The importance of lifting school attendance rates

Tuesday, 19 March, 2024

The importance of lifting school attendance rates

A new campaign that reinforces the importance of good school attendance has been launched by the NSW Government.

The benefits of regular school attendance cannot be overstated; from academic outcomes to relationship building, career options and boosting confidence, every day at school matters.

Secretary Murat Dizdar said NSW public schools were making great strides in lifting attendance rates, but more needed to be done.

“Student attendance increased from 85.2% in 2022 to 88.1% last year, which shows promising improvement,” Dizdar said.

“I know schools are continuing to work hard to boost rates even further.”

Ben Higginbottom, Relieving Director, Educational Leadership Maitland, stressed the importance of regular school attendance to ensure the best outcomes for NSW students.

“It may not seem like a big deal to miss a day or two of school, but these days add up and can cause students to fall behind.

“Missing just one day of school per fortnight can add up to four weeks per year, and an entire year of missed learning over a student’s school life.”

Schools across the state are implementing innovative, focused strategies to boost attendance, including Greta Public School and Lochinvar Public School.

Greta Public School’s initiatives include daily hero attendance tickets, class puzzles, end-of-year semester rewards, positive greeting of latecomers, group support for students needing to lift attendance and regular written communication of each student’s individual attendance to parents twice a term.

“We are incredibly proud that the percentage of students attending at least 90% of the time went up from just under 39% in the first half of 2022 to over 61% percent in the same period last year,” said Principal Sharon Morris.

“It’s a whole-of-community effort, from our families to our staff and students. We are all working hard to ensure our students have the best opportunities to learn and grow at school by regularly attending.”

Lochinvar Public School’s initiatives have included daily attendance routines including puzzle rewards, text and phone follow-ups with parents, a whole-class attendance competition and fortnightly and semester rewards.

“Community engagement in lifting attendance is essential,” said Principal Libby Cantwell.

“With parents and carers supporting us we’ve been able to see a steady rise in attendance over the last two years, our overall figure for 2022 of 86.5% attendance going to well above 92% so far this year.”

“Families can help students reach their attendance goals by ensuring they attend school every day unless they’re unwell, booking holidays during breaks and reaching out for support from schools if required,” Higginbottom said.

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