17 schools have fewer than 20 per cent of kids regularly at school

Today’s revelation by the Government that there are 17 schools where fewer than 20 per cent  of students are attending school regularly is just another illustration of the magnitude of New Zealand’s attendance crisis, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

Four schools have fewer than 10 per cent of their students attending regularly.

“In a country that understands the importance of education to our children’s future, it is unfathomable schools can carry on with such appalling attendance rates without consequences,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“We cannot turn around our declining student achievement without first ensuring kids are actually in class.

“The Government has working groups for everything in education, but it hasn’t focused sufficiently on turning around our appalling truancy rates.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ only response is to try to shift the blame to the previous Government. In his fourth year in the role it’s time he took responsibility.

“It says a lot about current priorities that it allowed there to be just one attendance officer covering 80 schools in West Auckland during last year.

“Because it is voluntary for schools to reveal their student attendance data, there may be even more schools with such dire attendance levels.  

“Requiring all schools to provide their attendance data is one step we could take immediately.

“Knowing the full extent of our attendance challenges is the first step to turning around this dire situation.”