Right on time: Children drive attendance campaign

One school’s creative campaign to boost attendance puts children front and centre – and in class on time, as Kerrie O’Connor reports.

Budding network star Peter Flint interviews students about why getting to school on time matters to them.

We all know kids don’t listen to adults, but one Wollongong-based school has turned that to its advantage.

Students at Warilla North Public School have created a fun video inspiring each other to get to school on time.

The idea was the brainchild of Warilla North Public School principal Nicole Riley who was keen to boost attendance.

Ms Riley said she knew students were most likely to listen to each other and decided to embrace student voice.

Staff encouraged them to script and star in a short film, asking: “Why is it good to get to school on time?”

Warilla North Public has just 130 students, but the video was a hit on the school’s Facebook page, reaching 1615 people, with 462 engagements and 132 reactions.

However, the numbers that meant the most to Ms Riley were improved attendance figures this year, despite the challenges of COVID and other illnesses.

“The number of students attending more than 90 per cent of the time has increased by 10 per cent,” Ms Riley said.

There had also been a massive 64.7 per cent increase in students with more than 50 per cent attendance.

The “School on Time” video was produced with the assistance of Beyond Empathy, a social and art enterprise at nearby Warrawong. The school will post the video again in Term 4 and Ms Riley hopes for even better numbers.

“We are close to school targets and hope to reach them by the end of 2023,” she said.

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