Types of school

All children in New Zealand have the right to be enrolled at a state school between their fifth birthday and the first of January following their nineteenth birthday. However, depending on where you live and your circumstances, your child may attend another type of school such as a state integrated or independent school.

In New Zealand there are several types of schools that cater for Year 0-8 students. Even though two schools may be of the same type, each school may cater for different year levels. For example, some primary schools accept years 0-6, others years 0-8. Or your child might attend a composite school (or area school) which caters for students from Year 0 right through to Year 13.

In addition schools can be state-funded, state-integrated or independent/private – which affects any fees you may need to pay.

More information about school types is available in our general school type section.

Choosing a school

There’s lots to think about when choosing a school for your child – what type of school you’d prefer , whether you want to pay fees, and whether your child has any special talents or needs to support.

For a suggested checklist you can follow when choosing a school, visit our general section.

Home schooling

Parents and caregivers who wish to educate their child at home must first have approval from their local office of the Ministry of Education and prove that either:

  • their child will be taught at least as regularly and as well as in a registered school
  • their child, if they would otherwise be likely to need special education, will be taught at least as regularly and as well as in a special class or clinic or by a special service.

Parents and caregivers who home school their children are given an annual grant to help with the cost of learning materials. This can also be used to pay for teaching services from The Correspondence School.

School deciles

Deciles are a way for the Ministry of Education to allocate funding to schools fairly, based on need. Your child’s school will have a decile rating of between 1-10 and this is reviewed every five years.

Schools can also apply to have the decile reviewed in between time, if it is considered that the community has changed. Decile ratings are allocated based on the socio-economic background of students attending that school.

This information is based on roll data (student addresses) and census data. They are in no way a reflection of the standard of education your child will receive.

Content last updated: 21 May 2015