Tru­ancy num­bers de­cline in Auck­land

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

Tru­ancy has de­creased by nearly 40 per cent in parts of Auck­land fol­low­ing a com­mu­nity drive to tackle the prob­lem.

Hun­dreds fewer stu­dents are skip­ping school since Auck­land City Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vices (ACES) started the Tru­ancy Free Ar­eas pro­gramme last year.

Work­ing closely with the po­lice, busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions and schools, the pro­gramme aims to curb tru­ancy in Auck­land com­mu­ni­ties.

Busi­nesses play a vi­tal role in the pro­gramme, dis­cour­ag­ing stu­dents from ac­cess­ing their ser­vices dur­ing school hours.

They con­tact a tru­ant stu­dent’s school or po­lice for as­sis­tance.

ACES man­ager Karyl Puk­lowski says the pro­gramme is ac­tive in Glen Innes, Pan­mure, One­hunga, Three Kings, Mt Roskill, San­dring­ham and Avondale.

‘‘When we first started, we were pick­ing up at least 600 kids a year and that’s dropped down to 400,’’ Puk­lowski says.

‘‘Whats work­ing is the proac­tive mea­sures that we’ve put in place, iden­ti­fy­ing them early.

‘‘It’s not just the prob­lem of play­ing hooky for a day, but find­ing out why, get­ting to the root of the prob­lem so we can make sure that it doesn’t hap­pen again.’’

The group gath­ers in­for­ma­tion and cre­ates a map iden­ti­fy­ing prob­lem ar­eas and uses that to run projects de­signed to deal with tru­ancy.

There is also the op­tion of talk­ing to stu­dent’s fam­i­lies to ad­dress on­go­ing is­sues.

The latest Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion at­ten­dance data reveals that at least 9500 Auck­land stu­dents are un­jus­ti­fi­ably ab­sent on any given day.

ACES fig­ures showed most stu­dents who skipped school were males.

Year 9 to 12 are con­sis­tently the high­est school year found to be tru­ant.

Bal­moral Po­lice youth ser­vices Sergeant Ju­nior Fiu says they con­sis­tently mon­i­tor com­mon han­gouts for young peo­ple.

Train sta­tions, bus stops, parks, shop­ping malls and li­braries are pop­u­lar gath­er­ing places.

‘‘It’s dur­ing the mid­dle of the year that we found tru­ancy num­bers go­ing up,’’ Fiu says.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic are en­cour­aged to re­port any tru­ancy to their lo­cal po­lice, ACES or by email at tru­ancy@aces.school.nz

Mem­bers of the Tru­ancy Free Ar­eas pro­gramme, from left, Karyl Puk­lowski, Katy Ken­ward, Keith Mor­ris and Sergeant Ju­nior Fiu.

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