Code of conduct

Ngā Ture Whanonga

Boards are required as part of their "good employer" obligations in the State Sector Act 77A (3) to:

"ensure that all employees maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct, and concern for:

a)   The public interest; and

b)   The well-being of students attending the institution."

A code of conduct should contain the basic rules of conduct, which clearly indicate what kind of behaviour is expected of all employees, and what the employee can expect of their employer. 

It’s also important to note that the code does not stand alone. There will be statutory and employment agreement obligations which need to be allowed for. The board may also have specific policies and procedures (e.g.: for financial matters). The Education Council has released the draft Code and Standards for all certificated teachers for consultation. Our Code, Our Standard, which will replace its current Code of Ethics for Certificated Teachers which was written in 2003. The Code may sit alongside a board code of conduct.

Each board is responsible for developing and writing its own code of conduct. The NZSTA code of conduct framework can be used as a starting point and it is recommended boards consult with their staff about a proposed Code of Conduct.

If you need further information, please contact the Employment Advisory & Support Centre at 0800 782 435 (Option 2).

A process for developing the code of conduct could follow the steps outlined below.


Drafting the code of conduct

The board should draft a code of conduct, which is then circulated amongst staff for consultation, discussion and feedback. The proposed code of conduct should be based on the shared values and beliefs of the board and staff on what appropriate behaviour should exist in the school. 

You should ensure that the reasons behind any requirements or rules are clear and that they are:

  • clearly stated and definable;
  • fair, reasonable, and enforceable;
  • as far as possible stated positively;
  • few pertinent ones which are more effective than a long list of restrictions; and
  • not unnecessary and petty.

Process of Consultation

Although schools will adopt different approaches to consultation, the process needs to ensure that staff are included from the outset and given the opportunity to discuss, consider, and provide feedback on the proposed code before a final decision is made.



Communication throughout the consultation and decision process is vital. During the initial stage a meeting or newsletter should be used to inform the staff of the consultation process to develop and/or review the code of conduct, and to explain how the board plans to involve staff in the process.


Finalising the code of conduct

Once sufficient information has been gathered, the board should review the feedback and consider any proposed changes and incorporating agreed suggestions. w A final draft code of conduct should then be written and presented for final approval by the board.



Before the code of conduct is implemented, it must be clearly communicated to all learners, staff, and parents. A code of conduct is of little value if it is not communicated to the school community so they know what rules and processes exist. Staff should be educated about the code of conduct and sign an acknowledgement that they have received and understand the code of conduct. The code of conduct should be clearly displayed e.g. in the staffroom, school hall and Reception areas.



The code of conduct is not a static document. It should be reviewed and revised on an ongoing basis. As new issues, rules, regulations, and procedures arise, these should be communicated to the staff and included in the code of conduct.

If you need further information, please contact the Employment Advisory & Support Centre on 0800 782 435 (Option 2).

Scroll Arrow Icon

© 2018 New Zealand School Trustees Association