STAR (Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource)

The Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) delivers additional operational grant funding to all state and state-integrated schools with year 11–13+ students. STAR is designed to help schools provide students with relevant, coherent learning experiences, aligned to the Vocational Pathways

The objectives of STAR are to:

  • provide flexible funding for courses which will better respond to students’ needs, motivate them to remain in education, enable them to achieve to the best of their potential, and facilitate their smooth transition to further education, training, or employment
  • support students to explore career pathways and help them make informed decisions about their schooling and future study or work.

As with the other components of operational-grant funding, schools have discretion about how they use STAR funding. However, it is expected that schools use it to provide students with the range of learning experiences needed to support their engagement and achievement and successful transition to further study and employment.

STAR is an operational grant, and as such should be spent on operational items. Please refer to your school’s accounting policies to determine the rules regarding operating and capital expenditure.

STAR should be seen in the context of the Youth Guarantee Scheme, which contains initiatives that aim to build the skills and core capabilities of young people and assist their achieving NCEA Level 2 and progression to tertiary study, using the Vocational Pathways.

STAR is designed to support a coherent Vocational Pathways programme by enabling:

  • schools to form partnerships with tertiary education providers and employers, to provide vocational education and work experience
  • student exploration of pathways to work or further education
  • engagement with learning, by highlighting the relevance of learning to future employment or study
  • achievement of NCEA and tertiary qualifications in the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. 

Well-structured programmes reflect the goals in the following strategies:

Frequently asked questions

To contact the Ministry regarding STAR, email


STAR resources that can be read online or downloaded

STAR coordinator draft position description

Course criteria checklist 

This resource outlines the STAR course criteria and gives examples of how each criterion could be met.

Individual student needs checklist [PDF; 25kb]

Checklist for developing student-centred STAR programmes

Sample STAR policy

Use this sample STAR policy to develop a policy for your school. 

STAR self-review template [PDF; 49kb]

Suggested ways to identify future STAR activity and plan your annual programme. The methods you use will depend on the size of your school, the STAR funding you receive, and the time you have available.