July 2016
- 18 Jul 2016

Forms and attestations due

Reminder - Annual Registration Fee (due 30 June 2016)

The Annual Registration Fee Return Form (AF01) was due at NZQA by 30 June 2016. If you have not already submitted your form, please do so by 29 July 2016.

Following receipt of the AF01 form, NZQA will send an invoice for payment.

For more information, including forms, see: Annual Registration Fee for registered providers and Completing the Annual Registration Fee Return Form.

If you have any queries about the Annual Registration fee, contact the Service Support team.

Annual Return and Student Fee Protection audit opinions (due 31 August 2016)

Private Training Establishments (PTEs) with a financial year-end of 31 March 2016 need to submit the following documents to NZQA by 31 August 2016:


1. Annual Return Statutory Declaration – There is a new version of this form (SD01). The form needs to be signed by the chief executive or chair of the governing body.
2. Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review Report or Auditor’s Report – NZQA’s customised Chartered Accountant Professional Attestation (CAPA) form was discontinued last year. A news release in November 2015 announced this change. The independent chartered accountant will now prepare their review report in accordance with review engagement standard ISRE (NZ) 2400. There are some illustrative examples in Appendix 2 of ISRE (NZ) 2400 to provide guidance.
NZQA will continue to accept an auditor’s report where the PTE chooses to have its financial statements audited rather than reviewed.
In summary, either of the following options, undertaken by an independent chartered accountant, will meet NZQA’s monitoring requirements for PTEs:

Type of Engagement

Document to be submitted to NZQA


Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review Report


Independent Auditor’s Report

Providers should ensure that their financial attestation is submitted on the correct form.
If you receive Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding, you do not need to submit an Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review Report or Auditor’s Report to NZQA.
For further information on the requirements, see: Independent Assurance Practitioner's Review Report or Auditor's Report.

Forwarding information and queries

Forward the above documents to: qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz. For any queries about these requirements, contact Yvonne Collins, 04 463 3256, email: qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

New Code of Practice for international students  

A new Code of Practice has been developed to ensure that students coming to study in New Zealand are well-informed, safe and properly cared for.

Deputy Chief Executive Grant Klinkum explains the new Code of Practice came into force from 1 July 2016.

“From this date all applications to become a Code signatory and all new student enrolments will need to meet the requirements in the new Code.

“The Code sets out the expectations of education providers about advice and care that international students can expect to receive. 

“The new Code details 10 outcomes that are sought from signatories across the areas of marketing, agents, offers, and enrolments, immigration, safety, well-being and support and advice for students, education provider closure or course withdrawal, grievances and disputes,” he said.

The role of NZQA in administering the Code of Practice

From 1 July 2016, NZQA has new functions and has responsibility for investigating suspected breaches of the Code that are not related to contractual matters. Contractual matters will now be directed to the Dispute Resolution Scheme Operator, Fairway Resolution. The International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA) and Review Panel – which oversees the existing complaints process – will remain in operation to consider all complaints made before 1 July 2016.  

To support signatories to comply with the new Code, NZQA has released resources for education providers at: The Education (Pastoral Care for International Students) Code of Practice 2016. This includes guidelines for schools and tertiary providers, ‘frequently asked questions’ and key activities over the next six months to embed the new Code.  

For further information:

Further information about the Code at Education.govt.nz: Regulations to better support international students.

External evaluation and review and focus on the care and wellbeing of international students

For external evaluation and reviews (EERs) of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) with international students:

  • For TEOs whose EER scope was set before 1 August 2016, and who are yet to have their EER visit, international students’ care and wellbeing will be considered under key evaluation question 5, ‘How well are learners guided and supported?’   
  • From 1 August 2016, NZQA will include in its proposed scoping the following focus area, ‘International students: support and welfare’ for all TEOs which are Code signatories and have international students enrolled.  

External evaluation and review enhancements released

The External Evaluation and Review (EER) Rules 2013 have been amended.

NZQA consulted the non-university tertiary education sector on proposals for the enhancement of EER from 21 March to 13 May 2016. For more information on the consultation process and its outcomes, see: Consultation on proposed enhancements to External Evaluation and Review.

As a result of this consultation, the EER Amendment Rules 2016 are available on the NZQA website. The Rules took effect from 1 July 2016.

The EER Amendment Rules 2016 include:

  • Introduction of a compliance Key Evaluation Question (KEQ)
  • Refinement of other KEQs
  • Provisions for the withdrawal of EER Category and associated statements of confidence

For more information on the changes and the next implementation steps, see: External Evaluation and Review Amendment Rules 2016.

Clarification regarding section 5.1.3(c) of the Private Training Establishment (PTE) Registration Rules 2013

Under the Financial Reporting Act 2013 which came into effect on 1 April 2014, most small to medium sized entities no longer have a legal requirement to prepare general purpose financial reports.

This means they do not have to apply the accounting standards issued by the External Reporting Board (XRB) in the preparation of their financial statements. For entities that are still required to prepare general purpose financial reports, the XRB has issued Standard XRB A1 Application of the Accounting Standards Framework which sets out the applicable accounting standards.

Currently, section 5.1.3(c) of NZQA’s PTE Registration Rules 2013 includes a requirement that a PTE must ‘keep its financial records up to date, ensure the financial records follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and financial reporting standards’. Recently, NZQA has received queries on whether the GAAP requirement still applies.

In light of changes introduced under the Financial Reporting Act 2013, NZQA is reviewing section 5.1.3(c) to ensure it aligns with legislation. While the review is being undertaken, NZQA advises that all PTEs should comply with the financial reporting requirements in the legislation under which they are established. This may mean that smaller entities can prepare special purpose financial reports in accordance with the Inland Revenue’s minimum financial reporting requirements instead.

For further guidance on financial reporting requirements, please discuss with your chartered accountant. Information about the accounting standards framework can also be found on the XRB website.

PTEs funded by the TEC now submit their annual financial reporting directly to the TEC, and should continue to meet the TEC’s requirements.

When students have concerns about refunds

You will be familiar with the legislation and rules that govern student fee protection, including:

  • The requirement to protect student fees in a trust
  • The availability of a 'refund period', within which students have the opportunity to withdraw and receive a partial refund
  • The minimum refund entitlements that apply for domestic and international students, for differing course lengths
  • The requirement to give every prospective student a written statement of their refund entitlements
  • The mandatory processes and timeframes that apply for refunds following a course closure, or student withdrawal.

You can help to prevent potential problems by making sure that your policies and processes are clear; that your staff are aware of their obligations; and that you communicate clearly with students about their entitlements and responsibilities.

Information about fees, withdrawals and refunds should be made available at every stage, e.g. when a student is considering enrolling; when you issue an offer of place; during orientation; and throughout the course (e.g. in the student Handbook and/or on your website).

Sometimes, though, things still go wrong

This is where your formal complaints process comes in. If a student has a complaint about a refund that they have (or have not) received, there needs to be a fair and accessible process for them to have their complaint addressed. This is a requirement of the PTE Registration Rules.

If a student is unsatisfied with the outcome of your internal complaint process, they need to know that they can approach NZQA or (in the case of international students with a contractual and financial dispute) Fairway Resolution, the operator of the Dispute Resolution Scheme.

If you need guidance or advice about any of these matters (student fee protection, withdrawals, refunds, or complaints processes) please contact NZQA's Risk Management team by email at qadrisk@nzqa.govt.nz.

Information for students about how to make a complaint is available on NZQA's website: Student complaints about an education organisation.

Self-directed learning

In a recent joint letter from NZQA and the TEC, the sector was reminded that when including self-directed learning within a programme of study or a programme of industry training it is expected to be purposeful, well-structured and measurable. TEOs have a responsibility and are expected to quality assure themselves through ongoing self-assessment.

NZQA will ensure the quality of self-directed learning is accurately evidenced and documented through the approvals and accreditation process, EER and relevant risk cases.

NZQA’s Approvals and Accreditation evaluators are requesting further information to ensure that all details of self-directed learning hours are accurately recorded.

Proposed NZQA Rule change consultation

NZQA has released a number of Rule change proposals as a single consultation package.

The package covers a range of existing Rules, and aims to ensure that NZQA Rules are clear and reflect current practice and operational changes.

The consultation remains open for feedback for eight weeks: from 16 June to 11 August 2016.

See the Proposed NZQA Rule changes for more details.

English language proficiency/Rule 18

In response to recent inquiries from Immigration New Zealand and providers about the English language requirements for international students, on 9 May 2016 NZQA updated the Rule 18 frequently asked questions (FAQ) published on its website.

