School attendance mid year 2022

By: Urs Cunningham | Posted Thursday August 4, 2022

Tamariki who attend school consistently are likely to stay at school longer and live more successful lives. Of particular interest is the link between attendance in the first two years at school and longevity at school. What this suggests is that a pattern of attendance develops very early in school life and does not easily change. Tamariki whose attendance is lower are more likely to leave school before achieving the necessary qualifications for success.

The Board of Trustees is expected to take all reasonable steps to ensure that ngā ākonga (students) do attend school whenever it is open. The Education Act 1989 requires all tamariki enrolled at a school to attend school whenever that school is open unless they have a justified reason not to attend; just giving a reason does not necessarily justify an absence.

However, of greater concern than the legal requirements, is the long term impact on their life-chances as a result of students developing problematic attendance patterns. A pattern that concerns us, for example, is a student whose overall attendance for any year never reaches above 90%; the child who is often absent for a day here or there - especially on Mondays or Fridays. These ākonga may have absences that are all explained, but this does not mean they are really justified. They are likely to develop big gaps in their learning because by the end of year 8 they will have missed almost a year of school, and they will not have learned to persevere with their learning because their regular absences mean they often lose momentum.

Please note your child's attendance level and be aware of whether they are developing a school absence pattern - it can happen without you realising it. On your tamariki's main learning page on Hero, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you can see an overview of your child's attendance for Terms 1 and 2 this year. It is a good idea to look at this now and again, so that you can keep an overview of your child's attendance - a pattern of absence can creep up on you without you noticing.

Impact of Covid on attendance

We recognise that the ongoing Covid pandemic has had a significant impact on school attendance. The current expectations around Covid-19 mean that many ākonga have had a number of absences due to household isolation or contracting Covid. Families are also being mindful of keeping tamariki away from school when they show signs of sickness, and there is also a higher level of winter illnesses and viruses circulating. 

Therefore, we are not sending out attendance communications to all families with attendance rates at 90% or lower, which is our usual practice. Where absence rates appears to to be due to bouts of isolation or illness, we will not necessarily send out attendance communication. However, where attendance rates are particularly low (75% or lower), or where absence appears to be due to a range of factors, we will communicate with you about school attendance.

Please be assured that we do not send out communications about attendance to pass judgement, but to ensure that parents are informed of the absence/lateness rates of their child/ren; this way parents can make informed decisions about their child/ren's attendance. The communications come from our admin team rather than from individual teachers, as it is our admin and leadership team who complete tracking of overall attendance across the school. Please note that if you received communications last term about your child's attendance or lateness, and these levels have since improved, we will not send further communication, even if your child's attendance is still low. We are satisfied if we can see that steps are being taken to increase attendance.

Attendance communications will be sent out in the next few days to parents of students showing concerning attendance or punctuality levels. In one of our following school digests we will also send out summary information about our attendance rates across the school for Terms 1 & 2. If you would like to discuss your child's attendance further, or you would like support from school with this, please contact me -

Ngā mihi, 

Urs Cunningham

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