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Schools in Tauranga

Schools in Tauranga

Old May 10th 2017, 7:49 pm
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Hi everyone, this is my first time on this forum so please be delicate, I am moving over to Tauranga in the next few months and will be visiting for a week at the end of May 2017 and wanted to ask if anyone could give me some advice on schools, as I am going to be very limited for time while I am there I would like to narrow it down to the best schools so that I can have a look at them and also if anyone has any idea's on schools fees, I know each school has its own fees but if anyone could give me a general idea that would be very appreciated, also if anyone is free when I am over to give any advice on family life that would be great, I have a 12 year old who is a mad footballer playing academy football here in London and a 17 year old daughter in her last year of A levels, any help would be appreciated so that I can make my trip worthwhile.
Thank you xx
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Old May 10th 2017, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Originally Posted by meggiemoomoo1234 View Post
Hi everyone, this is my first time on this forum so please be delicate, I am moving over to Tauranga in the next few months and will be visiting for a week at the end of May 2017 and wanted to ask if anyone could give me some advice on schools, as I am going to be very limited for time while I am there I would like to narrow it down to the best schools so that I can have a look at them and also if anyone has any idea's on schools fees, I know each school has its own fees but if anyone could give me a general idea that would be very appreciated, also if anyone is free when I am over to give any advice on family life that would be great, I have a 12 year old who is a mad footballer playing academy football here in London and a 17 year old daughter in her last year of A levels, any help would be appreciated so that I can make my trip worthwhile.
Thank you xx

Hi and welcome


Moving to Tauranga will surely be a grrrreat idea. We absolutely love it. Started off in Wellington but Tauranga is way way way more of what we expected NZ life to be like. Great climate, weather (if you remove the recent tropical cyclones out of the equation) and awesome beaches.


So, schools.....aaaarrrggghhh!!!


This is a good link to read. Will explain a few things :- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_New_Zealand


and a list of schools in Tauranga City Council area and Western Bay Council area :- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._Plenty_Region


If your youngest is 12, depending on their age March 31st they could be in the Intermediate years (years 7 and 8 in NZ), therefore it'd be wise to go for a school that also offers the intermediate years as well as the secondary school years, so years 7/8 through to 13 so you are not having to move them again within the year.
I've not really heard any major bad reports of any of the secondary schools in the Tauranga area.
Fees vary.
All schools will have mandatory fees to cover admin, stationary etc - maybe $250-$400 a year. Our boy is 6 and goes to Omokoroa No 1 which is an excellent Decile 10 school and we pay around $250 per year.
On top of this the majority of schools will carry a voluntary fee which is around a similar amount but isn't mandatory although you run the risk of your child being excluded from certain things if you don't pay it....I've heard this sometimes happens, but it's your call. You can also feel pressured in to fund raising for the school at events etc, but in all honesty it's good fun
Then on top of these fees the state integrated schools will have attendance fees which run in to a few $thousand per year, so in the case of Bethlehem College it is minimum $3900 per year, per child. The one fully private school ACG is between $17000 and $19000 per year, per child.


There is a mixture of school types. There is one completely private school (ACG at Pyes Pa), a couple of previous private schools that are now state integrated but still carry attendance fees (Bethlehem College and Aquinas College) and the others are state schools.
Many of the secondary schools have their own department of excellence or area where they excel - i.e. Bethlehem College is committed to Christ centred/biblically based education and pupils are taught in strict-ish Christian methods...it's not half as bad as it sounds, honestly!
Aquinas goes for the Roman Catholic Special Character and excels in sports, arts and culture. Tauranga Boys excels in sports.


Schools in NZ are much like in the UK and are zoned, but since there aren't masses of Secondary schools in an area the zones are huge, so shouldn't give you too many issues. Problems with Bethlehem College and Aquinas are that their enrollment is dependent on your religious beliefs and upbringing, whether or not you are a practicing and can gain a personal reference from a local priest etc. They do have an obligation to offer 5% of places to "not perfectly conforming" pupils/families but you'll have to go through applications and interviews etc.


