The New Zealand School System

Children in New Zealand will normally start school at the age of five, but they are also offered the option to start as late as six years old. It is a requirement that children are enrolled in school by the time of their sixth birthday. The law in New Zealand means that it is also a requirement that once enrolled, they go to school each day.

New Zealand children will go through the school system for 13 years. The first stage to this is primary school, which begins at ‘Year 1’. A full primary school will run up to year 8, but a primary school that is known as a ‘contributing’ primary school will finish at year 6. Those children who attend a contributing primary school will then need to go onto an intermediate school, where they will finish years 7 and 8.

Once primary school and intermediate school have been completed, the school system has secondary education. Some refer to this as ‘college’ or ‘high school’. This covers years 9 to 13. Children in New Zealand have the option of leaving the school system before they get to year 13, but they cannot do so before their 16th birthday.

School sizes vary in New Zealand. Small schools in rural areas will have very few pupils when compared to the schools in the larger towns and cities, which could have up to 2000 pupils. The New Zealand school system is generally well-funded so most schools have all the equipment and facilities that they need.

The school types in New Zealand also vary. When enrolling your child into the New Zealand school system there are three types of school to choose from. State schools are those which are owned and receive funding from the government, while state integrated schools are those that are considered to have a special character and private schools where fees are paid each term.