What types of schools do most expats in your city choose for their children?
In Christchurch, schooling is a very important issue for parents. This is reflected in house prices in areas where the schools are highly regarded. Education is free when children utilize state schools, but there are many private (fee-paying) schools as well. There is the choice of single sex or co-ed schools in both the primary (years 1- 8) and secondary (years 9 -13) sectors.
Most expats choose the state system but, as the majority of state schools have a catchment zone, it is important to check the school zone when renting or purchasing a property if you wish your child to attend a specific school.
There are no dedicated international schools in Christchurch, but St Andrew's College does have an international school on a separate campus from the main college. Nearly all schools, whether state or private, have a mix of New Zealand and expat children.
What are some examples of these schools?
Christchurch offers a wide variety of education, including state and private schooling. Private schools can offer both traditional Christian education and alternative styles of education. There are excellent state primary schools in many of the suburbs. All state primary schools are co-educational, with a few covering years 1- 8 and the majority covering years 1- 6. On completing primary school, the children attend an intermediate school for years 7 and 8.
School hours are from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. School hours may vary for primary, intermediate and high schools.
Popular Merivale has several private schools for girls, such as Selwyn House Prep School, Rangi
Ruru Girls' School and St Margaret’s College. For co-ed, a popular school is St Andrew's College.
A popular private school for boys is Christ's College, which is situated beside the botanical gardens and Avon River near the CBD. The school is well-known for its conservative traditions and the beautiful, old, neo-gothic architecture of the original buildings.
The state schools of Christchurch Girls' High and Christchurch Boys' High are also schools with strong traditions that are very sought after, both with much of Fendalton and Merivale in their zones. Burnside High and Cashmere High Schools are the most sought-after co-ed state schools. Middleton Grange School near Riccarton is a private Christian school for years 1-13. St Bede's for boys and Villa Maria for girls are integrated Catholic schools, which mean there are only minimal fees to be paid. Christchurch also has a Steiner school.
Is there a lot of competition for spots in local schools?
Yes, Christchurch 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.
Although zoning rules do not apply to private schools, these schools have limited spaces and you may be placed on a waiting list. It is important that you begin the application process as soon as possible.
If you require assistance with school search, please contact Crown Global Mobility Services, which provides a school search program.
Are pre-schools also widely available (for children approx. 2 to 5 years old)?
There are a vast range of pre-schools, including Montessori. Public kindergartens also have waiting lists, but there is a wide range of childcare facilities in most suburbs; these are listed in the local telephone book or on the web.
How are most kids transported to and from school?
Most parents drive their children to and from primary schools; car pooling is a popular option. Most intermediate and high school students walk, bike or take the bus.
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 through 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.
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.")
For any other questions, please contact Crown Christchurch.
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.