The school year starts this week after the long summer vacation. Some schools opened yesterday; however, it was Auckland and Nelson Anniversary yesterday and about half of all New Zealanders were on holiday. Many primary schools and high schools started today. Our school year begins at the beginning of February and ends a few days before Christmas in December. Primary schools are open for 190 days a year and high schools for 185 days. Primary schools are usually open from 9am until 3pm. High schools start the day earlier – some start before 8.30am – and may finish later than 3pm – some finish around 3.30pm.
Most children who are now five years old, started school last year on their birthday. However, children who turned five during the summer break will go to school for the first time this week. New Zealand has an unusual custom: five-year olds start school on their birthday or when school opens again. Teachers seem to like this. They say that new children learn what to do by copying what the other children do. Children seem to like the idea of starting school on their fifth birthday. This birthday is a very special one. A child who has a birthday in the middle of the year probably stays in Year 1 for one and a half years but that depends on the school and the child.
In New Zealand, high school is from Year 9 to Year 13, from age 13 to 18 in most cases. School is compulsory from the age of six to 16.
School is free and text books are free but there are always extra costs – for uniforms, school trips and a voluntary donation which varies from about $50 in some schools to more than $400 in other schools.
What age do children start school in your country?
Is high school free in your country?
Do parents pay for textbooks?
Do primary school and high school students wear uniforms in your country?
Note the idiom: turn five
It’s just another way of saying become five years old on that day.