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Students vote with their feet

The Attendance of students in New Zealand has reached  beyond the element of farce, and the message to the government is:  Don’t say you weren’t told! 

For many months the blatantly obvious truth has been the regular fact that students were going to stay away from school and defy the regulations that kept up a hope that something would persuade students to change their tune and to surprise the authorities, the government and teachers.

The truth is that there is in all likelihood no way that students will turn up unless some key changes are made. I would suggest the following:

A        Students will reject the programmes based on current curriculum because they don’t have confidence that they will benefit in terms of employment. I have had reports that tell me that the trades academies do not have huse absenteeism – go think

B        They are sick and tired of the time school wastes for the trappings of students time which they see as valuable they think and they are uneasy when they perceive that it is being wasted. (Yes there is an irony in this!)

C        Students have realised the power they have.

D        Every students who truants has parents who are compliant with this situation. It is no good teachers blamed when parents either don’t or have lost control.

E        I have warned of the damage being done to the schooling system. It will take a decade and perhaps more for the orderly conduct of schooling to recommence.

F        Is anybody in the Ministry working on a plan to get students back to the desks?   

Perhaps asking the students would be a good thing?

Published inEducation


  1. Helen Anderson Helen Anderson

    Students are counted as not attending regularly if they miss 5 days in a term including for illness . If a child manages less than 5 days off in the winter term they are either super kids or sent to school to share their snotty noses or tummy bugs with the rest of their class. Many schools (including those in South Auckland ) have significantly improved attendance in the last two terms as the first for some time without COVID restrictions!!

  2. Gaynor Matthews Gaynor Matthews

    I agree, attendance within Trades Academies is good because the students can see a purpose to their learning and how it fits with future pathways. Learning in relevant contexts is key to success.

  3. Paul Hollings Paul Hollings

    Excellent article, as always Stuart. I’m hoping that with some of the work being done by the likes of the two CoVEs and other related entities, MoE will be pragmatic enough to allow settings to be changed or allow flex so we can get the best out of the system to the benefit of students, their whanau, industry and the wider community . It’s most definitely time for out of the box thinking and a complete paradigm shift

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