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Reforms to tackle truancy

24 November 2005

Reforms to tackle truancy

Keeping more students at school and engaged in learning is the aim of changes to the District Truancy Services announced today by Education Minister Steve Maharey.

The changes include the nationwide roll-out of programmes piloted as part of the $8.6 million Student Engagement Initiative, which have been successful in reducing truancy, rates of suspension and early leaving exemptions.

"A number of these initiatives have proven to be very effective in areas with high truancy and suspension rates," Steve Maharey said. "We are now rolling them out to schools around the country to see if we can achieve these kinds of results nationwide.

"The reforms will also provide a more coherent national structure for the truancy service, more certainty around contracts with service providers and a more consistent nationwide approach to dealing with the issue of truancy.

"These changes are an important part of the government's drive for ever higher standards in our schools. Young people need to be at school and engaged in learning. That is the expectation and it must be a reality."

There are currently 125 District Truancy Services throughout New Zealand that receive funding totalling around $4.2 million a year. The services are contracted by the Ministry of Education to support schools by providing response services and information to schools about persistent truants. The services involve:

- Locating students who are truant and liaising with their family
- Identifying reasons for a student’s non-attendance
- Reporting to the school the student is enrolled at to assist the school to take an appropriate course of action

“The Ministry of Education will lead a 12-month process of reform to ensure a smooth transition to more effective attendance management services within a broader national attendance management system,” said Steve Maharey.

The Ministry of Education will provide further information to schools, District Truancy Services and other stakeholders as the details of the reform process are finalised.

ENDS

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