They have now lost those experienced Truancy Officers who had successful services under the District Truancy Service.
The Ministry of Education needs to stop being dictatorial and realize that we do live in a Democracy where people are allowed their say and should be listened to.
The Road Show's leading to the so called new Attendance Service were an absolute farce.
The MoE had their agenda hiding behind discussions of which they were never going to listen to.... SD
Goalposts moved for anti-truancy programme
After failing to meet its targets, the Government's $9 million anti-truancy programme has scrapped some goals and is loosening others.
More than $3m of Government funding was pumped into the Integrated Attendance Service (IAS) last year.
While the Ministry of Education expected it would take time for the service to get up to speed, principals say that more than a year later it's still unworkable and little improvement had been made.
At Porirua College the school's strong working relationship with its truancy officer ended when a new provider hired fresh staff.
Principal Susanne Jungersen said that after she criticised the service in The Dominion Post last year, the ministry contacted her and a new officer was appointed.
While the situation had started to improve, teachers were still carrying much of the load and it was taking longer to get truants back in class, she said.
Ministry head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said some of the targets were "far too ambitious" and did not allow for how complex some truancy cases were.
"For example, we were too ambitious in setting a target to close unjustified absence cases within 10 days."
A target of 100 per cent of truancy officers reporting back to a school within five days has been scrapped - at the end of March last year only 59 per cent of Wellington cases were being reported back.
Casey said demand for the service had been high and a lack of a similar service made projections difficult. "At the time the new service was established there was no way to know whether or not it would be used by more than the 40 per cent of schools that used the previous service."
The lack of reporting back was a significant issue for Porirua College with its former truancy officer.
Two weeks ago Jungersen was told that officer would be returning after the current officer's contract was not renewed.
However, service provider Te Roopu Awina yesterday told Jungersen that was no longer the case.
Questions put to Te Roopu Awina about the timing of the renewal were not responded to.
Jungersen said the contract had been "farmed out" to Te Roopu Awina and there was no integrity or real monitoring of the work being done by the new service.
It was time consuming for teachers chasing truants and the catch-up required in the classroom on their return hindered other students, she said.
Frimley School principal Malcolm Dixon said there were no significant improvements with the service and the paperwork meant many principals just did not bother.
"Under the old service a truancy officer would respond to the school as to a student's whereabouts by the next day - now it's up to a week before we hear anything."
Education Minister Hekia Parata said she expected a report back at the end of next month on how the service was performing and possible areas of improvement.
Labour Party education spokesman Chris Hipkins said schools had been reporting since the service began that it was not working and it had fallen on deaf ears.
"It's an unqualified disaster and as a result there's kids on the streets who should be in school."