Auckland’s public schools are generally very good and are supposed to be free, however, between the cost of uniforms, books and materials and “school donations”, you will likely pay upwards of $600 a year per child in primary and intermediate school, and up to $1000 a year or more for secondary school.
Auckland’s best schools include:
- Auckland Grammar School (boys only), Newmarket – http://www.ags.school.nz
- Epsom Girls Grammar School, Epsom – http://www.eggs.school.nz
- Macleans College, Eastern Beach, Howick – http://www.macleans.school.nz
- Rangitoto College, Mairangi Bay, North Shore – http://www.rangitoto.school.nz
A comprehensive list of Auckland schools, public, private and independent, can be found on the Wikipedia page List of schools in the Auckland region.
If you live within a public school’s zone, they must, by law, admit your child, provided he or she is a legal New Zealand resident. However, most schools – especially the very desirable schools – require a substantial amount of proof that your child does, in fact, reside in their area. You will need to provide proof of address, proof of identity including your child’s passport and residence visa, and it will likely all have to be officially witnessed and signed by a lawyer. Lawyers do not charge for this service.
Your child may also apply to attend a school out of his or her zone. Applications in this case are considered like applications to private school, and students will be selected based on academic ability, athletic ability, diversity issues and other factors that are up to the school’s discretion. Foreign students can also attend whatever public school they like for a fee, as International Students. These fees are generally comparable with private school fees of around $10,000 a year.
The school year begins at the end of January, and most schools expect enrollment materials for the following year’s term at the beginning of September. These materials are just a general application providing your child’s and your personal data.
If you move to New Zealand in the middle of the school year, the school in your district is legally required to admit your child, even if this does not conform to their timetable. Top schools like Auckland Grammar may give you the run-around as many out-of-zone parents try to “sneak” their children in by nefarious means, so the schools have now increased the amount of checking that is undertaken for each application. Be persistent, get your papers in order, and your child should be admitted to school within a week or so.