In New Zealand, a state-integrated school is a former private school
which has integrated into the state education system under the Private
Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975, becoming a state school
while retaining its special character. State-integrated schools were
established by the Third Labour Government in the early 1970s as a
response to the near-collapse of the country's then private Catholic
school system, which had run into financial difficulties.
As of July 2016, there were 329 state-integrated schools in New
Zealand, of which 237 identify as Roman Catholic.[nb 1] They
educate approximately 87,500 students, or 11.5% of New Zealand's
student population, making them the second-most common type of
New Zealand behind non-integrated state schools.
5 Further reading
The Right Honourable Jonathan Hunt is credited with the idea of
integrating private schools into the state school system
New Zealand's state education system was established in 1877. Prior to
then, schools were run by church groups and other private groups. From
1852 until provinces were abolished in 1876, all schools were entitled
to receive some financial assistance from provincial governments.
Under the Education Act 1877, education became compulsory for all
children between 7 and 13 years of age and gave all children between 5
and 15 years of age the entitlement to a free and secular education in
a state-run school. The secular-education requirement arose from a
deadlock between secularist, Catholic, and Protestant MPs over how
much and what type of religious influence (if any) should be included
in state schools. Ultimately, MPs opted for the safest route by making
state education secular. As a result, both Catholic and Protestant
churches set up their own private school systems.
After the Second World War, private religious schools had to cope with
increasing rolls due to changes in the compulsory school starting and
leaving ages (the school leaving age was increased to 15 in 1944; the
school starting age was lowered to 6 in 1964) and the post-war baby
boom. In addition, private schools had to keep pace with the drive for
higher-quality facilities and smaller class sizes in the state sector,
while dealing with a teacher shortage and the increasing cost of land,
equipment and salaries. The
Catholic school system, in particular, had
to hire more lay teachers to cope with student numbers – the
proportion of lay teachers in the Catholic system increased from 5
percent in 1956 to 38 percent in 1972 – and more lay teachers meant
higher salary costs. Catholic parishes were struggling to meet the
increasing costs while keeping tuition fees down, and ultimately many
of them accrued large amounts of debt or cut costs, causing schools to
be run down. By the end of the 1960s, the
Catholic school system was
facing a financial crisis and was on the brink of collapse.
In November 1972, the Labour Party was elected to government, and
Norman Kirk immediately sought a solution to the
Catholic school funding crisis. The government determined the state
school system would not be able to cope with an influx of students if
the Catholic system were to collapse, so sought a way for the state to
assist them to keep them open. The idea of integrating private schools
into the state system has been credited to MP (and later Speaker of
the House) Jonathan Hunt, and after consultation, the Private Schools
Conditional Integration Act was drawn up. The Act was passed by
Parliament and signed into law on 10 October 1975, and came into force
on 16 August 1976.
The first private school to integrate was Wesley College, Pukekohe, in
1977. The first two Catholic schools to integrate were Cardinal
McKeefry School and St Bernard's School, both in Wellington, in August
1979. Despite the increasing urgency, it took until 1984 to integrate
every Catholic school.
State-integrated schools are established through an integration
agreement between the Crown and the proprietors of the private school
to be integrated. Each integration agreement sets out the school's
particular special character, which is usually a religious or
philosophical belief. Of the 331 state-integrated schools, 238 are
Catholic schools (i.e. Catholicism is their special character),
with the local Catholic diocese or religious institute acting as
proprietor. The special characters of the remaining 93 schools include
Anglican, Presbyterian, non-denominational Christian, Montessori and
Proprietors retain ownership of the school land and buildings, and
representatives of the proprietors sit as trustees on the school's
board of trustees. The main role of the proprietors is to ensure that
the special character of the school is maintained and preserved, and
have the authority to address problems if the special character is
With several major exceptions relating to their special characters and
their proprietors, state-integrated schools are required to operate
like their non-integrated counterparts. This includes complying
with all National Education Goals and National Administration
Guidelines ("NEGs and NAGs") set by the government, having to employ
registered teaching staff, and complying with the nationally-set
school year. State-integrated schools must follow the nationally-set
New Zealand Curriculum / Te Matautanga o Aotearoa),
but they may teach their special character within it.
