Every Day Counts
Secondary School Attendance
Going to school every day is the single most important part of your teenager’s education.
Students learn new things at school every day – missing school puts them behind.
School is Better When Your Teenager Is There
Why it’s important
We all want our students to get a great education, and the building blocks for a great education begin with students coming to school each and every day.
Students develop good habits by going to school every day – habits that are necessary to succeed after school, whether in the workplace or in further study.
Missing school can have a big impact on students academically and socially. It can affect their test results, including VCE & VCE VM, and, just as importantly, it can affect their relationships with other students, and lead to social isolation.
There is no safe number of days for missing school – each day a student misses puts them behind, and can affect their educational outcomes.
Each missed day is associated with falling behind in subject topics and assessment tasks, and lead to fewer subject choices and may impact on achievement in years 11 and 12 and post-school pathways.
Schools are there to help – if you’re having attendance issues with your child, speak to your child’s Team Leader about ways to address those issues.
In Victoria School is Compulsory For Children and Young People Aged 6 -17 Years
The main reasons for absence are:
Sickness – There are always times when students need to miss school, such as when they’re ill. It’s vital that they’re only away on the days they are genuinely sick, and setting good sleep patterns, eating well and exercising regularly can make a big difference.
Family holidays – It’s vital that holidays are planned during school holidays where possible, and not during the term. If you are planning to go on holiday during term time, make sure that you talk to your school in advance, and work with them to develop an absence learning plan.
“Day off” – Think twice before letting your teenager have a “day off” as they could fall behind their classmates – every day counts.
Truancy – This is when students choose not to go to school without their parent’s permission or skip out of school during the day. There can be many reasons for truancy; the best way to address this is for schools and parents to work together.
While all absences can effect academic performance, DET’s statistics show that unexcused absences are a much stronger indicator of lower reading and maths achievement.
School refusal – School refusing children experience significant emotional distress not only when going to school but also at the thought of going to school; they may be absent from school for weeks or even months at a time. School refusal differs from truancy as children generally stay home with the knowledge of the parents and despite their best efforts to encourage their child to go to school. See: My child or teenager has anxiety
Being away from school for 1 day a fortnight equals missing 1.5 years over 13 years of School
If your teenager is away
If for any reason your teenager must miss school, there are things you can do with the school to ensure they don’t fall behind:
- Inform the school via Compass (or via phone if you cant access Compass)
- Find out what work your teenager needs to do to keep up (lesson plans are posted on Compass for each lesson)
- Develop an absence learning plan with your teenager’s Team Leader and ensure they complete the plan.
Remember, every day counts. Openly communicating with school about all absences is a good way to prevent attendance issues being escalated to a School Attendance Officer. A School Attendance Officer is a Department of Education and Training Regional Director who has authority to follow up attendance issues. Chronic or ongoing attendance issues that are escalated can lead to an Infringement Notice being issued to parent/s.
If you’re having attendance issues with your teenager, please let the relevant year Level Team Leader know so you can work together to get your teen to school every day.
Top Attendance Tips for Parents
- Schools want to work in partnership with parents – act early if you have any concerns by contacting your child’s school and asking for advice and support
- Remember that every day counts
- There is no safe number of days for missing school – each day a student misses puts them behind, and can affect their educational outcomes and their social connectedness
- Talk positively about school and the importance of attending every day
- Open and prompt communication with your child’s school about all absences is a good idea
- Avoid making routine medical and dental appointments during the school day or planning family holidays during the term
Seek help from your school if you are concerned about your child’s attendance and wellbeing. Schools want to work in partnership with parents to support student attendance and wellbeing.
For more information and resources to help address attendance issues, visit: