Skip to content.
VIEW SITE IN te reo Māori

Frequently asked questions

The following information answers common questions about entering the 2018 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards.

The 2018 Awards are now open.  Entries close 23 March 2018.

Current awards status
Meet the winners


Are we eligible to enter these Awards?

To be eligible for the 2018 Awards, your group’s entry must:

  • be from:
    • a licensed or certificated early learning service or group of services or
    • a licensed or certificated early learning service’s management body or
    • a registered school/kura/wharekura, or group of registered schools/kura/wharekura such as a Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako
  • focus on improving outcomes for children and young people – in early childhood education, primary school, or secondary school, in English, Māori, or Pasifika-medium
  • be from a group, team or partnership (entries about an individual are not eligible)
  • be based in New Zealand
  • be based around early childhood or school curriculum documents and education strategies developed in New Zealand and closely linked to teaching and learning
  • not pose a risk to the credibility or integrity of the Awards.

We can’t accept entries about an individual, or from groups, teams, or partnerships that include a staff member or contractor from a lead education-sector agency (e.g. Ministry of Education, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, Education Review Office, Education New Zealand, Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Careers New Zealand).

If our entry doesn’t meet one or more of the criteria, will our entry still be accepted?

No. Before you submit your entry, make sure that your entry meets all of the criteria and specifications. If you are unsure, email your question to: or call: 0800 PM AWARDS (0800 762 927).

Can independent schools enter the awards?

Yes, independent schools are welcome to enter the Awards provided all eligibility criteria are met. In particular, the entry must relate to curriculum documents and education strategies that are developed in New Zealand. For example, your entry wouldn’t include data from the International Baccalaureate.

Back to top

Entering the Awards

What does our entry need to include?

After checking that you are eligible to enter, your group, team or partnership will download an entry form to write a case study. You'll need to answer all questions and complete every section in the document.

Can we enter into more than one category?

Yes. You may feel that your entry should be considered in more than one category. In your entry form, you will need to select which categories apply to your entry (Question 2).

If you are considering entering into more than one category, you may prefer to complete  separate entry forms. This will allow you more scope to focus each entry, as each entry can only be a maximum of 30 pages.

When answering Question 5, make sure you only answer based on the category/categories you are entering. The answer(s) must align with the category or categories you have indicated in Question 2.

E.g. your group would like to enter the ‘Excellence in Leading’ and ‘Excellence in Governing’ categories, so you would answer based on the category-specific descriptions shown in Question 5.

Leading: Think about what practice needed to change so that leaders and teachers would improve their practice to achieve the outcomes you seek.

Governing: Think about what practice needed to change so that leaders and trustees or managers could focus their actions on improving engagement, leading, teaching and learning.

Refer to 'How do we show what practice needed to change?' (Question 5)

Can we submit multiple entries?

Yes. There is no limit to how many entries for different programmes your group can submit. A separate entry form for each different programme must be submitted with each entry.

Are all entries in the running for the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award? 

No. The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award winner will only be selected from the winners of the Excellence in Engaging, Excellence in Leading, Excellence in Teaching & Learning, and Excellence in Governing categories.

The winner of the 2018 Education Focus Prize will not be considered for the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award.

Back to top



Is there a page limit? 

Yes. Your complete case study must not exceed 30 single-sided A4 pages (15 double-sided pages). This includes all supporting evidence, images, diagrams, figures, tables, appendices and any bibliography or reference list. Your final entry can be fewer than 30 pages in total, but note that entries over 30 pages will not be accepted.

What format should we use?

Use the format provided in the entry form. Your entry should be typed with the following format: Arial font, 11 point font, with 1.5 line spacing.

What if our entry is over the page limit?

Your entry will NOT be considered if it does not meet the page limit requirement. Refer to the question above, and to the instructions contained in your entry form.

is the BIBLIOGRAPHY/reference list included in the page count?

Yes. Your  bibliography/reference list is included in your 30, A4 page count. Your entry will not be accepted if your document is over 30 pages.

Can we include hyperlinks to online material within our case study?

No. The expert panel will not view content contained within hyperlinks. We recommend that you cite online content using in-text citations and include the sources in a reference list. 

can we upload multiple documents online?

No. Only one document (up to 30 pages) will be accepted. Your evidence should be inserted in your one entry document. Save as a PDF file. You are, however, welcome to submit a video file to support your entry (see below).

Back to top

video File

Can we include a video file? 

Yes. You may include one digital video file to accompany your entry. Submitting a video file is optional. Your video file must meet certain requirements for it to be accepted:

Use one of these video file formats when you are submitting your entry: .mp3, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv

(No USBs, DVDs, or media submitted by email, can be accepted)

Can we include a website link to a video in our entry form?

No. A website link to an online video, including YouTube and Vimeo, will not be viewed as part of your entry.

Back to top

entry questions

What are the panel of experts and judges looking for?

