As we begin another busy school year it is important to remind all students and parents of the legal requirements around attendance at school:
STUDENT ATTENDANCE IN GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
Regular attendance at school for every student is essential if students are to achieve their potential, and increase their career and life options. Schools in partnerships with parents are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students. While parents are legally responsible for the regular attendance of their children, school staff, as part of their duty of care, record and monitor part and whole day absences. Schools, in providing a caring teaching and learning environment, which addresses the learning and support needs of students, including those with additional learning and support needs or complex health conditions, foster students’ sense of wellbeing and belonging to the school community.
What are the responsibilities of parents?
Parents must ensure their children of compulsory school age are enrolled in a government or registered non-government school or, registered with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for Home Schooling. Their children who are enrolled at school attend every day the school is open for instruction and they provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence through means such as telephone call, written note, text message or email. The 7 day timeframe for explaining absences is a requirement of the Education Act (1990). Parents are required to work in partnership with the school to plan and implement strategies to support regular attendance at school. This includes communicating with the school if they are aware of issues impacting on their child’s attendance or engagement with school.
What should be done if a student has an unsatisfactory pattern of attendance?
A child is considered to have an unsatisfactory school attendance when they have:
• Regular absences without explanation (despite follow-up from the school)
• Regular absences and explanations provided by parents are not accepted by the principal, or
• Extended periods of absence without an explanation or the explanation is not accepted by the principal. An extended period of absence may be consecutive or irregular patterns of non-attendance.
If a range of school based interventions has been unsuccessful in resolving attendance difficulties the principal should request support by making an application to the Home School Liaison Program.
Lateness to school
Continued, unexplained lateness to school can significantly impact a student’s learning outcomes as well as their eligibility to receive a ROSA at the end of Year 10, 11 or 12. If a student is continually late to school over a period of time, they are missing large amounts of course content and teaching time, which dramatically impacts their ability to meet the outcomes of individual courses they are studying.
Furthermore, the continued lateness of students is a drain on the school’s administration resources as a number of staff need to be on hand for some time after the first bell has gone, to sign students into school. Students who are repeatedly late to school will be issued an after school detention. This does not include students who bring in a note to explain their absence or their parent to call identifying the problem that led to their child being late to school. Every effort needs to be made for students to arrive at school before 8.30am.