Every Day Counts - Primary School Attendance
Going to school every day is the single most important part of your child’s education. Students learn new things at school every day – missing school puts them behind.
School is better when your child 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.
If students miss school regularly, they miss out on learning the fundamental skills that will set them up for success in the later years of school.
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 progressively lower achievement in numeracy, writing and reading.
Getting in early
Attendance patterns are established early – a child regularly missing days in kindergarten or in the early years of school will often continue to miss classes in the later years, and receive lower test scores than their classmates.
It’s vital that students go to school every day – even in the early years of primary school.
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 developing 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 the relevant sub-school principal and seek approval and work with them to develop an absence learning plan.
“Day off” – Think twice before letting your child 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. There can be many reasons for truancy. The best way to address this is for schools and parents to work together.
School refusal - School refusing children will 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 one day a fortnight equals missing 1.5 years over 13 years of school
Reporting my child's absence
If your child is absent from school it is required that a parent or carer notifies the school of their abscess through COMPASS or by calling the office as soon as possible.
If your child is away...
If for any reason your child must miss school, there are things you can do with your school to ensure they don’t fall behind:
Inform the school
Speak with your child’s classroom teacher and find out what work they need to do to keep up.
Develop an absence learning plan with your teacher and ensure your child completes the plan.
Remember, every day counts. If your child must miss school, speak with your classroom teacher as early as possible.
Openly communicating with your child's 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 child, please let your classroom teacher know so we can work together to get your child 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: