Attendance in New Zealand schools 2013

Publication Details

The survey was carried out in the week of 10-14 June 2013, close to the middle of the second school term. This week was the same week of term as the 2009, 2011 and 2012 surveys. By analysing data from a similar time of year, factors such as winter illness would have been at similar levels.

Author(s): Marian Loader, Team Leader Analysis, Education Information and Analysis, Ministry of Education

Date Published: March 2014

Executive Summary

  • In 2013, all state and state integrated schools were invited to participate in the attendance survey.  The response rate was 80% (compared to 88% in 2012, 88% in 2011, 85% in 2009, 91% in 2006 and 87% in 2004).
  • The estimated national absence rate in 2013 was 10.1%.  This was similar to previous surveys but higher than in 2012 (9.6% in 2012, 10.2% in 2011, 11.6% in 2009, 11.5% in 2006 and 10.9% in 2004).
  • The total unjustified absence rate, or truancy rate, was 3.9%.  This compares to 3.8% in 2012, 4.0% in 2011, 4.2% in 2009, 4.1% in 2006 and 3.4% in 2004.
  • The national frequent truant rate (students who were unjustifiably absent for three or more days in the survey week) was 1.0%, this rate is unchanged from 2012 and 2011.  Frequent truancy was highest for students in year 13 (1.8%) and for Māori students (1.9%).


Participating in education is fundamental to student achievement. The Education Act 1989 requires that parents enrol their children at school and ensure they attend school whenever it is open for instruction unless there is a good reason for them to be absent.

Every day a student is not at school is a day they are not learning. Over time, patterns of non-attendance can place students at risk of poor achievement and early drop-out, thus compromising outcomes in life across a range of social and economic measures.

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