Student attendance guide for schools and kura

Schools and kura, along with whānau | parents, are legally responsible for making sure students attend school every day.

School and kura responsibilities

Schools and kura must:

  • have an attendance management policy and procedures they follow for all student absences
  • take reasonable steps to ensure students attend when school is open
  • take action when a student expected at school has not turned up
  • notify the parent or caregiver promptly so they can take action. 

Recording and reporting

Schools are expected to record and report all absences to the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry monitors the school’s reporting for absences that remain unexplained at the end of the week the absence occurred. Our staff will follow up with and provide support to schools and kura on timely responses to unexplained absences where needed.  

Introduction to attendance data – Education learning management system(external link)

For online training in managing attendance for school leaders and administration staff, email

How the data helps you: Every Day Matters report

The data the school records and reports can help you in your efforts to improve attendance. The Ministry emails the Every Day Matters report after the end of each term. The report includes:

  • your school’s regular attendance for the term
  • an overview of the reasons given for absence
  • insightful trends and next steps
  • attendance patterns in your school
  • actionable insights to improve student attendance.

You can use it to inform conversations with staff and your school board about student attendance patterns and unjustified absences in your school.

If you have questions, get in touch with your local Ministry office or email

Regional offices

Talking to parents and whānau

Parents are legally required to enrol their children and make sure they attend school every day. 

These resources are templates and starters you can adjust for your own conversations and communications. They include topics like why attendance is important, justified and unjustified absences, what whānau can do, and what support is available.

Attendance and sickness

Health guidance has been released by Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand to help schools and parents to decide if a student is well enough to attend school.

Knowing if a child is well enough to be at school – Te Whatu Ora(external link)

Attendance information campaign

The Ministry of Education has started a public information campaign to support efforts to increase attendance rates. 

Attendance information campaign resources

Support getting students back to school

Schools can refer students to an attendance service provider for additional support to get them back to school. Attendance service staff services include:

  • visiting a child at home to support them back to school 
  • working with your school and communities to identify and support students on the cusp of persistent absence. 

Attendance service 

Download the attendance quick reference guide

This guide provides schools with information and resources to assess attendance patterns within their school and put in place appropriate policies and  practices to improve student attendance.

Download the attendance quick reference guide [PDF, 678 KB]

More information

Talk to your local Te Mahau office for more information to support your needs.

Local Ministry offices 

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