So, considering costs, this may reduce your list of potential schools. If you are unable or don't want to be paying $thousands per year then you'll only be looking at State schools on the list in the Tauranga area (Mount Maunganui College, Otumoetai College, Papamoa College, Tauranga Boys/Girls). You then have to consider your child and if there's something they excel in so you'd look to send them to a school that maybe excels in that area which also may reduce your list down - e.g your son and football, you'd probably look at Tauranga Boys ?


If you wanna meet up during your visit just holler......anything for an excuse to get out for lunch/brunch/coffee
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Old May 11th 2017, 5:58 pm
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Smile Re: Schools in Tauranga

Thank you for the information, and thank you for such detailed info, its refreshing to have someone take the time to do that, with regards to coming over, when I'm in Tauranga I will contact you and would be nice to meet up.

One last question has anyone got any children my daughters age 17 as would be good for her to hook up perhaps on social media to get an idea of Tauranga from a teenagers point of view.

Thanks again xx
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Old May 11th 2017, 6:47 pm
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Great reply escapetonz we will be in Tauranga this year so will be book marking your post as a reference.

Rather concerned about the religous aspect of these schools. We are very much non religious and was hoping that this would not be an issue in NZ as it can sometimes be in the UK
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Old May 11th 2017, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Originally Posted by MrsCakey View Post
Great reply escapetonz we will be in Tauranga this year so will be book marking your post as a reference.

Rather concerned about the religous aspect of these schools. We are very much non religious and was hoping that this would not be an issue in NZ as it can sometimes be in the UK

Yeah I hear you.


From what I hear, the schools with the religious aspect to them (Aquinas College for Roman Catholic and Bethlehem College for Christian) aren't as full on religious as you'd expect them to be in actual practice, but obviously more so than a normal state school. We do hear they are more strict than a state school with strict guidelines to uniform, language and behavior etc. I'd understand how a brief scan over their websites etc could make one feel they are very religious but from speaking to neighbors/colleagues and others who have or have had children attend, the religious statement is more of a front for the school to excel in something and make it stand out from the rest of the secondary schools/colleges out there and it helps them attract their desired crowd, however, in my opinion the school still has to live by the statement that it has set for itself or it'll drop out of favor with the community it serves.
I'm led to believe their enrollment can a difficult process as the criteria for entry does assume you are a church goer etc so you need to provide evidence and have a letter of introduction/reference from a local priest etc and also pass through the interview process.


We are also in the same predicament. We are non-religious and don't have a clue how we'd ever manage to get through enrollment. At the moment, we wish our eldest to attend Bethlehem College in NZ school year 7, 8 or 9.......7 & 8 being Intermediate years and 9 being the first year of Secondary school. We have yet to decide which year we wish him to start. His current Primary school also does the Intermediate Years so it would be wise to have him remain at the same school until he has completed year 8, which also saves us a couple of years of the College fees, BUT we hear the intake applications for year 9 at Bethlehem College is always very high which may cause them to tighten the screw on the entry criteria which may not go in our favor ? We have been advised to consider early entry for him at the Intermediate years 7 or 8 when there aren't as many applications and the school is more open to accepting pupils/families who don't necessarily meet the perfect entry criteria.
We would possibly be pinning our hopes on that fact and thinking at the end of the day these schools are businesses and only survive by making money and my money is just as worthy as the next families money even though they may attend church every Sunday


Discounting ACG (which is reported to be an excellent school), simply due to the very high cost of attendance, Bethlehem College and Aquinas College are possibly the two best Secondary schools in Tauranga when considering all aspects of the education spectrum. That is the feeling I get and it is possibly due to the fact they have more funding as they are state integrated so have an income from the families who's children attend AND are also part funded per child from the government.
We are physically closer to Bethlehem College, know a good many people who's children attend, there's a school bus pretty close to us etc etc so these reasons make us want him to attend when he reaches that age, however, if he excels in something that isn't offered then I'd have no reservations sending him elsewhere as none of them have any real negatives from what we hear.
The only bad things we've heard so far :-
(1) We have been told that some boys who attend Bethlehem College rebel, reportedly because they don't accept the strict Christian upbringing of the school while they are growing through their puberty years ?
(2) There has been issues with bullying (more so than the other Secondary schools) at Otumoetai College ?
(3) Even though Tauranga Boys is a Secondary school that excels in Sports, one should consider that this school is the closest Boys Secondary State school to the lowest socio-economic areas of Tauranga, so as you would expect, the children from those areas will most certainly attend that school and not travel elsewhere regardless whether they excel in sports or not.


