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Change to school terms

21 May 2004

Change to school terms

State schools' terms and holidays will change from 2006, Acting Education Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

Steve Maharey said the government was responding to calls from the public and schools for the school year to begin later, for primary and secondary school years to be more closely aligned, and for all schools to finish as close to Christmas as possible.

The New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council has also indicated that there is strong support from participating secondary schools for a winter tournament week to be set aside within Term 3.

"In order to accommodate these requests, I am announcing that from 2006, the school year will begin in February, either immediately after Waitangi Day (6 February) or as close to that date as possible," Steve Maharey said.

The changes follow consultation by Education Minister Trevor Mallard with principals and teacher groups, as well as with the Secondary School Sports Council.

"Term 3 for secondary and composite (Year 1-13) schools will include a weeks holiday to enable secondary schools to take part in national winter sports tournaments.

"These changes mean that secondary schools will finish the year at a later time, and at about the same time as primary schools. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) will ensure the external National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) exams can start a week later to accommodate the change.

"This will prevent the current stop/start disruption to learning that occurs at the beginning of the year due to the Waitangi Day holiday and also prevent the half empty secondary classrooms that we often see during winter tournament week.

"It will also be a help to teachers as it means they will no longer have to prepare lessons while they are away with their sports teams, or play catch-up with their classes when they return."


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