A Napier project aimed at getting the city's most at-risk children back on track at school has gone fast-track with a seven-figure Government boost just a few weeks after it was first heard of in the corridors of power.
Associate Minister of Education Tracey Martin learned the details of the Napier Student Managed Move Service when she met principals, and other, education and police representatives in Napier on November 14.
She was so impressed with what had been put together by a consortium which has grown to encompass 40 schools that she headed back to Wellington to pitch for the necessaries.
She got the nod for $1.086 million at Cabinet on Monday and flew back to Napier yesterday to so those who'd done all the "groundwork" would know first, among them principals wondering why they'd been called back together at such short notice, in their school holidays.
They'll now all be back together before at least once during the rest of the holidays as they start looking for a base and other essentials for the service which will target 7-12 year-olds at risk of disconnection from school because of suspension, expulsion or non-attendance.
It's estimated that while there are hundreds that miss school from time to time for such reasons, there constantly just under 100 in the most seriously at-risk stage, who need to be reconnected to formal education in time for high school.
Martin, who soon got the support of Education Minister Chris Hipkins, said it's the first project of it's type that's targeted the age group that she's aware of, and she hopes its goal will soon see it duplicated in Hastings and other centres.
"Persistent themes for Napier include high transience, low attendance, high suspensions and exclusions, and a concerning number of students not enrolled at school," she said.
School principals Daniel Murfitt (William Colenso College) and Robin Fabish (Tamatea High) say a special feature is that with unprecedented mass buy-in from the schools each will be accountable in ensuring education of the children continues, with relevant and tailored support aimed at stopping them from getting to the stage of disengagement.