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Setting the direction

Setting the direction provides guidance on what should be driving curriculum change at your school. It is a useful section for schools wanting to establish needs and priorities for the curriculum design and review process.

What is important to your community?

Know your community.

The NZC states (p. 37):

Curriculum design and review requires a clear understanding of the values and expectations of the community.

The New Zealand Curriculum includes the expectation that schools will seek out and listen to the ideas of students, parents, families, whānau, and the wider community when designing their school curriculum. In this way, the interests and needs of students, and the values and aspirations of the parents and wider community, can influence decision making around teaching and learning. This increases the likelihood that the design of teaching and learning experiences will meet the needs of the students.

Review tool

School partnerships self-audit tool
This tool can be used to consider current community-school interactions and find out more about community values and expectations. The section called "Gathering new information" provides questions for students, parents, teachers, and leaders.

Blog post

Involving your community in curriculum design
When approaching school based curriculum design the involvement of your school community is crucial. This blog highlights stories from New Zealand schools as an impetus for discussion in your school context. Resources and ideas are provided to help you explore implementation, and sustainability of your school community engagement.


NZC Online – Community engagement
The resources on this site support school leaders, teachers, and professional learning facilitators as they engage with school communities.

NZC Update 1 – Family and community engagement

This Update focuses on engagement with whānau and Māori communities. 

PDF icon. NZC Update 1 (PDF, 2 MB)

NZC Update 10 – Engaging with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds

This Update focuses on partnerships between schools and diverse families and communities.

PDF icon. NZC Update 10 (PDF, 1,011 KB)

School stories

Making it our curriculum – Matakohe School
Learn how Matakohe school redesigned their curriculum document. Through consulting the community, they developed a document they can call their own.

Developing whānau priorities at Te Kura o Hiruharama
The staff, board, and whānau at Te Kura o Hiruharama went through a process to identify their priorities. This digital story explains the outcomes of this exploration and how this has transferred into the life of the school.

Consulting with family and whānau at Merivale School
Meeting parents in homes to discuss future directions for the school has led to increased community input at Merivale School. Holding fono for the school's Pacific community has given Pasifika families the opportunity to share in their first language.


Cover of community engagement report.

From community engagement in education to public engagement with education
This paper discusses the relationship between schools and their communities. It explores the purpose of different school-community initiatives and discusses the case for a wider public engagement in education for the purpose of rethinking how schools meet the needs of all learners in the 21st century.

Other stories

NZC Online has a range of stories that show how schools have listened to the ideas of students, parents, families, whānau, and the wider community when designing school curriculum. They can be found in the media gallery and in school snapshots.

Setting the direction cogs. Leading change. Know your community. Know the curriculum. Know your learners.

Important considerations for curriculum design and review

Next – Possible pathways: Possible areas to focus on as you review and reshape your curriculum.

Published on: 18 Apr 2014