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Students the losers in truancy failure

Education Minister Hekia Parata might be trumpeting the latest student attendance figures but she’s kept remarkably quiet about the corresponding truancy rates, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Tackling truancy was one of National’s major commitments in 2008 - in fact they claimed they would put $4 million towards it - yet they’ve done little to solve what is one of the most pressing issues in education.

“New data shows both the truancy rate and the number of frequent truants remain higher than two years ago, meaning too many kids are still bunking class under National.

“The latest Ministry report on truancy reveals the strong link between attendance and achievement in New Zealand schools, confirming how important it is for the Government to prioritise policies that keep kids in class.

“That link is particularly concerning for Maori and Pasifika students, who are overly represented in the truancy figures and for those at low decile schools, whose truancy rates are up to twice the average.

“National committed to tackling this problem in 2008. Eight years on there’s still been no follow through.

“Schools have never received a cent of the $4 million National promised them and a policy to prosecute parents has failed miserably to produce any meaningful results.

“Labour’s policy to integrate careers advice into learning will not only ensure every pupil has a personalised career plan, but will encourage them to become personally invested in their futures and keep attending class,” Chris Hipkins says.