School starts again

The new school year begins again this week for most schools. Most primary schools start again tomorrow although the Ministry of Education website says the starting date can be any week-day from 30th January to 7th February. February 6th is a national holiday. It’s Waitangi Day. Listen to February 6th 2011 to hear about Waitangi Day.

For Year 9 students, high school can be a big change from primary school. At high school they have a different teacher for each subject and they may have some choice of subjects. For example, they may choose a foreign language. High schools are much bigger than primary schools. The biggest high school has about 3,000 students although the usual size of city schools is about 1,500. However, primary schools usually have only a few hundred children.

In Christchurch, schools still do not know how many students will return this year. Many families have left Christchurch because of the earthquake. Schools have to give the numbers of students to the Ministry of Education on March 1st.

After a year of sharing a school, Avonside Girls’ High School is back on the old site with new classrooms. However, the school could close in the future if there are not enough students. Listen to March 26th 2011 to hear about schools sharing sites.

Listen also to February 1st 2011 to hear more about the school year in New Zealand.


choice (noun) – verb: choose, chose, chosen
student – Usually a student is at high school or a tertiary institution like university.
a few – not many, a small number
site – place, land


• Note: present simple for what is usual, even if it is in the future e.g. school starts tomorrow; finishes in December (not “will start”, “will finish”)
• Note: “have to” means “must” but “have to” is more common. Perhaps this is because there is a past and future – “had to”, “will have to” but “must” has only a present tense.
• Although we do not write “the” and “of” in a date, we do say it e.g. 30th January (written) – the 30th of January (spoken)

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