Strategic attendance planning

The purpose of this stage is to seek sources of data to inform the direction of your investigation.

Collect and analyse data

Gathering insights

Data collected along with consultation and the involvement of various stakeholders, will help build a more detailed picture of what is happening in your school.

School-level data (see guidelines for using data) including school surveys, classroom observations and other sources of evidence can help you drill down the critical issues so you can focus on efforts on where they will be most effective. Scout, including the Attendance and Engagement data, Tell Them From Me and Wellbeing Framework for Schools are useful tools for this process.

Information gathered in this stage will be analysed to uncover the Problem Statement.

Use the Scout Attendance and Engagement summary to investigate details and patterns for particular year groups or cohorts, in particularly, if there might be:

  • a particular year level, specific group or individual students where attendance is a concern
  • a relationship between non-attendance and:
    • literacy and numeracy
    • gender
    • student wellbeing
    • socio-economic backgrounds
    • English as an additional language or dialect
    • Aboriginality
    • disability and additional learning needs

Consider if the perspectives and experiences of all stakeholders have been captured.

  • Consult the school community, including students, parents and carers and school staff, to capture satisfaction with attendance policies and procedures.

The purpose of this stage is to identify the underlying causes of non-attendance.

Identify the causes

Factors influencing student attendance are complex, and can vary across school communities and locations.

Identifying and understanding the underlying and often interrelated factors assists schools to plan effective strategies to engage students and improve student attendance.

These factors are broadly categorised as:

Schools should consider any indicators or supporting evidence when investigating the underlying factors relevant to their local context.

The following questions may help you explore the origin and context of the underlying causes influencing attendance:

The purpose of this stage work is to with the school community to select the issues that you wish to address.

Prioritise areas of focus for planning

Unpacking the main themes and issues emerging from the research and evidence collected, will help define the priorities for school attendance planning.

A problem statement helps to define and understand the problem by identifying:

  • who the problem impacts
  • what the impacts are
  • where the problem occurs
  • why it needs to be fixed

as well as clarifying what the expected outcome are.

Consider how you might:

  • organise, display and seek feedback on the evidence and underlying causes of non-attendance

Check the Digital Tool Selector for examples of tools and activities

  • engage other stakeholder groups to maximise the impact of initiatives

Consider how to collaborate with your key stakeholder groups such as Parent & Citizens, School Council, local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and other community organisations.

  • score the relative impact and effort to inform decision making

Read about process, outcomes and economic evaluations.

  • identify and mitigate risks as part of school planning

Integrate risk management into planning.

Strategically plan for Excellence in attendance for every student.

Read about balancing whole of school, targeted and intensive attendance strategies.


The video below provides a brief introduction to evaluative thinking. You can read more at the Evaluation resources hub

An introduction to evaluative thinking.

The purpose of this stage is to identify solutions to address the chosen challenges.

Identify and explore solutions

Generate as many ideas as possible to consider in response to the defined problem.

Each school community will have its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Local expertise should be leveraged to help inform how best to address them. The best outcomes are achieved when they are informed and guided by the local knowledge and experience of principals.

Your school should look to adopt approaches proven to make a positive change, by incorporating evidence-based practices to help improve student outcomes. This may include building on existing practices and school planning.

  • what success will look like:
    • is the relative cost of resources versus the impact of the proposed approach a consideration?
    • what improvement measures are expected and in what timeframe?
    • what evidence will be collected?
  • how the school community can be engaged to:
    • embed cultural perspectives
    • generate innovative proposals to address the underlying needs
    • develop the most promising ideas so that they can be tested.
  • how the school attendance plan will be communicated:
    • so that all partners are aware of their responsibilities
    • the proposed actions are endorsed and supported.



Buninyong Public School's initiatives to support student wellbeing and improve attendance.

Explore the Every student is known toolkit for other school stories, resources and information.

Buninyong Public School Walking School Bus

The purpose of this stage is to ensure that your planned improvements have the desired impact and to gather the information you need to make the required changes.

Select, create, implement and monitor attendance strategies

This stage is about finding the idea that best meets the needs of your school community and ensuring it meets your agreed criteria for success.

Turning this idea into reality requires thinking about how things will work, testing prototypes and gaining feedback from the people it will impact most.

Developing an ongoing evaluation and assessment of attendance strategies is important. Learning what works and what needs to be tweaked enables a more comprehensive plan to be implemented that:

  • supports student outcomes
  • monitors attendance and actions early interventions
  • monitors impact and adjusts planning and strategies, as required
  • demonstrates evidence-based change to whole-school practices
  • celebrates regular and improved attendance.

  • Will staff need access to professional learning or other support to deliver the proposed initiative or strategies?
  • What information could be collected to show evidence of improved attendance and engagement?
  • Are resources distributed to support the needs of students who are at risk of non-attendance?
  • What changes need to be made? How might these changes be implemented?

Explore Excellence in attendance for every student for advice about improvement measures, strategies and use of funding to improve attendance.

Learn how to evaluate student engagement and wellbeing measures, using Scout data.

Measure and track improvements using the Scout reports. This might include improvements in attendance, or other areas as identified by the school such as literacy, numeracy, engagement or wellbeing.

Read about effective improvement measures and strategies to support school planning.

Explore the resources for schools for examples of strategies, interventions and planning templates.

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