Attendance, absence and truancy in New Zealand schools 2004

Publication Details

This report documents the results of a survey conducted in the week of 16-20 August 2004 to capture a ‘week in the life’ of attendance at school in New Zealand . Responses were received from 2,156 schools, representing 87 percent of schools surveyed.

Author(s): Research Division, Ministry of Education

Date Published: 2005

Executive Summary

The Ministry of Education is continuing to put effort into improving student engagement, including reducing truancy.

In 2003, the Ministry of Education proposed a strategic change to student engagement in schools. This included enhancing the knowledge base about student engagement, providing better responses to problem situations when they arise, and considering options for improving the relevant legislation. Consequently, in October 2003, the Minister of Education announced that the Government would spend an extra $8.6 million over a four year period on what is now referred to as the Student Engagement Initiative (SEI).

While the major responsibility for addressing student engagement issues lies with school boards, the government supports schools through a number of initiatives. For example, each year, it provides funding of
approximately $4 million to support District Truancy Services (DTS), and $2 million to maintain the successful Suspension Reduction Initiative (SRI). The SEI funding announced in October 2003 is in addition to this.

The approach taken for much of the SEI is similar to that employed by the SRI (now part of the SEI). This includes identifying schools or regions that have unusually high levels of student disengagement, setting targets for improvement, closely monitoring change over time, and employing facilitators who can work flexibly at the local level to identify the reasons for the unusually high incidence of the problem and help with meeting targets.

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