What types of schools do most expats in your city choose for their children?
Education is free when children utilize state schools, but there are many private (fee-paying) schools as well.

Schooling is available to children from age 5 and is compulsory from ages 6 to 16. Average teacher: student classroom ratios range from 1:19 to 1:24 across the various year levels and school types. Both single-sex and co-education schooling options are available; state (public) schools are secular.

Primary education starts at Year 1 and continues until Year 8, with Years 7 and 8 usually offered at either a primary or separate intermediate school. Secondary education (high school/college) covers Years 9 to 13 (generally ages 13 to 17).
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What are some examples of these schools?
Popular local schools include:

  • Chilton St. James - a girls' school ranging from pre-school o through secondary
  • Samuel Marsden Collegiate School - for girls in Years One through 13
  • Scots College - for boys in Years One through 13
  • Wellesley College - for boys in Years One through Eight
  • Queen Margaret College - a Presbyterian girls' day school covering pre-school through Year 13.

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Is there a lot of competition for spots in local schools?
Yes, Wellington has very strict zoning rules for public schools. Zoning is an area surrounding a school where pupils must reside to be eligible to attend. Zoning areas should be checked with each individual school.

Though zoning rules do not apply to private schools, these institutions have limited spaces and you may be placed on a waiting list. It is important that you apply as soon as possible.
If you require assistance with school search, please contact Crown Wellington.
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Are pre-schools also widely available (for children approx. 2 to 5 years old)?
There is a vast range of pre-schools and kindergartens available in Wellington, as well as a few Montessori schools. However, these are for children aged 3 and over. It can be easier to get into a local pre-school than a private one.

For a full list of schools, please refer to the yellow pages or the Ministry of Education's website.
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How are most kids transported to and from school?
Wellington has a relatively good public transport system. However, many parents drive their children to school, especially at the primary level (Years One through Six). Most intermediate and high schools provide school bus transport. Other students commute by train from the outer suburbs into Wellington central.
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When does the typical school year start and end?
The scholastic year is divided into 4 terms. Term one runs from January to April; term two from April to July; term three from July through September and term four from October to December. The school year reflects the reversal of seasons found in the Southern Hemisphere. The year is divided into four terms with holiday breaks in between. Children arriving from the Northern Hemisphere will either lose or gain six months in their grade placement. Schools try to place a child in their closest age group. Most schools favor school uniforms for students. Students are required to purchase their own textbooks and school supplies.
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Is there anything else I should know about local schools?
Information about any school in New Zealand can be obtained from the Educational Review Office at the website listed below. The Ministry of Education uses a decile rating system for school funding purposes. Schools in decile one have the highest proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Schools in decile ten have the lowest proportions of these students. In New Zealand, schools are given a rating depending on the income of the people in the surrounding areas. The decile rating ranges from 1 (lowest income districts) to 10 (highest income district).

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) was progressively implemented between 2002 and 2004, as the national senior secondary school qualification. The NCEA corresponds to the final three years of secondary schooling (Years 11-13).

Information about the NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship can be found on www.ncea.govt.nz.
The Ministry of Education provides assistance for international students where English is not their first language. This program is called ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). It is designed to assist students in participating successfully in the New Zealand school curriculum and interacting socially with New Zealand students and within the wider New Zealand community. For further information, please visit www.minedu.govt.nz. (Search for "ESOL.")

School hours are generally from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. School hours may vary for primary, intermediate and high schools.

For any other questions, please contact Crown Wellington.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.