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Our Code, Our Standards

You have arrived at the English Medium page. For the Māori Medium page please click here. 

The Code sets out the high standards for ethical behaviour that are expected of every teacher. The Standards describe the expectations of effective teaching practice. Together they set out what it is and what it means, to be a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Download the Code and Standards.

Download the Code Examples in Practice.

If you are a beginning teacher or a teacher new to the New Zealand education system please email and we'll send you a copy.


These values underpin Our Code, Our Standards. They define, inspire and guide us as teachers.

WHAKAMANA: empowering all learners to reach their highest potential by providing high-quality teaching and leadership.

MANAAKITANGA: creating a welcoming, caring and creative learning environment that treats everyone with respect and dignity.

PONO: showing integrity by acting in ways that are fair, honest, ethical and just.

WHANAUNGATANGA: engaging in positive and collaborative relationships with our learners, their families and whānau, our colleagues and the wider community.

How were the Code and Standards developed?

The Code and Standards come from over a year of close consultation with teachers and leaders across the profession.

The Code/Ngā Tikanga Matatika

What do we expect from each other? How do we want our profession to be seen by others? These are some of the questions that informed the Code, which we brought to teachers through a range of channels:

  • Focus groups: We conducted six focus groups with approximately 60 teachers and professional leaders working in early childhood education, primary, intermediate and secondary settings.
  • Online surveys: We issued two surveys on the Code of Professional Responsibility. The initial online survey sought views on the general scope of the code, as well as its purpose and how it might be used by student teachers, teachers, learners, families and whānau, employers and regulatory bodies. It received 956 responses. The second survey asked questions about what role the code should play by presenting a range of scenarios, based on some of the cases that have been brought to the Council. This survey received 543 responses.
  • Review of other codes of conduct: We looked at a range of other codes of conduct and codes of ethics to see how they were framed and what issues were covered. This included relevant codes for teachers both here and overseas, other professional bodies such as nursing, the medical profession, the legal profession, social work, organisational codes and other businesses.
  • The Code working group: provided advice on the draft Code as it developed as well as the wider consultation process.

The Standards/Ngā Paerewa

To develop the Standards, we sought guidance from a working group made up of teachers, leaders and teaching experts and key sector representatives.

We worked with a team of writers to develop the Standards in both English and te reo to better reflect contemporary teaching. The writers consulted with early childhood specialists and a Māori Medium advisory group to make sure the new Standards work in a range of learning contexts.

In March, we received over 2,100 submissions to our six-week consultation on the draft Code and Standards. We also ran a trial to verify the standards, with teachers in early childhood, primary, secondary and kura, and with both students and teachers in initial teacher education settings.

The final version of the Standards, released in late June, was informed by both the feedback from the consultation and the findings from the trials.

Application of the Code or Ngā Tikanga Matatika

The Code applies to all certificated teachers and those who have been granted a Limited Authority to Teach, in every role and teaching context. It is a set of aspirations for professional behaviour and not a list of punitive rules. We believe that it reflects the expectations society puts on our profession. The Code will replace the Code of Ethics from 30 June 2017. As it says in section 387 (6) of the Education Act, it’s binding on all teachers.

Newtown School – bringing the Code to life

Schools and centres have begun to unpack what it means to be part of the profession and what the Code looks like as it is brought to life.

These six short videos explore how Newtown School in Wellington interprets the Code, and how the teaching team are working to meet the four commitment statements. All videos have subtitles and a transcript is available here


Application of the Standards or Ngā Paerewa

The Standards or Paerewa are applicable for every teacher who holds a Practising Certificate, regardless of role or teaching context. The Standards for the Teaching Profession are made up of six standards that provide holistic descriptions of what high-quality teaching practice looks like and what it means to be a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand. The additional detail contained in the elaborations provides depth and context to the Standards themselves and supports teachers to identify and develop high quality practices in their settings.

The Standards are purposely designed at a high level so every practitioner can apply them to suit the context they are working in.

Standards Resources

To help you and your colleagues get familiar with the Standards and how they relate to your setting, we've developed a Quality Practice Template.

Standards Supporting Documents [.pdf] This document contains links to resources that can help you think about each standard in practice. We will update it regularly with additional resources. 

School Guidance Counsellors' resources for use with the  Standards for the Teaching Profession in the SGC role:

1. A completed quality practice template (QTP) example.

2. Guidelines for using the Quality Practice Template.

3. A quality practice template.


Talking about Te Tiriti o Waitangi Partnership Standard at Paparārangi Kindergarten [video].

Our Code, Our Standards one page resources:

Our Code - in brief (English) [.pdf]

Our Code - in brief (Te reo Māori) [.pdf]

Our Standards - in brief (English) [.pdf]

Our Standards - in brief (Te reo Māori) [.pdf]