The Normal School

What is a Normal School?

Normal Schools have been in existence since the 16th Century when a group of schools in France became interested in preparing people for teaching. The French concept of “école normale” was to establish schools to model best teaching practices thereby setting a standard or norm for student teachers. Setting this standard has been the function of Normal schools worldwide. Normal Schools were established in the United States, Canada and Europe. Many famous universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were originally founded as normal schools.

The 22 Normal schools in New Zealand appointed by the Government provide a major teaching practicum facility for five universities nationwide.

During the year normal schools have a number of student teachers on placement. The placement provides opportunities for student teachers and their pupils to get to know each other on a long-term basis and enables student teachers and classroom teachers to form stronger collegial relationships. In their second and third years, student teachers also spend time teaching small groups in various curriculum areas and other full-time practicum blocks.  Student teachers bring another valued perspective to our schools.

Normal and Model Schools are proud to be given this status as an exemplary school. We have a long history of school-based teacher education in New Zealand and our teachers are chosen for their expert knowledge and experience. The first normal school in New Zealand was established in Dunedin in 1876.  We also share our quality teaching and experiences with many visiting educators from around New Zealand as well as internationally. We take our close association with the universities of New Zealand seriously and know that this relationship benefits our learners and community in many ways.