New Zealand Schools

Education in New Zealand is compulsory and can be divided into 3 stages of schools:

  • Primary

    Children begin their schooling at age 5 (although not compulsory until age of 6), and remain in primary school until the end of Year 6.

  • Intermediate

    Years 7 and 8 of schooling is spent either in a separate intermediate school or part of a primary, secondary or composite/area school if you are in a rural location.

  • Secondary

    From Year 9 until the end of Year 13.

The school day usually begins about 9.00am and finishes about 3.00pm with breaks several times in the day. The secondary school day is usually about half an hour longer than primary school.

The school year is divided into 4 terms, in which students have a 6-week summer holiday break with 2-week breaks between each of the 4 terms.

Types of Schools

In most cases, children in New Zealand attend state-funded schools which are usually co-educational, although some offer same-sex education at the secondary level.

Other New Zealand schooling options include:

  • Kura Kaupapa Maori

    State schools where the teaching is in the Maori language (te reo Maori) and is based on Maori culture and values.

  • Integrated schools

    These schools used to be in the private schooling system, but have since become part of the state schooling system. They offer the same curriculum as state schools, but keep the same personal characteristic they had before (such as religious belief).

  • Independent (or private) schools

    These schools must meet the same curriculum standards all other schools, but they are governed by their own independent boards. They charge fees, but also receive some subsidy funding from the government.

  • The Correspondence School (TCS)

    Provides distance learning for more than 18,000 students across New Zealand. Students may live a long way from their nearest school, live overseas, study with TCS for medical reasons or have special needs. New Zealand secondary students may also enrol in specific subjects if these are not available in their regular schools.

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