New Zealand School Experts answer your questions about the NZ School system and suitable Schools in NZ - Get help choosing the right School in New Zealand! New Zealand Schools offer a great range of qualifications that are internationally recognised and easily transferable. Schools in New Zealand are among the best of the world and meet the highest education standards.
New Zealand Schools
New Zealand Schools K-12 is a free guide for international school students, parents and teachers about studying at New Zealand schools.
Registered New Zealand school agents help international students to apply at schools in New Zealand:
- secondary schools and
to achieve the advantages of the internationalised education system.
New Zealand School Experts help you
Contact our New Zealand school experts to get a wide variety of free service such as:
- help with your student visa,
- course information,
- student travel,
- student counselling,
- and a dedicated school agent as contact person before and after arrival.
Education Consultation for Schools in New Zealand
Study Travel Work New Zealand is a Network which prides itself on its knowledge of all Educational avenues available in New Zealand for International Students. With extensive information on Secondary Schools, Universities, Training Institutes and Language Schools.
Study Travel Work New Zealand is available to help international students in finding the most suitable Education provider. With staff who are happy to help with planning the students future study path, which will help the student achieve success.
Providing international students with advice on the New Zealand Education system, counselling about study opportunities, communication with course providers. As well as helping with Enrolments, Applications and Bookings.
The New Zealand School System
Schooling in New Zealand starts at the age of 5. New Zealand children spend the first six years studying at the primary level and when they reach the age of eleven, they either pursue two more years at their primary school or at a specialist intermediate school.
This schooling phase is called the intermediate years and this precedes high school. At the age of 13, students go to high school and this is divided into two divisions - junior secondary and senior secondary.
The junior years are between years 9 to 11 and the remaining years form the final stage of schooling. In total NZ children spend 13 years in schooling.
The senior years are spent in pursuit of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Completion of this qualification is dependent on acquiring the required number of credits in study of certain subjects. This can potentially be a pathway for university entry and most university admissions are qualified high school graduates.
There is another option for senior students. They can leave school, after Year 11 or 12 to pursue training or vocational pursuits but this would disqualify them from university admission.
Hence, 6 years from primary schooling followed by two years of intermediate schooling culminate in 5 years of high schooling for a total of 13 years in the NZ education system.
The primary and intermediate stages of schooling emphasise basic literacy, numeracy and research skills. At the high school level, students are able to make subject choices such as history, geography and the sciences. This specialisation could form the basis for university entry into a particular of field of study.
Acceptance into a high school for international students is dependent on their English language ability and this will determine their subject choices and study level. If students are found wanting in the required English language standards, then they may be required to undertake.
Primary education commences at five years of age and generally ends in the eleventh year, two years for intermediate schooling, and secondary education is compulsory until age fifteen.
Courses are general in the first two years running on to more specialized studies in the next three years. Qualifying examinations for a school Certificate (which is a national examination) take place at the end of the third year.
In the fourth year is normally a national sixth form certificate qualification. A fifth year of study can qualify a student for university studies at a higher rate of bursary by means of an appropriate pass in the bursary of scholarship examinations.
Types of Schools
New Zealand School Facts
New Zealand has over 2,000 primary and secondary schools. State schools and state integrated schools are primary funded by central government. Private schools receive a lower level of state funding (about 25% of their costs).
There are many primary schools in New Zealand; state-funded, private, independent and boarding.
It is recommended you choose a good school for your children by seeking and gather information on the school you intend to apply for your children.
There are many websites you are able to look up to; compare them, and it is best to consult the schools yourself so as to ensure it is qualified and meet you and your children’s needs.
Secondary schools are mostly government funded, but there are some private or integrated schools, and they are mostly self-funded.
International students mostly enrol to study in the senior secondary school; years 11, 12 and 13, aged 15-18 years in preparation for tertiary studies in New Zealand or in other English-speaking countries.
In New Zealand, middle school is called intermediate, for year seven and eight.
There are eight government-funded universities providing undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.
Some also offer foundation programmes. Whilst all offer a broad range of degree subjects, each university has its own specialised courses.
Types of School
School is compulsory in New Zealand between the ages of 6 and 16. Highly regarded government-funded education is called state school where the majority of the students attended.
New Zealand schools are divided into government funded or state schools, independent, private and boarding schools. The quality of education is monitored by the government agency called Education Review Officer.
Government-funded or State schools
Attended by majority of the students, and rated well by OECD standards.
The government ensures children attend the school closest to where they live, but some school facilities have an enrolment scheme to prevent overcrowding.
There are forty-three innovative and successful independent schools, educating over 25,000 young students each year; ranging from pre-school to year 13.
Independent schools are partly government funded. There are types of independent schools; independent boarding schools, independent private schools and independent both private and boarding schools.
