Service Academies

Service academies are school-based initiatives that offer a combination of academic and military-focused education. The purpose of service academies is to:

  • encourage students to stay engaged in learning by providing a motivating and disciplined programme
  • help students to gain improved qualifications
  • help them prepare to move successfully into the workforce or further education and training.

The target student group for service academies is Years 12 and 13 students who are at risk of disengaging from school. Schools are able to enrol students in Year 11 who are turning 16 during the year and who would benefit from a military-focused programme.

Each service academy is provided with funding for 20 students to complete a 12‑month programme during which time students will be expected to:

  • work towards and attain a minimum of NCEA Level 1 mathematics and English as well as other credits from the National Qualifications Framework appropriate to their interests and career choices
  • participate in a range of motivating and challenging learning experiences provided in association with the New Zealand Defence Force including Youth Life Skills units
  • participate in a two-week induction course, a leadership course and advanced leadership course, a coast-to-coast course and/or other outdoor-based activities.

The service academies were originally established by the Ministry of Social Development. The original focus was weighted towards social and employment outcomes for disengaged students. The Ministry of Education took over the funding and oversight of service academies in June 2010.

Sixteen service academies receive funding from the Ministry of Education. Eight of these were established in 2007 and 2008.

  • Glenfield College, Auckland (2008)
  • James Cook High School, Auckland (2007)
  • Kelston Boys’ High School, Auckland (2008)
  • Onehunga High School, Auckland (2008)
  • Wairoa College (2008)
  • Horowhenua College, Levin (2008)
  • Mana College, Porirua (2008)
  • Aranui High School, Christchurch (2008)

Another eight academies were established in 2010.

  • Tikipunga High School
  • Waitakere College
  • Tamaki College
  • Otahuhu College
  • Tokoroa High School
  • Te Kuiti High School
  • Wanganui City College
  • Gisborne Girls’ High School

Schools operating service academies receive a grant of $90,000 each year. This funding is to:

  • employ an academy director to run the academy. The academy director will be employed by the school board and report to the principal
  • cover costs of uniforms, travel to courses and purchasing additional courses for students.

Schools report to the Ministry of Education in milestone reports three times a year. The first two reports ask schools to report on aspects such as student numbers, the achievement of individual students to date and an outline of the military-focused courses completed so far. The end of year milestone report includes information about:

  • destination of students
  • participation rates in the academy
  • student achievement including NCEA, NQF qualifications
  • other courses attended and what has or has not worked well.

Other Service Academies

In addition to the service academies at the schools named above the Ministry has announced funding for an additional eight. Service academies are seen as one of the ways to keep more 16 and 17-year-olds engaged in education and training as part of Youth Guarantee.

Three additional services academies are funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). These academies, hosted by Opihi College, Greymouth High School and Logan Park High School, are not part of this evaluation.