Great lives start at Southwell

International Student Enrolments

International Student Enrolments

Southwell School is one of the leading Independent day and boarding primary schools in New Zealand and we welcome International Students at all levels of primary education, both boarders and day students.

Southwell School enrols students from ages 5 to 13 (Year 1 to Year 8) and provides an excellent education in a safe and caring environment.  The School is located in Hamilton city (population of 140,000) and is situated just a little over an hour’s drive from Auckland International Airport.

Southwell School has been hosting International Students, both boarders and day students, for over 25 years and we have excellent systems in place to ensure the students are well looked and receive a great range of opportunities.  The School has modern facilities and experienced staff. We have specialist teachers who take classes in purpose-built facilities including: Music, Performing Arts, Science, Technology, Sport, Art, Pottery and Chinese. We are also very lucky at Southwell School to have over 12 hectares of beautiful grounds and playing fields for the students to enjoy.

Southwell School follows the New Zealand Government’s National Curriculum for primary schools, but as mentioned above Southwell has the added advantage of having purpose-built facilities and specialist teaching staff to ensure students receive extra value to their educational experience.

It is an advantage for International Students to attend Southwell School before they go on to secondary school. By coming to Southwell they get to experience and adapt to school life and New Zealand culture in a smaller, caring environment and also develop their English language skills. All of this is a great help in preparing students for their secondary education.

Southwell School is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students as required by the New Zealand Government. The Code of Practice ensures a very high standard of care for International Students studying in New Zealand and all schools are monitored by the government to ensure they are complying with the Code.

The Education Review Office (ERO) is a New Zealand Government Department that is responsible for reviewing and publicly reporting on the quality of education and care of all students in all New Zealand Schools. Each school is visited and assessed by a team from the Education Review Office approximately every three years. Here is Southwell School’s most recent report from the Education Review Office.

For more information look at the menu on the left, particularly the Application Process document.
Also take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions.

Immigration Criteria

A student visa is required for international students to study in New Zealand. This can be applied for once a place has been offered by the school and the tuition fee and living expenses have been paid. New Zealand Immigration requirements state that children under the age of 10 years of age must live in New Zealand with a parent or legal guardian.

Southwell School has NZ Government approved Boarding facilities for children aged 10 years and over. However a boarding student’s parent or legal guardian must be living locally to take care of the student during Leave Weekends and School Holiday periods.

ESOL - English for Speakers of Others Languages

The subject English as a Second Language (ESOL) is available for those students who need it and each student will receive individual attention for as long as it is required.

Pastoral Care

The Associate Headmaster and International Student Director take a personal interest in each student’s well-being and are available during the school day for students to talk to. All staff members at Southwell are very caring and will happily assist any student at any time.

For further information please contact the International Student Manager:

Becky Russell

At Southwell School we believe that International Students receive excellent preparation for their secondary education.

While attending Southwell School International Students develop their English Language skills and adapt to the New Zealand culture in a smaller, caring environment before heading off to a larger secondary school. Students become familiar with a timetabled programme, examinations, homework, and have many opportunities available to them to prepare them for the future.

About Southwell School

  • For Boarding and Day students aged 5-13 years
  • New Zealand’s largest private boarding and day school for primary aged school children
  • Strong focus on Academics, Performing Arts, Technology & Sport
  • Located in Hamilton (NZ”s fourth largest city) which is only a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Auckland International Airport
  • Spacious grounds (12+ hectares) with excellent facilities and sports fields
  • A safe and caring environment

We Offer

  • Excellent preparation prior to secondary education
  • High quality education in a caring and supportive environment
  • Academic excellence
  • Specialist teachers in Science, Technology, Art, Pottery, Physical Education, Christian Education, Music, French, Chinese, Maori & Drama
  • Strong Sports programme
  • Annual Opera production
  • Private instrumental instruction
  • Extra ESOL lesons for students as required
  • Boarding facilities for 80 students
  • Boarding students may enrol from age 10-13 years (parent or legal guardian must live locally)
  • Day students may enrol from age 5-13 years
  • Small classes – staff/student ratio across school of 1:15

Care and Support for Students

  • Students have support from the Associate Headmaster and International Student Director
  • A well staffed Boarding House including a registered nurse on site during the school day
  • A full time chef and kitchen staff providing three meals per day plus morning tea, afternoon tea and supper
  • A laundry supervisor who attends to all the students’ laundry requirements

Southwell School is a signatory to the New Zealand Government’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. The Code of Practice ensures a high quality of care and protection for all International Students studying in New Zealand. The government monitors all education providers to ensure requirements of the Code are being met.

The International Student Director and Associate Headmaster are responsible for looking after the Pastoral Care of International Students and are  in constant contact with the Teaching Staff and Boarding House Staff to ensure your child is settling in well to his/her new surroundings and is starting to make new friends.

Southwell School is a signatory to the New Zealand Government’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students. For full information on the Code of Practice refer to

Boarding students have several allocated times during the week where they can contact their families.  It is easier for them to have a Cell Phone, or another device, to enable them to do this. For safety reasons phones/devices are locked away during the week and students can only use them during these set times.

Alternatively children and parents can contact each other via email or Skype anytime during the week as the school has wireless broadband coverage throughout the school 24 Hours a day.

Boarding students wear their school uniform every day during the school week so they only require casual clothes for weekends.  Three sets of casual clothing for each season is plenty. Students will need a dressing gown (bath robe) and slippers for the cooler weather (April through to September) and their own toiletries.

Please note that the school supplies all linen and bedding. Students are welcome to bring a bed cover and/or a soft toy etc from home if they wish but it is not compulsory.

If your child requires anything extra the International Student Director can help with this.

Boarders are well catered for at Southwell. We have a chef and kitchen staff that provide nutritious meals and snacks. Students should not bring food to school as it is not necessary and there is nowhere for them to store it in the dormitories.

However, students sometimes return to school with some “snacks’ from their home country. These must be handed into the boarding house staff and will be issued at appropriate times.

On arrival at Southwell international students are placed into a main stream class. We believe this gives them the best opportunity to learn and develop their English language skills.

For some students extra ESOL lessons are recommended by the classroom teacher. Those students have extra ESOL tuition timetabled into their programme each week.