Education and Schools

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Whangarei Intermediate School

A simple guide to education and schools in the Whangarei District

The education system in New Zealand is largely paid for by central government. Our schools provide academic, cultural and skills based learning and technology is an integral component in the classroom. All children and students are encouraged to participate in sporting activities and our schools have excellent facilities, including comfortable green spaces, well stocked libraries, gymnasiums. Some have swimming pools.

The school year runs from January to December and is divided into four terms. The longest break happens over summer, beginning in December with school restarting in February. 

All children must be enrolled in school by the time they are 6 years old, although most start soon after their 5th birthday. Primary Schools cater for children from Year 1 up to Year 6, with most children attending an Intermediate School for Years 7 and 8. Rural schools can have classes that teach from primary to secondary students.

All Primary and Intermediate Schools are co-educational i.e. teaching both girls and boys. Secondary schools cater for children from Year 9 to Year 13. Students may then attend university or other tertiary establishments.

State Schools are funded by the Government however some private or State Integrated schools are partially or completely privately funded, and may have religious affiliations.

Early childhood education

There are many early childhood options for your child and each type has its own way of working with children and their parents. The first 20 hours per week of Early Childhood Education is government funded and largely free for children from age three until they start school.

Find an Early Learning Service in Whangarei.

Children are supervised by qualified teachers and half-day sessions are held for different age groups, starting from age three and going to five years old. There may be a small charge to attend. Find more information at the Northland Free Kindergarten Association.

Day Care Centres
Most Whangarei suburbs and communities offer privately owned day care facilities for your child. There are charges for day care, but a tax rebate may be available. Contact the IRD for further information on tax rebates.

Playcentres are run by parents and their philosophy is all about the importance of parents as educators of their own children. For more information visit Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand.

Te Kohanga Reo
Te Kohanga Reo are total immersion preschools for children up to six years, where Te Reo Maori or the Maori language is the only language spoken, for children aged up to 6 years. Te Kohanga Reo was  established in 1982 to promote, support and encourage the retention and growth of Te Reo Maori or the Maori language, recognising that quality of learning and development of mokopuna (children) comes from the collective strength of the whānau (extended family). For further information, visit Te Kohanga Reo.

Home Based Childcare Services
These services are offered in the caregiver’s home. Caregivers may be qualified teachers. Providers include PORSE , Barnardos and BJs Homebased Childcare.

Primary Schools

Whangarei has urban and rural primary schools that provide your child a great start to their education. These schools are often also the heart of their local communities. You will find a database of all Whangarei schools at Te Kite Iperangi.

Before and After-school Care
In New Zealand, children under the age of 14 must not be left alone without reasonable care and supervision. Before and after-school care is available at some schools and with some private providers. Ask your school about options that may be available.

Intermediate Schools

These schools provide Year 7 and Year 8 classes and offer core subjects and a wide range of specialist technical classes. The three located within the city boundaries are:

Secondary Schools

Secondary schools include:

Find other secondary schools in Whangarei district.

Learning Support

Learning support refers to the additional support some children and young people need to engage and achieve in education. Learning support is available in your local early childhood centre or school.  It is provided to support students, educators families and whānau in a range of different ways. Find out about Learning Support.

Blomfield Special School provides an appropriate, quality education which recognises both the universal and special needs of their students.

Tertiary Institutes

NorthTec and The University of Auckland Faculty of Education (Tai Tokerau Campus) run full degree courses in Whangarei. NorthTec offers a wide range of vocational subjects up to a Diploma level. It provides industry-focused education with flexible learning options. The University of Auckland offers a range of education and teacher training.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa is one of New Zealand's largest tertiary education providers and is guided by Māori principles and values. A comprehensive range of certificate to degree qualifications is offered including courses in small business, computing, social work, teaching, Māori performing arts and te reo Māori to New Zealanders of all ages and walks of life.

Distance Learning

Study from home through distance or correspondence learning, generally with online courses, is available through the Open Polytechnic and Massey University.

Community Education

Community Education offers a range of short courses on a variety of subjects in a fun environment. The classes usually run in the evenings and are available to adults.