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New Zealand

School Leavers' Toolkit (NZ0014)



Action Plan: New Zealand Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active


Lead Institution: Ministry of Education

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Education, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: New Zealand Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Commitment 3: School Leavers’ Toolkit
To develop a Schools Leavers’ Toolkit, comprising a suite of tools, resources
and curriculum supports making it much simpler for schools to:
• Integrate civics, financial literacy and workplace competencies into their
local curriculum
• Understand and respond to learners’ levels of civic and financial literacy,
and work readiness
• Effectively teach civics, financial literacy and workplace competencies.
Civics education, and an understanding of how government and the
democratic process works, is an important element in developing young
people who are confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.
The Toolkit will also provide a vehicle for increasing young people’s access to
other Plan commitments, such as the information products being developed
by the Office of the Clerk, and the Youth Parliament programme, delivered
by the Ministry of Youth Development and the Office of the Speaker of the
New Zealand House of Representatives.
Every young person can access the civic and financial literacy, and workplace
skills, they need to succeed, before they leave schooling.
Status quo:
The National Curriculum already provides for civics and financial literacy
and capabilities and workplace competencies. This includes high-level
commitments to citizenship and readying young people for participation in
the community.
In practice, schools and kura are variable in the extent to which they deliver
the breadth of civics, financial literacy and workplace competencies.
Research indicates that New Zealand teachers are confident teaching topics
in the social sciences related to cultural identities, equality, human rights
and the environment, but only moderately confident teaching aspects of
civics such as legal, political and constitutional topics.2
In addition, there is
an inconsistent view across New Zealand schools about what ‘civic and
citizenship education’ ought to involve and what means are effective in
developing students’ competencies.3 Approach:
We will work directly with young people, to co-design a schools
engagement plan that ensures the voices of young people, their parents,
whānau/family and the wider school community are at the forefront of our
Toolkit development process.
This approach to the Toolkit is designed to evolve as we develop an
increasingly sophisticated understanding of the resources, tools and
supports currently available, and the barriers which currently impede
schools and kura from offering a full range of civics, financial literacy and
workplace competencies. This initial exploratory phase will inform the
detailed approach we take to achieving the Toolkit’s objective.
Lead agency: Ministry of Education
Timeline: June 2018 – June 2020
Commitment 3: The School Leavers’ Toolkit – providing opportunities for
young people to access civics education and financial literacy education and
key workplace competencies
OGP Values Public Participation
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil
the commitment
Start date End date
Stocktake of existing Toolkit resources complete June 2018 September
Ministers consider Ministry of Education analysis
of opportunities to support expanded access to
Toolkit opportunities
Exploratory co-design phase concludes and is used
to inform detailed implementation support plan
June 2018 February
Pilot implementation reporting and evaluation

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. School Leavers’ Toolkit [25]

Objective: To develop a Schools Leavers’ Toolkit, comprising a suite of tools, resources and curriculum supports making it much simpler for schools to:

  • Integrate civics, financial literacy and workplace competencies into their local curriculum;
  • Understand and respond to learners’ levels of civic and financial literacy, and work readiness;
  • Effectively teach civics, financial literacy and workplace competencies.


  1. “Stocktake of existing Toolkit resources complete”;
  2. “Ministers consider Ministry of Education analysis of opportunities to support expanded access to Toolkit opportunities”;
  3. “Exploratory co-design phase concludes and is used to inform detailed implementation support plan”;
  4. “Pilot implementation reporting and evaluation complete”.

Start Date: June 2018

End Date: November 2019

Context and Objectives

The objective of this commitment is to create a School Leavers’ Toolkit to help students learn civics, financial literacy and workplace skills before leaving compulsory schooling, and which will be a key resource for their teachers. It considers the issue that many young people leave school unprepared to participate actively in the community, which is seen as a factor in low youth enrolment and voting at general and local elections. [26] Research commissioned by the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives in 2018 revealed that 76 percent of the 1,200 surveyed agree that schoolchildren should be taught about Parliament and the democratic process as part of the curriculum. [27] The IRM Progress Report on the 2016-2018 action plan recommended introducing citizenship education to increase democratic participation. [28] Civics education was a top submission for this action plan. [29]

While civics, financial literacy and workplace skills fall within NZ’s social studies curriculum, many schools and kura (schools where lessons are generally taught in the Māori language) do not include them in their local curriculum. Academic research reveals that teachers are only moderately confident teaching aspects of civics such as legal, political and constitutional topics and that schools vary in their understanding of what should be taught. [30] A civics and citizenship summit, run by civil society in November 2018, considered this issue in depth. [31] This School Leavers’ Toolkit where students “learn how our political system operates through civics education at school” was a 2017 election pledge by the NZ Labour Party, [32] and received initial funding of $1.7m for "design work” in the May 2018 budget.

