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Enrolling at a School

Enrolling at a School

This section contains information about enrolling into a school.

Can I enrol at my local public school?

Yes, provided the school has capacity to take you, and you meet the following criteria:

  1. Residence:(either a New Zealand Citizen or Residence class visa holder), AND
  2. Age:(between 5 and 19 (21 in some cases) AND
  3. Zoning requirements: (you must be ‘in zone’- if the school you want to enrol at, has a school zone).

Sometimes there are extra requirements to be able to enrol at a school other than a public school. For example integrated schools or special character schools. If you intend to enrol at an integrated or character school you are required to abide by the requirements of that school.


Are there any times when a school can refuse to enrol me?

Yes, if any of the following apply to you:

    • You have been excluded or expelled from your last school/previous schools; OR
    • The school you want to enrol at is a private or integrated school or special character school or specialist school and you do not meet their criteria; OR
    • The school has been established for a specific purpose which does not apply to you (for instance, attending a boys’ school when you are a girl); OR
    • You do not live within the school zone of the public school; OR
    • You are 20 years old or older.


Can a school refuse to enrol me because I have disabilities?

No, a school cannot refuse to enrol you because you have a disability, or disabilities. Under the Human Rights Act 1993, it is unlawful for any school to refuse to enrol you based on disability.

Can my school review or annul my enrolment?

Yes, your school can review or annul your enrolment if you:

  • were enrolled at the school because you were considered to be ‘in zone’ but the school later (and reasonably) believes you were using a temporary address to get into the school (e.g. living somewhere in zone for a short time to get enrolled at the school, and then moving out of zone); OR
  • You provided false information (e.g. gave a different address to get enrolled into the school).

If you feel you are being treated unfairly, give YouthLaw a call and we can talk to you about your rights.

When don’t I have to attend school full-time?

You don’t have to attend school full-time if you have:

  • A well-being plan, OR
  • A transition plan, OR
  • You attend secondary-tertiary programmes and have multiple timetable arrangements.

Can I enrol in an out of zone school?

Generally, you won’t be accepted into a public school if you live outside of that school’s zone.  However, you may be able to apply to enrol as an out of zone student. Schools that accept out of zone students hold ballots for out of zone applications in the second half of the year for the upcoming year. Under the law, every school must prioritise the ballots according to the rules set out in the Education and Training Act 2020, which you can find here.

To find out more about applying out of zone, you should contact the out of zone school you wish to apply to.

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