Primary education

At primary level, children are placed in a wide variety of learning situations. They are usually based in one classroom and may join with other classes for some activities. Class sizes vary but are generally smaller in the junior school. The primary school day typically begins at 9.00am and finishes at 3.00pm, with breaks mid-morning, lunchtime and occasionally mid-afternoon.

New Zealand families can choose between state and state-integrated schools funded by government, or private schools, which charge fees.

  • A typical primary school in New Zealand educates students from year 1 to year 8, an age range of 5 to 13
  • A contributing primary school caters for children from years 0 to 6, age range 5 to 10. Students then move on to intermediate school
  • Intermediate schools educate year 7 and 8 students, age range 10 to 13
  • Middle schools educate students from year 7 to year 10, age range 10 to 14
  • Area or composite schools educate students from year 1 to year 13, age range 5 to 18.

Māori and Māori-speaking teachers and teachers from Pacific cultures are in demand across the whole schooling sector, including primary.

If you are considering a career as a primary teacher click here to learn more and explore your study options.

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