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Choosing primary school NZ

(4 Posts)
Mislou Tue 16-Feb-16 20:57:26

Is there anyone here who can tell me if this is how it works here. I've been in NZ for years now but imagined the whole school choosing thing would be a bit like the UK.
-Visit some local schools, choose the one that suits my child best , then go either to the one I'm in zone for , or apply for out of zone ones by balllot. So, this was my plan. However, I'm finding that schools won't let you even visit until the child is almost 5. We moved last year and the local school had this certain open plan teaching set up rather than classrooms so I was really interested to see how it worked but was told I could only come when I enrolled my child, close to her 5th birthday .
In our new Area we have 3 schools nearby and my daughter is turning 5 in 7 weeks . I have rang the local school a few times and again today and they tell me Its too early to come to the school for a look around. I'm getting a bit panicky to be honest, as I don't see how I can choose a school and do the interviews and weekly visits we're supposed to do before she turns 5.I want to know is this normal ? Or have I been reading too much mumsnet, thinking I need to visit schools before carefully choosing?

beachhaven Wed 17-Feb-16 07:13:22

My experience of NZ schools is that they are all tightly zoned unless you choose a faith school. So really you don't have a choice (in my city, anyway). You go to the local school, end of. Most schools don't even get to Ballot stage as they are full (but if you move in zone, automatic entry). I think it's a bit weird that they won't let you visit, most schools here have kindy kids visiting weeks/months before they start school.

Are you strictly zoned where you are? Maybe they think there is no need to visit the school if you are in their zone I.e know you have to attend there rather than having a choice so to speak. I would try and push it with the school, put it into a polite email. You surely need to clarify, or does your child just turn up when they're 5.

As for UK schools, I don't think many people visit schools and choose per se. I don't know anyone who has been able to do this in the UK. Many schools are over subscribed and getting into a 'good' school is often a fraught, lengthy and anxious process.

TheDowagerCuntess Wed 17-Feb-16 07:22:21

You will generally default to the geographically closest school, unless you're paying to go private. You can try to go into a ballot for an out of zone school, but you'd be unlikely to get in.

I suppose it does depend on which decile the school is, but most people want their DC to go to the local school, to be geographically close to it, and to be part of the immediate community/neighbourhood.

And yes, because of this, the classroom visit usually only takes place once your child is actually enrolled. Having said that, no school should be turning you away from having a more high level visit where you might walk around and have a chat with the principal, if not actually sit in on a new entrant class.

If you click on the 'find a school' tab on here, you'll be able to find out some general info about the schools you're interested in - their website, National Standards results, ERO reports, etc.

Mislou Thu 18-Feb-16 09:32:41

Thanks so much for your replies. I am reassured. Am going to relax, and just wait for the call .We're in zone for the one all the kids on the street go to, and they're all really nice, so I have a good feeling about it.

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