Understanding NCEA and When to Leave College

Are you feeling slightly overwhelmed with the different options available for students after they leave college? Even when is the best time for them to leave college? Should they stay until Year 13? Can they leave at Year 12?

As a caregiver and role model for your teenager, you want to ensure you have the right information to help them make such a big decision. Every young person is different and what works for one student, may not be the right pathway for another.

Below is some information that may help you to decide the best course of action.

NCEA Level 1: Year 11

(Equivalent to the old 5th form)

Your child will need to obtain 80 credits, including 10 credits in literacy and 10 credits in numeracy.

These can be from subjects that they study at school and any additional courses that they attend or complete via college.

These additional courses are usually called STAR courses by the college. Even if these courses have Level 2 credits, they will still go towards their Level 1 achievements.

Passed Level 1 but not wishing to return to college?

If your child passes Level 1, but is not keen on returning to college the following year, there are some further study options available for them. These study options can lead to successful career pathways in high demand employment areas.

  • They can attend a polytechnic, a private training establishment or a Wananga, to study Level’s 1 – 3. Some Level 1-3 courses may have Youth Guarantee places available or be covered under the governments Targeted Training and Apprenticeship fund, which means the cost of studying would be free.
  • There could be the option of starting an apprenticeship, but most employers and Industry Training Providers, like the students to have achieved NCEA Level 2 or a pre-trade course, before beginning in their training.

NCEA Level 2: Year 12

(Equivalent to the old 6th form)

Your child will need to achieve a total of 80 credits, but 20 credits from Level 1 go towards this. So, 60 credits at Level 2 OR higher.

If they achieve some Level 3 credits in Year 12, these can go towards their 60 credits. They also need to ensure that they have achieved the NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy credits.

Passed Level 2 but not keen to return to college?

If they pass Level 2, but don’t want to stay on at college for NCEA level 3, there are some study options for them.

  • They can enrol in a polytechnic, a private training establishment or a Wananga, to study for a certificate or diploma at levels 4-6. A certificate can take one year full time, a diploma usually 1-2 years.
  • They can start an apprenticeship with an Industry Training Provider (ITO).
If your child is interested in work experience or apprenticeship opportunities, they can contact Amanda Walters any time for further information, on 04 939 9821 or amanda@hvchamber.org.nz.