Daily attendance portal rolled out

A new interactive website showing daily attendance figures was launched last week as part of the government's new Attendance Action Plan.

A new portal which tracks daily school attendance figures is now live on the Education Counts website, run by the Ministry of Education.  

The new interactive page will be updated each Monday with figures from the previous week.  

Schools have been advised that to meet the government target of 80 percent regular attendance by 2030, schools must reach an average daily attendance rate of 94 percent.  

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Currently, 88.7 percent of state schools are providing weekly attendance data to the Ministry of Education which is subsequently being displayed on the attendance portal.  

At the moment, attendance data reporting is voluntary, but by Term One next year, it will become mandatory, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour.  

“The reason that we’re starting off voluntary is that we’ll require law changes to be made and Cabinet has agreed to that later this year we will amend the Education and Training Act so that the Education Secretary can direct schools to report their data daily. 

“Once we have more data, we’re going to be in a position to better understand which students are not attending, perhaps why, are there any patterns, and which ideas and initiatives that the government undertakes will ensure that more students are attending school.” 

Based on data provided, national daily attendance fluctuated between 81.9 and 88.5 percent from Monday 29 April to Friday 3 May, with Friday seeing the lowest attendance.  

Seymour estimates that these figures averaged 86 percent daily attendance, which translated to 60 percent regular attendance if sustained over the school term.  

Available attendance data on the website can be disaggregated by region. However, Seymour says there is no intention of publishing individual school data as it may discourage schools from reporting their attendance.  

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The new website and associated daily attendance reporting and publishing is estimated to cost $1 million per year, said Seymour. He said that administrative burden for schools would be low as attendance reporting was digitised. Only six schools were the exception.  

Labour leader and former Education Minister Chris Hipkins said he didn’t believe publishing attendance data would help change behaviours of chronically absent kids. 

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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