Truants reach 30,000 a day
8:35AM Friday December 22, 2006

Truancy is on the rise with more than 30,000 students absent from school on any given day. Government figures released yesterday showed a national average truancy rate of 4.1 per cent from 750,000 primary and secondary students. In 2004 the rate was 3.4 per cent.

The report showed there were more truants in high school with Maori and Pacific Islanders absent twice as often as other students, the Dominion Post reported today. Education Ministry senior manager Martin Connelly said the ministry was alarmed at the rise, particularly in younger students.

Children as young as 5 were missing out of school in a growing trend of stay-at-home mums clinging on to their youngest child for fear of loneliness or disorganised parents hampered by bad weather or a late night.

Children who missed school could easily fall behind, Mr Connelly said.

The report looked at more than 2000 schools for a week in August to compile the snapshot picture. The Bay of Plenty had the worst results with nearly 6 per cent of students missing on any given day.

It was followed closely by Gisborne at 5.7 per cent. Wellington's rate had fallen slightly to 3.7 per cent.
- NZPA