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The revolving door - student transience in Auckland schools

28 May 2014

The revolving door - student transience in Auckland schools

"Transience compounds children's other disadvantages and is too great a problem for schools to deal with alone," says Child Poverty Action Group.

CPAG has undertaken new research on transience or student mobility in Auckland schools, which will be launched at Manurewa East School in Auckland on Wednesday 28 May. CPAG surveyed 52 schools in south and west Auckland and found that transience was a significant issue for low decile schools. One principal referred to his school as having "a revolving door".

CPAG's chief researcher Donna Wynd said, "Transience can no more be dealt with by the education sector than rheumatic fever can be dealt with by throat swabs. Both issues have at their heart a lack of affordable housing. We must address the causes of transience by introducing housing policies that actively address the shortage of secure and affordable housing in the areas where low-income families live, particularly in South Auckland."

There is strong evidence that transience has a negative impact on children's educational outcomes. Donna Wynd said, "Education Review Office reports show that transient students are often behind their peers. The reports also show that the lack of progress of some transient students pulls down schools' national standards achievement results. Education is the key to economic progress for poor children, but these kids are left at the starting gate. Put simply, they do not have equality of opportunity."

Ms Wynd said the children most likely to live in low-income families are also the children most likely to move frequently. "Transience just adds another layer of disadvantage. It may also compound that disadvantage if children are unable to form long-term relationships with their peers or people in their neighbourhoods. This can lead to behavioural problems that disrupt the children and the wider school environment."

CPAG's survey found decile 1 schools had a median roll turnover of 30%, while higher-decile schools had far lower turnover rates, (although the small sample of higher-decile schools in this study may not reflect the experience of all schools in higher deciles). Other researchers have also found a link between low school deciles and high roll turnover rates.

ENDS

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