Basic New Zealand School Terms Glossary for International Students

Thursday, February 28, 2019

A short glossary of basic terms that are widely used across all New Zealand’s primary educational facilities.

1. Homestay: A form of accommodation in New Zealand where the student stays with a ‘host family’ for a weekly fee or for a one-time fee paid to the school. You can expect a bedroom in your hosts home, access to a private bathroom and the main living areas of the home. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all organised with your host family.

2. Zoning: Where your house is situated will define what school you can attend, with each campus having clearly defined ‘school zones’ that students must live within to attend that school.

3. Boarding: Another form of accommodation for New Zealand students. Schools that offer boarding arrangements allow students to stay on school grounds and live week-to-week in boarding houses (large, purpose built, dormitories or housing units on the school grounds).

4. Grounds: This is what defines the boundary of the school and how far students can travel around the campus. School grounds are clearly marked and usually students are not permitted to leave school grounds without permission during school hours. School grounds are made up of the building’s classes are taught in, sports fields and any other facilities that the school has (i.e. boarding houses, chapels, dance halls, performing arts centre’s, theatres and gyms).

5. Term: In New Zealand schools a ‘term’ is the period that classes are held between holiday breaks. Most schools have four terms throughout the school year with a two week break in between each, followed by a larger end of year break at the end of the fourth term.

6. Class: Taught in a classroom, classes comprise different lessons and subjects from a wide range of teachers. Your ‘class’ can also refer to the people in your house, form class or homeroom. This is a set group of students who meet with a specific teacher each morning to do the roll, before other classes are taken. 

7. Learner: Also known as a student, they are someone who attends an educational institution.

8. Primary: From Years 1-8 (ages 5-13) children attend primary school in New Zealand.

9. Intermediate: Most New Zealand schools have intermediate and secondary schools linked, however some intermediate schools have individual campuses to support students in the transition from primary school to secondary school. Students attend an intermediate school when they are Year 7-8 in NZ (ages 10-13).

10. Device: This is a term used to describe any digital technology such as an iPad, smart phone, tablet or laptop.

11. Social Media: The hallmarks of social media are - interactive web 2.0 Internet-based applications, user-generated content, connecting with other people/groups of people and unique user profile creation. The most popular social media platforms used by NZ students are Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

12. Decile Ratings: All schools in New Zealand are giving a decile rating. The rating is dependent on the socio-economic status of the area that the school serves. A low decile school (1-3) = most students come from communities with low socio-economic status. Highest deciles (8-10) = most students from these schools come from wealthier communities.

13. Co-educational (co-ed): These are schools that cater for both male and female students. New Zealand has a mixture of co-ed and single-sex (boys only and girls only) schools.

14. Private School (also known as Independent School): Governed by independent boards, these schools must meet certain standards set by the NZQA to be registered. These schools receive limited funding from the Government so offer high-quality education in exchange for a fee.

15. State School (also known as Public school): A fully state-funded school that charges a minimal fee for students to attend.

Who are iStudent Complaints and what can we help you with?
iStudent Complaints is an independent dispute resolution scheme established by the New Zealand Government. Our objective is to encourage swift settlement of contractual and financial disputes between international students and their providers in New Zealand. As an independent and impartial service, we are not affiliated with any Education providers.