All entries will be judged on the extent to which they show improved outcomes for children and young people – and how this is linked to the changes in your case study.

The Panels will evaluate your entry based on:

contact details for group: what does it mean by learning medium?

Your learning medium refers to the language or languages that are spoken at the learning site the majority of the time.
For example, your learning medium may be Māori medium, English medium, bilingual etc.

What do we need to cover in the question on 'what did you set out to achieve, and why?' (question 4)

This background section allows you to describe where you started from. This includes the identification of any issues, and the original information on outcomes for children and young people that made you decide that change was needed. You must include data that shows why improvement in the area selected was required.

You can also describe how you identified the partners that were needed, the experience they brought, and where you got the idea for the approach you have taken, including any applicable research.

How do we show 'what practice needed to change?' (question 5)

You need to describe the specific teaching practices and processes you changed to bring about an improvement in student achievement.

This section provides an opportunity to identify the roles that people played in changing outcomes for children and young people. This includes the recognition of how previous behaviours were influencing outcomes, and an understanding of how partnerships may contribute to wider success.

Use the descriptions under this question to tailor your answers so that they link to the Award/Prize categories you are entering.

Refer to 'Can we enter into more than one category?'

how do we answer the question 'how did you make the changes happen?' (section 6)

In this section, you should provide information on the steps you took to make changes, including professional development of teachers, involvement of other organisations, management bodies or schools/early learning services, Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako,  changes in teaching practices, involvement of parents/whānau, and the community, or targeted interventions.

How do we show the difference the changes made (question 7)?

Every entry will be different, and the outcomes sought will vary. Rather than prescribe a single way of measuring outcomes, the case study approach lets you present the ‘before’ and ‘after’ results in the most appropriate format.

In most cases, your evidence will be provided in the form of data collected at a number of time points that shows a progressive change towards positive outcomes. Where possible this should be compared against a control group or done using an ‘effect size calculation’. Further information about effect sizes can be found at

How well developed does our continued improvement need to be (questions 8
and 9)?

In the two final sections of the case study, you have the opportunity to outline some of the key lessons learned throughout the change process, and identify any strategies to help you continue building on, and sustaining, your successes.

Your next steps will often be a natural progression from the actions described in your case study but they may also make references to new research, other potential opportunities, and the support enlisted from additional partners.

What will help us to prepare our entry?

You can refer to the ‘Resources to Support your Entry’ page on this website.

You may wish to reference other relevant material in your entry. Use in-text citations and include all references in your reference list/bibliography.

what evidence do we need to include?

See the evidence section on this website. You can also locate the evidence section by visiting the ‘Resources to Support your Entry’ page.

Remember, the Panel of Education Experts and  the Judging Panel will be looking for your group’s evidence, data, and the analysis of this data.

Back to top

2018 Education Focus Prize

What does inclusion look like?

At fully inclusive schools and early learning services, all children and young people are welcome and are able to take part in all aspects of life at the school or service. Diversity is respected and upheld. Identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed. Children and young people have access to learning in ways that work for them. 

Inclusive schools believe all students are confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners and work towards this within the New Zealand Curriculum.

Inclusive early learning services empower all children to learn with and alongside others by engaging in experiences that have meaning for them. 

Inclusive schools and early learning services: 

How do we define inclusion?

In fully inclusive schools and early learning services, all children and young people are engaged and achieving through being present, participating, learning and belonging. 

All children and young people:

What children and young people are we talking about?

Any child or young person who may experience a barrier to their learning at some stage in their learning career. This could relate to (but is not exclusive to) a disability, language, trauma, behaviour, mental health, identity. 

What do inclusive practices include?



Systems and processes

Parent, whānau and community connections

Teaching and learning - school

Exploring, learning and play – early learning

The role of school boards of trustees

Boards are responsible for ensuring that the school provides a safe physical and emotional environment for all students and staff, and that the school is inclusive of and caters for students with differing needs.

Boards need oversight of:

Back to top

Submitting our entry

How do we submit our entry online?

Save your entry form as a .pdf file. Save the document as: Entry Form_name of your group.pdf

If you are including a video file, you will save as: Video_name of your group

Entry Form_Maths Department, ABC college.pdf
Video_Maths Department, ABC college.mp4

Use one of these video file formats: .mp3, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv

What do we do if there is an error message when we try and upload our entry?

If you have any concerns, call 0800 PM AWARDS (0800 762 927) or email

Will you accept our entry after the closing date?

No, entries will not be accepted after 5pm, Friday 23 March 2018. Please ensure you allow enough time to check and save your files correctly before uploading online.
You may like to look at the upload page before submitting your entry online.


No. To submit your entry you will need to upload it on the Awards website. We can't accept entries via email, post, courier or hand delivery.

Further questions?

Do you have a question that isn’t covered here? Email or call 0800 PM AWARDS
0800 762 927.


Back to top



Close modal