About New Zealand schools
In New Zealand, primary school education covers student school year levels 1-8 (5 – 12 year olds). Secondary school education covers student school year levels 9-13 (13 – 18 year olds).
The New Zealand Curriculum and how it relates to school years
Achievement objectives within The New Zealand Curriculum (NCZ) are split into 8 levels. Each level loosely corresponds with two years at school. For example, most New Zealand students meet the requirements for NZC level 1 within their first two years of school. Students beginning secondary school – years 9 and 10 – work at NZC level 5.
This Ministry of Education diagram (at bottom of the page) shows how curriculum levels typically relate to years at school.
Levels within the Science Learning Hub
Levels used by the Science Learning Hub correspond with the broad categories of teaching in New Zealand. Our Advanced Search function allows users to filter by the following levels:
- Lower primary (school years 1-4 and student ages 5-8)
- Middle primary (school years 5-6 and student ages 9-10)
- Upper primary (school years 7-8 and student ages 11-12)
- Lower secondary (school years 9-10 and student ages 13-15)
Science education and the New Zealand curriculum
The fundamental aims of science education in New Zealand are expressed as a series of achievement aims, grouped by strand.
The Nature of Science is the overarching, unifying strand. Through it students learn what science is and how science works. The Hub has an entire collection of resources to help unpack the nature of science and examples of it in action.
The other strands include:
- The Living World – living things and how they interact with each other and the environment.
- Planet Earth and Beyond – the interconnecting systems and processes of the Earth, the other parts of the solar system, and the universe beyond.
- The Physical World – physical phenomena.
- The Material World – the study of matter and the changes it undergoes.
The Advanced Search function allows the user to filter by each of these strands.
The New Zealand Curriculum online