Ready, Set, Go — School Attendance
School Attendance aims to establish a community wide expectation of 100% school attendance.
Attendance Case Managers work with students, parents, schools and the broader community to set and meet the expectation of 100% attendance.
Attendance Case Managers visit parents if a student is late or absent from school, makes referrals to services, supports parents in meeting their obligations and engages with all community partners and service providers.
100% School Attendance
Making sure children attend school is a parental responsibility but schools play a critical role in setting and reinforcing desired expectations. The expectation is to to have all children in school for 100% of school days, or as the project motto says, "at school, on time, uninterrupted, every school day". This requires individuals, families, communities and providers to exhibit a set of behaviours that recognise the importance of maximum school attendance.
Absence Due to Illness
Sometimes, attendance is beyond the control of families or schools, like absence due to child illness (with rates significantly higher among Indigenous students in remote communities).
Illness related absence can be determined by making sure parents seek medical advice after two days of absence and provide medical certificates to support this. Case Managers also follow up every third illness related absence with families to make sure prevailing, treatable illnesses are addressed.
Positive Reinforcement for Attendance
Maximum attendance will not be achieved every day in every classroom in every school. But setting and reinforcing the expectation has contributed to the general improvement in attendance rates and the increase in how many times the maximum attendance target was achieved in the welfare reform communities.
Case Managers identify when the 100% attendance milestones have been achieved over the period of a week, four weeks and a school term and implement positive reinforcement measures.
When 100 per cent attendance is achieved the student is acknowledged in school assembly for each full week, the parent is personally presented with a letter of acknowledgement of "gold attendance" after each four week period and the student's name is posted on a community honour board after a full term.
The level of pride placed on these rewards by families has exceeded original expectations, with a number of families purchasing frames to display the "gold" letters within their homes or having them laminated at the local Council office.
- Parents understand and meet their obligations to make sure their children are school ready and attending school every day and on time
- Minimal interruptions to students' core learning time
- Expectation of "100% attendance" being the community social norm