News, Events and Culture

Overview of New Zealand Education System

The New Zealand Education System - General Information

Most New Zealand children attend school from age five through age sixteen or beyond.  School is compulsory from age six through sixteen.  A typical structure of school progression in Palmerston North is primary school (years 1-6), intermediate school (years 7-8) and high school (years 9-13). 

Most New Zealand children attend publicly funded schools, known as "state schools".  Other than modest school and activity fees and the costs of uniforms and stationary in most schools, state schools are free.   
The Ministry of Education is the authority on the New Zealand education system.  The Ministry's website contains publications on a range of topics, contact information and education-related links.   The Ministry's role includes early childhood education.

Ministry of Education homepage (external website)

Information for Migrants about the New Zealand Education System

The Ministry of Education published a comprehensive guide for people who are unfamiliar with the New Zealand education system. 

Read or download this guide

Schooling in New Zealand - A Guide (external website)

New Zealand School Term Dates

The schedule of school terms and holidays is set by the Ministry of Education years in advance.  The schedule is uniform across New Zealand, with a bit of flexibility allowed within the set dates.

Schedule of New Zealand School Terms and Holidays (external website)

New Zealand delivers high quality education

New Zealand schools have an international reputation for high quality education.  One factor promoting high quality is the audit function of the Education Review Office.

The Role of the Education Review Office (external website)

New Zealand Secondary School Qualification - National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

What do New Zealand students work towards in high school and how their achievements are assessed?  The National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) is the main qualification New Zealand students earn at high school.  It is part of a larger framework of national qualifications that includes many different areas of study, both in and out of high school.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) information (external website)