New contract allays officers' fears for jobs

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013

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A 30-page document arrived in the post yesterday that Southland truancy officers were more than happy to read.

It was a contract for the Invercargill truancy service to continue its work under the Ministry of Education's new attendance model.

In April last year, truancy officers had feared for their jobs as the ministry restructured the service.

Invercargill Student Support Network director Lois Conway confirmed attendance officers, Lindsay Thomas and Neil Jackson, would continue working with 44 schools in Invercargill and areas of rural Southland.

"ISSN are subcontractors to Datacom, who are the supplier of the attendance services for the southern region," she said.

It would now be known as the Attendance Service, she said.

There would be some more processes involved for schools such as the transition to an online referral system.

"We will try to make this as straightforward as possible for the schools," she said.

Schools would get a letter this week to notify them of the contract, she said.

Under the new contract, the Attendance Service would now combine the functions of the District Truancy Service, that they had provided, along with the non-enrolled truancy service.

"It is much the same as what we had been doing with a little bit more work for the attendance officers," she said.

The inclusion of the non-enrolled service would be beneficial to the community because the service would be able to act quicker to ensure school-age young people were in education.

The ministry had been impressed with the proactive, rather than reactive, stance of the service in Invercargill, she said.

Mr Thomas said the service was in the best interest of the young people and he was delighted it would to continue.

"The system may have changed but proactive approach will not."

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