School Attendance


It is crucial that students develop habits of regular attendance at an early age; even from the time they are enrolled in a pre-school setting. Poor patterns of attendance place students at risk of not achieving their educational, social and psychological potential and are disadvantaged in the quality of choices they are able to make in later life situations.

Student absence fits into the following categories:

  1. Illness or injury
  2. Truancy: Your child is absent from school without your knowledge
  3. School Refusal: Your child does not want to attend school, even though you have tried
  4. School Withdrawal: Your child does not attend school with your permission. For example, family holidays, baby-sitting, helping parents at home, working in the family business.

What is your responsibility as a parent/caregiver?

Make sure your child:

  • attends school on ALL school days
  • is on time every day

Make sure you:

  • provide the school with an explanation if your child is away
  • contact the school if your child does not want to go to school
  • arrange doctor and dentist appointments out of school hours
  • arrange personal shopping trips with your son/daughter or birthday celebrations out of school hours
  • do not allow your child to stay at home for minor reasons.

Is regular attendance at school important?

  • Yes – from the first day. If your child misses the basic skills in primary school they can experience difficulties with their learning.
  • Regular attendance is essential to make sure learning is not disrupted. Regular learning provides building blocks for the future
  • Schools help children to develop important social skills, such as friendship building, teamwork, communication skills and a healthy self-esteem.

What can you expect from the school?

  • Monitoring of student attendance and review progress on a weekly basis
  • Strategies to help you as a parent encourage your child to go to school.

What help can you get if your child refuses to go to school or is truanting?

The school can offer a range of support options:

  • teacher working with the student in a supportive, counselling role
  • school student welfare co-ordinator working with the student
  • provide a mentor for your child
  • home visits to identify the problem and help work it through with parents
  • identify reasons why your child doesn’t want to go to school
  • strategies to help you encourage your child to go to school
  • develop an incentive program to encourage your child to attend school
  • link with community agencies.

Must you send your child to school every day?

Yes, unless:

  • your child is too sick or injured to go to school
  • your child has an infectious disease
  • the principal is provided with any other genuine and acceptable reason for absence.

Do you need to let the school know if your child has been away?

  • Yes – for the wellbeing of your child, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has an attendance policy and teachers and schools are required to follow up student absences.