School changes hurt Porirua kids


Chil­dren in Porirua are twice as likely to change schools two or more times within six months than the na­tional av­er­age.

The rate among Maori chil­dren in the city is four times the na­tional av­er­age, and the rate among Pasi­fika about 21⁄ times, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pre­pared for Porirua City Coun­cil.

Schools blame the high rate of ‘‘tran­sience’’ on sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing re­lo­ca­tion by Hous­ing NZ, par­ents mov­ing for work, or chil­dren be­ing moved be­tween fam­ily mem­bers be­cause they might be dif­fi­cult to man­age.

Ragne Maxwell, prin­ci­pal of Porirua Col­lege, where a ma­jor­ity of the stu­dents are Maori or Pasi­fika, said most of the be­havioural is­sues the school dealt with came from tran­sient stu­dents.

‘‘We don’t have the chance to build re­la­tion­ships up with them. They’re un­set­tled.’’

The rate of school tran­sience is de­tailed in Sta­tus Re­port - Chil­dren and Young Peo­ple in Porirua 2017, which looked at the num­ber of stu­dents who changed school twice or more be­tween March and Novem­ber 2015.

Among Maori, the rate was 21 per 1000 stu­dents, more than four times the over­all na­tional rate of five. The Pasi­fika rate was 12.

New Zealand Prin­ci­pals’ Fed-


About a quar­ter of Porirua chil­dren live in over­crowded houses, and a quar­ter live in homes with damp and mould.

Ar­eas of con­cern re­lated to ed­u­ca­tion in­clude rel­a­tively poor NCEA level 2 achieve­ment rates.

Ar­eas of con­cern re­lated to health in­clude high in­jury rates for chil­dren, high rates of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions (par­tic­u­larly for un­der 5s), poor oral health at school en­try and high rates of in­ten­tional self-harm­for youth.

Over­all, chil­dren and young peo­ple con­sider Porirua a great place to live. er­a­tion na­tional pres­i­dent Whetu Cormick said tran­sient chil­dren could strug­gle to form re­la­tion­ships or sup­port net­works, and to progress through the learn­ing cur­ricu­lum.

‘‘They can be at the end of the tail of un­der­achieve­ment.’’

About 35 per cent of stu­dents be­tween years 9 and 11 who moved school twice or more achieved NCEA level 2. That com- pared with 82 per cent of stu­dents who had not moved.

Maxwell said that last year, 40 per cent of Porirua Col­lege’s stu­dents who com­pleted year 11 had not been there since the start of year 9.

‘‘We have huge suc­cess with the kids who are con­sis­tently with us ... and that’s the same for other lo­cal schools,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a con­ver­sa­tion we’ve been hav­ing across Porirua basin.’’

Se­condary schools in the area were in­creas­ingly shar­ing in­for­ma­tion on stu­dents, be­cause a lot of tran­sience hap­pened lo­cally or within the wider Welling­ton re­gion, she said.

Staff needed to know if tran­sient stu­dents had is­sues with anger man­age­ment or needed drug coun­selling, or whether so­cial work­ers were in­volved.

‘‘We need to know this so we’re not com­ing in blind.’’

The re­port will be used to in­form Porirua City Coun­cil’s 2018 to 2028 Long-Term Plan, which was ac­cepted at a com­mit­tee meet­ing last week.

The re­port also showed that in 2013 about a quar­ter of Porirua’s chil­dren lived in over­crowded homes – those need­ing at least one ex­tra bed­room to ac­com­mo­date all those liv­ing there – com­pared with 16 per cent na­tion­ally.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said this first an­nual re­port would pro­vide a base­line from which the coun­cil could de­ter­mine pri­or­i­ties for change and mea­sure progress.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely our role to en­sure the right ser­vices are go­ing to the right peo­ple, and if gov­ern­ment ser­vices or con­trac­tors have a role to play in Porirua to pro­vide the ser­vices that we fo­cus them on the right parts ... guide them to the right chil­dren, at the right age, for the right things.’’

The re­port, which col­lated a wide range of in­di­ca­tors for peo­ple up to 24, also high­lighted pos­i­tive as­pects of liv­ing in Porirua, in­clud­ing a good rate of in­fant im­mu­ni­sa­tion, qual­ity early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, and less Youth Court ap­pear­ances.

Over­all, it found young peo­ple en­joyed their qual­ity of life, and con­sid­ered Porirua a great place to live.

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