School attendance plays a vital role in supporting students achieve their educational best and increase their career and life options. Every day of attendance adds to a student's achievements and success at school. Schools in partnership with parents are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students. Every Learner, Every Day!
There is a direct link between school attendance and academic achievement. Each day, our students are building on learning from the day before, which means that every day away from school makes it harder to catch up and can impact everyone in the classroom. Poor school attendance doesn’t just impact student learning. Attending school every day helps students build resilience, develop important connections and establish healthy habits that will follow them into work and life.
Absenteeism is defined as a pattern of habitual absence from school for any reason. While absences are sometimes unavoidable, we want to ensure parents and students are aware that even occasional absences can quickly add up and that attending school every day is important to their child’s education.
NSW government requirements
Education in NSW is compulsory for all children between the ages of six years and below the minimum school leaving age. The Education Act 1990 requires that parents ensure their children of compulsory school age are enrolled at, and regularly attend school, or, are registered with NESA, Teaching and Educational Standards for home-schooling.
The NSW government provides some helpful information to help inform parents of what is expected of them. Some of the key areas are outlined below.
The importance of arriving on time
Arriving at school and class on time:
- ensures students do not miss out on important learning activities scheduled early in the day
- helps students learn the importance of punctuality and routine
- gives students time to greet their friends before class
- reduces classroom disruption.
Student learning is more successful when students are present consistently for the whole school day. Just one or two days absent a month can add up to nearly four weeks of a school year. Students who arrive “just a few minutes late” miss out on vital information on the day ahead including opportunities in which they could get involved at Catherine McAuley to enrich their learning and school experience. Early intervention strategies are key to ensuring we can prevent absenteeism before it can put students at risk.
What if my child has to be away from school?
On occasions, your child may need to be absent from school. Justified reasons for student absences may include:
- sickness or an infectious disease
- an unavoidable medical appointment
- a recognised religious holiday
- an exceptional or urgent family circumstance (such as a funeral).
Following an absence from school, you must ensure that within seven days you provide the college with a verbal or written explanation. However, if the school has not received an explanation from you within two days, the school may contact you to discuss the absence.
Further details on absenteeism are contained within the College Parent Handbook.
Families are encouraged to travel during school holidays. If travel during school term is necessary, please discuss with the head of house first. An Application for Extended Leave may need to be completed. Absences relating to travel will be marked as leave on the roll and therefore contribute to your child’s total absences for the year. In some circumstances, students may be eligible to enrol in distance education for travel periods of more than 50 school days.
For further information on compulsory school attendance, visit the NSW Department of Education website.