Student enrolment

What should an enrolment scheme cover?

The general purpose of an enrolment scheme is to avoid overcrowding and allow students to attend a reasonably convenient local school.

It ensures that students outside of the home zone are selected in a fair and transparent manner and that the school does not exclude any more students than necessary.

Enrolment schemes for state integrated schools, kura kaupapa Māori and state designated character schools (including kura a iwi) may differ.

Purpose and principles – Legislation website

Content of a scheme

The scheme should clearly define:

  • the home zone for the school
  • the pre-enrolment procedures for selecting applicants who live outside the home zone, and
  • criteria for acceptance onto any special programmes offered by the school.

The home zone must be defined by geographic boundaries and must be specific to the extent that any given address can be described as within or outside the zone.

Defining a home zone – Legislation website

Eligibility to enrol

  • Students who live within the home zone are entitled to enrol at any time.
  • Those who live outside it may only enrol if they are offered a place in accordance with the law.
  • Enrolment of certain students may also be directed by the Secretary for Education in certain circumstances.

Effect of a home zone – Legislation website


Schools must review their enrolment schemes to see that they still meet the purpose and principles specified in the Education Act. 

Annual review of enrolment scheme (11PA) – Legislation website

Purpose and principles (11A) – Legislation website

Further information

Considering, proposing and establishing an enrolment scheme – Ministry of Education website

Updated: April 2016

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