Saturday, December 4

Auckland high school students ‘skipped school’ but didn’t rush back

Auckland high school students were in no rush to return to class after their 10-week lockdown, according to figures from the Ministry of Education.

James Cook High School first day back, October 26, 2021

The students returned to secondary school in Auckland last week.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Daily attendance among Year 11-13 adolescents in the region last week ranged from a high of 48 percent for Year 13 students on Tuesday of last week, to a low of 38 percent among that age group. year on Friday.

Auckland Secondary Principals Association President Steve Hargreaves said the figures reflect the different approaches schools are taking.

“Some schools have all grade levels for the year, with regular classes, some are still teaching online, others are running tutorials for those students who want or need to come to complete the assessments,” he said.

Additionally, some schools refused to reopen to seniors last week, but reopened this week.

Western Springs College delayed its reopening for seniors until Monday, and Year 13 student Orla Porten said some people were concerned about returning.

“There was a lot of anxiety about how it would work and how it would feel, and it was kind of weird seeing all your friends together in one place when you can’t see them outside of school, but I think the way we got back Going to school has been very comfortable and quite normal, “he said.

Some classmates had stayed away because they had underlying health problems, while others had parents who didn’t think it was safe, Orla said.

But for her, going back to class had been a good experience and helped revive her motivation to study, she said.

“Just being able to sit inside a space dedicated to learning, it’s not a desk in my room, it’s a space where you go to work, I’ve really seen an increase in my ability to sit at my computer and do a good study.” .

Western Springs principal Ivan Davis said being back at school had obviously lifted students’ spirits.

“They have skipped school. I often talk to people about the old joke about coming to school for lunch and there is an element of truth to that in relation to the value of social interaction,” he said.

Davis said attendance this week was about 80 percent and absent students continued learning online.

Onehunga High principal Deidre Shea said that about 55 percent of her seniors had returned, and she had heard that attendance at other schools ranged from 30 to 94 percent.

“Where we are in Onehunga, and we take from Onehunga and Mangere Bridge, there have been a lot of cases … so I think that’s the kind of thing that impacts as well,” Shea said.

“If you are in a community that has been badly affected, you can expect less on-site assistance.”

Students and teachers had adapted well to a new requirement that seniors and teachers in alert level 3 regions wear masks indoors, he said.

However, he said the masks muffled the teachers’ voices, forcing them to speak louder so their students could hear them.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s fair to say that the teachers are a little tired of having to project their voice a lot more behind the mask.”

Shea and Davis said there was a lot of variation in students’ preparation for scholarship and NCEA exams, which would begin on November 22.

Davis said her school had decided not to stop teaching the traditional study break for the week before testing begins. Instead, it would offer workshops for that entire week.

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