Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NSW campaign to address falling school attendance

The NSW Government today launched a new school attendance campaign in a bid to help bring the number of students in classrooms back to pre-COVID levels.

Preliminary student attendance data for NSW public schools shows improvements to attendance rates for Term 1 this year, but the figures remain below target levels.

NSW public schools have a target of a 95% attendance rate.

In 2022, the average attendance rate in NSW public schools was 85.7%, a decrease from 2019 where the average attendance rate was 90.2%.

Currently, NSW schools are below that target. For example, in Term 1, this year the overall attendance rate was 89.4%.

“The best thing we can do for the next generation of kids is provide a good education,” said NSW Premier, Chris Minns.

“It’s our job to ensure we get kids back into classrooms where they belong, learning and reaching their full potential.”

The new ‘Every Day Matters’ campaign reinforces the importance of attending school for students’ academic success.

Missing just one day of school each fortnight adds up to four weeks of lost learning a year. Over a student’s school life, this equates to an entire year of missed learning.

The campaign aims to drive behavioural change among parents and students to:

  • reduce absenteeism close to weekends and/or public holidays;
  • reduce family trips during term;
  • reduce arbitrary days off due to convenience or pressure from students.

The new campaign will run from today until 21 July across social media, TV streaming services and radio – including platforms for regional, culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander audiences.

The campaign will be supported by school leaders using data-driven analysis and strategies to lift student attendance, with a daily attendance dashboard to identify reasons and trends for student absences.

“Good attendance is vital to help students develop a sense of belonging, maintain friendships and do well in their studies,” said Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car.

“The data shows that NSW students who develop positive attendance behaviour in Year 7 are, on average, three months ahead in their learning by Year 9.

“This is a wake-up call that we need to prioritise good attendance across the state, and work with schools and the wider community to ensure our children are back at school.”

Schools across the state are implementing innovative, focused strategies to boost attendance, including reminders of the importance of regularly attending school and rewarding students who improve attendance.

Families can help students reach their attendance goals by ensuring they attend school every day unless they are unwell, booking holidays during breaks and reaching out for support from schools, if required.

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