School in New Zealand

The standard of education in New Zealand is excellent. Expats moving to the country with children won’t struggle to find an affordable, high-quality school. Major cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have a broad range of schooling options to choose from.

Schooling in New Zealand is compulsory from age six to 16. Most children in New Zealand do continue to Years 12 and 13 to acquire the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The NCEA is readily accepted by overseas universities.

New Zealand follows a Southern-hemisphere school calendar, meaning the school year begins in late January and ends in mid-December. There are four terms each year, and the longest holiday periods are in July and December.

Before venturing to another country, make sure you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health cover for when you are in your home country and abroad.

Most people in New Zealand send their children to public schools, which provide a high standard of education.

Citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand are entitled to attend public schools at no cost, though schools may ask for voluntary donations from parents.

Expats in the country on a temporary visa will need to apply for a student visa for their children. The visa allows them to register as domestic students, at which point they’re eligible for free education within the public school system.

Public-school attendance is based on geographic zones. Having good public schools typically pushes up the property prices in an area. Expats should therefore consider schooling options when choosing where to live in New Zealand.

There are a range of private schooling options available in New Zealand. Private schools receive about a quarter of their funding from the government and the rest from school fees. As a result of better funding, private schools tend to offer a broader range of extra-curricular activities and better facilities than would typically be found at a public school.

For expats who aren’t planning on staying in New Zealand for long, international schools are a good option because they have the benefit of allowing students to continue following the curriculum of their home country.

There are a number of international schools that offer the US, UK or International Baccalaureate curricula as well as a small number that follow the curricula of countries such as France, Germany and Italy.

Some of the more popular international schools tend to be oversubscribed, so expats should start the application process as early as possible.

The major downside of international schooling in New Zealand is the hefty price tag. Expats should therefore try to negotiate a schooling allowance into their employment contract.