New Zealand's education system is among the best in the world and its NCEA qualifications are recognised by universities around the globe.

The New Zealand school year is divided into four terms, beginning at the end of January and finishing early/mid December. Most New Zealand schools have a two week break at the end of Terms 1, 2, and 3. A longer 6 week break occurs at the end of Term 4.

Beginning study in New Zealand in Year 9 or Year 10 is highly recommended if students want to achieve well in senior examinations.

New Zealand Year Level USA Grade Level Native Speaker Ages* National Qualifications
Primary (Yrs1 - 6)   5 - 10 years  
Intermediate (Yr 7) 6 11 years  
Intermediate (Yr 8) 7 12 years  
Secondary (Yr 9) 8 13 years  
Secondary (Yr 10) 9 14 years  
Secondary (Yr 11) 10 15 years NCEA Level 1
Secondary (Yr 12) 11 16 years NCEA Level 2
Secondary (Yr 13) 12 17 years NCEA Level 3


* International students who do not have English as their first language can expect to be one to two years older than New Zealand students. 

For more information on the New Zealand Education system and curriculum visit the NZQA site www.nzqa.govt.nz/audience-pages/international/