Govt programmes helping to lift school attendance

  • 412 initiatives funded across 762 schools by Regional Response Fund
  • 84 full-time and part time attendance officers in place

Rapid action taken by the Government to improve attendance is working, Minister of Education Jan Tinetti said today.

“The Government responded quickly to address low attendance rates following the pandemic, by implementing new attendance officers and a $40m programme to back local solutions led by schools and their communities,” Jan Tinetti said.

“Regular school attendance is moving in the right direction which is exactly what we need to be seeing. Term 1 this year saw regular attendance improve to 59.5 percent an increase of almost 10 percent from the end of the previous year.

“Nearly all full time and part time attendance officers are now in place, with 80 already working in schools across the country.

“Attendance officers work with students who have low or declining attendance rates, to ensure they are going to school every day unless they are sick. It’s expected these attendance officers will help make a real difference to attendance rates over the longer-term,” Jan Tinetti said.

The new attendance officers are employed by Attendance Services and are in addition to existing 275 people who work with students who are chronically absent for the Attendance Service providers around Aotearoa.

“Another initiative, the Regional Response Fund, has funded 412 initiatives across 762 schools over the past year to help get kids back to school,” Jan Tinetti said.

“The previous iteration of the fund, which was rolled out to re-engage young people during the pandemic, initially supported 2,000 schools, kura and early learning services and 300,000 young people with things like additional teacher and teacher aide time to provide mentoring and academic catch-up, as well as engaging with whānau.

“There can be many reasons why attendance rates fall. That’s why it’s so important that schools come up with their own ideas that work for their communities, which the Government can then help support through this fund. There’s no easy fix and the answer is about tailoring help to the child and their whānau.

“Schools have really thought hard about what works for their students. The first $10m of the Regional Response Fund has been successfully invested and schools are being encouraged to come up with new ideas for future years.

“In Auckland for example the fund is supporting Te Kaiarahi Te ao Māori’s work mentoring youth offenders. So far, they have had four intakes and six full days of mentoring sessions.

“In Porirua and Tawa, the local schools have worked together to focus on re-engagement and transitioning of students through intermediate and into secondary school.

“Over the last three school terms, there have been consecutive increases in regular attendance. There is still work to do and a way to go to reach our targets, but I’m optimistic we’ll get there and confident things are moving in the right direction,” Jan Tinetti said.