(National Party media release)

The number of children unenrolled from school has more than doubled under Labour, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“After five years of Labour and an extra $5 billion in education spending every year, the number of children unenrolled from school has skyrocketed to 8,500 – more than double the number than when National was last in Government.

“This is putting immense strain on the community attendance service providers tasked with getting children re-engaged with education and back into school. Some providers are facing caseloads of up to 200 students for just one case officer, yet today in Parliament the Education Minister blamed these providers for underperforming.

“The effect of this added pressure is already prevalent, with data showing that it is taking 113 days to get kids back in school – an entire month longer than under National.

“This is an incredibly concerning trend. We know that the longer kids are out of school, the harder it is for them to re-engage with education and the more likely they will be involved in criminal behaviour.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ failure to keep children in school is directly contributing to the 518 per cent increase in ram raids under Labour, the majority of which are committed by youth offenders who are not attending school regularly.

“Overall attendance rates have plummeted under Labour. The number of children chronically absent for two terms or more had increased from 7,000 in 2017 to 41,000 in 2019, even before Covid-19 added to the shocking downward trend that Labour started.

“National has warned the Government that it needs to do everything it can to get our children back to school. This is not just a social failure but a future economic crisis. Labour’s lack of delivery is failing a generation of children.”