Support with learning

Starting secondary school brings new challenges for young people. There will be new routines, a new campus, longer days and students will have contact with a number of teachers during the day. There may also be added pressure from larger workloads, assessments and exams. But it’s also an exciting time for young people too. There are usually more academic options and special interest groups to help your teen find their passion and plan for their future.

Planning the move to secondary school is just as important as planning those first days at primary school. You’ll want to look at all the schooling possibilities in your area and decide which is the best option for your teen and your family. And you’ll also want to make sure all the supports for your teen are in place before they start. This will include things like school modifications as well as other services and funding support.

Even in the first years at secondary school, you’ll want to start planning for the challenges of NCEA study further down the track. This will mean looking at Special Assessment Conditions that remove barriers so students with disabilities can demonstrate their learning and achieve at this higher level.

Schooling in New Zealand is compulsory until the age of 16, and many young people may choose to work or explore other study options after this time. You may be interested in reading our section on supporting adults in work and study for more information about this next step.

There are, however, provisions that allow students with special needs to remain in secondary education until the age of 21. You can learn more about these provisions at the Ministry of Education.

For most families, these secondary school years are best spent preparing for the transition to adult life. This means helping your teen to identify their long-term goals for independence and making a plan about how they can reach these goals. Learn more and get tips to help plan the transition journey.