aims to provide an overview of privacy rights and responsibilities in the context of schools, as well as give you an understanding of how the Privacy Act is applied in practice.

Privacy Principles

The Privacy Act (2020) has 13 key privacy principles. In this module, you will learn what these are and how they work in a school board environment.

Reporting on Student Achievement

The board of trustees is required to report on student achievement. What does this mean the board needs to do?

School Boards and the OIA

Behind every school is a board of trustees who represent the communities they serve. Part of a board’s responsibility involves decisions on official information requests. This video gives an overview of the OIA as it relates to school boards of trustees. It also explains the Ombudsman’s role – whether that’s offering advice and guidance about the OIA to school boards or dealing with OIA complaints.

School Donations

All domestic students in New Zealand aged 5 to 19 are entitled to free enrolment and free education at a state school. Some domestic students are entitled to free enrolment and free education up to the age of 21  if they meet certain criteria. 

So what part do school donations play in schools? What is the School Donations scheme? And what is the board's role in these issues?

Sexuality education -why? 

Sexuality Education is part of New Zealand school education. Find out why this forms part of our students' education.

Sexuality education- roles and responsibilities

Within a school community, various groups have different responsibilities and roles for sexuality education. Find out more about these.

Sexuality education-ERO recommendations

ERO's document "Promoting wellbeing through sexuality education" (September 2018) describes findings of good practice for sexuality education.

Sexuality education- glossary

The board of trustees includes understanding the curriculum area of Sexuality Education. This glossary has terms used in sexuality education.

Suspension legislation

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspension processes. Find out what these are here.

Suspension-the Principals actions required for a suspension

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspension processes. What is required of the principal during this process?

Suspension-the Board’s student suspension committee 

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspensions. What part does a board suspension committee play in this?

Suspension meeting time frames 

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspension meeting time frames. Find out more here.

Suspension-the Board’s preparation for suspension meeting

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspension meeting time frames. Find out more here.

Suspension 4 options for a board 

Each board is required to work within the legislation and regulations for student suspension processes. What are the 4 options the board has at a student suspension meeting?

Sharing Information of Families and Vulnerable Children

Sharing information about an individual is often essential to their health, safety and wellbeing. New provisions covering information sharing arrangements have been added to The Family Violence Act 2019 and the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. These provisions take effect from 1 July 2019.


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