Health, safety, and wellbeing
Laws about your wellbeing at school
Your school is responsible for your care and for providing a safe learning environment. The school board (if you are at a state or integrated school) or the management body (if you are at a private school) must comply with rules about this.
The following laws inform the school’s key responsibilities and obligations around your safety:
Education and Training Act 2020, ss 127(a)-(b); The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities; (go to: www.education.govt.nz)
- Education policy and guidelines – School boards are required by government education guidelines to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for you and the school community. Schools should have their own strategies to achieve a safe environment, including an anti-bullying policy, and should regularly review these policies. The guidelines also require the school to promote healthy food and nutrition for all students.
- Health and safety laws – Schools have to do everything they can to make sure no physical or mental harm happens to you during school hours, on school grounds, or at school-related activities. These health and safety requirements also apply to school boards and governing committees of school boarding hostels.
- Duty of care under civil law – Schools owe you a duty of care under the civil law of negligence (failure to take care). If you suffer harm, you may be able to bring a claim in the courts for a breach of this duty of care. If you have been physically injured, you might be supported by ACC instead, which would stop you from being able to go to court. A lawyer can help you understand what options are available in your situation.
- Teachers’ ethical duties – A Code of Ethics established by the New Zealand Teachers Council places an ethical obligation on registered teachers to “promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of learners”.