The New Zealand Curriculum
The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) is the guiding document for teaching and learning in all NZ schools. Below you will find some valuable information about this guiding document. Should you wish to read more about the NZC you can visit the Ministry of Education website. The link is at the bottom of this page.
At Clevedon School, we aim to implement all aspects of the NZC through a robust and integrated programme. Within each class the learning is organised in a way that works to meet the needs of the individuals within it. For more information about the units of work and the learning taking place in your child's class, please visit the team and class pages. And, as always, we encourage you to speak to your child's teacher about your child's learning if you need any further information.
The key competencies
The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:
- using language, symbols, and texts
- managing self
- relating to others
- participating and contributing
People use these competencies to live, learn, work, and contribute as active members of their communities. More complex than skills, the competencies draw also on knowledge, attitudes, and values in ways that lead to action. They are not separate or stand-alone. They are the key to learning in every learning area.
The development of the competencies is both an end in itself (a goal) and the means by which other ends are achieved. Successful learners make use of the competencies in combination with all the other resources available to them. These include personal goals, other people, community knowledge and values, cultural tools (language, symbols, and texts), and the knowledge and skills found in different learning areas. As they develop the competencies, successful learners are also motivated to use them, recognising when and how to do so and why.
Opportunities to develop the competencies occur in social contexts. People adopt and adapt practices that they see used and valued by those closest to them, and they make these practices part of their own identity and expertise.
The competencies continue to develop over time, shaped by interactions with people, places, ideas, and things. Students need to be challenged and supported to develop them in contexts that are increasingly wide-ranging and complex.
Thinking is about using creative, critical, and metacognitive processes to make sense of information, experiences, and ideas. These processes can be applied to purposes such as developing understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing knowledge. Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency.
Students who are competent thinkers and problem-solvers actively seek, use, and create knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions.
Using language, symbols, and texts
Using language, symbols, and texts is about working with and making meaning of the codes in which knowledge is expressed. Languages and symbols are systems for representing and communicating information, experiences, and ideas. People use languages and symbols to produce texts of all kinds: written, oral/aural, and visual; informative and imaginative; informal and formal; mathematical, scientific, and technological.
Students who are competent users of language, symbols, and texts can interpret and use words, number, images, movement, metaphor, and technologies in a range of contexts. They recognise how choices of language, symbol, or text affect people’s understanding and the ways in which they respond to communications. They confidently use ICT (including, where appropriate, assistive technologies) to access and provide information and to communicate with others.
This competency is associated with self-motivation, a "can-do” attitude, and with students seeing themselves as capable learners. It is integral to self-assessment.
Students who manage themselves are enterprising, resourceful, reliable, and resilient. They establish personal goals, make plans, manage projects, and set high standards. They have strategies for meeting challenges. They know when to lead, when to follow, and when and how to act independently.
Relating to others
Relating to others is about interacting effectively with a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts. This competency includes the ability to listen actively, recognise different points of view, negotiate, and share ideas.
Students who relate well to others are open to new learning and able to take different roles in different situations. They are aware of how their words and actions affect others. They know when it is appropriate to compete and when it is appropriate to co-operate. By working effectively together, they can come up with new approaches, ideas, and ways of thinking.
Participating and contributing
This competency is about being actively involved in communities. Communities include family, whānau, and school and those based, for example, on a common interest or culture. They may be drawn together for purposes such as learning, work, celebration, or recreation. They may be local, national, or global. This competency includes a capacity to contribute appropriately as a group member, to make connections with others, and to create opportunities for others in the group.
Students who participate and contribute in communities have a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate within new contexts. They understand the importance of balancing rights, roles, and responsibilities and of contributing to the quality and sustainability of social, cultural, physical, and economic environments.
Important for a broad, general education
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.
The learning associated with each area is part of a broad, general education and lays a foundation for later specialisation. Like the key competencies, this learning is both end and means: valuable in itself and valuable for the pathways it opens to other learning.
While the learning areas are presented as distinct, this should not limit the ways in which schools structure the learning experiences offered to students. All learning should make use of the natural connections that exist between learning areas and that link learning areas to the values and key competencies.
Learning areas and language
Each learning area has its own language or languages. As students discover how to use them, they find they are able to think in different ways, access new areas of knowledge, and see their world from new perspectives.
For each area, students need specific help from their teachers as they learn:
- the specialist vocabulary associated with that area
- how to read and understand its texts
- how to communicate knowledge and ideas in appropriate ways
- how to listen and read critically, assessing the value of what they hear and read.
In addition to such help, students who are new learners of English or coming into an English-medium environment for the first time need explicit and extensive teaching of English vocabulary, word forms, sentence and text structures, and language uses.
As language is central to learning and English is the medium for most learning in the New Zealand Curriculum, the importance of literacy in English cannot be overstated.
To be encouraged, modelled, and explored
Values are deeply held beliefs about what is important or desirable. They are expressed through the ways in which people think and act.
Every decision relating to curriculum and every interaction that takes place in a school reflects the values of the individuals involved and the collective values of the institution.
The values on the list below enjoy widespread support because it is by holding these values and acting on them that we are able to live together and thrive. The list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive.
Students 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 to respect 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 school’s philosophy, structures, curriculum, classrooms, and relationships. When the school community has developed strongly held and clearly articulated values, those values are likely to be expressed in everyday actions and interactions within the school.
Through their learning experiences, students will learn about:
- their own values and those of others
- different kinds of values, such as moral, social, cultural, aesthetic, and economic values
- the values on which New Zealand’s cultural and institutional traditions are based
- the values of other groups and cultures.
Through their learning experiences, students will develop their ability to:
- express their own values
- explore, with empathy, the values of others
- critically analyse values and actions based on them
- discuss disagreements that arise from differences in values and negotiate solutions
- make ethical decisions and act on them.
All the values listed above can be expanded into clusters of related values that collectively suggest their fuller meanings. For example, 'community and participation for the common good' is associated with values and notions such as peace, citizenship, and manaakitanga.
Foundations of curriculum decision making
The principles set out below embody beliefs about what is important and desirable in school curriculum – nationally and locally. They should underpin all school decision making.
These principles put students 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.
Although similar, the principles and the values have different functions. The principles relate to how curriculum is formalised in a school; they are particularly relevant to the processes of planning, prioritising, and review. The values are part of the everyday curriculum – encouraged, modelled, and explored.
All curriculum should be consistent with these eight statements:
The curriculum supports and empowers all students to learn and achieve personal excellence, regardless of their individual circumstances.
Treaty of Waitangi
The curriculum acknowledges the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand. All students have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.
The curriculum reflects New Zealand’s cultural diversity and values the histories and traditions of all its people.
The curriculum is non-sexist, non-racist, and non-discriminatory; it ensures that students’ identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed and that their learning needs are addressed.
Learning to learn
The curriculum encourages all students to reflect on their own learning processes and to learn how to learn.
The curriculum has meaning for students, connects with their wider lives, and engages the support of their families, whānau, and communities.
The curriculum offers all students a broad education that makes links within and across learning areas, provides for coherent transitions, and opens up pathways to further learning.
The curriculum encourages students to look to the future by exploring such significant future-focused issues as sustainability, citizenship, enterprise, and globalisation.