Getting kids back into school is the key focus of a $50 million fund set up to help schools get more students back into the classroom post-Covid-19 lockdown.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the $52 million urgent response fund will allow schools to get additional resources like bringing in more teacher-aide hours to work with at-risk children and funding for home visits for students with a history of poor attendance.
The fund can also be tapped into to help get social workers into work with refugee families.
Hipkins said the Covid-19 crisis had put stress on a lot of families, as well as students, which had then resulted in poor attendance when schools were allowed to open again.
"While we are seeing improvements under alert level 1, Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools sit at about 85 per cent and 50 per cent in our early childhood education centres.
"It is much lower in some schools and early learning services. We have to do better," he said.
The funding, for this year and next year, is for centre-based learning services and schools - from early childhood education centres, kura kaupapa, primary schools to secondary education institutions.
$16m to help teachers and school staff and their families
Another $16m is being put aside to help teachers and other school staff directly.
"Teachers, principals, support staff and centre leaders have done a great job during the pandemic and they'll continue to play a vital [role] in recovery," Hipkins said.
The money will go towards workplace assistance and counselling support services for the education workforce - as well as their families.
It is set to benefit up to 10,000 additional teachers and other school staff over the next two years.
"During Covid, stress levels among families and students have increased.
"In some cases, the links families have with schools have been put under extra pressure and we need to make sure students are connected to their learning."