Ministry of Education data provided voluntarily by 2184 schools for Term 2 last year showed one in five children missed the last day of term and the lowest attendance was on Fridays and Mondays. Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin says it's not a good look and improvement must be made. "That Friday, that child might miss the connecting piece to the next piece of learning which puts them behind their peers - it's important," she told. "Every day that school is open, children should be at school - it's the message we send to children about how important their education is." Greenmeadows Intermediate School principal Cathy Chalmers says regular attendance has been declining at her Manurewa school for the last five years. Students can only miss four days of school a term to maintain regular attendance. "It's becoming more common for parents to take advantage of cheaper airfares to take holidays during term time," Ms Chalmers says. "If it's a long weekend we have a much higher number of students away on the Friday of the long weekend as parents take advantage to get away early."
Ms Chalmers says students who don't attend school regularly don't have the opportunity to have consistency in their learning, which is needed to maintain achievement levels. The data showed 58 per cent of students attended school regularly, compared to 64 per cent in 2018, and 70 per cent in 2015. "Three-quarters of justified absence cases were reportedly due to illness. Just over half of unjustified absence cases were recorded truancies or unable to be explained," a data summary from the Ministry of Education states. "Although regular attendance has declined across all demographics since 2015, the largest declines have been seen across year levels 1-8 and among Māori and Pacific students." All schools will be asked to record attendance data for the whole year to build a better understanding of the issue. In the meantime, the Government has announced a pilot programme for Kawerau and South Auckland, which sees groups of schools have control over how to deal with truancy in their areas, including the ability to hire local attendance officers. The decision to change from district attendance officers to contracted providers was made under the previous Government in 2013. Ms Chalmers says having the contracted organisation not based in the community was an issue, so she supports the new pilot structure.
"It just makes that direct link between schools and the families. It will help build relationships with those families," she says. "Schools will have ownership over the delivery of the attendance service, which perhaps currently we don't have as much as what we'd like to have." The pilot has started in Kawerau and will start in April in South Auckland, running through until December 2021. "This will allow time to collect good information. A full evaluation will be undertaken during 2021.
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Neighbours - our pets remain a constant source of love and comfort during unsettling times. So show them (and the team at Pet Direct) how special they are. To say thanks for the support (and for being a good neighbour during this tough time), they're offering you 10% off their already awesome prices. Just use the code NEIGHBOURLY10 at checkout.
Dear neighbours and NZ Gardener family,
Our April issue should be with our subscribers now and available in supermarkets and service stations (having been distributed prior to the lockdown restrictions). Whether or not it's on the stands yet is a bit patchy ... but then the incredibly brave and hard-working supermarket staff have quite a bit on their plate right now so I understand if there is a delay! Please, please, please everyone ... don't go out to buy it! Normally of course we love you buying NZ Gardener but right now it's far more important that you stay home and stay safe. (You can buy a copy with your online shopping though! That's safe and I think we are all in the market for something uplifting to read right now).
In this issue we offered to send out sweet pea seeds to any reader who sent us a SSAE. Just to reassure you, we will still send out sweet pea seeds to any reader who is keen to participate. We are just not quite sure when! Ignore the dates in the magazine of when you needed to send the envelope in by - that has been indefinitely extended. But we cannot wait to send you the seed and for those flowers to bloom as by then we will be well through this or even have it behind us. And keep letting us know what you are sowing and growing, send in pictures of your harvest, your flowers or what you are sharing.
We always love hearing from NZ Gardener readers but now when we are all staying apart that connection means more than you can imagine. Stay home, stay safe and stay in touch everyone. For the most updated gardening advice, subscribe to our digital e-zine Get Growing, which will be delivered to your inbox completely free.
While i am in the mood to do a rant tonight, yes i enjoy a beer. Went to the Waitakere Trust today and roughly 60 people in line outside the shops. Bloody crazy. Time to allow it in supermarkets.People having to line up for an hour or more to get their favourite tipple, bloody stupid and yes i drove straight out,there was no carparks anyway .How many are going to drive out of area to buy what should be accessible to us.