Northland school attendance up following campaign

By Contributor

A campaign aimed at getting more Northland tamariki back at school has seen about 500 students return to classrooms since its launch.

The ‘Let’s Get to School - Tai Tokerau’ ‘E Te Tai Tokerau - Hoake tātou ki te kura’ campaign was launched on August 10 after growing concern for the number of tamariki missing school in Northland.

Ministry of Education attendance data for the week starting August 8 – the week the campaign launched - shows 79.2 per cent of students in Northland were attending school.

As of the week starting September 5 that number increased to 81 per cent - an increase of about 493 students, about 2.5 average-sized Northland schools.

Meanwhile, from 2July 25 to the week starting September 5, attendance increased 2.9 per cent from 78.1 per cent to 81 per cent. That’s about 795 more students back at school.

Northland College tumuaki Duane Allen says it is great to see some improvement but the ultimate goal is to reach 90 per cent attendance - a goal all Northland principals are eager to achieve.

‘Clear expectations’

 “I think it’s awesome to know that we do have support from the ministry and, from a principal’s perspective, from my colleagues as well, and I appreciate that. It’s very important that we have our kids physically present for all sorts of different reasons.”

Duane says Northland College has used the tools in the campaign at his school, as well as setting up a reward system to complement it.

“We’ve been very clear with our kids about the expectations for attendance, and we’ve seen some really significant improvements in our attendance.”

The latest phase of the campaign has involved schools from all over Tai Tokerau.

Staff and students from 15 schools from Kaitaia to Ruawai were filmed and the videos posted on

 It follows the first phase of the campaign, which involved a social media kit containing graphics and messaging in both te reo Māori and English sent to schools around Northland.