Words alone mean nothing, Minister

Words and good intentions will not solve New Zealand’s truancy crisis, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins has said he wants all kids to attend school regularly and won’t accept any target that’s below that, but the target he agreed with the Ministry of Education for regular attendance was just 70 per cent.

“And today he couldn’t remember what that target was.

“In the meantime, we are nowhere near the target. Only 58 per cent of kids attended regularly in 2019 and 64 per cent last year, figures that were made unreliable by the Covid-19 disruption.

“As a country we won’t make any progress on turning around our falling achievement in literacy and maths when more than 300,000 kids are not regularly attending school.

“We won’t make progress on equipping the most marginalised in our society to succeed, when we don’t care if they are at school.

“Given the scale of the issue, we need a Minister who is focused on the problem.

“Chris Hipkins is not.”