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Choosing schools in Wellington

Information Centre
Choosing schools in Wellington
Wellington SchoolWellington School
Moving overseas
September 1, 2020
minute read

A guide to schools in Wellington

If you are moving internationally and have children, often at the top of your to-do list is finding a suitable school for your child to attend. Luckily, the New Zealand education system has an international reputation for excellence and is often rated amongst the world's best.

WridgWays can help you with your move from Australia to Wellington. Our international moving specialists will have you packed up and settled into your new home in no time. If you haven't got a property in Wellington when you arrive, no problems, we can store all of your belongings until you are ready to move in.

New Zealand school system

The New Zealand school system is made up of 13 year levels, with primary education from year 1 (between age of 5 and 6 years old) to year 8 (11 to 12 years of age), and secondary education from year 9 (between 12 and 13 years of age) to year 13 (17-18 years of age).

Children from the age of six to 16 must attend school, although children can start school on the day they turn 5 years old. Majority of schools offer cohort entry, meaning that you don't have to wait until the start of a new school year for your child to start school.

Types of schools

The system is made up of three types of schools:

State schools

Sometimes referred to as 'public schools', these schools are owned and funded by the government. Most children attend state schools and education is free for domestic students, although you will need to pay for school uniforms, stationery and some course-related costs.

State integrated schools

These schools with a special character, for example, they may be run by a particular faith or teach specialist education methods. These schools are funded by the government but often charge compulsory fees or attendance dues. Just over 10% of students are enrolled in State integrated schools.

Private schools

Private schools are not government funded and fees are charged per school term or year.  Some are co-ed, while others are single sex. Some private schools also have boarding facilities available. Just under 5% of students attend private schools in New Zealand.

Finding a school in Wellington

School zones

When choosing schools in Wellington you will find some have enrolment zones to help manage student numbers, while others do not. Visit the Education Counts website for a comprehensive list of schools in Wellington area. If your chosen school falls in an enrolment zone, your address must be within the zone when you apply and this residence must be your usual place of residence. If you are unsure, check with the school.

How to enrol

Once you've decided on a local school, you need to contact the school directly to find out about the enrolment process. If your child is a New Zealand resident or citizen, permanent resident or student visa holder (based on your temporary work visa) they can apply as a domestic student. If they don't meet the criteria, they may be able to enrol as an international student. You may be asked to provide a copy of your visa.

For more information on the New Zealand school system visit the New Zealand Now website.

Choosing the right school for your child can make a big difference to how quickly your child feels settled and happy when you move.

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