Schools will be able to change their opening hours when a Bill that has just passed its first reading becomes law.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says communities will have to agree to any changes.
"It gives schools the opportunity to be more flexible in their timetables to cater to the particular needs of their school and students," she said.
Her Education Legislation Bill will also allow principles to manage more than one school, and home-based early childhood education centres will be able to offer out-of-school care for school-age children.
Ms Parata says that will help working parents.
Labour, the Greens and NZ First don't like the changes but the Bill passed its first reading 63-58 last night.
It has been sent to a select committee for public submissions.