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Truancy spirals out of control as Govt dithers

Truancy spirals out of control as Government dithers

Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

Truancy figures revealed in written Parliamentary questions today show that truancy is spiralling out of control, says National’s education spokesman Nick Smith.

“Already this year 4048 children have been referred to Non-Enrolment Truancy Service (NETS), and we are only into the third term. At the end of term two last year just 1906 children had been referred.

“These are appalling figures. In 1998 just over 3000 students were referred to NETS, but the numbers have been growing by nearly 1000 every year since. Sadly it looks like last years figure of 5,350 will easily be beaten this year.

“The link between truancy and youth crime is absolutely clear. If we keep failing our young people in this way we’ll only see more senseless crimes like the Michael Choy and Kenneth Pigot murder cases.

“The Minister of Education Trevor Mallard has been asked questions year after year about establishing a national truancy database to track these children, and still nothing has been done, despite Labour promising to establish one in both their 1999 and 2002 election policies. Time is running out - already this year there are 113 children the truancy service admits it can’t find.

“It doesn’t have to be a helpless situation. The Government needs to encourage and support alternative education providers, and at least make a start on the long-awaited truancy database,” said Mr Smith.

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