Southland education

Southland offers a good choice of schools and education opportunities from early childhood right through to tertiary studies.

The region's exceptional outdoor educational opportunities complement the academic, cultural and sporting curriculum.

Facilities cover every level, from early childhood education to tertiary opportunities and ongoing education for adults.

Your child can attend primary and secondary schools as a domestic student if they are:

  • a New Zealand resident or permanent resident
  • a New Zealand citizen (includes Tokelauans, Cook Islanders and Niueans), or
  • a student visa holder based on your temporary work visa.

Students who are not eligible to enrol as domestic students may be able to enrol as international students. 

Eligibility to enrol in New Zealand schools | Ministry of Education

Explore visa options to study | Immigration New Zealand 

Early childhood education

There are more than 80 options for early childhood education (ECE) in the Southland region.

There are many different types of early childhood services, including teacher-led and parent-led services.

The Ministry of Education has a guide for parents explaining the differences between the various ECE styles.

Early childhood education providers are listed on the Education Counts website. 

Different kinds of early learning services | Ministry of Education 

Playgroups

Playgroups are informal sessions where caregivers and children aged 0-5 meet together in a relaxed environment. In a playgroup, parents and caregivers stay to interact with the other adults and to play with the children.

Playgroups are usually set up and run by parents and caregivers, with children choosing from a range of activities. Activities at playgroup are either free or low cost, and may include music and singing, imaginative play, outdoor and free play, or arts and crafts.

Playgroups in Southland | Citizens Advice Bureau

Primary and secondary school

Schooling is compulsory from age 6–16.

The education system for schools is made up of 13 Year levels. Primary education starts at Year 1 and goes to Year 8 (around 5–12 years of age). Secondary education goes from Year 9 to Year 13 (around 13–17 years of age).

The school system

Find a school

There are more than 80 primary and secondary schools in Southland.

Children usually attend a school in the area where they live, this is called a 'zone'. Many schools in New Zealand limit enrolments to students who live in their zone. However, some school don't have zones.

You can find information about the schools in the region, a link to their Education Review Office report, and their zone on the Education Counts website.

You can also search for specific requirements, including if a school is single sex or co-educational, or has boarding facilities for students.

Find a school in Southland | Education Counts

Tertiary education

Tertiary options include Invercargill’s Southern Institute of Technology which offers zero-fees tuition to domestic students for many of its courses and one of the country's largest tertiary education providers Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Home | Southern Institute of Technology

Home | Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Search for a course or training provider | careers.govt.nz

Adult Community Education

Southland Education offers a range of courses community education courses. 

Home | Southland Education