Parent and Community Resources

It's not OK to be away.......or to be late to school.         Michael Grose

 When kids miss school, not only is their academic progress impeded, forcing them to catch up on missed work (which some never do), they often miss important interactions with their peers which can compound issues of social isolation and low self-esteem.

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your child has a bright future is to make sure he or she goes to school every day—and gets there on time. It sounds simple, but it’s true. The correlation between school attendance and childrens achievement levels is well- established. The more time kids spend at school, the more likely they are to experience school success.

Conversely, according to a report from the Victorian Auditor General, students who are regularly absent from school are at the greatest risk of dropping out of school early, and of experiencing long-term unemployment.

When kids miss school, not only is their academic progress impeded, forcing them to catch up on missed work (which some never do), they often miss important interactions with their peers which can compound issues of social isolation and low self-esteem. Also, many teachers tell me, it’s often the kids who can least afford to take time off school who are most likely to be serial absentees.


Of course, most people know this intuitively, yet school absenteeism is a huge problem in Australian schools—and much of it is parent-condoned. It’s hard to get an accurate picture across the country but it would appear that Australian students miss an average of between 12 and 15 days per school year, with parent-condoned absenteeism highest among young primary-aged children.

That adds up to a year’s lost schooling over the school-life of a child. In todays highly competitive world, this rate of absenteeism is alarming, putting our kids at a distinct disadvantage.

 That’s not a reason to be away!

It’s now commonplace for children to stay away from school for reasons that would have been unheard of just twenty years ago. These include staying away to celebrate their own or a siblings birthday; being absent because they stayed up too late watching television; going shopping for clothes; an extended long weekend; and kids not wanting to take part in sports day or special school event.

This type of absenteeism sends a strong message to kids that parents don’t really value learning or their childrens school experiences. Australian kids only spend 15% of their total time at school. They spend more time asleep than they do at school. So we need to maximise every day to get full value.

That means turning up to school every day, on time.

 Being late is not okay either

Missing a few minutes each day may not seem like a big deal but your child may bmissing more than you realise if he or she is continually late.Current research shows that mornings for most children are the most productive time of the day, with 10.00am the peak period for productivity.  When children arrive late and take time to settle as they inevitably do, valuable learning time is lost. 

It takes strong parenting ...

As a parent myself I know how persuasive children of all ages can be when it comes to taking a day off school. It takes a strong will to resist the persistent pressure that kids can bring to bear, particularly if they play the guilt card with comments such as “It’s not fair that I have to go school today because Aunty is coming to visit!” Nice try. But the answer should be No!”.

As parents we need to make a commitment that our kids make the most of their precious time at school. That means that we send them to school every day, on time and ready to make the most of the school day.Of course, there will be times, such as illness or genuinely extenuating family circumstances, when kids should be away. But these need to be a rarity rather than the norm. It’s reassuring to know

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