Previously known as Chartwell School, our school opened in 1970 to serve the two young suburbs of Chartwell and Crofton Downs, between Ngaio and Wadestown. Opening with 64 students, it was, as one very involved former parent describes, “relatively small with a cosy, family atmosphere"*, like most of our good schools” at the time.

In the 1981, this small school led the world with the introduction of a new concept in bicultural education. Chartwell School became a joint Japan-New Zealand education venture, catering to the growing number of families of Japanese business people in Wellington.

Established by the governments of the two countries, it was the first joint venture school in the world. The Japanese children spent their mornings learning the Japanese curriculum with their own teachers, and joined New Zealand classes in the afternoon. The New Zealand children, in turn, had the opportunity to learn Japanese language and culture.

The joint venture continued until 1998, and out of it has emerged a broad multiculturalism at the school. Through the close relationship that continues with the Japanese community, students still learn Japanese language and culture as part of the school curriculum.   This is achieved through opportunities provided by both the Japanese School and Crofton Downs Primary School.  We aim to have these opportunities twice a year, dependant on parental and teacher support.

In 2008, the school changed its name to Crofton Downs Primary School to better reflect its surrounding community, which has become more widely known as Crofton Downs.

Today, between 170 and 185 children attend the school, and the strong feeling of togetherness and the family-like atmosphere the school began with continues.




*quoted from former parent Allan Levitt’s forward to the Chartwell School history, published in 1995. Allan Levitt was a sociologist and a prime mover behind the establishment of the joint venture at Chartwell School.