Adult and Community Education in Schools

Adult and Community Education in Schools

Last updated 30 May 2024
Last updated 30 May 2024

Adult and Community Education (ACE) in Schools funding is for informal, community-based education provided by schools. This page covers schools eligibility, responsibilities and coordination funding.

ACE in Schools funding supports:

  • 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).


For details of school eligibility, programme eligibility and learner eligibility please see the funding conditions for the relevant year.

ACE in Schools programmes must also prioritise learners with the highest need and those who have been traditionally underserved, such as Māori, Pacific peoples, and learners with disabilities.

Any funding requests for ACE provision must demonstrate how it meets one of the programme priorities listed above, and how it addresses community learning needs.

ACE funding is not for provision broadly classed as hobby courses (eg, arts, crafts and music; personal fitness and recreation, gardening; and home maintenance).

School responsibilities

Schools are required to work with Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLGs), local iwi, local organisations, peak bodies, local industry, local employers, and communities, including other ACE providers and schools, to identify and meet community learning needs.

Each school must ensure that its funded ACE programme will:

  • address the needs of target learner groups (including the priority learner groups set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy),
  • target ACE provision in foundation skills to learners who have low or no formal qualifications, and
  • target ACE provision in English Language Teaching (ELT) (formerly known as Specialised English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)) to learners with English language needs.

To view all requirements please see the ACE in Schools funding conditions for the relevant year.

ACE in Schools coordination funding

From 1 January 2025, funding for Adult and Community Education (ACE) in Schools Coordination will cease. Funding for the delivery of ACE in Schools (funding for hours of learning) is unaffected by this change