3 May 2024

Turning the tables on truancy: Schools devise own solutions

From Nine To Noon, 9:20 am on 3 May 2024

The government has introduced new measures to increase school attendance and tackle the "truancy crisis".

However, neither the recently announced Attendance Action Plan, nor future proposals signalled, include school truancy services.

The latest attendance figures, released last month, show a reduction both in non-attendance, and in truancy.

But regular attendance remains stubbornly lower than it was before the pandemic, with just over half of students attending school at least 90 per cent of the time. 

Regular school attendance has been declining since 2015, but Associate Education Minister David Seymour says the situation is a "crisis" and among other measures, is proposing a traffic light system, that could track attendance, and lay out clear and escalating consequences for students and families.

The Associate Minister confirmed to Nine to Noon changes to the Ministry of Education's Attendance Services and contracted providers were not currently on the table for consideration, and the Ministry and Education Review Office were looking into the system.

Meanwhile, some schools have devised their own initiatives to boost attendance, with one such successful programme initiated in Masterton looking to expand.

Kathryn speaks to the programme's founders - former principal Frazer Mailman and Wairarapa Boxing Academy's Laurence Titter - and the New Zealand Principals' Federation president Leanne Otene. 

Auckland high school students. file image.

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook