New Zealand Certificates for secondary schools

New Zealand qualifications at levels 1 – 6 (non-NCEA) in a school-based setting

New Zealand Certificates

New Zealand Certificates are progressively replacing National Certificates. New Zealand Certificates are approved by NZQA and sit at Levels 1 to 6 of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). Available New Zealand Certificates can be found using Search Qualifications.

Schools wishing to provide a programme of study leading to a New Zealand Certificate must apply to NZQA for programme accreditation or programme approval and accreditation.

Programme Accreditation

If a school wants to deliver a programme approved for another educational provider, they can gain permission from the owner of that programme to be accredited to deliver the programme. Programme accreditation must also be approved by NZQA.

Programme Approval and accreditation

Schools can develop, and seek NZQA approval, for their own programmes to meet the graduate outcomes of a New Zealand Certificate. The following documents may be useful in developing applications for programme approval:

Checklist for preparing a New Zealand Certificate Programme for Approval (DOCX, 26KB)

New Zealand Certificate Programme Approval - Mapping Exercise for Programmes based on standards (DOCX, 29KB)

Programme Delivery

Approved and accredited programmes can only be delivered by schools with consent to assess the standards offered in the programme. This is not required for New Zealand Certificate programmes that are not based on achievement or unit standards.

Applications for both programme accreditation and programme approval are made online through the high security applications button on school’s NZQA website.

Reporting the completion of a New Zealand Certificate to NZQA

A key difference between National Certificates and the new qualifications is that students must be undertaking an approved programme of study which is designed to lead to the graduate outcome in the certificate. This means that a New Zealand Certificate cannot be awarded solely on the basis of a student having achieved particular standards (as it could for National Certificates).  The student must now have undertaken an approved programme of study.

This change means that schools with programme accreditation will need to report the successful completion of a New Zealand Certificate to NZQA. The school will continue to be the awarding body, as it is now for National Certificates. Reporting the achievement to NZQA will enable NZQA to issue the certificate to the student and to maintain the student’s New Zealand Record of Achievement.

Schools will need to:

  • enrol their students in the normal way, through the submission of student enrolment data in a data file to NZQA by 1 December each year; and
  • email NZQA a spreadsheet (XLSX, 9KB) of students and certificate completions by 8 December each year.

NZQA will verify that any standards-based New Zealand Certificate has been correctly awarded. 

Assuring national consistency of graduate outcomes of New Zealand Certificates

All New Zealand Certificates will be scheduled for a consistency review which will be facilitated by an independent reviewer.  NZQA will administer the review schedule, appoint the reviewers and work with qualification developers and schools to prepare for the consistency review. NZQA will not charge schools a fee for consistency reviews. NZQA will also review a school’s records and arrangements through the MNA process.

Further information

For further information contact your School Relationship Manager.

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