Coming to New Zealand for secondary school

Find out what to expect from New Zealand secondary school education.

Secondary school and NCEA

Secondary school in New Zealand begins in year 9. Students usually begin studying for NCEA (the National Certificate of Educational Achievement) in year 11.

In New Zealand, secondary schools are responsible for deciding which year level a student should be placed in. Schools will consider a number of factors including:

  • the student’s age
  • how many years of schooling they have completed
  • any national school qualifications gained overseas.

Secondary school and NCEA

Quality of NZ education

The New Zealand government regularly reviews education providers and their qualifications to ensure the quality of education remains high.

Quality assurance of New Zealand education

Code of practice for international students

NCEA brochures

You can read more about NCEA in our brochure, ‘Study in New Zealand: a guide for students considering secondary school study’.

The brochure is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

You can download the brochure, or order print copies from NZQA brochures and videos.

Contact us

For more information or to give us feedback, email

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