Things parents often ask about

Deciding on Year levels

1. First a bit of history

In 1934, the NZ government through the Director of Education Dr Beeby, abandoned the system of requiring children to pass a test in order to move from primers (where children were “primed” for education) to Standard One and then continue to pass tests to move to Standard Two and so on with proficiency test at the end of Year 8 for children to go on to secondary school. Instead he introduced School Certificate and introduced the concept of social promotion whereby children moved through school based on their age not on their learning ability. This was in part a decision based on social equity because of the number of older students, mainly boys, who, in the prior system, never left the primers.

2. Today

82 years later, NZ schools use the same social promotion system – even though ironically we now have National Standards but these are not tests and don’t stop children moving through the school. The only real difference is that we no longer call the classes Standard One but instead use Year 1, 2 and so on.

3. The complication is

Children in NZ

  • are born though out the year and not all on the same day, and
  • start school on the 5th birthday rather than in on or two intakes per year as in many other countries

4. To guide schools on classification by age, the Ministry of Education sets guidelines

  • Year 1, birthday         1 Jan and 30 June
  • Year 0, birthday          July 1 to Dec 31

In practice this means children starting in say February would have a year as a Y1 and a Year as a Year 2- to build a good foundation for future learning.

1 Jan                                                          1 July

Year 1
Year 2


But if a birthday falls on the 29th June, a child could only have 1 and ½ years at Y1 and 2

1 Jan                                          1 July                                           Dec 31

Year 1
Year 2


However, if a child is born after 1st July, the child is classified as a New Entrant and will be a Year 1 the next year. This means a child born turning 5 say on the 2nd July would get nearly 2 and a half years in Year 0, 1 and 2.

1 July

Year 0
Year 1
Year 2


5. So, can we extend the time for children who are only getting close to 18 months as a Y1/2 student?

While a month or two won’t make any difference long term, schools do have the discretion to give children born between 1 May and 30 June and are already in Year 1, an opportunity to have an extra year as a Year 1 the following year.

This will be decided at Parnell School through discussion with the parents and Y1 teacher. These discussions will be held in September and October each year. If this is your child, and we haven’t contacted you, please call us.

6. Will this mean my child will repeat learning from the previous year?


The extra time is NOT holding a child back to repeat a year. There has not been a year level syllabus since social promotion came in – instead teachers teach children what they need to learn next from a continuum of curriculum objectives and learning experiences that spreads across y1-13.  Children will not repeat work but continue their learning journey regardless of their Year level.

7. So won’t this mean child will all be at different levels of learning in one class?


This is in essence a key teacher task – to cater for the range of abilities in their class whether it is a one class country school Y1-8 or a city single year class. All teachers are professionals who are trained to cater for the different abilities in their class.

8. Please note

The only reason for considering this is for social maturity NOT academic reasons

9. Here is a Ministry guide for other age groups

In general, we stick to the classification children come to us from other schools and use the  guide below for new arrivals into NZ using the same discretionary period. If you believe your child is classified incorrectly, do let us know and we will check this. Again remember consideration is only based on age not learning ability. Also note, that children can find a re-classification very difficult when they are older and needs extra special consideration.


Born between 2016 2016
*1 Jan – 30 June 2011 Year 1 1 July  -Dec 31 2011 Year 0
*1 Jan – 30 June 2010 Year 2 1 July -Dec 31 2010 Year 1
*1 Jan – 30 June 2009 Year 3 1 July -Dec 31 2009 Year 2
*1 Jan – 30 June 2008 Year 4 1 July -Dec 31 2008 Year 3
*1 Jan – 30 June 2007 Year 5 1 July -Dec 31 2007 Year 4
*1 Jan – 30 June 2006 Year 6 1 July -Dec 31 2006 Year 5
*1 Jan – 30 June 2005 Year 7 1 July -Dec 31 2005 Year 6
*1 Jan – 30 June 2004 Year 8 1 July -Dec 31 2004 Year 7
1 July-Dec 31 2003 Year 8


*Children May-June may be classified into the second set as indicated in 5 above

Keeping up with changes in law changes and updates that affect schools

Recent changes ad new laws have meant the school has been very busy in revising and updating school policies and procedures. These include:

Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014

Child protection policy and procedures Mandatory from 1 July, 2016- an update from the former Child Abuse policy with more comprehensive sections on employment of staff and police vetting of staff, contractors and volunteers can be found here as well as on the Board pages>Policies>NAG 5.1


Health and Safety in Employment 2015 In force from April 4, 2016

  • Review of all policies and procedures. These have been passed by the Board and posted on the school website on the Board page>Policies>NAG 5.
  • Re-establishment of the Health and Safety committee. This committee have agreed to highlight one policy or procedure every week or so. In the spirit of everyone being responsible for safety, we hope parents and staff will suggest updates and clarification as part of an actively involved community.


Updated Code of Practice for International students

The Code has become less prescriptive yet has a stronger focus on Health and Safety. Enrolment< International Students<Code


Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015

The school has undertaken a review of


Updates to the Education Act 1989 Amendment

Underway currently and likely to be in place mid-2017.  Read more about this bill at