Homeschooling in New Zealand

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Homeschooling is legal in New Zealand. The Ministry of Education reports annually on the population, age, ethnicity, and turnover of students being educated at home. The most recent statistics show:

"As at 1 July 2015, there were 5,558 home schooled students recorded in the Ministry of Education's Homeschooling database. These students belong to 2,916 families and represent 0.7% of total school enrolments as at 1 July 2015. Out of the 5,558 homeschoolers 66.5% were the aged 12 or under, 66.6% had been home-schooled for less than 5 years, and only 4.4% had been home-schooled for 10 years or more.

European/Pākehā students are more likely to be homeschooled than any other ethnic group with 81.5% of all homeschoolers identifying as European/Pākehā compared to 52.3% of the total school population. Only 7.6% of homeschoolers identify as Māori compared to 23.6% of the total school population, 2.0% of homeschoolers identify as Pasifika compared to 9.8% of the total school population, and 2.1% of homeschoolers identify as Asian compared to 10.6% of the total school population. The ethnicity of 2.7% of homeschoolers is unknown.

Between 1 July 2014 and 1 July 2015 there was an overall net increase of 3 students; 1,032 students entered into homeschooling and 1,029 students finished homeschooling.

The average age of the 1,032 students entering into homeschooling was 8 years old, 86.6% were aged 12 or under and 1.0% were age 16 or above. Of the students entering homeschooling during the year ending 1 July 2015, 75.0% identified as European/Pākehā, 10.1% identified as Māori, 3.4% identified as Pasifika, 2.9% identified as Asian, and 2.1% of homeschoolers ethnicity were unknown.

The average age of the 1,029 students finishing homeschooling was 14 years old, 38.4% were aged 12 or under, and 24.5% were 16-years old or above. Of the students finishing homeschooling during the year ending 1 July 2015, 21.6% had been in homeschooling less than a year, 36.4% had been in homeschooling for 1 – 5 years, and 12.5% had been in homeschooling for 10 years or more. The average time spent in homeschooling of leaving students was 4.4 years."[1]

Under New Zealand law, all children aged six or over must be enrolled in a registered school unless they have been issued an exemption by the Ministry of Education (MoE). Application must be made to the MoE for a Certificate of Exemption for each child and a statutory declaration signed and sent to the Ministry every six months. In the initial application, the parent or caregiver "must satisfy the Ministry that [the] child will be taught at least as regularly and as well as they would be in a registered school.".[2] Parents or caregivers who homeschool may choose to receive a "home education supervision allowance" from the MoE for each exempted child.[3]

There are a variety of complex reasons why parents choose to educate their children at home, including wanting to customise the education to the individual child and concern or disagreement with the teaching offered by registered schools.[4] Home schooling is also done for religious reasons and for special needs children (i.e. those who are gifted, problematic or have learning disabilities).

As elsewhere in the world, home education is considered something of an alternative lifestyle. Concerns are sometimes raised about the quality of homeschooling because of the apparent ease in obtaining permission and lack of accountability of the teaching that is carried out; a lack of social interaction is also frequently cited as a potential drawback.[4][5] While official studies of the New Zealand population appear to be lacking, anecdotal evidence abounds of the quality of education attained by homeschoolers in our country, with many going on to be valuable contributors to society, easily obtaining entrance to institutions of tertiary education and receiving tertiary qualifications if they so desire. More research on the academic and social functioning of the home-educated is available internationally.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Homeschooling". Education Counts. Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Home education - for parents". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Ministry of Education". New Zealand Ministry of Education. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Roache, Leo Ernest (2009), Parental choice and education : the practice of homeschooling in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, retrieved 2012-11-11 
  5. ^ Roberts, Adam (5 July 2012). "Principals Question Lack Of Accountability In Home-Schooling". Nelson Mail. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Homeschooling research, studies, and scholarship.". National Home Education Research Institute. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 

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