The scale of New Zealand’s drop in school attendance revealed
In a report released today, the office said it found that four in 10 parents were comfortable with their child missing a week or more of school per term and a third of students did not consider not go to school every day as so important.
The report, Missing Out: Why don’t our children go to school?said even missing two days of classes per term was linked to lower grades.
He revealed that families kept children at home due to illness, but also because they were tired, in poor mental health or bullied.
He recommended that schools emphasize the importance of regular attendance, alert parents when children are not present, and make school more enjoyable.
Declining attendance before the pandemic
The report follows official concerns about attendance, which had plummeted before the pandemic began, and the introduction earlier this year of targets and an advertising campaign to encourage improvements.
The report says regular attendance, defined as attending more than 90% of the time, fell from 70% of students in 2015 to just 58% in 2019 before reaching 64% in 2020 and 60% in 2021.
He said that in Australia, 73% of students attended regularly in 2019 and regular attendance was over 80% in the UK, Republic of Ireland, USA and Ontario in Canada, where the criteria regular attendance ranged from 89-92% and figures dated from 2015/16 to 2020/21.
Department for Education figures released earlier this year showed regular attendance in the first term of this year was just 46%.
The report says surveys and focus groups found that many parents and students disagreed that regular attendance was important.
“With such clear evidence that every day of attendance matters to learner outcomes, it is worrying that so many parents and learners fail to see its importance,” the report said.
He said only 42% of students said they would go to school every day if it were up to them and 29% said they would attend four days a week.
The attitude of the parents
Eight percent of parents and 22 percent of learners said school was not important and a third of students said going to school every day was not important.
Forty percent of parents said they were comfortable with their child missing a week of school and some of those parents were happy their child missed more than that.
Most parents, 67%, said they would keep a child home for a cultural or family event such as a funeral or wedding, 46% said they would take a child out of school for a or two days for a family vacation and 35% said they would do it for one or two weeks.
The report says 76% of parents said they kept a child at home due to a minor illness in the second trimester this year, 11% said they did so because of mental health issues, 10% because their child was tired, 5% due to difficulty with transportation to school, and four percent due to bullying.
He said 55% of students said they had missed school in the previous two weeks due to illness and 14% said they had self-isolated due to Covid-19 in the past two weeks. previous ones.
Schools said parents seemed more likely to keep children home if they were feeling unwell and most schools said they saw more absences and longer absences due to illness.
In focus groups, parents said mental health was a valid reason for missing school because children were under a lot of pressure.
Some also said they kept children at home to avoid events such as sports days or swimming.
The report says less than half of Maori and Pacific Islander children attend school regularly.
He said children said they sometimes wanted to miss school because they had stayed up late the night before, wanted to avoid an activity like swimming, or didn’t like school or a particular teacher.
The head of the ERO’s Education Assessment Center, Ruth Shinoda, said: “Missed school adds up. If students miss a week of school each term before the age of 16, they will have missed a year of schooling.
“That’s a lot of wasted learning time. There is no safe level of absenteeism, even just missing two days per term is linked to lower results.”