Increasing school attendance

Going to school every day is important for students to develop skills for lifelong learning.

There’s a clear connection between going to school regularly and doing well in the classroom. Higher levels of educational achievement can mean better health, higher incomes, better job stability, and more participation in communities. This all makes society stronger and more connected.

Four teenagers in school uniforms laughing, Caption says School's more than just class. Don't miss it. Regular attendance makes a big difference.Making sure that students attend school regularly is a priority for us all. 

Students aged 6 to 16 years old are legally required to attend school every day. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure our children attend and engage in learning from when they first start school. 

It’s important for schools and kura, parents and whānau, iwi, hapū, communities, and government agencies to work together to support and make sure every student who can is attending school regularly. Regular attendance means the student is present for more than 90% of the term.


To make sure we are making progress to increase regular attendance rates, the Government has set a target: by 2030, 80% of students are present for more than 90% of the term.

School attendance target

Description: Proportion of students present more than 90% of the term

This is a line chart showing the proportion of students present for more than 90% of the term. The target is 80%. It decreased to a percentage in the low 60s in 2017 and 2018, then increased to over 70% in 2018. In 2019 the percentage fell to below 60%, and saw sharp increases and decreases around 60% until late 2021. In 2021-22 the percentage fell to 40%, and it increased to 60% in 2022. It decreased again to under 50% in 2023.


Attendance action plan

The Associate Minister of Education has announced an action plan for attendance. The attendance action plan is an evolving set of actions that work together and support existing efforts to shift attitudes and behaviours to lift regular school attendance.

Recent actions include:

  • a public awareness campaign on the importance of regular attendance
  • the launch of an attendance dashboard and regular reporting of daily attendance figures so we all know the number of students attending each day and keep focused on increasing regular attendance.
  • sharing with schools and parents refreshed health guidance to support educationally-powerful conversations about the importance of attendance.

We will provide updates as decisions are made.  

More information for schools and parents

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