October 14, 2022
Whānau ora approach applied to truancy
Waipareira’s director of Whānau Ora says the Education Ministry’s current approach to truancy is too narrow.
Schools have reported students either missing classes because of holding down part-time jobs to help their families, or disengaging completely because of Covid disruptions.
Jacqui Harema says Waipareira’s attendance service contracts are based on tracking down students and getting them back to school within 20 days.
But the fact they’re not attending school is usually a symptom of something else happening in the family which is best dealt with by providing full wrap around support – which isn’t funded.
“Although these kids that are truanting at the moment are not attending we’ve also got on our books over 1200 who aren’t engaged in anything at all so for us they’re a ticking timebomb because they’re not doing anything so everyone has to take some responsibility and work out a plan together,” she says.
Ms Harema says schools, government agencies and community organisations like Waipareira need to start working together on the problem.