23 July 2024

Understand the key themes for leaving school

Transition to life after school is complex. A strong planning process begins early and establishes a pathway to a life of inclusion and wellbeing.

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Vision for young people

Transition is underpinned by mātaitipu, the educational vision for young people, conceived by young people, outlined in the refreshed New Zealand Curriculum. 

  • “We, the ākonga of Aotearoa, know our world is connected, our wellbeing is collective, and that we have a shared responsibility to each other.
  • We understand our roles in giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles.
  • We are strong in our identities, languages, cultures, beliefs, and values. This means we can confidently carry who we are wherever we go.
  • We have a strong sense of belonging. This builds the foundation to be courageous, confident, compassionate, and curious. We understand that success can look different for us all. This means we can learn and grow from our experiences in a supportive environment.
  • We engage in learning that is meaningful to us and helps us in our lives. We can build and navigate knowledge, using our heads and our hearts to make our decisions.
  • We are kaitiaki of our environment.
  • We acknowledge and appreciate our differences and diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
  • We positively contribute to our communities, Aotearoa, and the world.”

Source: Te Mātaiaho – Ministry of Education

Planning for life

Transition from school is not just about tertiary study or a career. It is about developing a vision for a life after school and preparing students for that life with a future-focused education. The planning will be detailed and cover all aspects of life.

It is about planning for a balanced, enjoyable and rewarding adult life, including making time for recreation and fun and learning how to develop and keep relationships.

Some students will need extra time to understand the changes and develop the skills and confidence they’ll need for adult life. A successful transition will make sure they have meaningful lives as active participants in their community.

Enabling Good Life principles

Whaikaha, the Ministry of Disabled People, is working to transform the disability support system based on the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) Vision and Principles. Many aspects of this guide are underpinned by these principles. 

Enabling Good Lives is a foundation that guides positive change for disabled people, families, communities and governance structures in Aotearoa. The EGL principles aim to empower disabled people and their families to have greater choice and control over their lives and supports. Principles relevant to this guide include:  

  • self-determination – ākonga are in control of their lives.
  • beginning early – invest early in families and whānau, to be aspirational for their children, to build community and natural supports, and to support ākonga to become independent.
  • person-centred – ākonga have supports tailored to their individual needs and goals, that take a whole-of-life approach rather than being split across programmes.
  • ordinary life outcomes – ākonga are supported to live an everyday life in everyday places. They are regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation, like others at similar stages of life.
  • mana enhancing – the abilities and contributions of ākonga and their families are recognised and respected.
  • relationship building – supports build and strengthen relationships between ākonga, their whānau and community. 

Adapted from:
About Enabling Good Lives – Enabling Good Lives 
System transformation and Enabling Good Lives – Whaikaha, Ministry of Disabled People

Student and whānau led

The student and their whānau drive the planning process with involvement from the school, providers and support services. This means that the student is actively engaged in determining their current interests, their future aspirations and ways to pursue them.

Schools can support students to understand how different factors could influence their decisions, and to identify pathways to meet their practical, learning, and emotional needs.

New Zealand is a non-disabling society – a place where disabled people have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals and aspirations, and all of New Zealand works together to make this happen.

Next steps

Return to the guide “Preparing students to leave school”