3 Jul 2020

Govt ramps up effort to tackle post-lockdown truancy rate

10:11 am on 3 July 2020

The government has announced a $52 million urgent response fund to get children back to school.

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Photo: 123RF

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the money was needed because attendance rates had not returned to normal since the lockdown.

"While we are seeing improvements in attendance under alert level 1, Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools sits at about 85 percent, and 50 percent in our early childhood education centres, and it is much lower in some schools and early learning services," Hipkins said.

The usual school attendance rate at this time of year is about 89 percent.

The new fund will pay for more teacher-aide hours to work with students at risk, funding for home-visits including for people with a history of poor attendance, and social workers to work with refugee families.

"During Covid, stress levels among families and students have increased. In some cases the links families have with schools have been put under extra pressure, and we need to make sure students are connected to their learning."

A further $16m will go to workplace assistance and counselling support services for the education workforce and their families.

Hipkins said this would benefit 10,000 additional teachers and other school staff by 2022. "Teachers, principals, support staff and centre leaders have done a great job during the pandemic and they'll continue to play a vital in recovery."

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