Attendance in New Zealand schools 2016

Publication Details

This report is designed to provide a picture that will help school leaders and other sector representatives to understand patterns of attendance in New Zealand schools, and how these can effect achievement.

Author(s): Schooling Analysis, Education, Information and Analysis, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: June 2017

Executive Summary

The Ministry of Education is increasing the number of tools available to schools, to help them increase their understanding of absence and its impact on achievement. We all have a responsibility for ensuring kids are attending school and this report is designed to support school leaders, parents, whanau and communities understand the attendance challenges we face in New Zealand so we can develop the right strategies to address these.

In the 2015 attendance survey we adopted a new measure that focuses on individual student attendance rather than the average daily attendance across the school, which can mask individual student attendance challenges.

We also began measuring students' school attendance in half-days, rather than full days, which is more consistent with how schools record attendance. This report continues to analyse attendance for all of Term 2. We can use this to provide a picture of the impact attendance has on achievement for different groups of students.

As well as the whole-term analysis, we have also provided the traditional week-long snapshot for continuity purposes.

Summary of 2016 Findings
  • For Year 11 students in 2015, there is a positive relationship between attending school and the probability of achieving NCEA level 1.
  • The percentage of students attending school regularly (defined in this report as more than 90 percent of half-days) decreased in Term 2, 2016 compared to Term 2, 2015.
  • Year 6 students had the highest level of regular school attendance, while Year 13 students had the lowest.
  • Māori students had the lowest levels of regular school attendance. Asian students had the highest levels of regular school attendance.
  • A higher proportion of primary and intermediate school students attend regularly than students at secondary schools.
  • The proportion of students attending regularly increases as school decile increases.
  • School attendance slowly declined over the course of Term 2, from 92.9% half-days attended in the first week of Term 2, to 87.3% in the last week.
  • Unjustified absences increased in the middle and more noticeably at the end of Term 2.
  • Of the 2,414 schools invited to submit Term 2 attendance data, completed returns were received from 1,843 schools, a response rate of 76%.

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