Two existing questions were simplified:

  • Question 8: Internal English proficiency assessment for further study in NZ
  • Question 9: Previous tertiary qualification as proof of English proficiency

Three new questions were added:

  • Question 10: English proficiency requirements for multi-level programmes of study
  • Question 11: English proficiency requirements versus specific programme entry requirements
  • Question 12: A definition of ‘English language programmes’.


English language proficiency testing

NZQA reminds providers that they are responsible for ensuring that the students they enrol meet the requirements of Rule 18 of the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules 2013 (‘the Rules').

The October 2015 amendment to this Rule limits the evidence of English language proficiency that providers can accept from students who:

  • hold visas from countries with a student visa decline rate of over 20 per cent
  • apply to Immigration New Zealand for their first student visa.

For those students, providers are no longer able to use internal English language proficiency testing or students’ prior study in English. These students must show evidence of a completed internationally recognised English language proficiency test at a level corresponding with the requirements of the Table in Appendix 2 of the Rules.

Internal assessment of English proficiency

Category 2 providers need NZQA approval to internally assess international students’ English proficiency for enrolments in their programmes As per Rule 18.3 and 18.4. Category 1 providers do not need NZQA approval.

Category 1 providers do need to apply for NZQA approval of their proficiency test if they wish to conduct internal assessment of students enrolling at other Category 1 and 2 providers. The arrangement does not require NZQA approval.

Providers can only use internal English proficiency assessments for students from countries with a visa approval rate of at least 80 per cent.

For more information, see NZQA approval of provider English proficiency assessments (scroll down page).

Maintaining PTE programme accreditation, training scheme approval and registration

A PTE’s registration automatically lapses if it does not deliver either an accredited programme or approved training scheme within a 12-month period (see section 234 of the Education Act 1989).

A PTE will lose its accreditation to deliver a programme or its training scheme approval if the programme or training scheme is not delivered in a 12-month period (see sections 250B and 251C of the Education Act 1989).

A PTE can apply to NZQA before the 12-month period expires for an extension of time in which to commence/resume delivery of the programme or training scheme.

NZQA can extend the time for provision of the programme or training scheme if the PTE requests an extension within the relevant 12-month period.

Send your application for an extension to: approvals_accreditation@nzqa.govt.nz.

Advising NZQA of non-delivery

PTEs are asked to email qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz to notify NZQA that they have not provided a given programme or approved training scheme for 12 months or more, in order for NZQA to keep its records up to date.

The Annual Return Statutory Declaration also requires PTEs to supply NZQA with a list of any programmes or training schemes that they have not provided in the last 12 months and do not intend to deliver in the next 12 months. Failure to declare this correctly could amount to a false declaration.  

Further information

If you have any queries, please email Approvals and Accreditation at: approvals_accreditation@nzqa.govt.nz.

QAD on the web

Level 7 Diploma Guidelines

Level 7 Diploma Guidelines have recently been published and are available on the NZQA website.

Monitoring guidelines for degrees updated

The monitoring guidelines for degrees and related qualifications have been updated to include level 7 diplomas. An updated report template is also available for the monitor's report.

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How can we improve the eQuate newsletter to better meet your needs? We’d love to hear from you. Send your feedback to eQuate@nzqa.govt.nz.

Compliance summary for July-August 2016

Student Fee Protection audit

To NZQA within five months of PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2016, due 31 August 2016

Annual Return – Statutory Declaration

To NZQA within five months of PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2016, due 31 August 2016

Annual Return –chartered accountant’s attestation

To NZQA within five months of PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2016, due 31 August 2016

Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review (IAPR) Report replaces NZQA’s customised Chartered Accountant Professional Attestation (CAPA)

SFP quarterly attestation – quarter ending 31 August 2016

14 September 2016 to NZQA

No longer required for standard trusts – only for static trusts or bank bond trusts

Compliance declaration

Submission of self-assessment material

Not an annual requirement; only required before external evaluation and review

Fit and Proper Person and Conflict of Interest declarations

With new applications for registration; also, for proposed new governing members* of registered PTEs

*See Section 232 of the Education Act 1989 for the definition of governing member

Must be completed by all new governing members before commencing in the role, and at any time when an existing governing member has a new conflict of interest or change in fit and proper status.

Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice attestation

The revised Code comes into force on 1 July 2016.

Under the revised Code, annual attestations need to be submitted by 1 December 2016.

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