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BUILDING A CULTURE OF ATTENDANCE “Effective schools monitor, communicate and implement strategies to improve regular school attendance, as this is fundamental to improving educational outcomes”.

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BUILDING A CULTUREOF ATTENDANCE“Effective schools monitor, communicate and implement strategies to improve regular school attendance, as this is fundamental to improving educational outcomes”.

The development of an“Attendance Improvement Plan” focuses attention onimproving attendance rates by encouraging partnershipsbetween communities and schoolsto support attendance.


attendance tackling the issues together
Attendance: Tackling the Issues Together


  • What is the real situation?
  • Sharing good practice
  • Identification of issues and risks
  • Agreements for working together
  • Implications for the Better Pathways role.
why is attendance important
Why is attendance important?

“At the core of school improvement and education reform is an assumption so widely understood that it is rarely invoked: students have to be present and engaged in order to learn.”

Present, Engaged and Accounted For - September 2008

Every day that children and young people from high risk or vulnerable circumstances attend (school) they are :

    • protected from adverse home circumstances and risk
    • observing and learning about positive life skills
    • increasing the chance that their needs and their family’s will be recognised and responded to
  • “Responding to Abuse and Neglect – Education
  • and Care 2012-2014” on-line training module

Education Act1972

Compulsory Education Legislation

Education Regulations 1997

what data is available
What data is available?



  • EDSAS/Dux
  • Student Attendance &Behaviour Management (SABM) Datamart
  • Student Support System (SSS)



  • School/Preschool Performance Reporting System (SPerS)
2010 semester 1 term 1 2 attendance data all students
2010 Semester 1 (Term 1 & 2)Attendance Data (all students)

Attendance Rate 90%

Absence Rate 10%

Authorised 6.6%

Unauthorised 3.4%

Around 18,000 students missed the equivalent of 4 weeks or more

Around 9,000 students missed the equivalent of 6 weeks or more

Around 5,000 students missed the equivalent of 8 weeks or more

2011 semester 1 term 1 2 attendance data all students
2011 Semester 1 (Term 1 & 2)Attendance Data (all students)

Attendance Rate 89.9%

Absence Rate 10.1%

Authorised 6.6%

Unauthorised 3.5%

Around 10,000 students missed the equivalent of 4 weeks or more

Around 4,500 students missed the equivalent of 6 weeks or more

Around 5,500 students missed the equivalent of 8 weeks or more

chronic non attenders
Chronic Non-Attenders

Apart from the obvious concerns in regard to learning and child protection, in terms of data:

  • Chronic non-attender/s can skew site data significantly
  • Chronic non-attender/s can “fly under the radar” in the data as they are not always identified by absence alerts as these pick up consecutive absences.

***The SABMDatamart provides a reminder, via the alert system, that a student has been absent unauthorised for 10+ days


Establish Baseline Data “Reporting mean average attendance rates masks individual patterns of attendance” An attendance rate of 84% for ten students in one schoolcould mean…

each of the ten students was away for 32 days - in which case 84% is very descriptive of the attendance patterns of those students

two students were away for 160 days each while the remaining eight students attended every single day - in which case the modal average, the most common pattern, would be closer to 100% attendance.


how does data support improvement
How does data support improvement?

A strong culture of data use means that people frequently engage in conversations about how well the site is doing, and what are the areas for improvement.

This requires knowledge of what data and related performance indicators measure, the patterns they reveal and their uses and limitations.

improving the attendance of students at risk
Improving the Attendance of Students at Risk
  • Effective strategies are best developed from the context of a well-considered school approach..
  • Schools may work in partnership with community agencies to develop a case- management approach.
  • Individual attendance issues can be underpinned by more complex and ingrained social and emotional factors. These may be associated with other behaviours and waning attendance may be an early warning sign.
  • The school plan should be based on a case-management approach which:
    • is underpinned by a student-centred program that matches a student’s needs and interests provides ongoing monitoring
    • utilises programs and scaffolds of support from across the school and community provides a key relationship which facilitates other supports.
attendance improvement plan
Attendance Improvement Plan

Ensures that schools fulfil their obligations in terms of departmental requirements and accountability.

Is developed through a collaborative information sharing and planning process involving the school, parents/carers and other relevant agencies and services

Is a flexible working document, which informs the recording, monitoring and follow-up of attendance at sites using accurate, meaningful data.

Supports the development of individual plans and provides a framework for case management for those students identified as having attendance concerns.

Is a document which is reviewed and monitored regularly.

Combineuniversal strategieswith

targeted interventions

to build aculture of attendance

CAUSES OF ABSENCE“The issues of student engagement and attendance are complex and there are no simple solutions”.




Family Finance



Family expectations

Cultural Issues



Family mobility

Student expectations


Out of school responsibilities

Teacher Student Relationships

Engagement in School


Educational Relevance


teacher expectations

Teacher Training



Support staff

School Suspension Policy

School Atmosphere

schools need to be places where students want to be
Schools need to be placeswhere students want to be.

“Dropping out of school is not a sudden act, but a slow process of disengagement. . . .These students had long periods of absences and were sometimes referred to the attendance counsellor, only to be brought back to the same environment that led them to become disengaged”

Opportunities for Review/Research/Restoration

the way forward
The way forward…..
  • What questions does the data raise for you?
  • What do you need further clarification on?
  • What do you need to discuss with sites?
  • What should be the priorities for our sites and our region?
  • What support or information do we need?