‘A’ for attendance at St Ives Park Public

Teamwork has seen St Ives Park Public School significantly improve attendance. Sophie Lambert reports.

Two students from St Ives Park Public School in uniform. Two students from St Ives Park Public School in uniform.
Image: St Ives Park Public School captains Elliot Mulae and Elizabeth Bennett.

St Ives Park Public School is making inroads into attendance, recording a turnaround in the number of students in class in the past few years.

The school’s success can be put down to a savvy school attendance team plan, routine consideration of how attendance can be encouraged, and the enthusiastic adoption of a new and improved computer system by parents and carers.

Attendance improved by 7.5 per cent between 2019 and this year.

St Ives Park Public School principal Caroline English said the importance of children attending school was so important for her 147 students.

“When students attend school consistently, they learn better and also develop a deeper sense of belonging with their peers and school community, which is so significant in building and maintaining positive friendships,” she said.

A Whole School Attendance Team works together at St Ives Park Public School, on Garigal Land, to ensure students are continuously encouraged to join their peers in class.

The team plans activities which inspire positive attendance rates such as attendance monitoring by teachers, letters to families, referrals to the Learning and Support Team, family referrals to the Home School Liaison Officer and attendance conferences with department representatives.

“Our Whole School Attendance Team plan has been integral in improving our rates of attendance,” Ms English said.

“Regularly discussing attendance figures at Stage meetings and Learning and Support Team meetings is one way our whole of school approach has been successful in keeping attendance as a focus.

“The attendance plan also supports staff to monitor attendance in a clear and consistent way by providing guidance as to how attendance issues should be managed.”

The school recently transitioned to SchoolBytes, which has improved parent explanations of student absences through a user-friendly online platform. This new system has reduced the burden on teachers to record daily student absences as various aspects are now easily monitored by office staff.

“Since we transitioned over to SchoolBytes, there have been 628 absences across the school and every single one of those absences has been explained,” Ms English said.

“This is a big improvement and a direct result of the new system which makes life easier for our teachers.”

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