Know the Code: International school learners

Who is the Code for?

The Code for learner wellbeing and safety covers international school students studying in New Zealand.

The Code also covers all tertiary students.

The Code came into effect on 1 January 2022, replacing the previous international Code and interim domestic Code.

See the Code for learner wellbeing and safety (PDF, 925KB)

What is the Code?

The Code for learner wellbeing and safety sets out the roles and responsibilities of schools in promoting and supporting your:

  • wellbeing
  • development
  • educational achievement.

A school needs to be a signatory to the Code

Only schools which are signatories to the Code can enrol international school learners.

When a school is a signatory to the Code the school must follow all requirements in Code. These requirements protect international school learners and make sure you have a positive education experience which supports your academic achievement/goals.

Under the Code, your school should:

  • help you to be safe, physically and mentally
  • support you in your learning and wellbeing
  • connect you with your social and cultural networks and
  • help you to have a positive experience which supports your academic achievement/goals.

See what signatories have to do

The Code has ten outcomes for international school learners

Marketing and promotion

This outcome ensures that you and your family have a full and realistic picture of what it will be like to live and study in New Zealand.

Managing and monitoring education agents

This outcome ensures that education agents always act with the utmost integrity and are clear about their obligations, and that your school has robust management and monitoring procedures that ensure education agents provide you and your family with the best possible information and support.

Offer, enrolment, contracts and insurance

This outcome ensures your school has good systems and documentation set up to manage your:

  • offer,
  • enrolment,
  • contract, and insurance. 

Your school needs to ensure that you and your family are clear on your likely educational outcomes and your rights and responsibilities as an international school learner at your school before to signing an enrolment contract.

Immigration matters

This outcome ensures signatories are confident that you meet immigration requirements to study in New Zealand before you are enrolled at school.


This outcome ensures that you, and where relevant your parents or legal guardians, participate in a robust orientation programme developed to help you settle into life and study in New Zealand.

Safety and wellbeing

This outcome ensures that you are safe and well while living and studying in New Zealand.

Learner support, advice and services

This outcome ensures that you have the information that you need to access relevant advice and services, in order to successfully live and study in New Zealand.

Managing withdrawal and closure

This outcome ensures that there are the required systems and processes so you and your family understand what happens if you withdraw from school, do not attend, or if your school cancels a programme or closes for any reason.

Dealing with complaints

This outcome ensures transparent, accessible, and effective processes are in place to resolve any complaints you may have.

Compliance with international learner contract Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS)

This outcome ensures that your school is familiar with the DRS rules and ensures your school complies with the rules that apply to them in a dispute.

What should I do if I am unhappy with my school?

Talk to your school first if you feel your needs are not being met or to make a complaint. You can contact us if you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint.

Make a complaint about your school

Contact us

For further information, please email us at

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