Your role in supporting attendance

Every day counts, as regular attendance helps students to:

  • develop a sense of belonging
  • develop and maintain friendships
  • be more engaged at school
  • progress with their learning
  • be more aware of career and life options.

Supporting positive school attendance is a shared responsibility - everyone has a role.

School attendance teams

A team approach to supporting attendance

Establishing a school team with responsibility for attendance ensures the involvement of key stakeholders in developing a whole school approach to improving attendance. The composition of a school attendance team will vary depending on the context of the school and their community.

In some schools, attendance is supported by existing learning and support or wellbeing teams, as concerning patterns of attendance impact both educational and wellbeing outcomes.

Schools should consider the involvement of staff with attendance responsibilities within their school context. For example, school executive, year advisors, assistant principals, school counsellor, learning and support staff, head teacher wellbeing/administration, school administrative staff, student learning support officer. Schools may also consider the involvement of students, parents and carers, or community members/partners.

Documenting the team’s purpose, structure, key responsibilities and mode of operation helps establish a clear and agreed process. The School attendance team template can be tailored to help plan and document your school’s approach.

Attendance teams play a key role in:

School procedures are aligned with the School Attendance Policy and Student Attendance in Government Schools Procedures - 2015.

School procedures process maps help with advice about appropriate actions in response to different attendance scenarios. The editable process map template can be used as a scaffold for planning the school’s attendance procedures by detailing the required and recommended actions, and where appropriate, staff responsibilities, timeframes and key resources.

School attendance procedures should be regularly reviewed. Schools may align this with the annual school improvement planning cycle.

A shared response to improving attendance can be achieved by ensuring all staff understand their attendance responsibilities and are familiar with the school’s attendance procedures.

All school staff including casual and temporary staff are aware of and have access to the school’s attendance procedures, and are supported with regular professional learning (e.g. annual update provided to staff).

Individual roles supporting attendance are outlined below.

Supporting Student Attendance e-Learning focuses on the indicators for attendance issues and school strategies to promote attendance.

Engaging with attendance data reports through a planned approach enables schools to:

  • identify changing patterns of student attendance and absence
  • initiate early intervention or more targeted support, informed by data
  • track and measure the impact of attendance strategies.

Attendance teams should regularly review data reports (e.g. fortnightly), and insights shared with relevant staff so that attendance procedures and strategies are actioned in a timely manner.

Principals and school leaders are able to access the Scout Attendance and Engagement app for a comprehensive view of school attendance data.

The Scout Showcase, Influencing Student Attendance, supports school staff to engage with their attendance reports. This recorded webinar explores ways of engaging with the school, cohort and student attendance summary reports.

The strategic attendance design process will help schools to consider the root causes influencing attendance and identify initiatives aligned with the prioritised needs of their school community. 

Where it is identified that additional or intensive support may be required for students facing greater challenges attending school, the attendance team may consider an application for Attendance Support.  

The importance of school and attendance is regularly communicated to build a shared understanding of:

  • attendance expectations and requirements
  • the impact of absence.

Opportunities to hear from and work in partnership with students, parents and carers can help to understand barriers to attendance and create shared strategies and plans to improve student attendance.

Student attendance guide

The Director, Educational Leadership (DEL), principal, school leadership and attendance teams and teachers work together to implement evidence-based attendance practices in schools.

The Student attendance guide can:

  • assist with refining attendance expectations;
  • help to inform planning for school improvement with attendance;
  • suggest ways to build teacher capacity and understanding of attendance with explicit classroom practices and professional learning resources;
  • support schools to work with the local community to raise expectations.

Individual roles to support attendance

The information below outlines responsibilities of individuals.

Regular attendance at school helps you to maximise your potential.

You can help by

  • knowing what class activities are on which school day (for example, which day is sport or library) or having a copy of your timetable
  • making sure you're ready for each school day: uniform, books, bag, lunch
  • chatting with family, a friend or teacher if you have concerns about attending school, or something is making it difficult to get to school
  • asking a teacher for help if school work is challenging.

Read about Starting school and the get ready for high school checklist to help with school readiness.

When your child attends school every day, learning becomes easier and your child will build and maintain friendships with other children.

Parents and carers can help foster positive attendance habits by:

  • helping their child learn the importance of punctuality and routine
  • ensuring their child arrives on time from the start of the school day, ready to participate in learning
  • reducing disruption to learning where possible, by planning any necessary appointments outside of school time
  • promptly communicating any absence to the school (within 7 days of the first day of any absence)
  • working with the school to encourage and support regular attendance.

