Sole Southland pupil allowed to drop out early

23:27, Sep 23 2013

Only one Southland teen was given Ministry of Education approval to drop out of school before reaching the legal leaving age last year.

Pupils are legally required to be enrolled in school until they turn 16, but can apply for an early leaving exemption on the basis of educational problems, conduct, or the likelihood the student will not benefit from attending school.

Pupils are required to move on to work or further training for the exemption to be granted.

Figures released by the ministry under the Official Information Act show the number of early leaving exemptions granted to Southland pupils has remained steady during the past four years.

Three Southland pupils applied for early leaving exemptions in 2012, but only one was successful. Nationally, 313 early leaving exemptions were granted and 86 declined in 2012.

Between 2009 and 2011, four of the six pupils who applied for an early leaving exemption in Southland were given approval to leave school.

The Ministry of Education tightened the exemption process in 2007, citing a strong correlation between early school leavers and unemployment.

As a result, the rate of early leaving exemptions granted has dropped by more than 90 per cent.

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The Southland Times