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School Attendance Skyrockets

Stratford High School has a growing roll of more than 600 students ranging from Year 9 through to Year 13. The school has worked hard with staff, students and parents to offer a range of relevant programmes. One such programme is Employability for Disengaged Youth, which caters for some of the school’s most at-risk students.  

“Before 2022, we had around 20% attendance from this group of students. I wanted to employ a specialist teacher to run this programme, but our funding simply didn’t cover that cost.” said Cameron Stone, Principal.

"$35k funding from the Toi Foundation helped us employ a teacher to provide quality learning time. We were lucky to find a teacher who understood the needs and was passionate about delivering the right programme to each student.

“As well as classroom lessons, the course gets students off campus and into other environments. For example, twice a week, they go to the Lion’s Den gym, which helps get them active and look after their bodies and minds. We run a car which collects students from home each morning and takes them to school or their activities.

"This funding allowed us to prioritise getting the students to school and giving them a program that interests them. As a result, students’ attendance levels jumped to between 78% and 98% in 2023."

The Employability for Disengaged Youth can accommodate up to seven learners at one time, up to 16 years of age. After they turn 16, students are encouraged to find jobs or pursue further education. That may include programmes in agriculture or with Feats or other tertiary providers.

Achieving Level One, NCEA, was a real highlight for some in the group, while others succeeded in workplaces around the district.

“We’ve had some terrific success stories come out of having the right person and the right programmes in that environment,” said Cameron.

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