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Reviewing your curriculum – Possible pathways


Road sign graphic.

Schools develop their local curriculum in diverse ways, choosing different aspects to examine more closely in response to identified priorities for learning. The National Curriculum provides an overall framework within which teachers and leaders can make decisions about content and context.

This blog provides tools and resources to help you explore the directions for student learning in The New Zealand Curriculum. Choose an area of focus to strengthen your local curriculum. Reviewing one part of the curriculum inevitably leads to thinking about the other parts. As you embed changes you can revisit this blog to find support in other areas. 


The NZC states (p 37) that schools are required to base their curriculum on the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. Schools should be able to clearly demonstrate their commitment to the principles and articulate how they are given effect in teaching and learning.

Discussion tool – Exploring the curriculum principles
This discussion tool supports school leaders and teachers to develop deeper thinking around The New Zealand Curriculum principles within a school curriculum.

Principles on NZC Online
This section on NZC Online includes resources for school leaders, teachers, and facilitators as they consider The New Zealand Curriculum principles and use them to underpin all school decision making. Support packages are available for individual principles.

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Review questions you may consider for your school community

  • Are the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum evident in all aspects of our local curriculum?
  • How can we get the list of principles off the page, into our minds, and influencing how we view and construct our curriculum?
  • Which of the eight principles could we justifiably say are foundations of our current school curriculum? Do our parents and whānau have the same perception?
  • Which principles require priority consideration as we design and review our curriculum in response to students' needs?


NZC Curriculum icon.

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies a number of values that have widespread community support. These values are to be encouraged and modelled, and they are to be explored by students. Schools need to consider how they can make the values an integral part of their curriculum and how they will monitor the effectiveness of the approach taken.

List of values
This list of notions, concepts, and ideas associated with The New Zealand Curriculum values can be used by schools to deepen understandings. Your school, in association with whānau, iwi, hapū, and the wider community, may wish to add further notions, concepts, and ideas to the right-hand column that are consistent with the values or value clusters of the curriculum.

Download this resource – 

Word icon. Values clusters (Word, 24 KB)

School story

Values education and community partnership at Pomaria School
The entire community of Pomaria School have worked together to identify and agree on a set of values that they believe are important. This film describes how the values were developed and how they are sustained. Schools can use the ideas in this film to support their own values teaching in response to the needs of their students and communities.

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Review questions you may consider for your school community

  • Have we identified and agreed on a set of values that we believe are important for everyone involved in the life of our school?
  • How do we encourage, model, and explore the values identified in The New Zealand Curriculum?
  • Do our own school values support and complement those in The New Zealand Curriculum?
  • Have we considered what values are integral to digital citizenship?
  • Which values could we embed further to help us address our school's priorities for learning?

Key competencies

The NZC states (p 38): When designing and reviewing their curriculum schools will need to:

  • consider how to encourage and monitor the development of the key competencies
  • clarify their meaning for their students
  • clarify the conditions that will help or hinder the development of the competencies, the extent to which they are being demonstrated, and how the school will evaluate the effectiveness of approaches intended to strengthen them.

Discussion tools
These discussion tools can be used to help you explore the key competencies for school curriculum design and review, leadership, and effective pedagogy.

Key competencies on NZC Online
This section on NZC Online supports school leaders and teachers as they introduce and deepen their understanding of key competencies for learners.

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Review questions you may consider for your school community

  • Have we clarified what each key competency means for our students and the conditions that help to develop each competency?
  • Have we supported our parents, families, whānau, and communities to recognise key competencies as a valued aspect of student learning?
  • Are the key competencies developed across all learning activities and programmes?
  • How do students and teachers monitor their development and demonstration of the key competencies?
  • Is there a particular key competency that students, or groups of students, need to develop further?

Learning areas

The NZC states (pgs 37, 38):

  • In years 1-10, schools are required to provide teaching and learning in English, the arts, health and physical education, mathematics and statistics, science, the social sciences, and technology.
  • The learning area statements should be the starting point for developing programmes of learning suited to students' needs and interests.
  • Links between learning areas should be explored.

Learning areas
This section of the NZC document introduces and describes eight learning areas that are part of a broad, general education. The learning area statements describe the essential nature of each learning area, how it can contribute to a young person's education, and how it is structured.

Supporting TKI communities

School story

Mount Roskill Campus sign.

Clear pathways for literacy learning 
Students moving through the Mount Roskill campus can be assured of clear learning pathways in English thanks to the collaborative efforts of teachers. Schools can use the ideas in this film to support their development of coherent pathways in specific learning areas. 

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Review questions you may consider for your school community

  • How well does our school's curriculum reflect the essential nature of each learning area?
  • Do our programmes meet the needs and interests of our students?
  • How does our curriculum enable students to explore relationships of knowledge across learning areas?
  • Do we make connections across learning areas, values, and key competencies?
  • Do we have a rationale and structure for covering learning area strands and selecting achievement objectives?

Effective pedagogy

The NZC states (p 34):

There is extensive, well-documented evidence about the kinds of teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning.

Effective pedagogy
This section of the NZC document describes a range of teacher actions that promote student learning.

BES cases
This resource provides a list of all 32 cases from across the best evidence synthesis publications. You can find quality teaching cases to learn more about strategies to improve a range of outcomes for all students.

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Review questions you may consider for your school community

Read through each teacher action promoted in the NZC under effective pedagogy:

  • Which of the seven approaches can we justifiably say are deeply embedded practice?
  • Which approaches do we need to work on as we design and review our curriculum in response to students' needs?
  • How does learning with digital technologies support these teaching approaches?
  • How do we inquire into the impact of our teaching on student learning?
curriculum design and review