Adult and Community Education in Schools

Adult and Community Education in Schools

Last updated 7 May 2018
Last updated 7 May 2018

Adult and Community Education (ACE) in Schools funding is for informal, community-based education provided by schools. 

ACE in Schools funding supports:

  • achievement of Tertiary Education Strategy priorities
    • re-engagement of learners in education, and
    • provision of foundation skills development and pathways into other learning opportunities that meet community needs (including further education or the workplace).



School eligibility

See Condition: Organisation eligibility for school eligibility requirements.

Programme eligibility

See the following conditions for programme (including course) eligibility requirements.

ACE in Schools programmes must be prioritised to learners who have the highest need. This means that at least 50 percent of learners enrolled in the courses in a school’s ACE programme must: 

  • identify as having English language needs
  • have low or no formal qualifications, or
  • identify as Māori or Pasifika.

Learner eligibility

See Condition: Learner eligibility for learner eligibility requirements.

Verifying learner eligibility

TEOs must ensure that learners are eligible to enrol in ACE funded provision. It is recommended that TEOs use one of the following methods to confirm learners are eligible for ACE funding. 

Type of student

Verification methods

A New Zealand citizen

A TEO can:

(a)  confirm the student's citizenship status using the student’s NSN, or

(b)  receive an assertion through RealMe® that the student was born in New Zealand (prior to 2005), or

(c)  sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

       (i)  a New Zealand birth certificate, or

       (ii)  a New Zealand passport, or

       (iii)  a New Zealand certificate of citizenship, or

(d)  if a student is unable to obtain a birth certificate for the purposes of (c)(i) above, contact the TEC to confirm that a whakapapa statement signed by both the student and a kaumātua is acceptable evidence of citizenship.

A New Zealand resident

A TEO must sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

(a)  a passport with a current returning residency class visa (a passport with a visa label), or

(b)  a passport, and letter or email, confirming current returning residency class visa (label-less visa, followed by confirmation with Immigration New Zealand, where appropriate), or

(c)  a certificate of identity from Immigration New Zealand if the student is a refugee.

Note: For more information see Immigration New Zealand

Investment Plans

Schools are required to work with local organisations, peak bodies, groups, and communities, including other tertiary education organisations (TEOs), including schools, that are involved in ACE, to identify and meet community learning needs.

See Condition: Your responsibilities.

Each school must have an approved Investment Plan (Plan) that sets out how its funded ACE programme will:

  • address the needs of target learner groups (including the priority learner groups set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy
  • deliver the following types of provision – one or more of:
    • literacy, digital literacy, and/or numeracy
    • English language, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and/or New Zealand Sign Language
    • Te Reo Māori, and
    • primarily focus on:
      • acquisition of foundation skills
      • re-engaging learners whose previous learning was not successful, and
      • ensuring the progression of learners into formal tertiary education.

Funding and payments

The Adult and Community Education funding mechanism is issued by the Minister responsible for tertiary education. The funding mechanism outlines the general form and essential components of the fund. It provides the mandate for us to allocate the funding and what the funding can be used for, and details how we administer the fund.

Funding is agreed through a school's Investment Plan (Plan).

A school that receives ACE funding is required to:

Funding rate

We allocate ACE funding to schools at a fixed rate of $7.27 per hour. This gives schools the flexibility to allocate funds by course and allow duration to vary according to content and learner needs. The minimum course duration is six hours.

Through each school’s Plan, we agree the mix of provision (MoP). This includes:

  • the courses that comprise the school’s ACE programme that the funding can be used for, and
  • the allocation of funding towards, and the volume of delivery expected from, each course in the programme.


We pay funding for ACE provision in monthly instalments on the first banking day of each month.

Payment amounts are equal from January to June, and equal from July to December.

Funding recoveries

Recovery of unused funding is based on the volume of delivery (enrolment hours) reported by the school in its full year Actuals Report.

Volume of delivery is calculated using, for each course, the number of actual learner enrolments multiplied by the course duration (in hours).

Where a school has not delivered the funded hours agreed to, we recover the unused funding at the hourly rate of $7.27.

See Condition: Repayment of ACE (Schools) Fund Funding.

Attendance is not considered in the recovery calculation but it is considered as a performance indicator to inform future funding decisions.

For example:

A school had planned delivery of 9,800 hours and is funded for 9,800 hours x $7.27 ($71,246).  If the school’s enrolments were for 9,600 hours, being 200 hours less than agreed in the mix of provision, then we will recover 200 x $7.27 ($1,454).

Where a school has delivered ACE courses that are additional to, or substitutional for, courses in the agreed mix of provision and these are included in the school’s full year Actuals Report, we will decide whether these courses are eligible for funding (up to the value of the school’s approved ACE in Schools funding allocation).


Schools are required to submit a final report to us for each calendar year (the full year Actuals report).

The school must report on each ACE course in its MoP, including recording demographic data about learners. The school must submit the completed full year Actuals Report (using the template provided) through Workspace 2 by 31 January of the following year.

See Condition: Reports.

In the report we require collated data for all courses that were approved for delivery through the Plan approval process (i.e. before the delivery took place), and any additional and substitute courses, as follows:

  • number of learners and hours of delivery (contracted and delivered)
  • hours of learner attendance
  • region of delivery
  • gender of learners
  • ethnicity of learners
  • English language status of learners
  • number of learners with low or no qualifications
  • number of migrants
  • number of refugees, and
  • age of learners.

Individual learner data

Schools must collect and retain accurate data on each learner enrolment, including demographic information at the time of enrolment, and up-to-date records of learner attendance. This data is required for audit purposes, but does not need to be submitted to us with the full year Actuals Report.

Schools should also collect and retain learner outcomes data for each course, including in relation to the outcomes that the school intended to achieve, and whether or not these outcomes were achieved.


We monitor school performance to understand school performance in the sector, and to inform our decisions about future funding a school may receive.

We monitor schools funded through ACE against the following:

  • commitments:
    • number of learners and hours of delivery (contracted and delivered)
    • hours of learner attendance
    • regions of delivery, and
  • performance indicators:
    • course completion rates – whether learners attend on average at least 80 percent of tuition time across funded courses, and
    • priority learner groups – whether a minimum of 50 percent of learners enrolled in the school's funded ACE programme:
      • identify as having English language needs, and/or
      • have low or no formal qualifications, and/or
      • identify as Māori or Pasifika.

Principles for 2019 funding allocation

We will calculate your indicative allocation using prior performance data

This will include:

  • actual delivery volume (by learner hours)
  • attendance, and
  • priority group participation in line with ACE priorities.

Your previous performance against these measures will determine your indicative allocation.

Your eligibility to receive funding is subject to criteria outlined in the relevant funding mechanism.

Please note, your indicative funding allocation is not a guarantee of your final funding allocation.

Your final allocation will be based on your Investment Plan, performance and other strategic considerations

We will consider your performance information alongside strategic priorities as outlined in Plan Guidance, the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES), the Focus Area Briefs and Investment Briefs.

Based on these considerations your allocation may stay the same or decrease. Alternatively, you may receive a nil allocation.

We will only consider an increase to funding where the tertiary education organisation (TEO) has requested it and they are high-performing. We will address requests for funding increases as part of our engagement process following the submission of draft Investment Plans or proposal if you are Plan exempt.

We may take into account any other measures that we determine to be appropriate when allocating funding.  

We will recover for under-delivery or for funding you weren’t entitled to receive

See Funding recoveries.