Information for Schools - Key Competencies

Why are we doing this NET?

The purpose of the evaluation is to find out what primary schools are doing to integrate and support the development of Key Competencies (KCs) for their students.

The New Zealand Curriculum (The NZC) has a clear vision for young people which includes developing principles, values and competencies for life. These, together with gaining knowledge and skills in the learning areas, form a critical part of education for our young people so they have the very best of educational opportunities, setting them up to be successful citizens in the 21st Century.

The NZC[1] states:

The Key Competencies are both end and means. They are a focus for learning – and they enable learning. They are the capabilities that young people need for growing, working, and participating in their communities and society.

The school curriculum should challenge students to use and develop the competencies across the range of learning areas and in increasingly complex and unfamiliar situations. Opportunities for doing this can often be integrated into existing programmes of work. Use can also be made of opportunities provided by the ways in which school environments and events are structured. There will be times when students can initiate activities themselves. Such activities provide meaningful contexts for learning and self-assessment.

ERO is interested in what your school is doing to bring the key competencies to life for your students. We are NOT evaluating the appropriateness or effectiveness of what your school is doing.

We understand that your school may not refer to them as key competencies; they may be part of your school vision, a graduate profile or expectations for students and staff. You may prioritise one over others, or focus on different ones each year. However you work with them, our reviewers are interested.

This information sheet is to give you an opportunity to think about the answers to these questions ahead of time and so you are not surprised by reviewers asking questions a little more explicitly about Key Competencies.

When are we doing this NET?

Term 2 in all scheduled reviews of primary schools.

Key Exploratory Question

How does your school bring the Key Competencies to life in your curriculum?

Investigative Questions

  • In what ways do KCs feature as part of the school’s vision/valued outcomes for their students?
  • How are KCs evident in the school’s espoused curriculum?
  • How do school leaders create conditions for KCs and lead change across vital areas of practice?
  • How have staff been supported in working with KCs? How are KCs integrated into teacher inquiry processes and professional collaboration?
  • How do teachers foster the development of KCs in the delivered curriculum?
  • How do students know about KCs (or school equivalent language) and their progress in developing these competencies?
  • How does the school let parents know about their child’s progress in developing the KCs?
  • What does the board know about the development of KCs/vision/achievement of valued outcomes? What do they know about how fostering KCs supports students’ achievement, progress and wellbeing?

We would like to talk to:

  • representatives of the board of trustees
  • school leaders
  • teachers
  • students

As a part of the regular review, review officers would be looking at policies, curriculum documents and any other relevant documents, such as evidence of consultation with parents, whānau and the community and noting references to the KCs (or your equivalent language for them).

Talking with students

Student voice is a central and critical component of this evaluation since the KCs are capabilities that young people need for growing, working and participating in their communities and society.

Interview questions for students

  • What do you know about the Key Competencies (or equivalent school language)?
  • How do you know if you are developing or improving these competencies?
  • How do your teachers support you to develop or improve these competencies? (Reviewers will be asking for examples)
  • Where, in your learning, do you mostly use these sorts of competencies?

Your school review report

There will be no specific section reporting on Key Competencies, although the work that reviewers do will help to inform other judgements they make.  

A National Evaluation Report

The information collected from schools will be analysed and synthesised for a national report, and will include student voice.  

We look forward to the information reviewers gather from your school.

Thank you.



[1] The NZC p38