16 Aug 2013

Talks with whanau needed to reduce truancy, says leader

6:53 am on 16 August 2013

A south Auckland Maori leader says it's going to take some tough talking with families to turn around truancy rates in his area.

Papakura High School and Rosehill College have recently launched the "Rock On" programme - the first multi-agency approach to reduce truancy rates at both schools.

The two schools have a significant number of Maori students and the chief executive of Papakura marae, Tony Kake, says he will be using a tikanga Maori approach and working with the families to find out why students are missing their lessons.

He says the Counties Manukau Police, Child Youth and Family, Work and Income, Housing New Zealand and Papakura Marae Society will all need to sit down and have courageous conversations with parents and guardians.

Mr Kake says it is about giving those families the support they need to overcome truancy.

He says the goal is to lift the attendance rate from 80 to 95%, to give students that nobody cares about a better start in life.