Only Half of students regularly attended school in New Zealand

Only Half of students regularly attended school in New Zealand

Forget the politics.  This points to a breakdown that was made worse by Jacinda Adern teaching children how to avoid school.

Also factor in the vaccination and a breakdown in health.

Canterbury records alarming rates of school attendance – Prime Minister faces scrutiny over the shocking data

Chris Lynch

Attendance data from Term 4 2022 shows that Labour has barely made a dent when it comes to getting kids back to school according to National.

It follows news out today also revealing that a record-high number of primary school children are not enrolled in the country’s formal education system.

Nearly 10,000 5 to 13-year-olds are currently not enrolled as of 2022, a significant increase from just over 6,300 the year before according to figures provided to Newstalk ZB.

The biggest percentage increase in the country has been reported in Canterbury, which saw a 408% increase in non-enrollments in the year leading up to 2022.

Education Minister Jan Tinetti was asked to comment on the latest figures, but her office said she was overseas and unavailable.

Speaking about attendance data from Term 4 2022, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford said “today’s data showing that half of Kiwi students did not attend school regularly in Term 4 last year shows that Labour is failing to get on top of New Zealand’s low school attendance rates.”

She said “our kids need to be at school every single day if they are to receive the education necessary to live the lives they want.

This is especially the case for learners from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who rely on education to change their circumstances.”

 “The Education Minister continues to blame low attendance rates on Covid, but the reality is that unjustified absences have reached an all-time high.”

“Instead of focusing on improving attendance rates, during its time in office Labour has hired an additional 1,500 head office staff at the Ministry of Education.

Only recently, after five years of decline and under a mountain of political pressure, did the Government find the resources for 82 attendance officers scattered across the country.”

“Labour is delusional if it thinks 82 attendance officers – each covering 31 schools and 10,000 students – will make a meaningful difference to attendance rates.”

 “Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said in a speech today that education is the “bedrock of our egalitarian society and the great equaliser”.

“The reality is that, under his watch as Education Minister, attendance rates in decile 1 schools fell to less than half that of decile 10.”

 “Labour has failed a generation of children with its misguided approach to education that has seen achievement in the basics plummet, in addition to abysmally low attendance.”

 “National would hold itself, schools and parents accountable for ensuring that kids are regularly in school.”

 “National would also ensure that the Ministry of Education publishes better data in real-time and that every school’s data is published online every term.”

 “Attendance is a complex problem that needs smart, individualised solutions. National will shift resources from back-office bureaucrats in Wellington to the frontline, so schools have the support they need to give every child the opportunity to benefit from a world-class education.”

School attendance: Half of students regularly attended school in term 4

Just over half of New Zealand school students regularly attended school in term 4 last year, figures released today show.

While that’s an improvement on the preceding terms, it remains lower than the same time in 2021 when 65 per cent of students regularly went to school.

The Ministry of Education said the main driver of the 50.6 per cent attendance rate continued to be Covid, resulting in higher levels of absence for both students and staff.

Regular attendance is defined as attending greater than 90 per cent of class time or missing no more than one day each fortnight.

School attendance hit a record low in term two last year – the peak of the Covid outbreak – with only 40 per cent of students regularly going to school.

The figures were slightly better for term 3 with 46 per cent of students regularly attending class. That was down from 63.1 per cent during the same period in 2021.

Chronic absence – attending class 70 per cent or less – remained stable, with 12.4 per cent of students in that category in term 4 compared to 12.8 per cent of students in term 3 last year – up from 8.8 per cent in the same term in 2021.

The Ministry of Education said term 3 and 4′s figures were driven by the high prevalence of Covid-19 in the community and the advisory that anyone who was a close contact or felt unwell should stay home.

Unjustified absences increased slightly in term 4 from 6.5 per cent of time in term 3 to 7.2 per cent in term 4.

Tai Tokerau (Northland) had the lowest regular attendance rate at 38.9 per cent, while Otago and Southland had the highest at 56.6 per cent.

In February, Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced a $74 million package to increase resources for Attendance Services and fund 82 new attendance officers to work with at-risk students, their parents and schools.

Last year the Ministry of Education launched an attendance and engagement strategy with 13 priorities to increase attendance and engagement.

By 2026, the ministry wants to increase the number of children attending regularly to 75 per cent.

Tinetti said the new funding, which will be part of this year’s Budget, will go towards more attendance officers and supporting the Attendance Service in helping reach that target.

The Ministry of Education has admitted it doesn’t know how many attendance officers – or truancy officers – are in schools or how much money is being spent on them. Employing such officers is up to the discretion of individual schools and targets chronically-truant students.

Tinetti said the new funding would come from a national level and help schools and parents with students who are not regularly attending and at risk of becoming chronically truant (defined as missing at least three days per fortnight).

About $28m would also go towards the Attendance Service, which already works with students who are chronically absent or not enrolled at all, and this will help it to support 3000 more young people.

About $8m would also go towards improving attendance data.

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