Attendance strategies

Whole school attendance modelled on a tiered framework of support and intervention and tailored to the school community, creates a positive environment for engagement and learning.

Purpose of resource

The Attendance Strategies resource supports schools to consider a tiered framework of attendance support and intervention that can be tailored to their school community and context. 

Target audience

This resource can be used by school leadership teams to support planning for improved attendance.

When and how to use

The appropriate time to use this resource may differ for each school, leader and teacher.

Using school attendance data, school leaders could use the information to build staff understanding of the tiered framework of attendance support.

Staff may identify a specific attendance need and explore the webpage for appropriate strategies. 

Research base

  • Government school student attendance 2019
  • Supporting school completion: The importance of engagement and effective teaching
  • Improving high school engagement, classroom practices and achievement
  • Spotlight: Attendance Matters
  • What Works Best


Email feedback about this resource to using subject line, ‘Re: Attendance Strategies – Webpage’. 

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs: The Department of Education committed under Our Plan for NSW Public Education, to strengthen student wellbeing and development through increasing attendance rates.

Alignment to School Excellence Framework: Learning Culture - Attendance

Alignment to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Create and Maintain supportive and safe learning environments.

Consulted with: This resource was created by across directorate team with staff from both school based and corporate divisions including the Attendance Policy team, Systems Design and Comms and Engagement.

Reviewed by: Attendance Policy team

Created/last updated: Originally published September 2020. Last updated October 2023.

To be reviewed: October 2024

This tiered approach supports schools to:

  • foster regular attendance by establishing a positive and welcoming school culture for all students
  • address attendance concerns by identifying and providing targeted strategies for students or cohorts needing more support
  • re-engage students with learning by providing tailored interventions for students with significant support needs.

An effective approach is informed by an understanding of the school community and the underlying factors influencing attendance; using school data and evidence to enable early identification, and implementing appropriate strategies and levels of support.

What does it look like?

Schools create a welcoming environment for all students to attend school and participate in learning.

Positive relationships with students, staff and the school community support a sense of belonging and engagement with learning and school activities.

Student attendance is promoted and supported by all staff. Attendance records are monitored: common barriers to attendance are addressed; improvements in attendance are recognised; and early interventions are actioned.

What are required actions and who’s involved?

  • Schools monitor and promote regular student attendance.
  • All staff are familiar with and implement the attendance policy and procedures.
  • Class teachers maintain accurate attendance rolls and follow up absences.
  • Attendance records are accurate.
  • A need for early intervention is identified and actioned.
  • Child Protection requirements are adhered to by all, for any matter relating to school attendance where safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns arise for a student.

What strategies foster attendance?

  • Developing positive teacher-student relationships: get to know students at a personal level to better understand their cultures and interests, as well as any challenges they may be facing.
  • Promoting the importance and benefits of regular attendance in school communications, such as the school website, social media and newsletters.
  • Encouraging students to have high expectations by promoting personal goal setting, providing clear instruction, and giving explicit feedback
  • Implementing whole school approaches for inclusion and positive behaviour such as Positive Behaviour for Learning and Anti-bullying strategies
  • Applying behavioural insights to encourage the desired attendance behaviour.
  • Engaging the school community through a welcoming culture and involvement with school activities and planning.
  • Providing inclusive education for students with disability.
  • Explore the attendance resources for more examples of strategies.

What does this look like?

Schools implement appropriate strategies and interventions to address attendance concerns and engage students with learning.

Students and their parents or carers are supported and actively involved in planning and decisions to improve attendance.

The school and community work together to address barriers to attendance and improve engagement.

What are the must do actions and who’s involved?

  • Schools contact parents promptly to follow up unexplained absences
  • Staff work with the student and parent/carer to understand the underlying factors contributing to non-attendance and plan supportive strategies
  • Executive, wellbeing and learning and support teams regularly review and monitor attendance reports for patterns or students at risk of chronic absence.

What strategies support targeted interventions?

  • Acknowledge improvements in attendance
  • Develop an attendance plan with the student and parent/family
  • Provide parents/families with information about relevant assistance: for example school initiatives to assist with uniform, literacy, school counselling; or local community support services
  • Explore the attendance resources for more examples of strategies.

What does this look like?

Additional support is provided to re-engage individual students with significant barriers or complex needs impacting on their attendance.

Caring and supportive relationships are fostered to address challenges to engagement and attendance.

Where appropriate, support services provide additional assistance including advice, tailored strategies and programs.

What are required actions and who’s involved?

  • Staff work with the student and parent/carer to understand the underlying factors contributing to non-attendance and plan supportive strategies
  • School and support agencies work collaboratively with the student and parent/family to assist re-engagement.

What strategies assist re-engaging with learning?

  • provide an open invitation for the families of the students to participate and be included in decision-making
  • assist the student to develop explicit learning goals, with clear and consistent expectations about what the student is to do and how they are to do it
  • engage student-centred inquiry based pedagogies or opportunities for students to collaborate with peers
  • one to one teacher to student support, including mentoring
  • design learning spaces to promote ‘place attachment’ and the social interactions critical to student engagement and learning.
  • Explore the attendance resources for more examples of strategies.

Schools are encouraged to complete the School Attendance Review with their attendance support officer each semester.

Monitoring school attendance data allows schools to look for patterns and trends to action early interventions as required.

An Attendance - whole school evaluation activity (DOCX 791.23KB) assists school leadership teams to analyse whole school beliefs, practices and processes relating to attendance to inform planning.

Developing a school attendance action plan can detail the actions, processes and resources for supporting positive and improved attendance.

School Services Contacts (staff only) includes contact details for support roles.

When selecting strategies and interventions, schools consider:

  • how strategies relate to their school context and the underlying causes contributing to non-attendance
  • the evidence-base to support the effectiveness of a particular strategy, approach or initiative.

For further guidance about evidence-based practice,



Engaging student voice can provide additional evidence and valuable insights to help understand what factors might be contributing to attendance or absence, so that appropriate strategies and actions can be implemented.

Read the poll results and consider the strategies and illustrated examples of how you might engage student voice to improve attendance.


  • Student management and wellbeing


  • Rolls and attendance

Business Unit:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
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