Kellyville High students make every day count

A suite of strategies at Kellyville High School has boosted the average student attendance rate. Pascal Adolphe reports.

Students standing under a sign hanging on a wall. Students standing under a sign hanging on a wall.
Image: Kellyville High School has lifted its average student attendance to above 90 per cent.

Average student attendance at Kellyville High has surged past 90 per cent and is among the best in the state for statistically similar schools.

Deputy Principal Glenn Kayes said Kellyville was sixth out of 41 schools for its average attendance among a list of similar schools. 

“This is even more impressive considering some of the schools in the list are senior high schools, an Intensive English Centre and a girls’ school, which are not necessarily comparable,” Mr Kayes said.

“We are a high school with similar attendance rates to the primary school average which is also impressive.”

From a rate of 87.3 per cent in 2019, the school now has an average attendance of 90.35 per cent, which is 2.25 per cent above the state average for secondary schools.

Mr Kayes said the school evaluated and reviewed attendance policies and procedures in consultation with Safeguarding Kids Together, a program to help schools support the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and students.

It led to the creation of an attendance team at the school that has implemented new school-wide attendance processes.

The school participated in the ‘Every Day Counts’ five-part workshop to improve and develop school procedures with a focus on student attendance in the 80-90 per cent range.

Surveys were conducted with middle school students to determine underlying issues that may be contributing to lower attendance.

Mr Kayes said conversations started through the survey and wellbeing team check-ins led to 30 per cent of the 80-90 per cent students shifting their attendance to above 90 per cent.

“We also delivered messaging across multiple platforms promoting every day matters to parents and students, making clear linkages to what attendance percentage equates to in missed learning time and the research around lifelong outcomes linked to school attendance,” he said.

“Another thing we did was to improve follow-up procedures when students had an unexplained absence.

“Attendance discussions and data were given allocated time in our wellbeing meetings to ensure our wellbeing team were aware of the stories behind students with attendance below 90 per cent.”

Students are now acknowledged for their positive attendance every five weeks through a merit system.

“Students who achieve over 95 per cent attendance for the whole year are rewarded with a fun, catered, activity day at the end of the year,” Mr Kayes said.

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