Types of Independent Schools


An increasing number of ISNZ Member Schools have preschools (for children aged 2 to 5 years) attached to them in recognition of the importance of early childhood education. Many have specialist subject teachers with preschool training. Schools with preschools usually hope that parents will send their children on to the primary school. Most do so but there is no obligation.

Primary/Preparatory Schools

Years 1 to 8 (aged 5 to 12 years): ISNZ Member Schools are characterised by a wide range of learning styles, all aimed at maximising the individual child’s reading, writing, numeracy, thinking, sporting, cultural and social skills. Children are also encouraged to participate and do well in a wide range of co-curricular activities. Some primary schools may admit students only at Years 4 or 5 to Year 8.

Composite Schools

A number of ISNZ Member Schools admit students at different levels. Those which include some primary and secondary students are known as composite schools. These may include preschool or Year 1 to Year 13, or Years 7 to 13.

Secondary Schools

Years 9 to 13 (aged 13 to 18 years): Students are encouraged to "stretch" themselves in all areas of endeavour. The schools aim for greater personalised attention in a supportive environment that inspires lifelong learning and maximum utilisation of talent. As well as academic excellence most also support a co-curricular programme in the local community.

Day and Boarding Schools

Some schools are day schools only while others provide boarding facilities. These range from weekly boarding for those parents who wish to have their children home in the weekends, to full boarding for parents who wish their children to experience full boarding school life. This may be the only option for those who live in outlying rural areas. Most children enjoy boarding enormously. There are many facilities and friends of the same age that help make living away from home more enjoyable. Students learn self-confidence, independence and how to live with others in a community where certain standards are necessary and accepted. At all independent boarding schools the boarding houses are an integral part of the school. ISNZ Member Schools all support the Code of Practice for Boarding Houses and the Pastoral Care for International Students.

Single Sex and Coeducational Schools

Depending on the location, parents and children are able to choose an appropriate option to suit their child’s needs and preference. Some schools are co-ed with separate classes for boys and girls, others are coeducational at Years 12 and 13 only. There are several girls-only schools but most of the previously boys-only independent secondary schools are now coeducational for all or some years except for Christ’s College (Years 9 to 13), Dilworth and Scots College (Years 1 to 13).