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Students in New Zealand are supported to solve problems, process information, work with others, create and innovate. Whichever level you’re studying at, New Zealand can give you a high-quality education that will enable you to achieve your goals.

Tertiary education

Ages 18+

Higher Education

New Zealand has eight state-funded universities, 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and about 550 Private Training Establishments (PTEs), which include English language schools.

Choose the type of institution that’s best for your career path:

  • Universities offer higher degree-level education. Programmes are research-led and generally academic rather than vocational. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings, seven of New Zealand’s universities were in the top 100 in at least one subject.
  • ITPs and a few larger PTEs offer vocational degree-level education.
  • PTEs tend to offer specific vocational programmes, mainly at certificate and diploma level.

Vocational Training Institution  Universities  Institutes of Technology Study English 

Secondary school

Ages 13-18 (Years 9-13)

Secondary School

New Zealand has three types of school:

  • state schools, where 85% of Kiwi children go
  • state-integrated schools, which may be run by a religious faith or use specialist teaching methods
  • private schools.

Students at secondary schools - also known as high schools or colleges - work towards the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Secondary schools also offer some vocational subjects, such as tourism and computing.

Some schools also offer Cambridge International Examinations and International Baccalaureate programmes.

How NCEA works

www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/qualifications/ncea/understanding-ncea/how-ncea-works/

Schools 

Intermediate school

Ages 11-12 (Years 7-8)

Intermediate School

Intermediate schools are a bridge between primary school and secondary school.

Primary education starts at Year 1 and continues through to Year 8. Years 7 and 8 are offered either at a primary school or at a separate intermediate school.

Schools 

Primary school

Ages 5-10 (Years 1-6)

Primary School

Primary school students study subjects guided by New Zealand National Curriculum: English, the arts, health and physical education, languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences and technology.

Students’ abilities in reading, writing and maths are regularly assessed against expectations for their age level, as set out by New Zealand’s National Standards.

National Standards

nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/National-Standards

Schools 

Early childhood

Ages 0-5

Early Childhood

Early childhood education provides education and care for children before they are old enough to go to school.

New Zealand has more than 4000 licensed early childhood education services available, including kindergartens, childcare centres, play centres, home-based care and playgroups.

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