The National Curriculum

As far as I’m concerned, [the New Zealand Curriculum] is the best in the world… New Zealand has got to the essence of what a curriculum needs to be in the 21st Century.

— Dr. Julia Atkin

In this video, Dr. Julia Atkin looks at the evolution of curricula and discusses how the current curriculum requires a shift in perspective: from a teacher of the subject to a teacher of the person.

The National Curriculum sets the direction for learning in New Zealand and provides guidance for schools as they design and review their curriculum. Composed of the New Zealand Curriculum (English medium) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (Māori medium), both documents start with a vision of young people developing the competencies they need for study, work and lifelong learning, so they may go on to realise their potential.

The National Curriculum makes it clear that education in New Zealand puts learners at the centre of teaching and learning, asserting that they should experience a curriculum that engages and challenges them, is forward-looking and inclusive, and affirms New Zealand’s unique identity.

The National Curriculum further establishes that learners will be encouraged to value:

  • Excellence by aiming high and by persevering in the face of difficulties.
  • Innovation, inquiry, and curiosity by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively.
  • Diversity as found in our different cultures, languages, and heritages.
  • Equity through fairness and social justice.
  • Community and participation for the common good.
  • Ecological sustainability which includes care for the environment.
  • Integrity which involves being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically, and
  • Respect for themselves, others, and human rights.

The specific ways in which these values find expression in an individual school will be guided by dialogue between the school and its community. They should be evident in the philosophy, structures, curriculum, learning spaces, and relationships of schools.

Read more about The local context: educational vision and teaching and learning approaches.