The education system in New Zealand has three levels, which includes early childhood education, primary and secondary school, followed by further education. If you’re planning to relocate to New Zealand with your family, you can be confident that your children will have high-quality education in schools with excellent facilities.
Early Childhood Education
Children can take part in early education from as young as three and they’ll receive 20 hours of ECE service a week. The system is designed to build the foundations for a healthy, active interest in learning whilst also helping young children build relationships and develop their communication skills. There are no tests in ECE but ‘learning photos’ are used to keep parents up to date with what their child or children are learning.
Primary and Secondary Schools
School is compulsory from the age of six, but many children start school on their fifth birthday. It all depends on what suits the child and their family best. When you move to New Zealand, you’ll need to enroll your child in either a Free State school or a ‘state integrated’ school, which may charge fees for some facilities. State schools are the most popular choice in New Zealand. One of the key factors to consider when choosing a school is its proximity to where you live, as most schools guarantee places for children who live within a set radius of their site.
Similar to GCSE in the UK, qualifications are available for senior secondary school students known as NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). Students in their final years, Years 11 to 13, can achieve NCEA in a range of courses and subjects with some specialisation available.
In New Zealand almost every Primary and Secondary school have zones in place. Zones are part of the NZ enrollment scheme put in place by the Education act. This scheme works to prevent overcrowding in every school.
Zones are clearly defined boundaries that contain homes in a local school area. To have the right to enroll in any school, you must live in a residential address within that particular School zone. Each school’s board of trustees is in charge of regulating its own school zone, but this must adhere to the guidelines set out by the New Zealand Ministry of Education.
You can view the various school zones online and you can also get full zoning information at your chosen school.
When enrolling your child at school, you will need to provide your residential address and declare that it is true, to be deemed eligible.
If you live outside a school zone you can still get a chance to enroll your child by applying for enrollment or through a ballot. Schools individually offer a ballot to enroll a selection of those who live out of zone. The ballot is a completely randomized selection run by the school and which is supervised by an Authority. After the ballot, the successful applicants are informed of the result and have a set time frame to confirm acceptance.
Most ballots are yearly, but sometimes certain schools may advertise more than once ballot. Full information on ballots and ballot dates are available at each school.
Due to zoning, housing prices in prestigious school zones are usually high and greatly sought after. It is therefore a good idea to research your chosen residential area and what school zone it falls in to see what is best for you and your family.
For more detailed information on school zones please see the websites below:
Finding a local school:
New Zealand has eight universities offering courses ranging from undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, to certificates, diplomas and specialised training. All the universities are recognised internationally, with the University of Auckland being the top ranked institution in the country.
Students have the option to study full time or part time. There’s also a system of distant learning available in the country. It’s important that students consider choosing a university that specialises in the course(s) they may want to study. Students based in New Zealand, who are residents of the country, can take a loan from the government during their time at university, which they pay back at an incremental rate based on their salary/income.