Using school funding to improve student attendance

All schools are accountable for the effective use of the funds in improving student attendance through the Strategic Improvement Plan and the annual report.

Schools are not provided with specific funding to improve student attendance, however a student you have identified for improvement in attendance may also belong to an equity group, or be individually identified for targeted funding.

Through your situational analysis, you may identify that addressing attendance concerns is a priority for specific equity groups.

Equity loadings

The current School Budget Allocation Report: A guide for schools, see Resource Allocation Model (RAM), confirms that equity loadings can be used to fund evidence-based initiatives to improve student attendance, specifically low socio-economic background and Aboriginal students.

Most schools will fund attendance improvement initiatives through other annual budget components.

Attendance improvement initiatives that support student attendance, and thereby learning and wellbeing, and maximise outcomes can be through the following funding.

Per capita allocation

The per capita allocation provides principals with flexibility in their local decision making to meet the unique needs of students in their school.

Examples of use for improving attendance at your school could include:

  • allocating additional resources to support specific programs
  • employing a range of personnel to support student attendance and wellbeing needs
  • subsidising programs focusing on the development of personal and social capabilities.

For more suggestions on how to support your school, speak with your attendance support officer.

Aboriginal students

The equity loading for Aboriginal students could be used at your school to improve the attendance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students so that they attend, excel and achieve in every aspect of their education and training.

An example of using this equity loading is in the implementation of Personalised Learning Pathways (PLPs). Find more at Excellence for Aboriginal students.

Socio-economic background

The socio-economic background equity loading provides additional resources to schools to support the attendance needs of your students in this equity group. Find more at Excellence for students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Examples at your school could include:

  • supporting students to gain broader and equitable access to curriculum and learning with financial assistance for source costs and fees
  • providing funding to ensure engagement in whole school activities, including extra-curricular activities, school equipment and excursions
  • employing a youth worker to encourage school attendance
  • implementing a homework centre to support students to complete assessment tasks and regular homework.

Integration funding support

Principals have the responsibility for determining the most appropriate ways of using the total annual school funding to meet the identified learning and support needs of targeted students with integration funding support. Depending on the specific student’s needs, this support may take the form of improving attendance.

Examples at your school could include:

  • incorporating high expectations for attendance, learning and behaviour into the PLSP
  • providing adjustments for student learning, developed by the class teacher and implemented with the assistance of a school learning support officer
  • providing adjustments for student participation, including those developed by the teacher in collaboration with medical and psychology professionals and implemented with the assistance of a school learning support officer.

High expectations and wellbeing are themes in CESE's What works best: 2020 update that are linked to improved attendance.

Examples of strategically funding attendance improvement programs through the school budget may be found in:

Reflective questions

  • What funding is required to support evidence-based interventions that would provide the most impact for improving the attendance of specific students or student groups in our school?
  • What funding is required to prevent non-attendance for all students using evidence-based strategies?
  • What sources of funding are available to support attendance initiatives for specific students or equity groups?
  • Have we accounted for our Flexible Funding for Wellbeing Services and/or our Student Wellbeing Support Program funding allocation in our Strategic Improvement Plan?
  • Have all funded attendance initiatives, including those not linked to a specific strategic direction, been accounted for in the ‘Other funded activities’ and evaluated for publication in our annual report?

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.

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