The attendance crisis

So readers can see how dramatic the change in attendance has been for school students, I’ve graphed the official data.

Only 40% of kids attended school regularly in Term 2 of this year, compared to 63% in 2017.

For Maori students, it is even worse. They’ve gone from 55% to 27%.

Now some apologists for the status quo claim that not making 90% is no big deal, as one week off school can qualify. This is true, but one week off school every term is equal to a month every year and over 13 years, it is equal to missing an entire year of school).

So to show the problem isn’t just people missing one week a term, I’ve also graphed the data for the chronically absent – those attending less than 70% of the time.

The proportion of students chronically absent has gone from 6% in 2017 to 14% today. That is 1 in 7 students are missing over 60 days of schooling a year.

And for Maori students it is 1 in 4 are chronically absent. No amount of co-governance, working groups or authorities will impact Maori disadvantage as much as improving the attendance rate at school.

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