For information and choice of your children’s schools, contact one of our counsellors.
New Zealand Schools FAQ
How can I enrol?
Request an enrolment form to be sent by email. Print and fill the enrolment form in and return it by post, fax or email attachment.
Do I need a visa?
If you want to study for more than 3 months, you will need a student visa. If you want to study for 3 months or less, you can come to New Zealand with a tourist (visitor) visa or a work (working holiday) visa. People from some countries do not need a visa to come to New Zealand.
Can I work in New Zealand?
Yes. There are 3 possible ways to work in New Zealand:
- Young people from specific countries between 18 and 30 years old can get a working holiday visa.
- Students can do part time work while studying, if they study for more than 6 months and they have a good level of English. Students must score 5 (intermediate level) or more in the IELTS English test and apply for a variation of conditions to work. We can arrange the English test and the application for the variation of conditions.
- Students can apply for a work permit for a full-time job if they have an "offer of employment" from an employer.
Who will meet me at the airport?
We can arrange airport pickup for you.
Can I continue studying when my course finishes?
Yes. You can extend your course. We will arrange a new visa for you if required.
Can somebody help me in my own language if I have a problem.
Yes. Our counsellors will help you to solve any problems.
Examinations & Assessment in New Zealand Secondary Schools
Currently, New Zealand secondary school students study for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). This qualification replaced the old School Certificate in 2002.
What is NCEA?
This is New Zealand’s new secondary school certificate and is based mainly on external examination and internal assessment methods.
It is equivalent to the:
English General Certificate of Education (GCE) for students studying NCEA Level 1English A Levels and Australian higher school certificates for students studying NCEA Level 3University entrance examination for students intending to use credits for purposes of gaining tertiary entryTertiary InstitutionsState ownedThese educational institutions include universities, colleges of education and nanga (Maori education centres).
They are state-funded and highly responsive to local and international student demand for coursework and research programs.
New Zealand School Application
Please be aware that schools in New Zealand charge tuition fees of around AU$5000 per term (1/2 year). To find a school and learn more, just contact our student service.
Our service is free of charge and we usually reply within 24h.
Apply here for our free New Zealand school application service!
New Zealand School System
We provide you with information about the New Zealand school system and its institutions which offer a wide range of courses and qualifications.
New Zealand has an international reputation as a provider of quality education. Our educational system is progressive with many state of the art facilities. We can offer you courses for academic, professional and vocational studies. The New Zealand school system is very popular among international students. And there’s an increasing diversity of students taking part in international education.
- a more international curriculum
- reforming programme structures, credit systems and recognition agreements
- greater awareness of equity issues in international education.
The school system in New Zealand has two stages of schooling – primary schools (years 0-8) and secondary schools (years 9-15).
Within these stages, New Zealand families can choose between two types of schooling for their children's education:
- state and integrated schools (Government funded)
- private schools (fee funded)
Early childhood education is not compulsory in New Zealand. Parents and caregivers can choose from a wide range of services which include:
- New Zealand Free Kindergartens for children between the ages of three and five.
- Education and Care Centres, for children from birth to school age.
- Home-based services, which are a cluster of homes under the supervision of a qualified coordinator.
- The Correspondence School, a distance education service mainly for children between three and five who are unable to attend school or have limited access to school because of isolation, illness or itinerancy.
As at July 2002 there were 2699 schools in New Zealand; 2587 were state or integrated and the remaining 111 were private
- full primary schools (years 0-8)
- contributing schools (years 0-6)
- intermediate schools (years 6-8)
New Zealand School Experiences
International Students at School in New Zealand
Life as a student in New Zealand
As a school student, your day will probably begin around 7am for breakfast, like most New Zealanders on week days. Then the school starts at around 8:30 am, has a lunch break in the middle of the day, and finishes at about 3pm.
After school you’ll probably spend time with your friends, or with people at home, before dinner at around 6pm, followed by your nightly routine, which may include friendly chit chat or watching a bit of television, as well as some study.
On the weekends you’ll have more time for relaxing and socialising after the busy school week.
You’re most likely to be a homestay student or live in rental premises when you travel to New Zealand to study. The majority of international students are accommodated in these arrangements. It’s likely to cost you a bit more than $300 per week all up for food, accommodation and the other necessities of life
while you study, but you won’t have to do a huge amount of housework to live decently.
You’re also likely to be happy with your living arrangements, your safety and security, your actual living space and your overall experience of home life as a school student in New Zealand. The New Zealand government has been careful to ask international school students about their experiences and this is what the students have told them.
While you’re a student, you’re likely to have support and encouragement from other international students when you get a bit homesick or lonely, which happens to a lot of people until they settle in a bit more. The friendly New Zealanders, especially in your homestay, will look after you and help you find your way around in your new location, and staff at your school can give you a lot of practical help about the school, the language and the courses.
