Truancy services combine

Last updated 16:42 24/01/2013

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A new expanded attendance service will help to keep more students in school, learning and achieving, the Ministry of Education says.

The service begins early this year and will receive $9.1 million annually.

It brings together district and non-enrolled truancy services into one - enabling providers to target resources where they are most needed.

The ministry has encouraged those people employed in the former district and non-enrolled services who wanted to work for a new provider to register now with the ministry so their names can be passed on to the new providers.

Deputy secretary, regional operations, Katrina Casey confirmed that, so far, about half had done so.

"The new service will take the best of the previous system and develop new ways so that it is more responsive to the needs of learners and their families - particularly among Maori and Pasifika communities," Ms Casey said. "A strong part of our requirements of the providers is that they have good connections with other agencies and services, and can work across agencies to provide the right type of support needed to not only get learners to school but ensure they stay there and are fully engaged in learning.

"It will enable agencies to build a better understanding of non- attendance - making it easier to identify trends and causes, and achieve a more consistent and effective practice, developing early intervention strategies to prevent non-attendance."

Ms Casey said reducing the number of services from 78 to 18 will also simplify the system.

The service providers have been selected following a robust tendering and contracting process over the last few months.

"Schools will be able to build more effective relationships with providers and other key agencies like social services to intervene quickly to prevent problems arising."

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