Compulsory Education Age
6 – 15 (inclusive)
Home education is legal as long as home educators file a statement of intent with the Ministry of Education in order to obtain a Certificate of Exemption from the compulsory attendance law.
For students in isolated locations, or at home recovering from illness, travelling overseas or temporarily unable to attend their local school, Te Kura, the Correspondence School, provides teaching in both English and te reo Māori from early childhood to Year 13. The curriculum is provided through various electronic means and, where possible, face-to-face opportunities for students to get to know their learning advisors and liaison teachers. Te Kura also accepts dual enrolments, where a student enrolled in another school can take an option not available at their local school. Originally set up in 1922 to cater for the most isolated students, by 2009, it had about 4000 full-time students and 11,000 dual enrolments. These also included teen parents, students excluded from school, students attending regional health schools and students with special education needs. Te Kura is a state-funded school and is reviewed by the Education Review Office. Te Kura is free for 16-19 year old.
As it is compulsory for students between the ages of 6 and 15 to be enrolled in a school, it requires an exemption from the Ministry of Education to educate students at home. In July 2017, 3022 families took up this option, educating 6008 students from home. The reasons included dissatisfaction with the formal schooling system, religious or philosophical beliefs, or concern for children’s safety, for example, from bullying. The requirement for exemption is quite open although the forms require detail about the proposed curriculum, timetable and teaching space. Parents must satisfy the Secretary of Education that their child will be taught ‘as regularly and as well as in a registered school’. The Ministry of Education issues exemption certificates and advises the Education Review Office that these students are being home educated. ERO undertakes occasional reviews to ensure that students are receiving an education appropriate to their needs and that they are not being disadvantaged by being educated at home. Parents are required to update their home educating intentions every six months. A small supervisory allowance is available until the end of the year that the child turns 19. This money can be spent on anything at the parents' discretion. Students can take two Te Kura courses without losing the supervisory allowance.