Series: Attendance & engagement

Issue: Volume 101, Number 1

Posted: 28 June 2022
Reference #: 1HAV3W

This series highlights the mahi underway in schools and kura across Aotearoa New Zealand that is having a positive effect on attendance and engagement in a local context.

Malfroy School in Rotorua are doing whatever it takes to give students such as Riana, Joe and Lavinia the best opportunities for learning.

Malfroy School in Rotorua are doing whatever it takes to give students such as Riana, Joe and Lavinia the best opportunities for learning.

We would love to hear about what you’re doing with your ākonga. Please get in touch with

Youth programme puts learners at the centre of the community

Bringing joy back to teaching and learning post-Covid

Meeting the needs of remote rural areas to lift attendance

How West Coast kāhui ako is forging a stronger future

The balancing act of student engagement and support

By tracking attendance and following up with students in a non-judgemental, nonpunitive and understanding manner, teachers and senior leadership at a Paeroa school have been able to implement methods to help students in need.

He Ara Tika: Ākonga embrace the pathway to success

A Senior Pathway Programme at Rotorua Lakes High School is proving transformative for ākonga who were disengaged from school. The approach gives ākonga agency, builds inclusivity through whanaungatanga and manaakitanga, and empowers them to succeed.

Finding flow turns attendance tide

A mighty project at a Waikato school strengthened confidence, motivation, and leadership qualities using a te ao Māori approach, and provided an enrichment experience like no other for 17 ākonga, with an impact deeper than imagined.

Alternative education gives Hamilton ākonga a sense of place and purpose

An Alternative Education consortium in Hamilton works with 16 schools and kura in the area, and three alternative education providers, to support ākonga in Years 9–11 who are at risk of, or already have, disengaged from school.

Community partnership approach to ākonga re-engagement

“It takes a village to raise a child”, the well-known proverb reminds us. Putting the principle into practice in 21st century New Zealand is another matter – but the final evaluation of the three-year Te Tupu – Managed Moves pilot programme to support at-risk children indicates the network’s initiative succeeds in doing just that.

Gym programme gets students pumped for school

A school in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has trialled a robust gym programme for a group of physically active ākonga to prioritise wellbeing and re-engage them in learning.

REACHing for success

Manawatū College has been on a journey of self-reflection and internal evaluation reviewing their practice over the last two years – as part of this they have developed an alternative approach to re-engaging students with their learning in mainstream education.

The role of a re-engagement officer

Mariah Scott may have only just finished her social work degree, but she is no stranger to field work. The last two terms she has been working as a re-engagement officer for Tawa Kāhui Ako.

Tūpuna inspire a fire in the belly of ākonga Māori

A collection of stories about Te Tai Tokerau tūpuna is showcasing inspirational role models to accelerate ākonga Māori cultural pride, academic success and engagement at school and kura.

Northland schools join forces to help tamariki get to school (external link)

Schools in Northland have long battled with low attendance and when Covid-19 hit, it became even more challenging to navigate. A strong desire to get their tamariki back to school brought primary and secondary school principals together. Now they have launched a campaign – Let’s Get to School Tai Tokerau – in the hopes of rallying communities to help students get to school.

Small changes in practice driving big improvements in engagement

Two schools in Ōtautahi Christchurch are seeing a positive shift in attendance and engagement after a concerted effort to strengthen relationships both within school, and with whānau and the wider community.

Growing a place where students want to be

Paeroa College is working hard to boost attendance and engagement by removing barriers wherever possible, providing rich learning opportunities, and really listening to students and families.

Tamariki engagement soars in wake of jiu jitsu programme

Faced with challenging behaviours and a dramatic dip in attendance levels after Covid-19, Tāneatua School turned to its community to try something a bit different.

From a place of care and whanaungatanga

Whakatāne schools are working together to address attendance and engagement across their community, with a firm emphasis on putting relationships front and centre.

Reimagining lunchtime at Porirua College

An internal model of Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy School Lunches at Porirua College is providing benefits go beyond a full belly, including improved attendance. After noticing students streaming into school for lunch at 12.45pm each day, the school decided to re-arrange their timetable.

Dual enrolment gives West Coast ākonga more scope to succeed

Leaders at Greymouth High School and Tai Poutini Polytechnic are always exploring ways to drive engagement and achievement and struck gold when they trialled a new partnership – an excellent example of how collaboration can lower the barriers to education.

Connecting pieces of the puzzle

Many schools in Rotorua, including Malfroy School, are doing whatever it takes to give children the best opportunities for learning – from providing transport and food, to delivering culturally responsive learning programmes, to supporting smooth transitions between schools, to engaging closely with whānau.

Bolstering young parents through strengths-based learning

A focus on students’ strengths and cultural connections at a Northland teen parent unit is transforming lives and prospects for vulnerable rangatahi and their tamariki.

More articles about attendance and engagement

Every school day is a big day

In June 2021, the Government released its Attendance and Engagement Strategy, called All in for learning | Kia kotahi te ū ki te ako, which sets expectations to turn around years of declining attendance rates.

To support this, the Ministry of Education launched a national creative campaign to raise awareness in our communities about the importance of regularly attending school. The campaign, Every School Day is a Big Day, celebrates the little moments – the learning, sporting, cultural, connection moments – that make a day at school too big to miss. It is designed to serve as a positive reminder of the educational and life value of school, to get people to pause and think and make it a priority, specifically parents and whānau, ākonga and communities.

Every School Day is a Big Day was launched at Rangikura School in Porirua on Monday 22 August 2021. Ākonga from Rangikura School were particularly excited, as Rangikura was one of nine schools around Aotearoa involved in the creation of the campaign.

Action at the local level

With the campaign as a backdrop, the focus is on supporting the efforts of regions and local communities to increase attendance and engagement. While there are many common factors behind this issue, every community has their own needs and circumstances that are shaping their response. Te Mahau is playing a key role in working with schools and kura in this area.

How schools can get involved

More information about All in for learning | Kia kotahi te ū ki te ako can be found at link). Here, schools and kura can find downloadable packs to tailor communications with their communities about the campaign.


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 2:16 pm, 28 June 2022

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