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Regular school attendance


Regular attendance at school is not only compulsory for students aged 6-16, but it also significantly improves wellbeing. This indicator looks at the school attendance rate of children and young people.

*Note: This is also a Child Poverty Related Indicator

Every child has the right to an education. Education is a human right and essential for the development of human potential.

In New Zealand most children start school on the day they turn 5 years old and over 80% stay until at least their 17th birthday. The Education Act 1989 requires that all children in New Zealand to attend school from their 6th birthday until their 16th birthday (with limited exemptions). During this time parents and schools have a responsibility to ensure children are regularly attending school. The government has a responsibility to ensure that children have access to a free education.

The positive long-term impacts of education on current and future wellbeing, income, and employment are well documented. Students who are absent from class have an increased risk of alienation from the education system. Sustained absence affects educational achievement and can lead to significantly diminished opportunities later in life. A New Zealand study found student attendance during Year 11 to be one of the most significant variables influencing student achievement in senior secondary school.

Furthermore, students with low attendance and lower reading achievement had the highest risks for adverse outcomes. Longitudinal studies have found absence to be a strong predictor of violence later in life, and anticipatory of delinquency, substance abuse, suicidal risk, unemployment and early parenting. There is considerable concern surrounding the links between truancy and crime.

This indicator relates to the 'learning and developing' outcome.

How will we measure this?

For more information

Last updated: 
Thursday, 23 July 2020