Curriculum News #3 March 2024

Curriculum News #3 March 2024

Curriculum News March 2024

This is our first Curriculum News email for 2024, following our two updates in September last year, which you can find in the Newsletters section.

The aim of these updates is to summarise and highlight key information that is relevant to kaiako and environmental education providers, with a focus on the curriculum refresh and NCEA change programmes. This includes news about policies, curriculum documents, online support and new resources, from both the MoE and other Networks of Expertise.

This update includes:

  • New government education priorities 
  • Curriculum updates including Tāhūrangi (new TKI)
  • New resources specific to Learning Areas
  • NCEA Level 1 and 2 updates

Scroll through to find the sections that are most relevant to you below and please get in touch if you'd like us to focus on any specific areas in the future.

New Government Education Priorities

This section summarises the most recent updates from the Ministry of Education (you can sign up to receive their curriculum newsletters here) and also includes quotes from government media releases.

A Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) was established by the new government in January 2024 to review parts of the refreshed NZ Curriculum relating to English and Maths, including reviewing the Common Practice Model, for Years 0 - 10.

The 'Understand, Know, Do' framework within the refreshed curriculum is not being reviewed. Instead, the group will check if the amount of detail provided is sufficient for teaching purposes. Schools and kura will have an opportunity to review and feedback on any changes in 2024 before they are finalised.

“The intention for the review of the English and maths curricula is not to start again, but to build on the work that has already been done and strengthen this.” - Erica Stanford (Jan, 2024)

The refreshed New Zealand Curriculum Te Mātaiaho is still intended to be implemented from the start of 2027, with schools and kura required to use the refreshed mathematics and statistics and English learning areas from the start of 2025.

The Ministry have not released any updates on government priorities or timeframes for work outside their 100-day plan, such as the other learning areas or curriculum and assessment for Yrs 11 - 13. Drafts of the refreshed Science, Technology and Arts curriculum areas were due to be released late last year but this has been delayed. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything!

Literacy and Numeracy Focus: Links to Environmental Education

With the new government focus on reading, writing and maths it's a good time to remind teachers about the possibilities for place-based, environmental and outdoor learning to support literacy and numeracy. We're working on some webinars and stories for Term 2 that will support these links and also encourage you to share ideas and resources with the teachers you work with. Here are a few to start with:

Find literacy ideas in our Nature Books to Love and Share collection.

Read Ākonga are Air Aware Enviroschools story about numeracy learning in Cromwell.

Marine Metre Squared has Primary School Resources that include numeracy skills related to data collection and analysis.

Te Poutāhū Curriculum Centre Updates

Ministry staff are currently moving content from TKI across to the new online curriculum platform Tāhūrangi.

Image of website homepage for curriculum online Tāhūrangi

This includes existing, relevant content from TKI and also some new resources for the refreshed te ao tangata | social sciences curriculum area, which we explore in the next section.

This process will take some time, but eventually the new platform will replace TKI and will offer the same open-access resources you would expect to find (you don't need a login to access material).

The Ministry are keen for educators to explore Tāhūrangi and send through comments or questions about the content and functionality of the new site. Send your feedback to

How can you find environmental education for sustainability resources on Tāhūrangi?

If you click on the "Learning Content and Resource" tab within the NZ Curriculum section you'll notice that it's organised by Learning Area and we know that environmental education sits across all learning areas. However the 'Education for Sustainability' content still sits within Social Sciences.

We suggest using the key word search function from the NZ Curriculum landing page, so you can look for resources across all learning areas. We have tried out "sustainability", "environmental", "taiao" and "kaitiakitanga" which all return a good selection of results.

Supporting teachers with the curriculum changes

The first of two teacher-only days provided for schools and kura to focus on curriculum and assessment change is scheduled for Term 2, between Monday 27 May and Friday 7 June. This could be a great opportunity to offer support for teachers and suggest contexts that reinforce place-based and sustainability learning, as they plan their courses and explore new resources.

New Curriculum Resources

This section is organised by learning area, to align with the format of the NZ Curriculum, Te Mātaiaho and Tāhūrangi. It includes new resources and also support (including PLD) provided by other Networks of Expertise.

Social Sciences

We're pleased to confirm that the curriculum team are continuing to work on the creation of resources to support the refreshed te ao tangata | social sciences, with some recently released resources now on Tāhūrangi:

Mā tō rourou mā taku rourou | Our food economy: a series of Google Slides resources and teacher support materials intended to support the implementation of the refreshed te ao tangata | social sciences learning area. This resource consists of four unique modules, one for each phase of learning in Years 1 to 10, and focuses on exploring the connections between the food we eat and the economic systems that make that possible.

Yrs 1 - 3: How the local shop works  - sustainable transport, mahinga kai, gardening

Yrs 4 - 6: How people trade - food miles, local history, mahinga kai, school beehives

Yrs 7 - 8: Back to basics - climate change/extreme weather, water issues, farming

Yrs 9 - 10: Doing business differently - kaitiakitanga, fair trade, carbon neutral, sustainable enterprise, rongoā, zero food waste

Teachers of Social Studies can also access support from the Aotearoa Social Studies Educators' Network, who offer support, resources and professional learning for teachers in both primary and secondary schools.


The most recent School Journal Level 2 November 2023 includes articles and a poem that share the theme of sustainability

The Future of Growing Kai
by Arihia Latham (link here) - Year 4

The Problem With Wallabies by Alison Ballance

Giving a Green Gift by Herman de Groot

Time Capsule - a poem by Serie Barford


Case study: looking after bees on Tāhūrangi for Year 7 students.

Teachers of Technology can also access support from Technology Education New Zealand (TENZ) including a library of webinar videos, many with environmental themes.

TENZ have also recently teamed up with the Kiwi Conservation Club to create resources about fungi: Create a Fungal Lunch


We haven't found any new Science resources on Tāhūrangi but the Science Learning Hub is constantly creating and updating their resources, with some useful collections including:

The NZ Association of Science Educators (NZASE) has created some useful resources exploring “Tiakitanga” Link here as part of the support for Level 1 NCEA Science. This resources was accessed from the PLD support page on their website here

Health & PE and Outdoor Education

Te tiaki i te taiao - caring for the environment. These resources have been available for awhile now, but have recently been transferred to Tāhūrangi and we encourage you to have a look, to see how concepts related to te taiao and kaitiakitanga are explored within this learning area.

Education Outdoors NZ (EONZ) support teachers with a range of resources and professional learning around the country, including upcoming Mātauranga Māori in Outdoor Education workshops that are open to educators from a range of learning areas.

NCEA Level 1 and 2 Updates

For those working in the Secondary education space there are a few quick updates:

Level 2 Toitū te Taiao | Sustainability

The new name for the updated 'Education for Sustainability' subject is now on the Social Sciences page for NCEA, but there is no further information available at this stage. We will let you know when the draft standards and information about pilot courses are publicly available. Implementation for Level 2 has been pushed back to 2026, so educators will have plenty of time to engage and provide feedback on the updated standards.

Level 1 Subject Support

Extra support for implementing Level 1 NCEA subjects this year includes the Subject Learning Outcomes and Teacher Guides (released in January) which can be found within each subject area in the Learning tab, for example Science is here. A series of online support sessions have also been taking place this term, so educators who are teaching Level 1 courses will have been very busy engaging with these alongside their normal teaching workload.

You can read the earlier Curriculum News updates for more information about links to environmental education within the Level 1 NCEA subjects.