On Education » New Zealand

Education in New Zealand

Population: 4 million people

Literacy Rate: 99 %

GNP: USD 25,960 per capita

Human Development Index: 0.94

New Zealand Academic Year starts from end-January to end in mid-December.

Education in New Zealand is nominally free for all primary, intermediate and secondary schooling. However, most schools also ask for a "voluntary donation" from parents, informally known as "school fees" or as "parental contribution".

Early childhood education

Many children attend some form of early childhood education before they begin school.

* Playcentre or Kindergarten (Ages 3 - 5)
* Licensed Early Childhood Centres (Ages 0 - 5) (usually privately owned) * Chartered Early Childhood Centres (Ages 0 - 5) (state funded)

Primary and secondary education

Main articles: Primary education in New Zealand and Secondary education in New Zealand

Primary and Secondary education is compulsory for students between the ages of 6 and 16 (15 with parental and school permission), and is a right until 18. Disabled students with special educational needs can stay until the end of the year they turn 21. Most students start when they turn 5, and remain in school for the full 13 years.

While there is overlap in some schools, primary school ends at Year 8 and secondary school at Year 13. The last two years of primary school are frequently taken at a separate intermediate school instead of at a primary school, leaving ´contributing´ primary schools to end at Year 6. Some areas though have ´full´ primary schools which go to year 8. Outside of the following categories, many private schools, state area schools and state integrated schools take students from Years 0 to 13, or Years 7 to 13.

There are three types of school: state, private (or registered or independent) and state integrated schools. State and state integrated schools are government funded. Private schools receive about 25% of their funding from the government, and rely on tuition fees for the rest. State integrated schools are former private schools which are now "integrated" into the state system under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975"on a basis which will preserve and safeguard the special character of the education provided by them". According to Independent Schools New Zealand, an advocacy group for private schools, about 86% of all school-aged children attend state schools, 10% attend state integrated schools and 4% attend private schools.

Years of schooling

New Zealand has recently moved towards a system where school levels are identified by the year number. Before this, a system of Forms, Standards and Juniors was used. Although this system is not used in administration anymore, it is still is used at some schools (mainly independent ones), and in talk with older generations, who often prefer to use the system they are more familiar with.

The years are numbered from 1 to 13. Primary school goes up to year 6, intermediate school finishes at year 8 and secondary school is the remaining five years of schooling.

Under the old system of Forms, Standards and Juniors, there were two Junior years followed by four Standard years in primary school, followed by seven Forms. Forms 1 and 2 were in intermediate school and the remaining five were in secondary school.

Types of schools

Most schools cater for either primary or secondary school students:

Primary School years 1 - 8 Age 5 to 12
Secondary School Years 9 - 13 Age 13 - 17

However, some schools cater for students across two or more of these groups. These are rarer than schools which teach the groups above. Area schools are generally found in rural areas, where there are not enough students to run three separate schools productively. A list of these types of schools, and the years they cater for, is below.

Area schools (Ages 5 to 18)
Correspondence School (Preschool to Age 18)

State school enrolment schemes

For state schools, the Education Amendment Act 2000 puts in place a new "system for determining enrolment of students in circumstances where a school has reached its roll capacity and needs to avoid overcrowding." Schools which operate enrolment schemes have a geographically defined "home zone". Residence in this zone, or in the school´s boarding house, if it has one, gives right of entry to the School. Students who live outside the school´s home zone can be admitted, if there are places available, in the following order of priority: special programmes; siblings of currently enrolled students; siblings of past students; children of board employees; all other students. If there are more applications than available places then selection must be through a ballot, that is randomly.

Critics have suggested that the system is fundamentally unfair as it restricts the choice for parents to choose schools and schools to choose their students. In addition, there is evidence that property values surrounding some more desirable schools become inflated, thus restricting the ability of lowers socio-economic groups to purchase a house in the zone.

Tertiary education

There are several branches of tertiary education in New Zealand.

For non-private institutions, see also: state sector organisations in New Zealand

Colleges of education (Teachers´ Colleges)

Partial list of historical or currently existing colleges of education. Listed here are those which were listed [5] in Acts of Parliament as public (Crown-owned) providers of teacher education:

* Auckland College of Education (Auckland)
* Massey University College of Education (Palmerston North)
* Wellington College of Education (Wellington)
* Christchurch College of Education (Christchurch)
* Dunedin College of Education (Dunedin)

Most colleges of education in New Zealand in the past 30 years have gradually consolidated (for example, Ardmore with Auckland), with the trend in the last 15 years to consider and effect mergers with universities closely allied to them, for example, the Hamilton and Palmerston North colleges amalgamated with Waikato and Massey respectively.

In the 2004-2005 period, the Auckland and Wellington colleges amalgamated with Auckland University and Victoria University respectively. In 2007 the Christchurch College of Education amalgamated with the University of Canterbury. The remaining stand-alone college is in Dunedin and plans to amalgamate with the University of Otago.

The name ´college of education´ is protected by Act of Parliament -- previously the name ´teachers´ college´ was protected. Only universities and standalone colleges of education may use this title. Thus, privately owned institutions (which are not listed in Acts) providing teacher education such as the Bethlehem Institute (Tauranga) must use alternative names.


Updated On: 11.12.01