New guidelines around how teachers can search students have been issued to schools today.

The surrender and retention guidelines are billed as a guide to help schools "correctly interpret" new powers which came into force last month.

"The powers were put in law in direct response to what the sector said it needed in this area, said Education Ministry spokeswoman Katrina Casey.

"The guidelines aren't in addition to the law. They are a practical guide to help schools correctly interpret the law."


The ministry would be watching closely to see how the new rules and additional guidelines were working, she said.

"We know this is new for schools because the powers haven't been set out in law before, so we want to do everything we can to help them get it right," she said.

"While there are some limits on how far school staff can go in searching a student or their property, schools will always be able to call in police where they have serious concerns."

All schools had been contacted to advise them the new guidelines were available and urged teachers to read them, she said.

Under the Education Amendment Act, the Secretary for Education was required to provide rules and guidelines on surrender and retention.

The new rules were part of the Education Amendment Act.