Starting School at OBS


Owhiro Bay School has decided to set start dates for groups of new entrants starting school from 2019.  This is known as Cohort Entry.  Cohort entry means new entrants would start in groups at points in the year rather than being able to start on the day of their 5th birthday.

Parents still decide if their child is ready to start school and can select a starting dating that best suits their child as long as the child is enrolled and attending school by the time they are six years old.

What are the benefits of Cohort Entry?

Having tamariki start in groups (cohorts) will increase the ability of Owhiro Bay School to plan and put in place the best possible school entry arrangements to meet the needs of our tamariki and whanau.  It will allow for new entrant teachers and the school to prepare for groups of tamariki (and groups of new parents) arriving on a specific date rather than individuals on an ad hoc basis through the year.

We know that having set starting dates is a common practice in other countries and evidence shows that starting school in a group with other tamariki helps them build relationships and supports a smoother entry to school life.

Having set starting dates for school allows for more coordination between early childhood education (ECE) providers.  Together the ECE provider and school can prepare a group of tamariki as the start dates are known in advance.

Parents can still decide if their child is ready to start school and could choose a later cohort entry date to best suit their child if they felt their child was not ready to start school.

How does cohort entry work at Owhiro Bay School?

Entry at the start of term closest to the child’s 5th birthday

Groups of tamariki (cohorts) will start school at the start of the term closest to the child’s 5th birthday, or later if their parents decide.

Tamariki who’s birthday fall before the mid point of the term, can start at the beginning of the term. This means that if parents deem their child is ready they may start weeks before they turn 5.

Tamariki with birthdays that fall after the mid point of the term will wait until following term or later if their parents decide if their child isn’t ready.

The mid points are calculated between the start of 2 terms, and will be published in the education Gazette and on the Ministry of Education’s website.

For example: (using the term dates for 2019)

Entry dates Birthdays that fall between:
Term 1 – 4 Feb 2019 14 Dec 2018 – 20 Mar 2019
Term 2 – 29 April 2019 21 Mar 2019 – 10 Jun 2019
Term 3 – 23 July 2019 11 Jun 2019 – 02 Sep 2019
Term 4 – 14 Oct 2019 03 Sep 2019 – 11 Dec 2019
Term 1 2020 – 29 Jan 2020 12 Dec 2019 – 19 Mar 2020


What are the impacts of cohort entry?

Some tamariki, depending on when their birthday falls, will have to wait until they can start school. If a child’s birthday falls after the mid term dates they will need to wait until the next term to start school.

As a result there is likely to be added costs for parents to keep their tamariki in early childhood education until the next intake – however this may be offset with reduced after school care and school holiday programmes.

Adopting cohort entry also results in groups of tamariki leaving ECE providers at once and may affect enrolment patterns in those contributing Early Childhood Education providers. ECE providers may have to invest time into developing new programmes for older children.


Where do I get more information?

Checkout our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information or email us with your specific question:

You can also find out more about enrolling at Owhiro Bay School here.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is cohort entry?

Cohort Entry means that tamariki would start school in groups on set dates rather than on their 5th Birthday.

Hasn’t this all changed with the Government?

The current law allows for schools to adopt Cohort Entry policies after consulting with their community.  Under the current law students may start school before they are 5 years old.  The Minister of Education has proposed changes that would limit school entry to 5 year olds and older.  These changes have not yet been approved.

If the law changes does this make this consultation redundant?

When the board started the consultation, we were aware of the possible changes and have developed options that would work under either the current law or the proposed changes.

Why is the school using Cohort Entry?

There are benefits for both our tamariki and our school.  Under a cohort entry policy children will start school alongside other children allowing them to build relationship with other children in the similar situation.  The aim is to help children settle into school life and routines better.

Having set starting dates allows for the school plan for groups of new entrants, in some situations having improved transition plans from Early Childhood Education providers.

Are there any exemptions from having to wait until the next term?

The midterm dates are set by the Ministry of Education and there is no flexibility around these. Students may start before their 5th birthday if they turn 5 before the mid point.  In all cases parents can still decide to start their child later if they feel it is best for their child.

Can I select a later cohort if I feel it is better for my child?

Yes, parents are in the best place to judge if their child is ready to start school and can select later start date.

Does this affect children transferring schools?

No, once a student is enrolled at a school and then transfers, they are start school on the agreed date.

Does this affect my ECE funding (20hrs)?

No, ECE funding is varied until children turn 6 or they enrol in school.