Legislation has been introduced to Parliament paving the way for charter schools.
The establishment of the new type of school, also called partnership schools or kura hourua, is part of the ACT party's support agreement with National.
The Education Amendment Bill says the new schools will have more flexibility than state schools to make decisions about how they operate and use funding.
Groups running the schools, called sponsors in the bill, will have to be approved by the Minister of Education, and sign a contract setting out their responsibilities and obligations.
ACT party leader and Associate Education Minister John Banks says in exchange for greater freedom, partnership schools will be held more accountable for improving student outcomes.
The first of the new schools is expected to be operating by 2014.