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International Schools for Expats in New Zealand

Submitted: October 2014

The standard of education and resources offered in New Zealand in the State sector is considered to be high. The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualification is generally recognised all across Europe and in some other parts of the world. However some parents may prefer that their children attend private schools, as the move from traditional education to one which is standard and merit based may be unacceptable.

There are two kinds of schools for which fees have to be paid: private schools and International schools. Private schools usually teach the government approved curriculum, aiming to educate the children to the level required for entry into university. International schools tend to educate to international standards such as GCSE (UK) and the International Baccalaureate (IB). This article is only concerned with International schools.

In New Zealand, there are no International schools of the sort found elsewhere in the world, as in a British or an American School. The only school that specialises in the IB exclusively, without offering the NCEA syllabus is the Auckland International College.  There are several others that offer all levels of education from the Primary upwards with a choice between the New Zealand and the IB syllabi in the final two years. There is a list of these schools here. The website for the International Baccalaureate Organisation is here.

The Auckland International College (AIC) has its own entrance exam which tests children in maths and English; successful candidates will have to attend an interview before a place is offered. The AIC also offers partial scholarships every year. Fees at the AIC are set at around NZ$18,000 for tuition for New Zealand residents, and NZ$25,000 for international students. Boarding costs an additional NZ$18,000. There are also additional enrolment fees and various other costs. The AIC’s school year is based on the northern hemisphere to facilitate subsequent applications to northern hemisphere universities. They still follow the New Zealand four term model, but the start of the year is in September.

The level of fees at other private schools varies from school to school, but can be as high as NZ$20,000 per year with extra fees for children who attend on a full boarding basis. Fees can also vary widely between New Zealand resident children and those coming from abroad. Each school has its own registration requirements and may charge registration and other fees. Entry into higher education in New Zealand is generally decided on the basis of the New Zealand NCEA certificate results; however, all universities and colleges will also accept applications based on IB results.

Unlike state schools, international and private schools are free to set their own term dates, so you will have to check with the schools individually; most will have these details on their websites. New Zealand is unusual in that there are four terms in the school year. Details of the dates of the terms for state schools are here, other schools will generally have reasonably similar term dates.




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