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Cohort Entry

What Is Cohort Entry?

Waterloo School is a cohort entry school.  Cohort entry is when new entrant children start school in groups throughout the year rather than on their fifth birthday. The Ministry of Education and Education Review Office are encouraging schools to take this approach.

New entrants start school in cohorts but only after they have turned five. There are two entry points per term, one on the first day of term, and one at a mid-point during a term (usually the Monday of the 6th week).

This image shows how children turning five become a cohort group, and start school together:

Cohort Entry.jpg

If a child turns five during Week 2 of the term, they will start school at approximately Week 6. 

A child who turns five during Week 7 to 10 of each term, would start in Week 1 of the following term.

Children must be five years old to begin school (legally they don’t have to be at school until they turn six).

School visits are streamlined to work with cohort entry points.  You will receive information confirming your child's school visit dates and other relevant information closer to the time that they are due to start school. 


Cohort Entry 2024

Cohort Entry Table.jpg

My child turns 5 the day after a cohort entry date, can they begin a day earlier with the cohort?

Unfortunately not. Children in New Zealand can’t start school until they are 5 years old.

Will this affect my ECE funding (20 free hours)?

No, Children can remain at their ECE until the cohort entry date after their fifth birthday and they will continue to receive funding to attend ECE until they start school.

It is important to communicate with your early learning service so they know the school enrolment date. Please refer to the cohort entry dates.

Will my child start as a Year 1 or Year 0?

Children enrolling during Term 1 and 2 (at start of term or midterm cohorts) are considered Year One students for the year.  Children enrolling from the start of Term 3 onwards are Year Zero for the remainder of the year and become Year One students the following year.

How can I best prepare my child for school?

Our new entrant teachers are warm & friendly and our school is a supportive and welcoming environment. Although it can feel daunting sending your child off to school, there are some things you can do to help with the transition.

There is no set list of what a child should be able to do when they start school, but supporting your child to develop social/emotional and self-management skills is one of the best things you can do to help:

Social and Emotional Skills

Treating themselves and others with care - using good manners - taking turns/sharing/waiting - listening to others, speaking respectfully - confidence to have a go/try something new.


Self-Management/Personal Independence

Tidying up after themselves - taking responsibility for their belongings - carrying their own school bag (start when they are at pre-school) - opening lunch-boxes/food packets by themselves - using the toilet properly, blowing own nose - dressing themselves, putting shoes on/taking shoes off.

If you have any questions please contact Danielle on 04 939 2055 xtn 241 or email

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