Saturday, June 15, 2024

School attendance officers to multiply

The Government has launched a plan to get young people back into the classroom with more Attendance Officers in schools and more support for the Attendance Service, Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced today.

“We know how important it is for young people to be at school and learning, so the Government is putting every effort into making sure they are. We are going back to basics on attendance,” Ms Tinetti said.  

“This $74 million package puts resources on the ground to support schools and students and make a difference to attendance rates this year. It will also make sure we have better data that is less likely to be misconstrued, and helps us to focus our efforts in the right place.”

The Minister said the new Attendance Officers will work with students who have low or declining attendance rates, to ensure they are going to school every day unless they are sick. They will also work alongside parents and schools to turn around attendance rates.

The Attendance Service already works with students who are chronically absent, or not enrolled at all, and this will help it to support 3,000 more young people, said Ms Tinetti.

“The decline in school attendance began in 2015, but the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. We need to be doing more to help schools and kura support students who are not attending or engaged in education,” she said.

This package builds on the $88 million package announced last year, consisting of the Regional Response Fund and direct investment into programmes that help young people engage in learning, as well as the ongoing work through the Attendance Strategy and attendance campaigns launched last year.

“We have seen results already through the Regional Response Fund, which has showed that early intervention with students whose school attendance is falling can make a huge difference,” Minister Tinetti said.

“So far, at least $6.3 million of the $10 million Regional Response Fund (RRF) has been paid out, been approved, or is awaiting approval. This covers at least 130 initiatives involving over 445 schools.

“This is a complex issue that will require the whole community, including parents, to fix but the Government is committed to doing everything it can turn attendance and engagement in school around. 

“We know that there are many reasons why a child might not show up to school, which is why we’re also continuing our initiatives that are focused on removing barriers to education such as free period products, free healthy school lunches, school donations, preventing bullying and redesigning our curriculum.

“These measures will, over time, ensure that young people right across the country are attending, want to be at school and are on the right path to success in their education,” she said.

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