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School Finder

Screenshot from School Finder. Shows schools in a region and school information.

What we do

The Ministry of Education Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga is the Government’s lead advisor on the education system, shaping direction for education agencies and providers and contributing to the Government’s goals for education.


What we created

In 2009 we built School Finder – an application that uses Google Maps to present up-to-date information about schools.

We wanted to make school information easily accessible to the public. We also wanted to help educators by displaying local resources such as Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) and historic sites.

We initially built a web-based application, then built two mobile apps (iOS and Android) which included the LEOTC data and showed locations of historic sites. The mobile apps were later discontinued because of upgrade issues.


How School Finder works

Uses can search School Finder by district or for a specific school or address (to show nearby schools).

The interactive map shows:

  • school enrolment zones
  • school decile ratings
  • roll numbers
  • principal, school contact details, school website
  • Education Review Office (ERO) reports.

There is also an option to view early childhood centres.

The tool has an Admin function which can be used to upload a personal set of schools for a specific project. For example, it was used for the Christchurch earthquakes strategy meetings.


Data sources

The application uses open data from the Ministry of Education information and analysis databases, and ERO.


Managing risk

When we built the application, we worked with ERO and the Historic Places Trust to ensure the data did not have any licensing or legal issues.

All the data was already publicly available and was accessed from existing systems and databases.

An existing Help Desk system was utilised to record and address any data issues, which were referred to the source systems as required.


Cost and timeframe

The development cost for both formats of the application was $20,000. Additional staff time was used in project management, testing, and liaison with ERO and the Historic Places Trust.

The release process from start to finish took about 1 year.



Brett Young:


This case study was last updated on 27 July 2017.