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Strengthening local curriculum

The New Zealand Curriculum describes the learning all young people should experience no matter what school or kura they go to and the progress and expectations associated with this learning. It provides the framework for schools and kura to use in their local curriculum design.

This section supports school and curriculum leaders and professional learning and development providers with the process of curriculum design and review. It includes information, research, tools, suggested areas of focus, and inspirational stories to help schools make decisions about how to give effect to the national curriculum.

The animation below provides a useful introduction to local curriculum with some simple tips to get started.

Key resources

Webinar: Strengthening local curriculum

In late 2019, the Ministry of Education held a webinar focused on local curriculum design. This built on the local curriculum workshops held nationally throughout 2019 and more intensive workshops held in 80 schools. You can view the webinar in its entirety, or explore sections that are of particular interest to you.

Local curriculum spotlight

This spotlight explores strengthening local curriculum, and ways that you can bring The New Zealand Curriculum to life for your students. Find videos, activities, and opportunities for personal reflection.


Tips for spotlight use

You can enlarge the slideshow by clicking the full screen icon in the bottom toolbar. To open the speaker notes, click on Options in the bottom toolbar. The slideshow can be downloaded and personalised to suit your context and needs. For personalisation, select File, Make a Copy. To transfer this content to a PowerPoint presentation, select File, Download as Microsoft PowerPoint.

Link to Google Slides


National to local curriculum

NZC Curriculum icon.

The New Zealand Curriculum states that curriculum design and review involves making decisions about how to give effect to the national curriculum in ways that best address the needs, interests, and circumstances of your students and community.

Leading Local Curriculum Guide Series: Local Curriculum

Webinar: Strengthening local curriculum

Local Curriculum Design Tool | Rapua Te Ara Tika

Vision and values

NZC Curriculum icon.

The New Zealand Curriculum provides an overarching vision for our young people and identifies a number of values that have widespread support. These values are to be encouraged, modelled, and explored by students.

Preparing to lead curriculum change – Vision, principles, and values (PDF download)

Vision: Stanley Avenue School example

Reviewing your curriculum – Possible pathways: Values


NZC Curriculum icon.

There are eight New Zealand Curriculum principles that embody beliefs about what is important in school curriculum both nationally and locally. They should underpin all school decision making.

NZC Principles and supporting resource for all 8 principles

NZC Online Spotlight: Principles

Showcase – Mt Cook School

Challenging Racism – Same Game

NZC Online Spotlight: Learning to learn

Key learning areas

NZC Curriculum icon.

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies eight learning areas: English, the arts, health and physical education, learning languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, and technology.


Literacy Online: Planning for my students' needs

NMSSA English – Listening study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

NMSSA English – Reading study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

NMSSA English – Viewing study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

NMSSA English – Writing study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

The Arts

NMSSA Arts study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

Health & Physical Education

Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

NMSSA Health & Physical Education study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

Learning Languages

Learning Languages Wallchart: Learning area framework (PDF download)

Learning Languages Curriculum Guides

NMSSA Learning Languages Study: Summary for schools (focus on Te Reo Māori) (PDF online)

Mathematics & Statistics

Curriculum Progress Tools: Learning progression framework for mathematics

NMSSA Mathematics & Statistics Study: Summary for schools (PDF online)


Science in the NZC: Understanding progress from levels 2 to 4

Science Online: Science capabilities for citizenship

Instructional Series: Connected (also supports Technology)

NMSSA Sciences Study – Insights for teachers (PDF online)

Social Sciences

Te Takanga o te Wā – Māori History Guidelines for Years 1–8

Social Sciences Online: Building conceptual understanding in social sciences

NMSSA Social Sciences Study: Summary for schools (PDF online)


Technology Online Webinar: The revised technology learning area

Kia Takatūā Matihkio – Digital Readiness Programme

Instructional Series: Connected (also supports Science)

NMSSA Technology Study: Summary for schools (PDF online)

Literacy and numeracy across the curriculum

Curriculum Progress Tools: Learning Progression Frameworks

ESOL Online: English Language Learning Progressions

Updated on: 11 Feb 2020