He Whakaaro: How COVID-19 is affecting school attendance Publications
This He Whakaaro is part of a series, exploring impacts of COVID-19 on the education system. This report uses data collected during 2020 to determine the extent to which COVID-19 is impacting on whether students are attending school.
Author(s): Andrew Webber, Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: December 2020
- Attendance has been dropping since 2015, and was on track to decrease again in the first six weeks of 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Negative impacts of COVID-19 are heavily concentrated in primary school students, especially in Years 1-2. Senior secondary school students have experienced meaningfully increased attendance compared to last year.
- Reported attendance was extremely high over both periods of Alert Level 3, although this may not fully reflect student engagement over this time.
- Most students responded to the end of the national lockdown by attending school at higher rates than over the same time in 2019. For Auckland students, it has taken longer to get back to 2019 levels.
- There have been lower rates of illness and lateness this year, but slightly higher rates of truancy and explained but unjustified absences.
- COVID-19 appears to be substantially worsening existing inequities in school attendance, particularly in Auckland.
- Students are most likely to have reduced their attendance in response to COVID-19 if they attend a low decile school, are in earlier year levels, are Pacific or Māori, or participate in Māori medium education.
- About 40% of students with reduced attendance did not have concerning attendance patterns at the beginning of the year, prior to COVID-19.
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