Student enrolment

What does 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.

Changes to the legislation

From 1 Jan 2021, boards will no longer be responsible for developing and consulting on enrolment schemes. 

Under the Education and Training Act 2020, the Ministry of Education takes on this responsibility.

Development and consultation of school enrolment schemes – Ministry of Education 

Enrolment schemes ensure 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.

Education and Training Act 2020, section 71 – 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.

Education and Training Act 2020, section 73 – 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.

Education and Training Act 2020, section 74 – Legislation website


Enrolment schemes will be reviewed to see that they still meet the purpose and principles specified in the Education Act. 

Education and Training Act 2020, Schedule 20, section 15 – Legislation website

Further information

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

Updated: August 2020

Tell a colleague | Back to top