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‘Lost tribe’ set to multiply under Labour

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

6 March 2008

‘Lost tribe’ set to multiply under Labour

National Party Education spokeswoman Anne Tolley says Labour’s plans to raise the school leaving age to 18 are hypocritical when they have already given up on tracking the thousands of students aged over 14 years and nine months old who are not enrolled at any school.

Documents which Mrs Tolley is releasing today show Labour has instructed their contractor to focus only on the small minority of non-enrolled students who are under that age.

A newsletter to NET (Non-enrolled truancy) officers by NETSERVE, which is a Datacom business unit contracted by the Ministry of Education to find these students, tells NET officers they must make only a ‘minimal effort’ with students over 14 years and nine months, and close the cases quickly.

“How can Helen Clark advocate a rise in the school leaving age to 18 when her Government has already put those non-enrolled students aged 14 years nine months to 16 in the too-hard basket?

“This is a disgrace. There are around 5,000 non-enrolled students, and principals are telling us that more than 80% of them are aged over 14 years and nine months.

“On top of this, there are 31,000 students who play truant every week – these are kids who actually are enrolled in a school but are not bothering to turn up.”

The newsletter also says ‘the change is something that some of you may find difficult. But we see it as being focused on younger students with whom we are likely to have a high level of success’.

“These 14-to 16-year-olds should not be brushed under the carpet. We must re-engage them in education with a policy such as National’s Youth Guarantee programme.

“Helen Clark’s bright idea of forcing them to stay at school for a further two years will only increase the ‘lost tribe’ exponentially.

“Labour must review this contract and put every effort into finding these young people.

“The ‘lost tribe’ does not need another lost opportunity”,

  • Ministry of Education NETS policy change

  • Netserve newsletter
  • ENDS

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