If you want to get a bit more involved in your local community, there may be cultural groups in the community that you can connect with. You can make friends with the locals and other international students, so don’t be shy and don’t worry too much about language differences.
You’ll do okay - if you’ve got enough language skills to study at school, you’ve got enough skills to make friends. Take the chance and enjoy your stay.
Advantages of the New Zealand School System
New Zealand's school system has currently been ranked as the seventh best in the world by the Programme for International Student Assessment. This country has well qualified teachers, bigger schools, more facilities and is full of friendly people.
During Primary and Secondary school they will generally ask for either a voluntary donation, school fees or a parental contribution. For government schools these fees will be lower however if you choose for your child to go to a Private school then the fee's will be higher. For tertiary education funding is usually through government subsidies and student fees, so fees are usually high unless you are lucky enough to get scholarship which the government offers.
If you are enrolled in a full time course in a university there are student loans and student allowances available for those eligible. The Student allowances are determined by means testing which is based on residential and citizenship qualifications, age, location, marital status, dependant children, and personal, spousal and parental income. Student loans are available to all New Zealand Permanent Residents, this can cover course fees and related expenses, aswell as a weekly allowance to full time students. Eventually these loans have to be repaid at a rate depending on your income level.
Most children in New Zealand will start off at an Early Childcare centre, such as a playcentre or kindergarten for children aged 3 to 5, also available for children aged 0 to 5 are Childcare centres which can offer full time, part time or occasional care for those who work.
Primary and Secondary School is compulsory for any child aged between 6 and 16 with exceptions for those that are 15 and have parental or school permission to leave early. In New Zealand there are three types of schools available State, Private and State Integrated Schools, only the State and State Integrated Schools are Government funded. Private Schools only receive 25% of their funding from the New Zealand Government this is why the fee's are higher. Around 86% of children attend State schools, 10% attend State Integrated schools and only 4% attend Private schools.
School level is referred to as years, with Primary School being from years 1 to 6 (Age 5 - 11), Intermediate School from 7 to 8 (Age 11 - 13) and Secondary School runs from years 9 to 13 (Age 13 - 18). When you start school depends on your date of birth, If you where born very early in the year there is a possibility that you may start school earlier then expected.
Occasionally Primary, Intermediate and Secondary Schools are joined together and teachers teach in groups rather then years. This is mostly found in rural areas where there aren't enough students to make up class numbers. Instead they will run as Years 1 to 8 as Full Primary School (Ages 5 - 13), Years 7 to 10 as Middle School (Ages 11-15), Years 7 to 13 as Intermediate/Secondary School/College (Ages 11 - 18), Years 1 to 13 as Area Schools (Ages 5 - 18) and Preschool - Year 13 as Correspondence Schools (Preschool - Age 18).
For State Schooling which School you will attend depends on your 'Home Zone' , if you are living in the Schools Zone then you will most likely attend that school, this helps with overcrowding of schools. Students who live outside a certain zone can be attend a certain school depending on whether there are enough places available.
If there are a number of spaces or applicants students are chosen depending on where they fit into an order of priority. This includes if the child is need of a special programme which only this school can provide, siblings of current students, siblings of past students, children of board employees and then all other students.
Not only is education in New Zealand readily available, but with some of the best teachers and schools in the world as well as help from government funding now is a great time to enrol and start an New Zealand Education Plan.
School System - Testimonial
Anja H., Germany
For better understanding it’s important to know that more than 80 percent of New Zealand’s population are Britons or Europeans. So it’s not bizarre that the New Zealand school system is similar to the British ones. We all know that the seasons are different to ours. So the school year starts in New Zealand in January (after the summer holidays there) and ends in November. As far as I know, is the school year divided into four terms with two weeks of holidays after every term. New Zealand is held in high esteem because of its school system.
Lots of families from all over the world enable their children to stay abroad to get beside an excellent school education some political and cultural expressions. At most schools wearing a school uniform is obligatory. For New Zealand teenager’s daily life takes place in school where they stay up to the late afternoon. The lessons start at 8:45 and ends toward 15:15. Some spend their leisure time with his sports team or in one of the numerous clubs. Even those who want to study on that island country don’t miss out because of various institutions such as tertiary institutes or English language provider. Also, pack your things and hurl yourself into adventures!
More about the Schools in New Zealand
Reasons for choosing a boarding school in New Zealand: High academic level: The achievements of New Zealand boarding schools are very transparent and therefore comparable. Furthermore, taking part in a ranking system spurs...
Many New Zealand high schools and other education institutes offer a Home Stay program for their international students. Home Stay is where a student is place in the home and care of a New Zealand government approved family. Here...