Effective strategies for improving school attendance

Your school will use evidenced-based strategies, interventions and preventions, to improve student attendance in your school.

Attendance matters - resources for schools presents evidenced-based strategies to improve school attendance in a tiered framework. The strategies include individual interventions, targeted interventions and universal preventions.


Image: Attendance strategy

These strategies can be employed in your Strategic Improvement Plan to achieve your strategic directions, and their impact can be monitored annually using system-negotiated, and optional school-determined, annual progress measures.

Three key strategies

In Spotlight: attendance matters (AITSL, 2019), the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) detail 3 key strategies for addressing non-attendance.

  1. Set positive attendance habits early.
  2. Create a welcoming school environment for students.
  3. Identify ‘at risk’ students and intervene early.

Wellbeing for School Excellence integrates the Wellbeing Framework with the School Excellence Framework.

Evidence of excellence

Attendance strategies along with wellbeing initiatives and programs can be used as evidence of excellence and may include:

  • attendance data, including Scout enrolment and attendance reports
  • school attendance review in partnership with attendance support officers (home school liaison officers and Aboriginal student liaison officers), and implementation of recommendations
  • parent communications promoting the importance of school attendance
  • individual attendance plans developed in collaboration with the student and parent/carer
  • parent workshops as evidence of community engagement
  • sustainable processes for working with parents to support student attendance and engagement such as meeting minutes, phone logs, health care plans, evidence of work sent home (if applicable)
  • learning and support or wellbeing team minutes reflecting student attendance as an agenda item
  • management of referrals and consultation with Attendance Support Program (Home School Liaison Program), Child Wellbeing Unit, Department of Communities and Justice, Child Protection Helpline, about suspected risk of harm relating to educational neglect as necessary
  • targeted spiritual wellbeing programs for individual/ student cohorts to support their feeling of connection and belonging.


Reflective questions

  • Was the need for improved attendance management systems and processes articulated in our situational analysis? If so, are these articulated in our Strategic Improvement Plan?
  • Have we prioritised early intervention strategies that will have a significant and long term impact on ongoing school attendance?
  • How have we identified students from equity groups (Aboriginal students, low level adjustment for disability, low socio-economic background and EAL/D) who are also targeted for improvement in attendance? What relevant evidence-based practices should be included in our Strategic Improvement Plan for these students?
  • Have we identified students targeted for improvement in attendance who are also individually identified for interventions through Targeted Funding (Integration Funding Support, Newly arrived students and Refugee students)? What relevant evidence-based practices should be included in our Strategic Improvement Plan to improve attendance for these students?
  • Does our school welcome all students and value student voice for improved attendance?
  • What strategies support student belief they can succeed, feelings of connection and belonging to our school?
  • When identifying students targeted for improvement in attendance, how effective is our school in assessing and identifying students who have high potential in one or more domains of potential?
  • How do we engage the community when communicating about the value and impact of regular attendance?
  • What strategies support parents and carers to improve attendances?
  • Do professional learning opportunities for staff promote evidence-based universal preventions, as well as targeted and individual interventions, for improving attendance?

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.

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