Te Kura



Achievement Standards - Courses at curriculum levels 6 to 8 (usually in years 11 to 13) are assessed against standards. Your work is compared to a fixed standard, not the work of other students. If you do the work required, you achieve that standard. Some achievement standards are assessed internally (marked by your teacher). If you don’t achieve an internally assessed achievement standard the first time you try, you may be able to try again.

For externally assessed achievement standards, students sit an external exam in November along with others studying the same subject. Students can also earn achievement standards with merit or with excellence. See also unit standards.

Student Guide to National Certificates gives details on achievement standards, unit standards and NCEA.

Address card - This card has your address on one side and the school's address on the other. When you send work back to Te Kura, make sure the school address is visible through the bag.

Adult student - A student aged 20 or older in the year of study. You must be living in New Zealand and a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand or Australia and not attending another secondary school. Adults can enrol full-time or part-time. Fees are $111 per course.

Assessable work - Assessable work is work you have done in the programmes or courses you are enrolled in. This work can be checked by the teacher and recorded to show progress. Assessable work can be sent to the teacher by post or electronically.

Authentication - Work sent for assessment in qualifications courses may require authentication. The student and/or supervisor needs to sign the cover sheet to confirm that the student did the work without assistance. The cover sheet of a booklet says if authentication is required.

Booklet - Course material is often broken down into a series of booklets, which each cover different topics or activities. Some booklets provide space for students to write their answers, while others require students to write on their own paper. If the booklet provides space for answers, return the whole booklet when you’ve finished the work. Otherwise, remove the back cover of the booklet and send it in with your own numbered pages attached. Keep the rest of the booklet to use for revision.

Course - A specific programme of learning in a subject at one curriculum level, for example, NCEA level 2 English (EN200).

Course fees - Students who are not eligible to enrol under the Ministry of Education enrolment criteria pay course fees. The amount depends on their citizenship status, where they live and their year level.

Cover sheet - The back cover of course work booklets is the cover sheet. If your booklet provides space on the pages for you to answer questions, return the whole book to your teacher. If you write your answers on your own paper, remove the cover sheet from the booklet and send it back attached to your written work. Remember to number your pages.

Credits - Students who pass unit standards or achievement standards get credits on the National Qualifications Framework. Achieving a certain number of credits is a requirement of NCEA and other National Certificates.

Curriculum - The New Zealand Curriculum says what is taught in schools in Years 1 to 13.

Dual students - dual students are enrolled with us by their home school for specific programmes or courses. This means that they attend their local school while studying with us subjects their school is unable to provide. We offer primary dual enrolled students enrichment, acceleration and adaptation and provide te reo Maori and technology tuition. We also offer adapted programmes for students with special education needs.

We provide secondary programmes to schools in which:

  • Only a small number of students study the subject
  • A broad curriculum cannot be provided because of the small size of school
  • No subject teacher is available or,
  • A student has transferred and the subject(s) previously taken is not offered.

At secondary level, our subject teachers will work in partnership with the school and student to develop programmes for dual enrolled students. Students with special education needs can have courses adapted to meet their needs. See our subjects and courses pages for information about what we offer at secondary level. For more information contact us.

Early childhood education - Eligible early childhood students can start learning with us at three years of age. Most students start school (Year 1) when they reach their fifth birthday, but they are not required to start school until they are six. Please tell your teacher if you choose to keep your child on the early childhood programme after their fifth birthday.

ECH wait list - Children approved by Te Kura as eligible for entry but who are under the age of 3 years old or for whom a vacancy is not immediately available will have their names placed on a waiting list. Wait listed children will normally be admitted to the school in age order.

Early leaving exemption for 15 year olds - The school leaving age in New Zealand is 16 years old. Parents of students aged 15 can apply to the Ministry of Education for an early leaving exemption. This allows the student to enrol in training or tertiary study, or begin full-time work.

e-Learning - e-Learning uses the Internet and information communications technology as learning resources or for communication between students and teachers.

Eligibility - Eligible students can enrol with us without paying course fees. To be eligible, you must be in one of the situations described in the Ministry of Education’s enrolment policy for Te Kura students.  

Fee-paying student - A student who is not eligible for free enrolment under the Ministry of Education’s criteria can enrol as a fee-paying student. The exact fees depend on the student’s citizenship status, place of residence and level of study.

Gateway - Gateway is a structured, work-based learning programme for full-time students in years 11 to 13 living in New Zealand.

