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Alternative education

Alternative Education is a pathway for learning in education, where young people receive additional learning support. It is one of the suite of options that can be used to re-engage ākonga in a meaningful learning programme targeted to their individual needs and supports them to transition back to school, further education, training, or employment. It can be used as a short-term intervention that is seen as a pathway, not a destination. Alternative Education can be used to prevent suspensions and exclusions. 

Alternative Education supports ākonga to progress in the areas of: 

  • attendance and engagement 
  • academic achievement 
  • personal and relational skills   
  • re-engagement back into secondary school, further education, or training, or where appropriate, employment, through a planned approach. 

He tini ngā whetū e ngaro i te kapua iti.
      Many stars cannot be concealed by a small cloud.



Ākonga eligibility 

Alternative Education caters for ākonga in secondary schooling who are at risk of or who have already disengaged from school.  

To be eligible for entry into Alternative Education, ākonga need to meet both of the following criteria - they are: 

  • at risk of or already disengaged from school, and are  
  • in years 9-11.1 

 Ākonga can remain in AE beyond year 11 if this aligns with their individual needs and Collaborative Action Plan (CAP). 

 1It is at the discretion of the provider, Te Mahau, ākonga and whānau whether a 13-year-old who is not yet Year 9, enters AE provision.


Alternative Education Guidance 

The Alternative Education Guidelines (updated 2023) provides clear information and guidance on Te Tāhuhu o te Matauranga |The Ministry of Education operational policies and processes that support all who have an interest in the provision of Alternative Education. 

Download the most recent version of Alternative Education Guidance: 

PDF icon. Alternative Education Guidelines (PDF 2 MB)


Forms and templates 

The following templates and forms support the provision of Alternative Education.


Collaborative Action Plan

A Collaborative Action Plan (CAP) is developed by the enrolling school in partnership with the ākonga, their whānau, the Alternative Education provider and others involved. All plans should be culturally appropriate and responsive to ākonga and their whānau. The CAP outlines learning, health and wellbeing goals relevant to the ākonga individual needs. 

An example template can be found here:

Word 2007 icon. CAP template [Dec 2022] (Word 2007 27 KB)


Pedagogical Leadership Plan 

The purpose of pedagogical leadership is to support the development of high-quality teaching and learning practices, which will contribute to successful outcomes for ākonga. Pedagogical leadership is a requirement for all Alternative Education contracts. 

A Pedagogical Plan template can be found here:

Word 2007 icon. Pedagogical Leadership Plan [Dec 2022] (Word 2007 28 KB)


Contract monitoring and reporting 

The following reporting supports the provision of Alternative Education: 


Monthly Status Report 

The monthly status report captures data at an individual and group level. A template status report will be sent to you each month by Te Mahau for completion and return. 

An example template can be found here: 

Word 2007 icon. AE monthly status report template [Dec 2022] (Word 2007 25 KB)


Mid-year and Annual Reports 

Contract holders are required to submit progress reports twice a year. Reports detail overall ākonga progress, successes and issues that have been encountered over the reporting period, and progress against the pedagogical leadership.

Midyear reports describe progress made against your pedagogical leadership plan. The midyear report is due on the 5th working day following the start of school term 3.

Annual reports require a copy of your pedagogical leadership plan and annual financial statement. The annual report along with the pedagogical leadership plan and financial statement are due no later than April of the following year.

Word 2007 icon. AE Midyear report template (Word 2007 37 KB)

Word 2007 icon. AE Annual report template [Dec 2023] (Word 2007 39 KB)


Annual finance report template 

Contract holders are required to provide a detailed annual financial record to Te Mahau. 

A template can be found here: 

Word 2007 icon. Financial Statement Template (Word 2007 26 KB)


More information 

Ministry of Education has information for Learning Support services and Te Mahau contact details. 

Alternative Education National Body (AENB) provides information about the AENB, resources, quick links and details how to become a member of the national body. 

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu – The Correspondence School (Te Kura) how to enrol, available subjects and assistance for students. 

For further enquires email [email protected]   


Alternative Education contract holders 

The following contract holders manage Alternative Education provision in their communities:  

Te Mahau takiwā  Alternative Education contract holder 
Te Tai Tokerau 

Bay of Islands College  

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rehia  

Ngātiwai Trust Board 

Ruawai College

Ara Whakamaua - Kaitaia, Kaikohe and Taipa

Te Kura Taumata o Panguru

Auckland North/West - Tāmaki Herenga Waka

Orewa College  

Kaipara College  

Green Bay High School

Auckland Central/East -  Tāmaki Herenga Manawa Mt Albert Grammar School  
Auckland South/South West - Tāmaki Herenga Tāngata

Aorere College  

James Cook High School


Coromandel Area School  

Fairfield College  

Forest View High School   

Huntly College  

Kawhia School  

Mercury Bay Area School  

Paeroa College  

Raglan Area School  

Taumarunui High School  

Te Awamutu College  

Te Kuiti High School  

Waihi College  

Whangamata Area School

Bay of Plenty, Waiariki 

Katikati College  

Mount Maunganui College  

Murupara Area School  

Ōpōtiki College  

Rotorua Lakes High School  

Taupō-nui-a-Tia College  

Tauranga Boys’ College  

Tarawera High School  

Te Puke High School

Tongariro School  

Whakatāne High School  

Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti 

Central Hawkes Bay College  

Flaxmere College  

Lytton High School  

Ngatā Memorial College  

Te Taiwhenua o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa  

Tolaga Bay Area School  

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu 

Opunake High School  

Palmerston North Boys’ High School  

Patea Area School  

Rangitikei College  

Ruapehu College  

Spotswood College  

Stratford High School  

Te Paepae o Aotea  

Whanganui High School  


Chanel College  

Dannevirke High School  

Heretaunga College  

Kāpiti College  

Kuranui College  

Makoura College  

Naenae College  

Ōtaki College  

Paraparaumu College  

Porirua College  

Tararua College  

Wainuiomata High School  

Waiopehu College  

Wairarapa College  

Wellington High School

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast 

Buller High School  

Golden Bay High School  

Greymouth High School  

Kaikoura High School  

Marlborough Girls’ College  

Motueka High School  

Nayland College  

Waimea College  

Canterbury, Chatham Islands 

Ashburton College  

Cashmere High School  

Noaia Charitable Trust

Rolleston College  

Timaru Boys’ High School  

Otago, Southland 

Bayfield High School  

Central Southland College  

Dunstan High School  

Southland Boys’ High School  

St Peter's College