Adult and Community Education in Schools

Adult and Community Education in Schools

Last updated 1 July 2020
Last updated 1 July 2020

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.

From 1 January 2020 the ACE in schools funding rate will increase to $7.40 per hour.

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 allocations

2021 ACE in Schools indicative allocations

Purpose of ACE in Schools funding

The purpose of the ACE in Schools is to purchase provision that provides adults with community-based education foundation skills, and pathways into other learning opportunities which meet community learning needs.

How we calculated your 2021 indicative allocation for ACE in Schools

The information below provides a summary of how your indicative allocation was calculated. For more details regarding your specific allocation, please contact or your Relationship Manager.

Your prior performance information was used to calculate your 2021 indicative allocation.

Starting point

To determine the starting point for calculating your 2021 indicative allocation we compared your 2019 actual ACE in Schools delivery with your 2020 allocation.

Note: Your 2019 actual delivery has been adjusted for any additional funding provided (including flexible funding), funding rate increases, and significant policy changes. Your reviewed 2020 allocation includes plan changes and excludes one off adjustments. We make these adjustments to ensure we are accurately comparing your 2019 actual delivery with your 2020 allocation, in dollar terms.

If your 2019 actual delivery was below 100%, we used the lesser of either your:

  • 2019 actual delivery, or
  • 2020 allocation

If your 2019 actual delivery was 100% or above, we used your:

  • 2020 allocation

If you delivered ACE in Schools for the first time in either 2019 or 2020, we used your:

  • 2020 allocation

Determining your final 2021 funding allocation

To determine your final 2021 allocation and Plan approval, we will consider the following information in our assessment and/or engagements with you:

  • Your actual delivery volumes as submitted through Workspace2/IPI. and
  • Your year to date 2020 delivery and any further rate increases.

Key changes to our approach for 2021

Previously the starting point was calculated using actual delivery and was not adjusted based on whether delivery was below or at 100%. Further plan increases or in-year adjustments were not accounted for.

We will now take into account if delivery volume was at or below 100% and will make in-year plan adjustments where necessary.



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.