Understanding school property

Roles and responsibilities

Principals and boards of trustees have a key governance role in managing school property.

Your roles and responsibilities are outlined in the Property Occupancy Document (POD), a legally binding document.

They include:

  • aligning the school’s property plan with the school’s vision
  • working with a qualified 10 year property plan (10YPP) consultant to develop a 10YPP to ensure your school is well maintained and the physical environment supports your school’s vision for teaching and learning, within budgets provided by the ministry
  • complying with current ministry property policies and requirements
  • overseeing day-to-day management of your school property to ensure it is kept in good repair and students and staff have a safe environment
  • engaging qualified project managers to manage school-led building projects.

The principal is key to building and maintaining strong working relationships with the Ministry of Education, consultants and project managers.

You are not expected to be a property expert. Your skill is recognising when you need help and knowing where to go to get it.

Some schools have board members who do much of the policy and implementation work for property.

Good use of board members, consultants and project managers mean you can learn quickly about property matters and not get buried in the details.

Property Occupancy Document – Ministry of Education

State schools property management – Ministry of Education

Property planning

Developing 10-year property plans (10YPP) ensures your school is well maintained and the physical environment supports teaching and learning, within the budget provided.

The 10YPP sets out the property work to be completed over a 10-year timeframe. The aims of the plan are to:

  • prioritise: 
    • work that ensures the health and safety of building and site occupants
    • essential infrastructure work that ensures the integrity and structure of the site and buildings
  • plan for:
    • modernising learning spaces
    • maintenance work
    • potential changes in roll numbers
  • request additional capital funding, if needed, such as for new teaching spaces for roll growth. If your roll is growing, contact your property advisor.

10 year property plan  – Ministry of Education

Engagement of a 10YPP consultant – Ministry of Education

Ministry support for schools

Ministry website

The property pages on the Ministry website are an essential reference for all new principals and board members.

The pages explain the regulations and requirements for state schools and describe the processes to follow in each stage of the property management process.

The focus is on state school property, but there is some information for integrated schools.
Key pages for property management include:

Key pages for health and safety are:

Property portal

The property portal is where you can:

  • get information on your school's annual property maintenance grant
  • view up-to-date school property data
  • work out whether your school has the space it is entitled to.

Property portal

Ministry property advisors

Every school has a locally-based Ministry property advisor. They should be your first point of contact for all property issues.

A property advisor is available to assist you with any aspect of your property portfolio.

Contact your property advisor at your local Ministry office or email the property help desk: [email protected].

Local ministry office contacts

Emergency response coordinators

When you have an emergency that affects property, such as a fire, flood or earthquake, contact your local emergency response coordinator. They are available 24/7 to respond to property damage.

Emergency response coordinator contacts – Ministry of Education

Other ministry resources

Guide to ILEs – Inclusive Education website

Innovative learning environments – Enabling eLearning website

School property strategy 2030 – Ministry of Education

Tags: Systems and Policy

Tell a colleague | Back to top