Warn­ing to wag­gers

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By LAURA McLEAY

Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dents who de­cide to wag or cut class will find get­ting away with it a whole lot harder this year.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion ex­pects sec­ondary schools to main­tain a 94 per cent at­ten­dance rate, yet Mata­mata Col­lege’s rate has sat in the low eight­ies over the past few years.

Prin­ci­pal Glenn Rowsell aims to change this. ‘‘At­ten­dance is so im­por­tant. There is a very strong cor­re­la­tion be­tween kids who do well and kids who at­tend well,’’ Mr Rowsell said.

Stu­dents with an at­ten­dance rate lower than 88 per cent may ex­pe­ri­ence some of the fol­low­ing con­se­quences. Not be­ing per­mit­ted to at­tend the se­nior ball and school so­cial, rights to play sport for the school will be with­held, there will be no in­volve­ment in cul­tural events or the Gateway pro­gramme and the au­to­matic right to pro­ceed to the next year level will be sus­pended.

‘‘Of course, there will be a case to case as­sess­ment, be­cause I un­der­stand some peo­ple are away due to sick­ness or surgery but hope­fully this should turn a few of the wag­ging stu­dents around,’’ Mr Rowsell said.

‘‘We are just try­ing to draw a line in the sand and ex­pect kids to be in school un­less there is a gen­uine rea­son. Ev­ery day they are away from class – that is five classes they miss out on and many don’t catch up on what they miss.’’

Mata­mata Col­lege has to re­port to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion each term on its at­ten­dance rate and a grim one is not wel­comed.

‘‘We are on a mis­sion. If we can reach our tar­get, I hope that our achieve­ment im­proves too.’’

Mr Rowsell said it is the se­nior stu­dents who are the main concern at the mo­ment.

Last year, year 13 stu­dents had the low­est at­ten­dance rate.

‘‘Some kids come to school just to play sport. But they also need to be go­ing to classes. Things like be­ing in a sports team or go­ing to the ball are a priv­i­lege, not a right,’’ he said.

‘‘We have stopped kids do­ing things be­fore and we will do it again.’’ Mata­mata Col­lege is mak- ing an ef­fort to keep par­ents in­formed of the where­abouts of their child.

When 9.30am comes around each morn­ing, par­ents of stu­dents who are not at school with­out a gen­uine rea­son, will be no­ti­fied by text mes­sage and email. Then both the par­ent and the school can deal with the stu­dent to­gether.

On a more pos­i­tive note, Mr Rowsell said they were also try­ing to cel­e­brate stu­dents who had great at­ten­dance.

If a stu­dent has 100 per cent at­ten­dance they are look­ing at a re­ward sys­tem. ‘‘At­ten­dance also comes down to the staff and we have put pres­sure on them to en­sure they are tak­ing the rolls cor­rectly so we can see who is not at­tend­ing and who is.’’

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