New Zealand School Curriculum launch

  • Chris Carter

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Chris Carter today launched the new New Zealand Curriculum.

Helen Clark said that the new curriculum is designed to support school students developing the values and competencies and gaining the knowledge they need for the 21st century. It aims to give all young people the best opportunity possible to achieve their full potential.

“Consultation on the new curriculum involved input from more than 15,000 New Zealanders, with 10,000 submissions made on the final draft. It has been one of the most comprehensive consultations ever carried out by the Ministry of Education.

“Principals and teachers have been very supportive of the new curriculum. It replaces seven documents with one simplified document. This curriculum represents a shift away from focusing on knowing facts and figures to knowing also how to use knowledge effectively and apply it outside the classroom,” Helen Clark said.

Education Minister Chris Carter said that the curriculum contains eight areas of knowledge, covering English, mathematics, languages, technology, science, the arts, social sciences, health and physical education.

“The curriculum also includes a range of key competencies young people need to acquire; such as thinking, using language, symbols and texts; managing oneself; relating to others; and participating and contributing,” Chris Carter said.

Features of the new curriculum include the following:

  • subject statements are clearer and simpler. The rationale for, and structure of, each learning area is clearly described
  • there is more emphasis on statistics as part of mathematics, and on learning a second language
  • the place of history, geography, and economics within the social sciences at senior school is clarified
  • Te Reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are added as official languages
  • there is a greater focus on sustainability, to teach students about climate change and the environment
  • all students should have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of Te Reo Maori and Tikanga Maori, and to learn about the Treaty of Waitangi

Chris Carter said that New Zealand has a world class education system and the curriculum builds on that.

“The curriculum sets a clear direction for teaching and learning. This will contribute to our key goal of creating a knowledge-based society which provides a unique quality of life for all New Zealanders,” Chris Carter said.

Schools will be supported to implement the new curriculum over a three year period from 2007 to 2010 with workshops, online resources and other school-based support.

More Information

  • The New Zealand Curriculum online:
  • Sign up to receive a monthly email update on site news and information, and schools sharing their experiences and ideas.
  • Education Minister Chris Carter has announced that teachers will be given a professional development day in the next year to help plan for the new curriculum.