New Zealand’s truancy crisis is only going to get worse if schools aren’t required to submit their attendance data, says National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith.
Data released to National shows a third of Kiwi kids aren’t regularly attending school, with the Party claiming the situation is even worse for decile 1 students where not even half are making it to class frequently.
“New Zealand’s appalling attendance rate threatens the learning progress of our kids,” says Goldsmith.
“But this isn’t even the full picture, because 70 schools didn’t submit any attendance data last year. We won’t know the full scale of the problem and who needs additional support if schools don’t provide the information.
“Attendance at school and student achievement are directly linked. We will never turnaround our slide down the international rankings in maths, english and science if we don’t make headway on our growing truancy crisis.
“Kids cannot learn if they’re not in the classroom. Our truancy crisis has impacted all deciles and age groups since 2015. However it is concerning primary and low decile schools are overrepresented in the 70 schools.
“Requiring all schools to submit their attendance data is a simple first step in the hard work required to tackle our truancy crisis. Making sure kids attend school regularly should be its number one priority.”
Meanwhile, National also came put this week to insist the Government implements ‘a standardised way to measure progress to make sure no children fall through the cracks’.
Goldsmith says, “We need a standardised measure of progress to identify those students who might need additional help and to make sure they get that help.
“Education Minister Chris Hipkins has previously insisted the curriculum provides these clear measures, but advice from his own officials doesn’t back that up.
“Labour abolished National Standards with no alternative or plan to measure student progress. We’re now in situation where we don’t know ‘when to worry’ about a student’s achievement.
“A ‘refreshed’ curriculum won’t be available until 2025 which means we’re at risk of a generation of students going through our school system missing out on the additional support or help they need and could’ve had if we had an adequate way to measure progress.
“A good education can see children overcome some of the challenges they face purely because of the circumstances into which they were born.”