Non-enrolled Students

Why This Is Important

The Ministry of Education is responsible for upholding the Education Act 1989 which states attendance at school is compulsory for New Zealand citizens and residents from age 6 until they turn 16.

When a student of compulsory school age has left a school and not enrolled in another school within 20 consecutive school days, the school is required to notify the Ministry via the school student enrolment register (ENROL). The Ministry, along with an external contracted provider, work to locate these students, and where necessary assist their return to education. Staff work alongside students, their families/whānau, schools, and other agencies to discuss and facilitate a return to education.

There is strong evidence to suggest that regular attendance at school is one of the most significant factors influencing student achievement. Chronic truancy is also strong predictor of negative outcomes in later life including violence, delinquency, substance abuse, unemployment and early parenting.


Non-enrolled Students

The age-standardised non-enrolment rate is one where all subgroups, for all years, being compared are artificially given the same age distribution. In this indicator, the age distributions of students in each subgroup and year have been standardised to (or weighted by) the set of 2012 age-specific non-enrolment rates for all New Zealand.

As non-enrolment notifications are highest for ages 13 to 15, standardising for age will remove differences due to one group having a younger or older population than other groups, or if a group's overall age distribution has changed from year to year. As such, the standardised rate is an artificial measure, but provides an estimate of how groups, or overall rates by year, might more fairly compare if they had the same age distribution.

The age-specific non-enrolment rates are calculated as follows:


Numerator: (Data Source: Ministry of Education: SDS (Stand-downs Suspensions) Database)


The number of assisted non-enrolment cases (excluding International fee-paying students) each year. Students who had a non-enrolment notification were aged between 6 and 15. Once a student reaches 16 they are no longer required to be enrolled in school.

Assisted cases mean cases that fall in any of the following three categories:

  1. Assisted AE placement - Student was out of school but has now enrolled in, and is attending an alternative education centre.
  2. Assisted Enrolment - Student was out of school and has now been enrolled into or back in school.
  3. Assisted Exemption - Student was out of school and has now started a course or employment. As the student is younger than 16 they have an exemption to allow them to leave
Denominator: (Data Sources: Ministry of Education: July Roll Return)


The number of  students aged between 6 and 15 (excluding International fee-paying students) on the roll as at 1 July of each year.

Interpretation Issues

Data in this indicator relate to assisted cases. The assisted category does not include the following where the child or young person:

  • is found to be already enrolled in school, homeschooling or has already received an exemption to attend a course or work
  • is under 6 or over 16 year old
  • has left the country
  • is in a correctional or residential facility
  • is deceased
  • is a foreign student who does not hold a student permit.

In addition, excluded are also cases:

  • where we are unable to locate the student or we are unable to locate the family. In these instances the cases remain open and work continues on them until such a time we are able to close them. In these cases we may need to involve the Police or Child, Youth and Family or Work and Income to try and locate the family.
  • where we have managed to locate the family and student but either the family or parent is refusing to work with the Ministry to enrol the student in school. These cases also remain open until we are able to resolve the issue. In the case of parent refusal where all attempts to engage with the family have failed, the Ministry may consider prosecuting the parents for failing to enrol their child in school.

The cases that fall under any of the above categories are not included in this indicator. The Ministry can only report on actual non-enrolled students at the end of the process, as many of the students notified to the Ministry are enrolled, or confirmed overseas.

The introduction of the electronic real-time enrolment system ENROL during 2006 and 2007 had an impact on the way the Ministry is notified about the non-enrolled students. Since the introduction, the Ministry and schools are able to identify non-enrolled students more accurately. It is therefore inappropriate to compare this data with results obtained prior to 2006.

Indicator Pages


Where To Find Out More

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