Information for parents provides further information about compulsory school attendance.

Advice to parents and carers has further information about learning from home.

Read about Starting school and the get ready for high school checklist to help with school readiness.

Encouraging regular attendance is a core school responsibility.

As a teacher, you can support student attendance by:

  • following your school's attendance procedures and the School Attendance Policy
  • maintaining accurate attendance records
  • monitoring and following up student absences
  • addressing the learning needs for students with attendance concerns
  • ensuring Child Protection requirements are adhered to for any matter relating to school attendance where safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns arise for a student.

Speak with your school principal about attendance, especially where there are Child Protection concerns.

Raise attendance concerns with the Learning Support team.

Familiarise yourself with the School Attendance Policy and supporting documentation for further information.

Enrol in the attendance e-learning module for school-based staff..

Read the attendance scenarios for examples of common attendance situations and the recommended actions.

Explore the range of strategies and intervention to support attendance.

Access roll marking resources, and ensure you are aware of the roll marking procedures for your school by speaking to a school leader.

Schools, in partnership with parents, are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students.

Encouraging regular attendance is a core school responsibility, including:

  • providing clear information to students and parents regarding attendance requirements and the consequences of unsatisfactory attendance.
  • ensuring the school has effective measures in place to monitor and follow up student absences.
  • ensuring school staff, including new staff and casual teachers, are provided with information on attendance requirements and their obligation to monitor and promote regular attendance at school
  • ensuring Child Protection requirements are adhered to for any matter relating to school attendance where safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns arise for any student.

Refer to the School Attendance Policy and supporting documentation for further information.

Access Scout reports to analyse your school's attendance data. 

Learn about the School Attendance Summary report, how to use slicers to gain an understanding on the attendance rates and trends at your school. 

Enrol in the attendance e-learning modules, and encourage staff to do the same.

Read the Educational Neglect Information sheet (PDF 56KB) - Habitual Absence What you need to know Principals information sheet.

Explore the range of strategies and intervention to support attendance.

Read the attendance scenarios for examples of common attendance situations and the recommended actions.

Evaluate current whole school beliefs, practices and processes relating to attendance using the Attendance - whole school evaluation activity (DOCX 791.23KB)

Partner with your attendance support officer (ASLO/HSLO) and use the school attendance review to analyse your school procedures.

Follow the guided steps to strategically plan for improved attendance.

Get up-to-date information about temporarily ceased operations for schools due to adverse weather, bushfire, emergencies or other incidents.

Attendance support officers create the connection between students, parents, school and agencies so that students have the best possible opportunity to engage with their learning.

Attendance support officers:

  • support attendance of compulsory school age students, between six and 17 years
  • monitor attendance registers, suggesting areas for development with school based procedures and identifying emerging issues or concerns
  • support schools with the development and implementation of school based strategies and school plans to improve attendance
  • collaborate with School Service staff in the resolution of attendance issues
  • provide advice to School Services and school staff on matters related to attendance; this may include information about attendance professional learning available to department staff
  • liaise with community, government and non-government agencies.

Refer to the School Attendance Policy and supporting documentation for further information.

Enrol in the attendance e-learning modules, and encourage school staff to do the same.

Access Scout reports to analyse attendance data (school, cohort, student). 

Learn about the School Attendance Summary report, how to use slicers to gain an understanding on the attendance rates and trends in schools. 

Read the attendance scenarios for examples of common attendance situations and the recommended actions.

Base school principals collaborate with the Attendance Support Program Manager to support attendance support officers (HSLOs) by:

  • provisioning leave and consulting with School Services around extended leave
  • providing support around PDPs and professional learning
  • working with School Services to support the attendance support officer in the execution of their duties
  • maintaining open and clear communication
  • coordinating recruitment when required, in consultation with School Services.

Attendance support program managers:

  • regularly review attendance cases for effective case management
  • manage Attendance Support applications and allocations
  • approve and monitor work health and safety requirements including home visits
  • monitor record keeping, itineraries and court reports
  • provide ongoing advice and support including professional learning for new staff in collaboration with Child Protection Services.

Encourage your attendance support team to:

Enrol in the attendance e-learning modules.

Read the attendance scenarios for examples of common attendance situations and the recommended actions.

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