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Age group 6 to 11 years

School attendance

Regular attendance and engagement in school is important for the development of intellectual and social emotional skills, and contributes significantly to educational outcomes. Through primary school, children are expected to acquire the foundational skills that will prepare them for future progress through the education system.

Overview and areas of concern

While engagement with school and learning is multifaceted, absence is a marker of disengagement and helps predict school completion and future engagement in work or further study.A higher rate of absence is also directly related to a lower level of academic achievement.2 

Data overview

Most children and young people have high attendance rates at school. In WA, the student attendance rate is 93.1 per cent, slightly below the national average of 93.4 per cent. 

Attendance rates of students in Year 1 to Year 6, WA and Australia, 2014 to 2017

Source: ACARA Student attendance by state/territory and year levels for Years 1-10

In the Commissioner’s 2016 study, 74.4 per cent of participating students in Years 3 to 6 said attending school every day is very important.

In the same study, a higher proportion of Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal Year 3 to Year 6 students said being at school every day is ‘very important’ to them (84.9% versus 73.4%).

Areas of concern

Aboriginal students in WA have a significantly lower attendance rate than non-Aboriginal students (81.3% versus 94.0%).  

Attendance rates of students in Year 1 to Year 6, by Aboriginal status, WA and Australia, 2017

Source: ACARA Student attendance by state/territory and year levels for Years 1-10

In 2017, only 45.1 per cent of WA Aboriginal students attended for at least 90 per cent of the time (compared to 82.2% of non-Aboriginal students).

Endnotes

  1. The Smith Family 2018, Attendance lifts achievement: Building the evidence base to improve student outcomes, March 2018, The Smith Family.
  2. Hancock KJ et al 2013, Student attendance and educational outcomes: Every day counts, Report for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Measure: Attendance rates and levels

Pre-primary attendance

In WA Pre-primary is the first compulsory year of schooling. Children who have turned five years of age by 30 June attend Pre-primary that year, those who turn five after 30 June attend in the following year.

Data items for Pre-primary enrolment and attendance have been included in the age group of 6 to 11 years to reflect that it is the first year of compulsory schooling and the research and policy approaches are relevant for all of primary school. For information on children aged 0 to 5 years, including data from the Australian Early Development Census, refer to the Readiness for learning indicator.

Enrolments in Pre-primary programs, by sector, number and per cent, WA, 2014 to 2017*

Government

Non-government

Total

No.

%

No.

%

2014

24,877

73.5

8,954

26.5

33,831

2015

25,225

73.6

9,049

26.4

34,274

2016

25,364

74.0

8,922

26.0

34,286

2017

25,300

74.1

8,846

25.9

34,146

Source: Data provided by WA Department of Education, 2018, custom report (unpublished)

* Enrolments are as at Semester 2 student census each year. Government includes community kindergarten students. Non-government includes independent pre-school students.

Three-quarters of enrolled WA children attend Pre-primary programs in government schools. Since 2014, there has been a slight shift in the number of Pre-primary enrolments from the non-government to the government sector.

In 2017, only 73.1 per cent of Pre-primary students attended regularly. These proportions have increased slightly since 2014. The term regular attendance denotes students who attend 90 per cent or more of the available days.

Pre-primary students in government schools who are in the ‘regular attendance’ category, by Aboriginal status, in per cent, WA, 2014 to 2017

All students

Aboriginal students

2014

70.1

35.2

2015

72.8

35.7

2016

73.0

38.3

2017

73.1

38.6

Source: Data provided by WA Department of Education, 2018, custom report (unpublished)

Aboriginal student’s attendance has been slowly improving since 2014, however in 2017, only 38.6 per cent of Aboriginal students enrolled in Pre-primary in government schools were recorded to regularly attend (more than 90 per cent of the time). Irregular attendance at this level significantly affects a child’s foundation for learning and contributes to the gap in educational outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

Compulsory Pre-primary attendance was introduced in WA in 2013. The low attendance levels for all students at Pre-primary is perhaps reflective of this change in policy and practice. How parents and children are experiencing this change and why attendance levels are low would be a valuable topic of research.

Primary school attendance

School attendance for students in Year 1 to Year 10 is collected annually through the data set National Student Attendance Data Collection (ACARA - administrative data). This is across all school sectors and jurisdictions in Australia.

Attendance is commonly reported through two measures, attendance rateand attendance level. The attendance rate measures the average time students attend school as a proportion of the total number of possible student days. The attendance level records the proportion of students who attend 90 per cent or more of the available days and is therefore useful for identifying the degree of consistent attendance.

The attendance rate for all WA Year 1 to Year 6 students has remained relatively stable over the last four years with a rate of 92.8 per cent in 2014 and 93.1 per cent in 2017. This attendance rate is slightly below the national average of 93.4 per cent.3

The attendance level for all WA students in Year 1 to Year 6 is equal to the national average (79.6%).4

Male students have a slightly lower attendance rate and level than female students across all geographic areas.

