Find out about
THE KIWI SCHOOL SYSTEM
A typical school year
In New Zealand, the school year is from February to December and is organised in four 10‑week Terms. Each school Term is separated by a 2-week holiday. Term dates for the following year are fixed by each school in
Term 4. The start and end dates of each school year is set in Term 4.
In New Zealand, there are 13 school years, separated in three stages:
Children 5 to 11 years old
Primary : Year 0/1 to 6
*children can start school on their 5th birthday onward
Children 11 & 13 years old
Intermediate : Years 7 & 8
Children 13 to 18 years old
College : Years 9 to 13
* There are currently no bilingual options for college-aged kids
What school year will my child be in when we move to New Zealand?
If your children are starting school as newcomers to New Zealand, and they have already had some schooling, they will automatically be placed in the same school year as other children of the same age. Children’s levels at school are determined based on whether they were born in the first or second half of the year. For example if they are 10 years old and born in February, they will be placed in Year 6.
Note that in NZ, children start school when they turn 5 years old. Before that, they go to a kindy or daycare. Children can start school on their fifth birthday, at any time during the school year.
A typical day
School starts around 9am and finishes at 3pm from Monday to Friday and students stay at school at lunchtime. A typical day includes a fruit snack in the classroom around 10am followed by a recess (called morning tea) from 11am to 11:30am. The lunch break is from 1 to 1:40pm so there is no recess after lunch.
There are no cafeterias in NZ primary schools so children must take snacks and lunch to school.
Parents can pick up their children from school at 3pm. Most schools also have after school care facilities on school grounds from 3 to 6pm.