Administering the STAR programme

Statutory responsibilities


The informed consent of teachers and parents or caregivers is required before students can participate in a STAR programme.

The consent process ensures all parties understand:

  • the reasons for placing the student in a STAR course
  • how a course will benefit a student and meet their needs
  • how a course contributes to the STAR objectives.

Consent for each event is not required, provided that:

  • the school has the consent of parents or caregivers for a student's participation in a STAR programme (one or more events)
  • parents, caregivers and whānau are provided with the required information about each event.

Attendance records

Students undertaking work experience are to be treated as if they are attending school and the school must take all reasonable steps to monitor and record attendance as required by appropriate regulations (Work Experience Notice 2004(5).

Students can be released from school for STAR courses, and are considered to be attending school while undertaking a STAR activity (sections 25B and 71 of the Education Act 1989). Therefore, schools retain responsibility for the enrolment and attendance of students attending STAR courses with outside providers. For further information about the legal responsibilities for school attendance, see also Appendix 3 to Chapter One of the Funding, Staffing and Allowances Handbook.

External providers must keep attendance records and send them to the school, and the school and the provider must communicate about absences.

This arrangement must be clearly set out in the memorandum of understanding between the provider and the school.

Education outside the classroom (EOTC) and health and safety

The primary purpose of the EOTC: Bringing the Curriculum Alive guidelines is to support teaching and learning of the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. However, the guidelines should be applied as a good-practice guide for STAR programmes.

A school's EOTC policy and procedures should also contain health and safety procedures applicable to STAR activities.

Under the Education Act 1989, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, and the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995, boards of trustees are legally responsible for the students who take part in EOTC. The same statutory responsibilities apply to students undertaking STAR activities with external providers or in a workplace.

"While school boards have overall legal responsibility to provide a safe physical and emotional environments for students … they do not always have direct control over school-related activities. Where school management and staff take on active responsibility, they must exercise this responsibility with due care and within board policy. When an outside provider is contracted by the board, it is expected that the board will retain overall responsibility and accountability and plan accordingly." EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the curriculum alive.

As well as putting in place procedures to mitigate against risk of injury or damage, schools, providers and workplaces must have procedures to deal with any incidents that occur.

If an accident occurs during a STAR event, a board may be held accountable whether the accident is caused by the actions or omissions of a teacher, outside helper, student, or commercial operator contracted by the board. Legal liability for an accident will depend on whether the board complied with its legal obligations when planning and carrying out a STAR programme.

The STAR coordinator must ensure:

  • external providers are aware of their responsibilities for students on their premises
  • external providers have adequate health and safety procedures in place
  • health and safety procedures are detailed in the memorandum of understanding.

While students are on work experience in a workplace, the primary responsibility for health and safety rests with the management of the workplace. The Department of Labour provides guidance for employers who have people undertaking work experience in their workplace. This guidance can be found on the Department of Labour website.

Work Experience Notice 2004

To comply with theWork Experience Notice 2004 the STAR coordinator must ensure that:

  • documentation of the work-experience practices is approved by the board of trustees (this can be part of the school’s STAR policy)
  • schools gain consent from parents or caregivers for students to take part in the programme
  • the only cost, if any, charged to students or their families is for travel to and from a workplace
  • student attendance is monitored and recorded as if they are attending school
  • students are not paid
  • students are not required to join or belong to a union
  • students will not undertake any work that is arduous or dangerous given their age or stage of development.

The STAR coordinator must ensure there is an agreement between each participating student, the school, and the employer that covers:

  • the knowledge and skills that will be attained
  • the assessment method
  • the supervision that will be provided for the student
  • the student’s attendance hours in the workplace
  • which school rules and workplace rules will apply
  • procedures (if any) for early withdrawal from the work-based learning or work experience.

Financial management

Day-to-day financial administration for the STAR programme can be delegated in total to the STAR coordinator by the principal. To ensure STAR funds are used appropriately:

  • the executive officer will have in place systems to easily identify how the funds are used
  • the STAR coordinator is responsible for maintaining records for accountability purposes. Schools need to manage and monitor STAR-funded activities for audit purposes
  • a report on the use of the funds will be presented to the board as part of the STAR annual report.

The STAR coordinator (or STAR team) is responsible for deciding the best use of the funding. When STAR funding cannot meet all prioritised needs, the coordinator will work with the principal to find a suitable solution.

The Ministry of Education Funding, Staffing and Allowances Handbook, Appendix 2 to Chapter 1, sets out the funding formula. The funding rate is set out in Appendix 1, Operational Funding Rates, and is reviewed annually.

STAR coordinators can request operational funding entitlement information from the principal, the executive officer, or accounts manager.

STAR funding is not intended to cover the full costs of STAR courses. STAR funding is provided as a top-up to a school's entitlement staffing and per-pupil funding. The operational funding and staffing entitlement that students on STAR courses generate as regular students should also contribute towards funding STAR courses. 

Administration costs

Schools may not charge fees for any equipment (except any take-home component) or activity associated with STAR-funded courses.

If STAR funding is insufficient to cover the administrative cost of a course, schools are expected to contribute the balance from operational funding and staffing entitlement.


Each school must have a policy covering transport costs associated with STAR courses. The options for paying for transport costs include:

  • STAR funding
  • the operational grant

Resource K is a Transport Risk Analysis Management System (RAMS) [Word; 45kb]  document provided by. It should be used to assess and mitigate risks associated with transport during external activities.

Content last updated: 20 November 2014