Which school your children attend is sometimes dictated by the area you live in, known as school zones.
For some parents in New Zealand, school zoning is an important thing to consider when deciding where to buy or rent. This is because our free state-funded education system is designed for students to go to a school within the zone that they live. If you would like your child to attend a particular school, like an all-boys or all-girls school, the surest way is to live within the area covered by the school's zone.
Zoning applies only to state-funded schools - which is the majority of schools in New Zealand. Private schools are not zoned, but they are also not government funded. They charge set fees - typically around NZ$20,000 a year.
Culture and Character
New Zealand's education system is reliable and fair. The Education Review Office (ERO) reports on every school, checking standards and delivery of education. There is a common set of subjects and standards across all the schools the students are measured on. But every school has its own character and culture.
Private Schooling enables groups with common views to choose and promote their shared values, and offer specific courses that may not be available nationally.
Most New Zealand parents find their local in-zone schools work well for them. But if you have a strong or specific idea about the kind of school you want you children to attend, contact and talk to someone from the school you are looking at. They can best say what makes the school unique and special.
Partnership (formerly Charter) Schools
A third option for some parents may be available through a small number of schools that have been set up in conjunction with local businesses and communities, to enable the well-managed trial of alternative education styles. A new government policy is revising how these schools are funded - however, this will not impact on their continued operations day to day.
The Ministry of Education
Education is a government priority. The Ministry of Education website has detailed information for parents, caregivers and students. Visit Education.govt.nz
Education.govt.nz's main page for parents is parents.education.govt.nz. Here you will find a school zone finder, ERO reports, news, important dates like school terms, support and advice for parents of children of all ages, and explanations of our exam systems - it is an excellent resource, worth visiting.
Where the line is on a map can make a big difference. If being able to go to a particular school is important, it is a good idea to check that zone.
In this example the school zone for Wellington Girls College covers a large part of the city - but not all. A new family in Roseneath or Miramar might be surprised to learn their suburb is "not in zone".