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Course Approval for International Student Classes, Courses or Programmes
A2020/17 - 2 Sep 2020


Principal’s Nominee
All teachers

This Circular replaces A2020/01 in response to changes resulting from the Education and Training Act 2020.

Reasons for changes to this Circular

This Circular is updated for the purpose of legislative change, along with further clarity in the paragraphs related to consented schools and non-consented schools.

  • The Education Act 1989 has been repealed. The new Act is the Education and Training Act 2020.
  • Section 4E of the Education Act 1989 has been replaced by section 524 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Approval requirements for consented schools 

Requirements are based on the Guide to Requirements for Consent to Assess for Schools (August 2011) (“CAAS Guidelines”).

For consented schools to gain NZQA approval for a class, course or programme established exclusively or mainly for international students, the requirements of the CAAS Guidelines Part D 2.5.i-v Development, delivery and review of programmes (PDF, 69KB) must be met, as detailed by the school in their school’s Quality Management System.

Consented schools will be required to complete an annual attestation form for each course established under section 524 of the Education and Training Act 2020 stating that they meet the CAAS Guidelines Part D 2.5 i-v. The attestation form and Frequently Asked Questions will be emailed to schools soon. 

Monitoring of consented schools

For consented schools, annual attestation of compliance with section 524 of the Education and Training Act 2020 is monitored as part of the Managing National Assessment review and may be reported on. Following this review, schools which are non-compliant with section 524 will be looked at in the context of their obligations as signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016, and their obligations under the Consent to Assess Against Standards on the Directory of Assessment Standards Rules 2011 (or any replacements of that Code or those Rules). If a significant issue is identified, this could result in statutory or other action.

Approval requirements for non-consented schools

Schools without consent to assess against standards establishing classes, courses or programmes intended exclusively or mainly for international students need to apply for a section 524 approval.

Section 524 approval is not required where the school has not established the class, course or programme, for example, where the school uses an already established course such as the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations. Approval is also not required if the class, course or programme has already received a programme approval by NZQA for a qualification on the NZQF, or a training scheme approval.

Monitoring of non-consented schools

Compliance issues will be looked at in the context of the school’s obligations under the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016.

Background information for all schools

Under section 524 of the Education and Training Act 2020, schools are required to apply to NZQA for approval for classes, courses or programmes which they establish where they are intended exclusively or mainly for international students.

The key aspects for section 524 approval are that:

  • the school must have adequate staff, equipment and premises; and
  • the standard of instruction provided must be no lower than the standard that would be expected in any similar class, course or programme for domestic students. 

The application for approval is evaluated at the non-consented school’s expense. 


Please refer any enquiries relating to this circular to your School Relationship Manager:

School Relationship Manager
School Quality Assurance and Liaison
Telephone: 04 463 3000

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