Grace New Zealand Blog

For families relocating overseas for work, educating their children is a major concern.

According to the Brookfield 2012 Global Relocation Trends report, children’s education ranked third on the list of relocation concerns

This follows ‘family adjustment’ in first position and ‘spouse/partner resistance’ in second.

Although one could argue that choosing the right school for your child can play a big factor in easing the first two concerns.

In fact, a recent article by Elizabeth Perelstein, chair of The School Choice Group, reported that many professionals are so stressed about the issue, they will not accept an overseas work assignment if concerns about their children’s education are not successfully resolved.

However, families moving to New Zealand can breathe a sigh of relief. New Zealand’s education system is among the best in the world. The 2011 Education Index, published as part of the UN’s Human Development Index, ranked New Zealand first in the world ahead of Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and France; while the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, published by the OECD, ranked New Zealand 7th in the world for educational standards.

New Zealand schools are a mix of state funded, state integrated schools (mainly Catholic) and independent private schools. Unlike in Europe and Asia, New Zealand has few specific international schools. However, schools offering the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge Exams are an option in the main cities.

The reason behind New Zealand’s high education rankings is a national curriculum that all schools, state or private, are measured against. The government’s Education Review Office (ERO) assesses each school every three years and individual school reviews are available to the public for comparison via the ERO website.

Perelstein believes parents should consider all schooling options when relocating overseas:

  • Keep an open mind and focus on your child’s strengths, weaknesses and interests rather than the school’s reputation.
  • If you have children of varying ages, consider schools which accommodate children from preschool to year 12.
  • Consider boarding schools in your home country.
  • Consider distance education – Harvard, MIT and Stanford University are among many educational institutions offering distance education for children, some as young as five.

Grace Mobility can help you choose the right school in New Zealand for your child. Our mobility program is tailored to individual needs and can include a school search for families with children. We will work with you to find a school that best meets your needs and, more importantly, the needs of your child. At Grace Mobility we continue to provide you with support up to six months after you relocate to ensure your move is a successful one for you and your family.

Schooling in New Zealand – Quick Facts

  • Schooling is compulsory for all children in New Zealand aged 6 to 16.
  • Schools are divided into primary, intermediate and secondary schools.
  • School usually starts at 9am and runs to 3pm or 3:30pm.
  • There are four school terms running from late January to mid-December with two-week breaks between them and a six-week summer break at the end of the year.