Transient students in New Zealand

By gender, 2012 & 2017, number of students


Transient students: Number of students who changed school twice or more during the period of 1st March to 1st November
Rate of transient students: Number of students who changed school twice or more during the period of 1st March to 1st November, divided by total number of students who attended school at on July 1st of each respective year

Data calculation/treatment

For school-based measures (Decile, Regional Council, Territorial Authority), students are counted once for each category for which they attended. For example, in a given year between March and November if a student attends a Decile 7 school in Auckland, then a Decile 7 school in Waikato, then a Decile 6 school in Waikato; this student is counted once each in the categories for Decile 6, Decile 7, Auckland and Waikato.
Home-schooling is counted as a school for the purposes of this indicator, though is generally only included under totals when examining geographically related variables.

Limitations of the data

Transience during has only been examined for the period 1st March to 31st November.
Children who started school part way through the measurement period were counted in this indicator, both in the denominator and, if they had two or more moves during the period, the numerator of the rate. Starting school for the first time did not count towards the school moves for these children.


International Fee paying students and adult students (older than 19)

Data provided by

Ministry of Education

Dataset name

School Student Engagement and Participation: Transient students 2017


How to find the data

At URL provided, select 'Data Tables' from the 'Downloads' section of the right-hand column

Import & extraction details

File as imported: School Student Engagement and Participation: Transient students 2017

From the dataset School Student Engagement and Participation: Transient students 2017, this data was extracted:

  • Sheet: 2-Ethnicity and gender
  • Range: C5:R13
  • Provided: 144 data points

This data forms the table Education - Transient students by ethnic group and gender 2010–2017.

Dataset originally released on:

July 2018

Purpose of collection

Students need stability in their schooling in order to experience continuity, belonging and support if they are to stay interested and engaged in learning. All schools face the constant challenge of ensuring that all students feel they belong and are encouraged to participate at school. When students arrive at a school part-way through a term or school year, having been at another school with different routines, this challenge may become even greater for the school.
Students have better outcomes if they do not move school regularly. There is good evidence that student transience has a negative impact on student outcomes, both in New Zealand and overseas. Research suggests that students who move home or school frequently are more likely to underachieve in formal education when compared with students that have a more stable home and school life. A recent study even found that school movement had an even stronger effect on educational success than residential movement.
There is also evidence that transience can have negative effects on student behaviour, and on short term social and health experiences.