Luckily our boy is only 6, so we have 4/5 years to mull it over
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Old May 11th 2017, 8:03 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Originally Posted by meggiemoomoo1234 View Post
Thank you for the information, and thank you for such detailed info, its refreshing to have someone take the time to do that, with regards to coming over, when I'm in Tauranga I will contact you and would be nice to meet up.

One last question has anyone got any children my daughters age 17 as would be good for her to hook up perhaps on social media to get an idea of Tauranga from a teenagers point of view.

Thanks again xx
No problem. Happy to help as it is a bit of a minefield.


We are friends with a couple of families close by in Bethlehem - both ex pats from the UK - Leeds and Southport (although the Southport family is actually American) and they both have older teenage girls similar to yours.
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Old May 11th 2017, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Tauranga is underrated, a lot of people who move there really like it.

One note about schools - it is also an option to just put your child in the government school to start, and then move him or her to the private school after a year (or later). A lot of Kiwis do that. Kids start in the government schools and then Year 8, 9, even 10, the parent moves them to the private schools for perceived better academic or trades preparation.
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Old May 12th 2017, 10:54 am
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Hey escapetonz, we are totally in the same boat as you. Our two are in years 6 and 4 at the moment, so we will be having the intermediate school for the eldest discussion sooner rather than later.

I have to say that coming from the UK where you don't have to 'pay' for education up until 16 makes me appreciate what we have currently. Yes there is always the dilemma of choosing the 'right' school, but the added complexity of fees and costs is not one I relish.

Thanks also to Carcajou about the state schools tip.

This has been super helpful. Really appreciated guys
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Old May 13th 2017, 1:28 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Thanks for all the help I will be in Tauranga from the 27th May for a week so if anyone fancies a catch up please let me know, x
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Old May 14th 2017, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Originally Posted by meggiemoomoo1234 View Post
Thanks for all the help I will be in Tauranga from the 27th May for a week so if anyone fancies a catch up please let me know, x
Nothing much planned that weekend (27th/28th) that I know of so no probs if you wanna catch up. Working the week after but could catch up on a couple of the days in the week.
I assume you'll be landing in Auckland early morning 27th and you'll be grabbing a rental car to get to Tauranga, so if you are that day will be most likely a wash out as you'll be knackered. I guess Sunday 28th may be a good day to meet since you'll not be going looking at schools at the weekend


Just send me a PM nearer the time and we'll work something out.
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Old May 14th 2017, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Tauranga

Originally Posted by meggiemoomoo1234 View Post
Hi everyone, this is my first time on this forum so please be delicate, I am moving over to Tauranga in the next few months and will be visiting for a week at the end of May 2017 and wanted to ask if anyone could give me some advice on schools, as I am going to be very limited for time while I am there I would like to narrow it down to the best schools so that I can have a look at them and also if anyone has any idea's on schools fees, I know each school has its own fees but if anyone could give me a general idea that would be very appreciated, also if anyone is free when I am over to give any advice on family life that would be great, I have a 12 year old who is a mad footballer playing academy football here in London and a 17 year old daughter in her last year of A levels, any help would be appreciated so that I can make my trip worthwhile.
Thank you xx
Hi meggiemoomoo1234, we are looking to move to Tauranga also although not for another couple of years - waiting for the eldest daughter to finish her GCSE's although we are coming out for a couple of weeks at Easter time 2018, so would be really interested in catching up with you to see how things are going and any learning points that you may be able to pass on!
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