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School rules — how are they made? Who do they impact?

Blackboard with 'KNOW THE RULES' written on it

Know the rules by geralt. Pixabay. License to use.

Look at who makes school rules, who they impact, how they are implemented and enforced, and if these rules are effective.


  • Rules, laws, impact, fairness, consequences, organisation, culture.
  • He Tohu themes: living together, people.

What to do

Who makes the rules? Who do they impact?

  1. In groups of 3, students write on cards or sticky notes:
    • the individuals and groups involved in making rules at your school
    • the groups impacted by these rules — thinking beyond just students to the wider school community.
  2. In their groups, students then rank the individuals and groups — from those having the most power in the school to those who have the least power.
  3. Groups share their rankings with the class and discuss the question: 'What does this say about power and rules?'

How do school rules work?

In groups of 3 students, discuss the way that school rules are implemented, for example:

  • How are people made aware of school rules?
  • Who enforces the rule? How?
  • What happens when a rule is broken?
  • How is the usefulness of the rule evaluated?

Each group chooses a school rule to find out how it was made.

  • Which individuals or groups had a say in the making of the rule?
  • Who did not have a say?
  • How are people made aware of the rule?
  • How is the rule enforced?
  • How does the rule impact on different groups?
  • Discuss why (or whether) the rule is useful.
  • What might be the impact if the rule didn’t exist or was removed?

How could you change rules?

In groups of 3 students, discuss what they could do if they feel that a school rule is unfair or that a new school rule is needed.

  • What rules would you like to change?
  • How could you as students have an impact on the rules that are made in your school?
  • Are there any more rules that you think need to be enforced?
  • What do you think could be the consequences of breaking your new rules?
  • What could you use for a process to bring change to these rules?


Set up a debate on one or more of the following:

  • Does a school need rules?
  • Students should be involved in making school rules.
  • What could be the consequences of no rules?

New Zealand Curriculum — social sciences

Conceptual strands:

  • Identity, Culture, and Organisation
  • Continuity and Change

Achievement objectives:

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