All aboard the Bieber bus

Muswellbrook South Public School has taken an innovative approach to improving attendance and it involves one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

Students standing in front of a bus. Students standing in front of a bus.
Image: Muswellbrook South Public School students Skye Duncan, Vitaliy Orlov, Mason Phillips, Keith Mutekwa and Mia McGregor with the 'Bieber bus'.

Global pop sensation Justin Bieber is helping Muswellbrook South Public School improve its attendance outcomes.

The Canadian singer-songwriter, known for hits such as ‘Baby', ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Sorry’, is a near constant soundtrack on the school’s attendance bus, which picks up and dops off more than 45 students at Muswellbrook South Public each day.

The ‘Bieber bus’ started operating several years ago to assist students that were struggling to regularly attend school.

The results to date have been remarkable, with some students increasing their attendance rate from 50 to 100 per cent.

“We asked parents and families what the barriers were in getting the kids to school, and a big one was transport,” Deputy Principal Tara Anderson told ABC Upper Hunter.

“We have students that catch the bus every single day. Parents have said the kids are now getting up in the mornings, getting ready for school and they’re excited.

“They enjoy seeing their friends and the fun atmosphere on the bus. Adam, our driver, is on the bus five days a week and talks with all the kids about their day and what they’re doing.

“And of course, they love singing along to Justin Bieber.”

For Year 5 student Kiana Ford, singing Justin Bieber songs and chatting with her friends on the bus is a great way to start the school day.

“I love being with Ms Anderson and talking to the other kids,” she said.

“We sit down, have a nice talk and sometimes eat our snacks and then we get dropped off.”

Ms Anderson, a self-confessed ‘Belieber’ (a Justin Bieber mega-fan), said the bus had also helped the school connect with parents and the community.

“We have lots of conversations with our families, which keeps us informed about what is happening in our student’s lives, and by turning up every day, our families know we value our school and the importance of their children attending every day,” she said.

“It’s also a good opportunity to check in with the kids. They know it’s a bit of a different environment to the classroom.

“We can be casual and a little bit more personal with the kids as well. We want to know how things are at home.”

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