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Truancy out of control – despite promises

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

14 December 2007

Truancy out of control – despite promises

Labour has presided over the biggest blowout in truancy ever seen in this country, despite repeated promises to fix the problem, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“Today’s revelations that a mother in Upper Hutt who kept her two children out of school for a year is only now being charged, is proof that the promises by a string of Education Ministers were empty.

“Between 2002 and 2006, truancy rates grew by 41%. In an average school week it’s estimated that 30,000 children wag for one reason or another.

“Education Minister Chris Carter is now considering increasing the fine parents will face if they allow their children to play truant. He seems ignorant of the fact that Steve Maharey said the same thing eight months ago. They are all talk.

“This comes on top of this week’s outrageous news that more than 6,000 children are not enrolled and have simply disappeared from the school system, and no one in the Ministry seems to know where they’ve gone.

“Education Minister Chris Carter made the situation even worse this morning by shrugging the problem off when he said he was ‘not surprised at the figures’. This is in stark contract to his officials who are openly saying they are deeply concerned by the rise in non-enrolments.

“Like the rest of the public, I am appalled that so many children are facing a bleak future because Labour has failed to deal with these problems.

“Getting all children into the classroom in 2008 should be a national priority.”

ENDS

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