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Our Code, Our Standards

As teachers, we respect our trusted position in society and recognise the influence we have on learners, their understanding of the world and the future wellbeing of our society.

After more than a year of consultation, we’re happy to share the final Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession. Our Code Our Standards has been crafted by teachers, leaders and teaching experts to articulate the expectations and aspirations of our profession.

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.

Download the FAQs. 

Register for a Code and Standards workshop

We’ve printed copies of the Code and Standards booklet to share with every school and centre throughout the country.

If your school or centre needs additional printed copies, please email


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.

Application of the Code

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.

Application of the Standards and your appraisal

The Standards are applicable for every teacher who holds a Practising Certificate, regardless of role or teaching context.

We encourage all teachers, schools, kura and centres to begin to use the new Standards for appraisal as soon as possible, ahead of their complete implementation by 1 January 2018. In some cases, for teachers whose practising certificates are up for renewal in the first half of 2018, professional leaders and principals will be endorsing these teachers for certification using the new Standards even though their appraisal was based on the Practising Teacher Criteria. For the purposes of this transition, if the professional leader or principal believes the teacher has met the Practising Teacher Criteria in the first year of the Standards being introduced, then the teacher should be deemed to have also met the new Standards.

To help you and your colleagues get familiar with the Standards and how they relate to your setting, we've developed a Quality Practices Template [.doc]. You can use the Alignment Matrix [.doc] to integrate the Standards into your existing appraisal system, based on the Practising Teacher Criteria.

You can also download the Quality Practice instructions as an audio recording here

Student teachers should continue using the Graduating Teacher Standards until changes have been made to initial teacher education to reflect the new Standards in practice.

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

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

The Standards are a revision of the Practising Teacher Criteria. To develop them, 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.

Code and Standards Workshop Resources 

Quality Practice Template [download the doc] You can also download the Quality Practice instructions as an audio recording here.

Putting together your evidence folder or portfolio [.pdf]

Code and Standards Workshop Resource Book [download the .doc]

Standard 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. 

Mandatory Reportnig Requirements [audio]

Appraisal Components: ECE Teachers and Leaders, Teachers and Principals [download the .doc]

Introducing the Code and Standards [pdf] With thanks to Melinda Stevenson of Francis Douglas Memorial College, New Plymouth

Narrative of Standards for the Teaching Profession [download the doc]

Quick Reference to Standards [download the doc]

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]

Our Standards - no names (English) [PDF]

Our Standards - no names (Te reo Māori) [PDF]

Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

Consultation summary [PDF]