Nature and scope of functions
The Ministry of Education is the government’s lead advisor on the education system, shaping direction for education agencies and providers.
The overarching outcome to which the ministry contributes is to build a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and values to be successful citizens in the 21st-century.
The Minister of Education is the Responsible Minister who oversees the government’s ownership interest in the ministry. In the early childhood education and schooling sectors we have responsibility for strategic leadership and policy development, as well as a substantial operational role. This includes responsibility for all education property owned by the Crown, developing national guidelines and curriculum statements, allocating funding, providing services to students, whānau, communities and schools, and administering the teachers’ payroll.
The Minister for Tertiary Education oversees the purchase interest in tertiary education. The ministry’s role in relation to tertiary education is focused on leadership and setting direction, stewardship and governance, and monitoring and evaluation. Education Crown entities, primarily the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, have a more direct interface with the tertiary education sector.
We fulfil our roles by undertaking the activities identified for each of the seven output expenses:
Strategic leadership in the sector
The ministry delivers policies and services focused on its leadership role in the education sector. This includes coordination with other sector and government agencies and forums to achieve shared goals through cross-sector work programmes and contribution to broader government goals; undertaking research and analysis; monitoring education sector capability and viability; developing strategic policy related to the education sector and education outcomes; and providing ministerial support to assist the Minister of Education and Associate Minister to meet their obligations to Parliament. The ministry has a lead role in implementing the principles of the New Zealand Disability Strategy (NZDS) in line with the NZDS Action Plan.
Support and resources for the community
We deliver policies, programmes and services focused on improving the community’s knowledge of, and participation in, the education system. This includes working with parents, iwi, and Pasifika advisors and community groups to build relationships and foster greater participation in education; providing information to enable better informed decision-making about education options; supporting and delivering programmes to provide education stakeholders in the community with the knowledge and skills required to support the education system; and the delivery of timely and relevant policy advice to the Minister of Education.
Support and resources for education providers
We provide a range of outputs to ensure that education providers have the resources and support they need to deliver services to students. This includes delivery of timely and relevant policy advice to the Minister of Education; administration of a range of legislative and regulatory controls; the determination and delivery of funding and other resources; providing services that support the governance, management and operation of education providers; and monitoring and intervening in providers that are at risk in relation to financial viability, student achievement or participation.
School property portfolio management
Management of the property portfolio for the State school sector involves the single largest departmental output expense the ministry is responsible for in dollar terms. This includes managing the existing property portfolio; focusing on upgrades and improvements to sustain the quality of the portfolio; purchasing and constructing new property to expand the portfolio’s capacity to meet the demands of schooling or demographic changes; identifying and disposing of surplus State school sector property; and the management of teacher and caretaker housing.
Support and resources for teachers
The provision of resources and support to teachers and principals supports professional leadership, learning and teaching. This includes providing the curriculum and achievement standards; providing resources to educators to support teaching, learning and assessment; providing professional development programmes, scholarships, awards and other resources to teachers and principals to support professional leadership and learning; and the delivery of timely and relevant policy advice to the Minister of Education.
Interventions for target student groups
Through this output we deliver policies, resources and services focused on targeted student groups’ or individuals’ participation in education. This includes targeted interventions, specialist support services, funding and other resources to assist students to participate in education in meaningful ways, and the delivery of timely and relevant policy advice to the Minister of Education. It includes special education services delivered to over 35,000 children and families, and support and services provided to schools, early childhood centres, parents and whānau. There are approximately 2,500 employees working through a network of local and regional offices throughout New Zealand, delivering a wide range of services both directly and indirectly to children and young people with special learning and developmental needs.
Strategic leadership in the tertiary system
Through this output expense we deliver policies and services focused on the ministry’s leadership role in the tertiary education system. This includes coordination with other sector and government agencies and forums to achieve shared goals; undertaking research and analysis and developing strategic policy related to tertiary and international education. We monitor the performance and capacity of Crown entities from an outcomes-based system approach including, through TEC, the performance of tertiary education institutions, and provide information on tertiary and international education services. We also represent the education sector internationally; supporting international students in New Zealand; supporting the development of the international education industry; and providing ministerial support to assist the Minister for Tertiary Education and Associate Ministers to meet their obligations to Parliament.