The cost of NZ secondary school education depends greatly on the following:

  • whether or not you choose to send your teenager to a state, integrated or independent school,
  • what subjects they choose to take in the upper levels of school,
  • whether or not outside of school tutoring/assistance is opted for,
  • sports and co-curricular activities your teenager chooses to take part in.

Here’s an indication of what costs you can expect:

Costs relating to…

State Schools –

In New Zealand education provided by state schools is free. The right to free enrolment and free education means that a board of trustees may not make payment of a fee a prerequisite for enrolment or attendance. Schools commonly ask for you to pay school fees or donations which will contribute to the everyday running costs of the school. These are a voluntary payment.

Other costs you may be required to meet are –

  • Activity/Event charges – there may be opportunities for your child to take part in learning experiences that are optional and you may be asked to pay for these. These activities may be class trips, special projects requiring extra resources, music lessons and so on.
  • Learning equipment – you will need to pay for the equipment your child needs in order to learn on a daily basis. This includes books, pencils etc.
  • Uniform – if the school your child attends has a compulsory uniform you will need to pay for this.
  • Others –From time to time you may be asked to contribute items for class projects. This may be a vegetable or two for a class pot of soup or may be a piece of fabric to make a costume.
  • Mufti days – if your child is required to wear a uniform to school they may also have mufti days. Students are asked to make a donation on these days for school fundraising or for a charity.

If you are asked to pay a school donation and are unable to you need to speak with the Principal of the school. If you are unable to meet any other costs of sending your child to school you may be entitled to financial support. (www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz)

Integrated Schools –

If you choose enrol your child at an integrated school you will be asked to pay what is called an ‘Attendance Levy’ or ‘Attendance Due’. Because the land and buildings integrated schools use is privately owned these schools are able to charge ‘dues’ to meet costs of maintaining their property.

You may also be asked to meet other educational costs such as those outlined in the state school costs above. These are things like activity/event charges, learning equipment, uniform and other learning related costs.

Independent Schools –

If you choose to enrol your child in an independent school there will be tuition fees you must pay. The amount of these fees will depend greatly on the school you choose, but you can expect them to be anywhere between $5,000 and $13,000 a year.

& Other costs …

Subject choice –

Some subjects offered at secondary school attract higher ‘activity/subject fees’. This may be because they required specialized equipment or resources or because they require the use of an alternative venue, and hence possibly the need for transport to and fro.

An example of a subject that may attract extra costs would be photography. Cameras, photographic paper, film, chemicals and solutions to do with dark rooms and so on may all be additional costs that you need to meet.

When it comes time for your teenager to choose subjects, ask him/her to request a list of subject related costs. Then brace yourself!

Outside of school tutoring or assistance –

There is a real trend towards students seeking help academically from sources outside of their school. This is generally in the form of tutoring from a private run, commercial service or from a teacher who offers their academic services outside of school hours. Costs vary depending on the service you choose but expect to pay somewhere between $25.00 per hour to $45.00 per hour.

Sports and co-curricular activities –

These too can attract high cost. Sports for example requires uniforms to be bought; specialized equipment in the form of boots, hockey sticks, tennis racquets; team subs; trips to & from sporting fixtures. Make sure again that you research the costs involved before you agree to the third winter sport!


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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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Hi, how about some examples of what a uniform costs. How much for books and a rough average cost for extra activities? Also, don’t most High Schools want students to have a laptop or similar? Thanks Richard

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