State-integrated schools that have a religious special character are
exempt from the religious instruction restrictions of state schools,
and may hold religious education classes and religious services while
the school is open for instruction. At some state-integrated
secondary schools, religious studies is offered as a subject
contributing to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement
(NCEA), New Zealand's main secondary school qualification.
State-integrated schools are permitted to give preference in enrolment
to students who, either themselves or through their parents, identify
with the school's special character. Each proprietor defines what
is required for preferential enrolment. For all Catholic schools and
most other religious schools, a letter from the priest of the
student's or their parent's parish is required for preferential
enrolment, and obtaining such a letter usually requires a certain
commitment to the religion, e.g. Catholic priests usually require a
minimum of the student's (or at least one of their parent's) baptism
into the Catholic faith. Schools may admit a limited number of
non-preference students (usually no more than 5–10% of their total
roll) after all preferential enrolments, up to the maximum school roll
set in the school's integration agreement.
State-integrated schools are allowed to charge a fee to parents of
students known as "attendance dues". The Crown does not own the school
land or buildings and do not fund their capital cost to maintain
separation of church and state, so proprietors are permitted to charge
attendance dues to keep the school up to the standard of an equivalent
state school and to help pay off any debt accrued by the school before
it was integrated. Proprietors cannot charge attendance dues for more
than the amount set for their school and published in The New Zealand
Apart from attendance dues, state-integrated schools like other state
schools are not allowed to charge fees to domestic students (i.e.
New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents –
the latter includes all Australian citizens), but commonly request
voluntary donations to top-up funding from the government and
A survey of 25 state-integrated secondary schools by North & South
magazine in November 2011 found the attendance dues generally ranged
from NZ$240–280 per year for Catholic schools in
$740 per year for Catholic schools in Hamilton, and from $1,150 to
$2,300 per year for non-Catholic state-integrated schools. Requested
donations at the surveyed schools varied from $140 to over $3,200.
As a comparison, the largest donation requested by a non-integrated
state school is $975 per year.
^ Figures derived from the "
New Zealand Schools Pivot Table 1996-2016"
spreadsheet available at
^ a b Cook, Megan (13 July 2012). "Private schools, 1820s to 1990s".
Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 30 October
^ "Ministry of Education, "Number of Schools"".
www.educationcounts.govt.nz (Excel pivot table). Retrieved
^ "Roll by Authority & Affiliation – 1 July 2013". Ministry of
Education (New Zealand). Retrieved 9 November 2013.
^ a b c d e Lynch, Patrick J. (24 July 2012). "A Brief History of the
Integration of Catholic Schools in
New Zealand into the State System
of Schools" (PDF).
New Zealand Catholic Education Office. Retrieved 31
^ Swarbrick, Nancy (13 July 2012). "Primary and secondary education
– Education from 1840 to 1918". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New
Zealand. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
^ Section 1, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ "Number of schools by Affiliation & Authority – 1 July 2013".
Ministry of Education (New Zealand). Retrieved 9 November 2013.
^ Section 3, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ Section 4, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ Section 31, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ Section 32, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ a b c Wade, Joanna (November 2011). "Brand Catholic: a (not so)
private education". North & South: 40–50.
^ Section 29, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ For example: "Enrolment Criteria". Villa Maria College,
Christchurch. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
^ Section 36, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ Section 35, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975
^ "Section 2: Interpretation – Education Act 1989 No 80 (as of 4
October 2013) –
New Zealand Legislation". Parliamentary Counsel
Office (New Zealand). Retrieved 4 November 2013.
^ MacGregor, Rob; Jancic, Boris (29 June 2013). "'Free' school costs
almost $1,000 a year". The
New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 November
"Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 No 129 (as at 8 July
New Zealand Legislation". Parliamentary Counsel Office.
Retrieved 30 October 2013.
Rory Sweetman, A Fair and Just Solution? A History of the Integration
of Private Schools in New Zealand, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North,
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