Enrolment, attendance, and the school system

Your right to education

Who has a right to free state education in New Zealand?

Education and Training Act 2020, s 33

If you’re a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident here, you have the right to free education at state schools from your fifth birthday until the end of the year that you turn 19.

Can I go to any school I want?

Education and Training Act 2020, ss 74, 191(3)

No. Some schools have an “enrolment scheme” which means you only have an automatic right to go there if you live in the school’s home zone. If the school doesn’t have an enrolment scheme, anyone can attend. For more information, see the section “Enrolment schemes”

Also, girls don’t have a right to go to boys-only schools, and boys don’t have a right to go to girls-only schools.

For information about how this applies to transgender and gender diverse students, see “Rainbow rights

If I have a disability, does that affect my right to education?

Education and Training Act 2020, s 34

No. If you need learning support (used to be called “special education”) because of a disability or some other reason, you have the same rights to go to state schools as other students.

For more information, see “Learning support

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Enrolment, attendance, and the school system

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