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Social sciences

Teaching time requirements

From the start of Term 1, 2024 school boards must ensure their school's teaching and learning programmes meet requirements for structuring teaching time for reading, writing and maths in Years 0 - 8. Specialist schools with students in Years 0 - 8 must ensure this from the start of 2025.  Kura with a specified kura board must ensure this from Term 3, 2024.

See Gazette Notice 2023-go5904 and Changes to legislative requirements for school boards on NZC Online.


Aotearoa New Zealand's histories and Te Takanga o te Wā

Understand the big ideas of Aotearoa New Zealand's history. Know national, rohe, and local contexts. Do thinking critically about the past and interpreting stories about it. The learning that matters.

From 2023, Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o Te Wā will be taught in all schools and kura.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories sits within social sciences in The New Zealand Curriculum. It is part of the social sciences learning area because it encourages learners to be critical citizens - learning about the past to understand the present and to prepare for the future.

In October 2022, a notice was issued in Te Kāhiti o Aotearoa | The New Zealand Gazette to make Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories a formal part of the national curriculum from 1 January 2023.

The notice can be found at Ngā tauākī Marautanga ā-Motu / National Curriculum Statements - New Zealand Gazette.

The 2007 social sciences curriculum expectations are set out below and remain in place. The Aotearoa New Zealand Histories expectations which have been added to these can be found here: Aotearoa New Zealand histories in the New Zealand Curriculum. (PDF)

Resources and support materials are available at Aotearoa NZ's histories.

Refresh of Social Sciences

The full Social Sciences learning area is being updated as part of the refresh of The New Zealand Curriculum.

While the new Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum content must be taught in schools there is no requirement for schools to implement the remainder of the refreshed te ao tangata | social sciences learning area until the beginning of 2026.

The refreshed Social Sciences learning area is available now for schools to explore in preparation.

Over the next three years, boards, principals, teachers and schools should become familiar with the content, so they can plan for how they will implement the new curriculum area, and begin when they are ready.

What are the social sciences about?

Social Sciences learning area title.

Unuhia te rito o te harakeke kei whea te kōmako e kō?
Whakatairangitia – rere ki uta, rere ki tai;
Ui mai koe ki ahau he aha te mea nui o te ao,
Māku e kī atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!

The social sciences learning area is about how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens. Contexts are drawn from the past, present, and future and from places within and beyond New Zealand.

Published on: 08 Apr 2014

Supporting TKI communities

Social Sciences Online

Find research, resources, ideas, and inspiration to help students understand how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens.

NZ Senior Secondary Curriculum Guides – Social Sciences
Helping teachers create quality teaching and learning programmes.