Transience among school pupils drops
Children in Northland are staying in the same school more than at any time this decade because more of their parents have jobs.
A recent survey shows the groups which had the highest transience rates up to 2016 — lowdecile, Ma¯ ori and Northland students — have logged the biggest reductions in 2017.
Northland's school transience rate is still the highest in the country, but dropped the most, from 1.94 per cent in 2016 to 1.67 per cent last year.
Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association president Pat Newman said the reason was simple: jobs.
“We are starting to get jobs,” he said.
“Transience was built out of, quite simply, people not having work, and/or casual work, moving from Dargaville for the kumara or to Kerikeri for the fruit picking.
“What we have now is a lot more in work, so they are not shifting.
“Building has picked up because the rich in Auckland are now back buying and building houses here, and tourism is picking up,” Newman said.
He said the transience rate at his decile 2 school in Whanga¯ rei, Hora Hora School, had dropped by about 25 per cent in the past two years.
“We are a bit unusual. We are 80 per cent Ma¯ ori but, of those, 70 per cent bypass other schools to bring their kids here,” he said.
“But the word I have been getting from most places is that transience is dropping, although not necessarily in the more remote and isolated areas.”
Only 0.47 per cent of schoolchildren changed schools more than once last year, making them officially “transient“, down from a peak of 0.65 per cent in 2011 when the worst effects of the global financial crisis coincided with the Christchurch earthquake.
Although the national unemployment rate rose a fraction from 4.4 per cent in March to 4.5 per cent in June, the 4.5 per cent annual average for the year to June was the lowest since just before the financial crisis hit in 2008, when it was 3.8 per cent.
The Māori unemployment rate is still double the national average, at 9.5 per cent, but has fallen more than in any other ethnic group in the past two years, from 11.4 per cent in the year to June 2016.
And Northland, which has had the country's highest unemployment rate for most of the past 30 years and was still the worst with 8.3 per cent unemployed two years ago, has seen its jobless rate drop faster than any other region in the past two years, to 5.7 per cent, now below Manawatu-whanganui (6.1 per cent) and Gisborne/hawke's Bay (5.9 per cent).
Hora Hora Primary School principal Pat Newman says if parents have jobs, children can stay at the same school.