Warning to waggers
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.’’