Private (independent) schools
Private schools are governed by their own independent boards and must meet certain standards to be registered with the Ministry of Education.
Funding for private schools
Private schools can charge fees, and fully registered private schools also receive some funding from the government.
Legislation governing the establishment of private schools
Section 35A of the Education Act 1989 states the following:
Provisional and full registration of private schools
"(1) The managers of an unregistered or proposed private school must apply to the Secretary [for Education], on a form provided by the Secretary for the purpose, for its provisional registration as a primary, secondary, or special private school, or as a school of 2 or all of those descriptions.
(2) The Secretary must provisionally register a school in respect of which an application is made under subsection (1) as a school of the description or descriptions concerned if he or she is satisfied that the school or proposed school meets or is likely to meet the criteria for registration as a private school.
(3) Provisional registration of a school or proposed school continues -
- for 12 months (unless it is revoked earlier); or
- until the expiry of any period specified by the Secretary under subsection (4).
(4) The Secretary may renew the provisional registration of a school only once, for a period specified by the Secretary, if he or she is satisfied that—
- exceptional circumstances exist in relation to the school; and
- the school is likely to meet the criteria for registration as a private school in that period.
(5) The Secretary may request a further review, in addition to the review under section 35I (2), of a school that has its provisional registration renewed under subsection (4).
(6) The Secretary must fully register a school as a school of the description or descriptions concerned if he or she is satisfied, having considered any report under section 35I(4) in relation to a review under section 35I(2) or (3) (as the case may be), that a provisionally registered school meets the criteria for registration as a private school."
The role of the Secretary under section 35A has been delegated to the Regional Manager, Early Childhood and Regional Education (ECRE). Direct all enquires about establishing a private school to your local or regional Ministry office.
Private school property requirements
The Secretary shall provisionally register the school if satisfied that the premises, staffing, equipment, and curriculum of a school or proposed are or are likely to be suitable.
While all building legislation such as the Building Act 2004 must be complied with, the school buildings do not have to conform to Ministry of Education's design standards.
After granting provisional registration, the Ministry will advise the Education Review Office (ERO) who will then inspect the premises within the next six to 12 months and make the final assessment as to suitability.