Student can’t attend graduation due to attendance rate

The AM Show 22/11/2018

Auckland mother Charmaine Douglas has been shocked by the revelation a guideline of 90 percent attendance from the Ministry of Education may not exist.

Her daughter, Mackenzie Douglas, 18, was told she would not be able to attend the Pukekohe High School graduation due to her attendance rate of 86.3 percent, as the school's minimum is 90 percent.

Her mother told The AM Show she wasn't made aware of the minimum until too late, and attempts to talk to the school about it have been futile.

"You're punishing kids for not showing up over a pretty high percentage mark, when they weren't aware of what the goal post was to start with," she said.

"Yet kids that are failing school that have turned up are invited."

Mackenzie has achieved high grades in her final year and has already been accepted into a Bachelor of Business. Her mother said her reduced attendance rate is down to health issues.

Pukekohe High School principal Richard Barnett told Stuff the mandatory 90 percent attendance rate was based on a recommendation from the Ministry of Education.

"It is what most schools would use as a yardstick to measure attendance. The figure of 90 per cent was also one that was supported by student leaders in Year 13 and was not one that was just imposed by the staff," he said.

"I understand the concern some parents have and this is something that many schools grapple with at this time of year."

The AM Show host Duncan Garner said the show had spoken to the Ministry of Education about the guideline and had been told the 90 percent yardstick did not exist.

The Ministry said decisions around participation in end of year student events are made by schools themselves.

It added it expects schools to communicate policies clearly with parents and be open to discussing any issues raised by parents.

Watch the full interview with Charmaine Douglas above.

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.