The Ministry monitors school attendance annually by means of a voluntary survey. The survey gives us some useful reference points – such as areas where there are higher rates of truancy – but it does not enable a complete analysis. Because it is based on only one week of the year, we cannot tell if there are any changes in attendance rates over the course of the year – or whether a school's absence rate is caused by a lot of students being absent a little, or a few students being absent a lot.
In 2014, all state and state integrated schools were invited to participate in the attendance survey. The response rate was 75%, compared to 80% in 2013.
Rates of absence have increased in 2014 compared to 2013 due to an increase in the number of teaching periods where students were truant (up from 1.5% in 2013 to 1.8% in 2014) or absent for a reason that was explained but not justified (up from 1.1% in 2013 to 1.3% in 2014).
The national absence rate (both justified and unjustified absences) during the week of 9-13 June 2014 was 10.8%, or 79,000 students per day, with a margin of error of 0.7%. The 2014 national absence rate was significantly higher than the rate in 2012, but it was not significantly higher than in any other year.
The total unjustified absence rate, or truancy rate, was 4.6%. This compares to 3.9% in 2013, 3.8% in 2012, and 4.0% in 2011.
The national frequent truant rate (students who were unjustifiably absent for three or more days in the survey week) was 1.3%. This rate is higher than 2013 and 2012 (both 1.0%). Frequent truancy was highest for students in year 13 (2.4%) and for Māori students (2.5%).
Ministry of Education (New Zealand), Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence