INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour loses more than 6,000 children from school

Published: Tue 11 Dec 2007 05:42 PM
Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman
11 December 2007
Labour loses more than 6,000 children from school
An admission by the Education Ministry that it has ‘lost’ 6,334 school-aged children by their parents’ failure to enrol them is staggering, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.
“And this is just the tip of the iceberg – the numbers are expected to increase substantially when primary school data is added in.
“The reality of these cold, hard figures is that there are thousands of children who have lost learning opportunities that cannot be recovered.
“Many of them are exactly the same ones who turn up in the Youth Court.
“Judge Andrew Beecroft told the Education and Science Select Committee that when it came to youth crime, non-enrolment was by far a bigger issue than truancy. He estimated that the ‘lost’ children could number 1,000 or 2,000 - no one imagined a figure of 6,334.
“The Minister will no doubt say this figure is solely as a result of the implementation of the software programme ENROL. The computer system does not explain the total growth in non-enrolments which, according to official documents, has seen ‘an 8% annual increase in non- enrolments’ since 2000.
“Having overseen a dramatic 41% rise in the truancy rate between 2002 and 2006, Labour should be ashamed to preside over this equally disturbing trend in non-enrolments.
“Students can’t get the education they deserve if they are not enrolled and not in front of a teacher. It’s that simple."
ENDS

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