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Considerations (archived)

The New Zealand Curriculum document states (pg 37):

Design and review of your school curriculum will be guided by theses key considerations:


Considering the Elements of The New Zealand Curriculum

Schools will base their curriculum on the particular needs, interests and circumstances of the school's students and community. However, there are some general suggestions when undertaking this process.


The national curriculum opens with a statement of vision for all young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The school’s curriculum, while sharing commitment to that vision, might extend the expression of vision to include the community’s own aspirations for its young people.

Some schools will state their vision in a way that gives some immediacy to its realisation. These schools might open their statement along the lines: “Our vision for the qualities our students will show as a result of their years of learning and living in our school and community”. This kind of vision allows evaluative reflection, and is likely to have important teaching and learning implications, whereas a vision such as “To be the school of first choice” will tend to emphasize the management of public perception and competitiveness.


Schools are required to ensure that their curriculum is underpinned by and consistent with the principles stated in The New Zealand Curriculum.

To reach confidence in meeting this obligation, the school will need to clarify what each principle means for practice, then be able to show examples of how that meaning is being translated into practice.

The school’s curriculum documentation may include summary statements that explain how the principles are understood and demonstrated in practice.

Values, key competencies, learning areas

A range of approaches is conceivable for the curriculum treatment of the values, key competencies and learning areas. Some schools may choose to emphasize the interrelatedness of values, competencies and learning area topics or themes. Others might decide to give a distinctive place to selected aspects within a planned structure.

For example, schools that have specific values education programmes will sometimes choose a particular value or group of values for special emphasis over a school term. For the most part, however, teaching and learning contexts are well suited to an inclusive treatment that interweaves the values, competencies and learning areas.

In particular, the competencies are the key to learning in every learning area.

The development of thinking and language, symbols and texts competencies, for example, is relevant to science programmes at every level, whether junior primary or senior secondary.

The school’s curriculum documentation will explain how programmes and teaching are organised for the development of the values, key competencies and learning areas. Regardless of approach, the clarification of intended learning outcomes will be an important feature of the school’s curriculum design.

Some of those outcomes might apply continuously across all levels of the school (example, the value of respect), whereas others will differentiate progressions of learning from one level to the next (example, the development of mathematical concepts and skills). Some intended outcomes will derive mainly from curricular sources and professional expertise (e.g. science), while others will result from the engagement of parents and students (e.g. self-management).

The curriculum is as much about the 'how' and 'why' of learning as it is about content.

Curriculum Tool

A resource: School curriculum design and review and accompanying chart was sent to all schools and is available online here.


Some schools have found this sheet useful to focus on the components of the NZC:

Word icon. Thinking about NZC components - a possible framework (Word, 533 KB)


The New Zealand Curriculum document states (pg 16):

All learning should make use of the natural connections between learning areas and that link learning area to the values and key competencies.

Published on: 22 Mar 2009