New Approach To Keeping Students In School
Written by John Freer on July 17, 2023
By John Freer
Reducing absenteeism at Mercury Bay Area School today took on a new approach.
Students returning from the school holiday break have been introduced to new rules aimed at keeping them in class and engaged with learning.
The change involves not just the school community, but also the wider business and retail community.
School Principal, Ross Dunn, confirmed that local Whitianga shops were being asked not to serve the pupils during school hours, unless they had a school pass-out.
Ross said that reducing students being absent was critical in improving education and learning outcomes.
“Its not ground breaking but initiatives such as this are easier to implement in smaller communities.
“Our core business is to educate and wanting our pupils to achieve the best they can. If they are in class then they will engage and learn,” he said.
“The more classes you miss the less likely you are to achieve, it is not just an issue here, it is a national issue.”
Ross also said there had to be consequences for missed classes, now at Mercury Bay this includes what he calls community services.
Previously regarded as detention, the community service relates to the school community, as it requires students to undertake activities in their own time if they have broken school rules.
The principal used examples such as spreading mulch and collecting litter, being two things on a growing list of possible options.
The school did brief local businesses on the programme at a recent Mercury Bay Business Association event, Ross saying further contact with retailers and business is proposed.
He said the initiative was well received by the school staff and on the first day it was applied, there was a noticeable difference in attendance.