PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 25 July 2022 -
More than half of Kiwi kids not at school regularly
Worsening attendance data shows that half of New Zealand’s students are not attending school regularly, risking a generation of children being left behind, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“Latest truancy data shows that just 46 per cent of students attended school regularly in the first term of 2022 – down from 65 per cent in term four last year.
“This means that 386,000 kids across New Zealand failed to show up for class regularly. The data for students in decile 1-3 schools is even more alarming, with less than one-third recording full attendance.
“In addition, more than 100,000 students were chronically absent from school, meaning they attended less than 70 per cent of school time. That is a staggering rise from 68,000 in term four of last year, and 38,000 back in 2017. These students are at the greatest risk of becoming even more disengaged with education, which will have serious consequences for their futures.
“This follows last week’s data on benefit dependency, which showed that 50,000 more people are receiving the jobseeker benefit than when Labour took office, including 11,200 under the age of 25. Addressing the truancy epidemic is one of the most important things we can do to stop the growth in benefit dependency over the long term.
"Without urgent action now, this Government stands to fail a generation of kids who will not get the education they deserve to be successful.
“National has warned the Government that it needs to do everything it can to get our children back to school. This should be the number one priority for the Ministry of Education, yet none of their 4,000 staff are employed to improve attendance rates.
“Despite the Government issuing a press release over two years ago saying that school attendance has to improve, it has continued to get worse under a Labour Government that consistently fails to deliver for New Zealanders.
“This is not just a social failure but a future economic crisis. Labour’s lack of delivery is failing a generation of children.”