GSE or Group Special Education - Ministry of Education, Special Education (GSE) provides support services for students with special education needs.

IEP or Individual Education Programme - An IEP is also called an Individual Education Plan. One is developed for each student with special education needs. It details the student's goals for a certain time, and the resources and support needed to achieve them. IEPs should be reviewed every six months.

Integrated learning - Most students in years 7 to 10 will be in an integrated learning programme called Te Ara Hou (new pathway). Each student has a personalised learning programme based on their learning needs, interests and goals. 

Learning advisor - All full-time and fee-paying students have a learning advisor. This teacher has an overview of the student’s programme, and helps them to set and achieve their learning goals.

Leaving age - In New Zealand law, students must attend school from the ages of 6 to 16. The leaving age is 16 years old. A student can leave school at 15 years old with an early leaving exemption from the Ministry of Education.

Level - The curriculum level your student is working at will depend on their abilities and previous learning. There are eight curriculum levels. Working through one curriculum level may take more than one school year.

Liaison teacher – Our liaison teachers are based in offices around the country, including our regional offices in Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland. Their role is to provide extra support to students and supervisors who need it, based on an assessment of the student’s needs and level of support at home.

National Certificates - These are nationally-recognised qualifications that are based on achieving standards. National certificates available through Te Kura include national certificates in Mathematics, national certificates in Computing and National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA).

NCEA or National Certificate in Educational Achievement - The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) was phased in from 2002. NCEA level 1 replaced School Certificate in 2002, NCEA level 2 was introduced in 2003 and NCEA level 3 and New Zealand Scholarship replaced University Entrance, Bursaries and Scholarships in 2004.

NETS or Non-enrolment Truancy Service - The Ministry of Education’s truant officers locates young people under 16 years old who are not attending school. NETS helps young people to re-enrol in school, take up training or go to work.

ORS or Ongoing Resourcing Schemes - These schemes are for students with high or very high special education needs.

OTLE - Online Teaching and Learning Environment (OTLE) is a learning management system that allows students and teachers to communicate in a virtual classroom.

Personalised learning - full-time and fee-paying students enrolled with us have individual learning programmes based on their learning needs, interests and goals. 

Posting bags - we send work to students in reusable posting bags. You will be sent some of these to return your work in. Contact your learning advisor or teacher if you run out of posting bags or address labels.

Primary - The Ministry of Education’s definition of primary school is school years 1 to 8. Students are usually from five to 12 years old. 

Record of achievement - Your record of achievement lists all the unit and achievement standards you have been awarded if you have paid your annual NCEA fees.

Rubric - A rubric describes what your teacher or learning advisor will be looking for when assessing your work. You can check the rubric before returning your work to make sure you haven’t forgotten to include anything. A rubric may specify different levels of quality that can be achieved, and what is required for each.

Secondary - The Ministry of Education’s definition of secondary school is school years 9 to 13. Students are usually 12 to 18 years old.

Subject - English is a subject. A subject usually includes courses at different levels. ENG200 is an English course at NCEA level 2.

Te Ara Hou - Te Ara Hou (“new pathway”) is an integrated learning programme for students in years 7 to 10. Units of work cover two or more subject areas, with some separate learning areas too.  

Unit standards - Unit standards can be earned at school, on vocational training courses or at work through an industry training organization. The standards show the progress a student has made towards a national certificate or diploma. Unit standards are all internally assessed (there are no exams). The results of assessments are either achieved (pass) or not achieved (fail). If you do not achieve a unit standard on the first attempt, you can usually try again.

Wahanga - Te Kura is divided into three wahanga (divisions). The Learning Delivery wahanga includes all teaching staff. The Design and Quality wahanga is concerned with the production and distribution of teaching and learning resources. The Capability Services wahanga consists of Enrolment Services, Finance, Human Resources, Office Services and Purchasing, Information Resources Group, and Organisational Performance, Planning and Reporting.

Years 11-13 - These years are equivalent to Forms 5 to 7 in the old system. Students in Years 11 to 13 are assessed internally throughout the year and may sit external exams for NCEA in November/December.

Years 1-6 - These early school years are equivalent to the junior and standards classes of the old system. The learning programme is based on the New Zealand Curriculum framework, and full-time students work in all eight learning areas: health and physical wellbeing, the arts, social sciences, technology, science, mathematics, English and languages. Students in Years 1 to 6 can also be enrolled as dual students.

Young adult - This category of student is aged 16 to 19 years old and is not enrolled at another school. Young adults are eligible for free enrolment.