Attendance in New Zealand Schools in 2009

Publication Details

This survey on attendance was carried out in June 2009. The survey aims to inform the Ministry’s work to improve student engagement in education.

Author(s): Marian Loader and Tracey Ryan, Education Information & Analysis Division, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: February 2010

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Effect of the flu season

In April 2009 New Zealand school students returning to Auckland Airport from Mexico with flu like symptoms were quarantined in case they had contracted (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu.

In the week of the survey several schools in Auckland and Christchurch had high levels of justified absences due to staff and/or students with flu-like symptoms or in quarantine in case they had contracted influenza (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu.

No schools were excluded from the analysis because of justified absences. To exclude them would bias the estimate of absence in New Zealand schools during the survey week. 

The Ministry of Health website contains a graph of the weekly consultation rates for influenza type illnesses in New Zealand for 2007, 2008 and 2009.  The 2009 school attendance survey was during week 23 on this graph.  This was before the peak consultation rate for 2009. 

The 2009 consultation rate is similar to 2007 and 2008 during week 23.  Therefore it is likely that the differences observed in the 2009 survey, compared to previous surveys in 2006 and 2004, are not likely to be due to the increased absence rates caused by the influenza (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu pandemic alert.