The Toolkit employs a flexible approach that will allow teachers to create tailored resources that students will be able access directly. The commitment meets OGP’s access to information and civic participation values by creating a public resource and releasing it on student and school-facing websites and co-designing its implementation with young people to ensure the community is at the forefront. The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) will stock-take existing resources, report to Ministers, and, with youth, co-design, test and evaluate a pilot Toolkit implementation which will include resources in English and Te Reo (Māori language). [33]

The action plan’s milestones are specific enough for objective verification. If fully implemented as designed, teachers and students will have access to civics education resources, and implementation planning will be completed and tested. The commitment’s potential impact will be minor as the toolkit is only a stock-take and this stage of the work is a pilot. Experts whom the IRM researcher interviewed supported this work and offered advice on the next steps. A youth development professional sought more sustained civics learning to engage youth and rigorous exploration of New Zealand’s bicultural issues, citing Austria’s strong citizenship education programme and Canada’s complementary work with charities. [34] This was endorsed by academics, with one noting that the commitment as written has no practical component which “gives students the values and skills that support a democracy,” [35] though the toolkit website notes that it will be updated with details on what schools can use to implement the program at a later date to provide a functional aspect to the toolkits. [36] Training teachers to teach civics and engaging experts to design resources for specific ages and ethnicities would enable more lasting outcomes. [37] An expert proposed that a Professional Development Hub lead this work so teachers can talk about, share and reassemble their work, and affirmed the use of the curriculum website Te Kete Ipurangi [38] to show how practitioners are teaching civics education, thereby inspiring other teachers to teach it. [39]

Further funding was allocated in the 2019 Budget. [40] Government advises that Phase Two of this work includes training for teachers to use the new civics education resources and guidelines for schools on how integrate Toolkit learning into their local curricula and that the Ministry will also implement an evaluation programme to measure the impact of Toolkit tools and resources. [41]

Next steps

If this commitment is carried forward to the next action plan or if there are improvements to the implementation of this commitment, given Budget 2019’s allocation of further funding, the IRM researcher recommends that:

  • the Ministry also publishes the Ministry’s School Leavers’ Toolkit Phase Timeline for further specificity;
  • the Ministry releases a Request for Interest from teachers in creating the Toolkit;
  • a new activity is added to require and drive schools and kura to learn about and apply the School Leavers’ Toolkit; and
  • trainee and practising teachers are taught how to teach civics education.

The IRM researcher recommends that a commitment to measure the success of schools’ and kura use of the Schools Leavers’ Toolkit for effective civics education is fed into the development process for the next action plan.

[26] NZ Political Studies Association, Our civic future: civics, citizenship and political literacy in New Zealand: a public discussion paper. 2018: p12,
[27] Pre-publication survey of the New Zealand public: Colmar Brunton, November 2018; 20 November 2019.
[30] Wood, B.E. and Milligan, E. (2016) Citizenship education in New Zealand policy and practice. Policy Quarterly: p65-73,, and endorsed in the IRM researcher’s interview with Dr Bronwyn Wood, Victoria University of Wellington, 14 February 2019.
[33] Set out in the School Leavers’ Toolkit Phase Timeline, emailed to the IRM researcher, 1 February 2019.
[34] Advice from a member of Ara Taiohi, NZ’s peak body for youth development, 27 February 2019.
[35] Interview with Dr Bronwyn Hayward, Associate Professor, University of Canterbury, 11 February 2019.
[38] Te Kete Ipurangi,
[39] Advice from a senior researcher, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, 18 February 2019.
[41] State Services Commission advice to the IRM, 12 August 2019.


  1. Engagement with Parliament

    NZ0012, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Youth Parliament

    NZ0013, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. School Leavers' Toolkit

    NZ0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Making New Zealand’S Secondary Legislation Readily Accessible

    NZ0015, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Participation in Policy Development

    NZ0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Service Design

    NZ0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Official Information

    NZ0018, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Review of Government Use of Algorithms

    NZ0019, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  9. Data Practice Transparency

    NZ0020, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Monitoring Information Management Practice

    NZ0021, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Open Data Government Organizations

    NZ0022, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Open Procurement

    NZ0023, 2018, Access to Information

  13. Open Budget

    NZ0005, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Improving Official Information Practices

    NZ0006, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Improving Open Data Access and Principles

    NZ0007, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Tracking Progress and Outcomes of Open Government Data Release

    NZ0008, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Ongoing Engagement for OGP

    NZ0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Improving Access to Legislation

    NZ0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improving Policy Practices

    NZ0011, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. BPS Result 10 – New Zealanders Can Complete Their Transactions with the Government Easily in a Digital Environment

    NZ0001, 2014, E-Government

  21. ICT Strategy Action 13 – Open by Default: Active Re-use of Information Assets

    NZ0002, 2014, Access to Information

  22. National Integrity System Assessment

    NZ0003, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  23. The Kia TūTahi Relationship Accord

    NZ0004, 2014, Capacity Building

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