New figures show New Zealand’s attendance crisis

Newly released attendance data National has been calling for for months shows an alarming number of students don’t attend school regularly, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“We can’t improve student achievement if the kids are not at school.

“In term one of 2020 only 50.5 per cent of students attended school regularly. There’s no doubt Covid-19 had an impact here, but in briefings to the Government attendance levels were already declining last year prior to the pandemic impacting school arrangements.

“Even when regular attendance is at its highest, there is still 30 per cent of students who are not regularly attending school.

“We cannot accept this in a country that understands the opportunities in life an education brings.

“Each additional half day a student is absent from school is a consistent reduction in the number of NCEA credits that student subsequently obtains.

“We will never turn around our declining levels of student achievement in foundational subjects is our kids aren’t at school.

“Improving our attendance rate doesn’t seem to be a priority for this Government. There’s no point in pouring millions of dollars into initiatives in schools if the students who are most in need of this support aren’t even in the classroom.

“Regular attendance figures should be published at the end of each term as soon as practically possible.

“Knowing the full extent of our attendance rates means we can begin to tackle the problem and begin turning around this situation.”