To receive the full benefits of their education, students need to attend school. A very simple statement, although in reality, improving attendance rates is a key challenge that most schools face.
Government initiatives such as the ‘Every Day Counts’ program aim to increase awareness about the importance of attendance.
To translate this awareness into improved attendance rates, a report prepared by the Auditor General of Queensland titled ‘Improving Student Attendance’, recommends a strong focus on better identifying and managing attendance practices at a school level.
Here are some tips that we’ve prepared…
Know your students' habits
Studies suggest that poor student attendance habits can often be formed in early year groups, with general attendance rates being fairly consistent in primary school, but notably declined in the transition to high school.
Knowing this, strategies can be developed to identify student trends early on and promote clear attendance guidelines during these important times.
Rollcall is a great opportunity to keep in touch with and support your students.
Providing teachers with easy access to important student information and notifications can greatly improve your pastoral care and student wellbeing responsibilities.
It can also provide greater insight into different areas of a student’s school life, helping teachers to more consistently identify trends that could be occurring outside of their classrooms. Doing so allows for any concerns to be addressed before the student’s performance is affected.
1 student, 2 places
As students progress into high school, their movements become much more erratic. Whether it’s music lessons, external courses, sporting commitments and so on, duty of care requires you to know where students are at any given time.
Putting systems in place such as self-registration kiosks and dynamic eDiaries can not only facilitate students taking ownership of their own commitments, but can provide staff with up to date information on student whereabouts.
No more unexplained absences!
Allowing unapproved absences to go unexplained can result in occasional absences becoming more commonplace. In addition to the missed learning opportunities, a pattern of unexplained absences could also indicate a lack of engagement with the school.
Consider putting together guidelines with clear expectations and policies around following up unexplained absences such as:
- An online absence acknowledgment facility for parents
- SMS follow up
Get your STATS right
As part of the Australian Education Act of 2013, schools are required to complete the Student Attendance Collection (STATS) in Semester 1, and Term 3 each year.
STATS data is then forwarded to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), who reports the data on the My School website. It is also used to produce several government reports including the National Report on Schooling in Australia.
Consistent and thorough attendance practices will help ensure that your school is represented correctly in these reports. Deploying a system that not only stores your data accurately, but prepares your data for collection can also mean that your school can avoid much of the hassle involved in preparing your submission to the government.