There is a significant difference in attendance rates and levels between WA students in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas with both measures decreasing relative to a student’s distance away from the metropolitan area.

Attendance rates and levels for students in Year 1 to Year 6, all school sectors, by gender and remoteness area, in per cent, WA, 2017

Attendance rate

Attendance level

Male

Female

Male

Female

Metropolitan

94.0

94.1

82.3

82.8

Inner regional

92.9

93.1

77.2

77.6

Outer regional

91.6

92.1

73.5

74.4

Remote

88.4

88.9

64.6

66.3

Very remote

77.2

78.5

39.2

41.8

All

93.1

93.2

79.3

79.9

Source: Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA), National Report on Schooling 2017 – Student Attendance dataset

WA children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, Aboriginal students, students who are highly mobile and those whose parents have lower levels of education and occupational status, all have lower levels of attendance, on average.5

The factors that create these differences in attendance are often in place before children start primary school. Research shows that the gap generally remains constant throughout primary school and that it can widen.6 Refer to the Telethon Kids Institute report: Student attendance and educational outcomes: Every day counts for further information. 

The attendance rate for Aboriginal students in Year 1 to Year 6 has remained largely unchanged with 81 per cent in 2014 and 81.3 per cent in 2017. However there are significant regional differences in attendance rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students similar to those recorded for all students.

Attendance rates for students in Year 1 to Year 6, all school sectors, by Aboriginal status and remoteness area, in per cent, WA and Australia, 2017

WA

Australia

Aboriginal

Non-Aboriginal

Aboriginal

Non-Aboriginal

Metropolitan

86.6

94.3

88.9

94.0

Inner regional

86.9

93.4

89.7

93.4

Outer regional

83.9

93.2

87.0

93.3

Remote

77.8

92.8

80.0

92.5

Very remote

67.5

91.2

69.4

91.5

All

81.3

94.0

86.0

93.8

Source: Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA), National Report on Schooling 2017 – Student Attendance dataset

In regard to attendance levels, it is of particular concern that only 45.1 per cent of Aboriginal Year 1 to Year 6 students attend for at least 90 per cent of the time compared to 82.2 per cent of non-Aboriginal students. The national attendance level of Aboriginal students (52.9%) is somewhat above the level recorded for Aboriginal students in WA however remains significantly below the level recorded for non-Aboriginal students Australia-wide of 81.2 per cent.

Attendance levels for students in Year 1 to Year 6, all school sectors, by Aboriginal status and remoteness area, in per cent, WA and Australia, 2017

WA

Australia

Aboriginal

Non-Aboriginal

Aboriginal

Non-Aboriginal

Metropolitan

56.3

83.6

59.5

82.1

Inner regional

55.2

78.7

63.8

79.3

Outer regional

48.5

78.2

55.7

79.3

Remote

37.3

76.3

40.9

75.0

Very remote

19.4

67.6

24.6

70.1

All

45.1

82.2

52.9

81.2

Source: Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA), National Report on Schooling 2017 – Student Attendance dataset

The gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal attendance rates increases relative to students’ distance from the metropolitan area. In Perth, the gap is 7.7 percentage points whereas in very remote areas the difference widens to 23.7 percentage points.

The same can be found in regard to attendance levels.

Attendance gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Year 1 to Year 6 students by remoteness area, WA, 2017

Source: Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA), National Report on Schooling 2017 – Student Attendance dataset

In May 2014, Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school attendance within five years (by 2018). While many Aboriginal students are attending school, the 2018 COAG report notes that Australia, including WA, is not on track to meet this target.7

For further information refer to the Commissioner’s Policy brief on Aboriginal children and young people and education. For further discussion of the issues specifically impacting Aboriginal students’ attendance refer to the Closing the Gap Clearing House report, School attendance and retention of Indigenous Australian students and for additional information on the extent to which multiple disadvantage can impact Aboriginal children refer to the National Centre for Longitudinal Data – Multiple Disadvantage paper.

Children and young people engaging in difficult or challenging behaviour

Research shows that regular attendance at school is critical for children and young people to reach their full potential. However, schools do use suspensions and exclusions when students exhibit certain behaviours. Exclusion means a student can no longer attend a particular school, and another school or education program is found for them. 

Reasons for suspensions and exclusions include damage to or theft of property, violation of a school’s code of conduct or school/classroom rules as well as physical aggression, and abuse of staff and other students.8

In 2017, 14,075 primary school and high school students (4.7% of total enrolments) were suspended, compared to 12,649 students (4.3% of total enrolments) in 2016. Of these students, 53.2 per cent were suspended only once. The average length of each suspension was 2.2 days, a 0.1 increase on 2016.9

There were eight exclusions in 2017, the same number as in 2016.10  This represents a substantial and sustained reduction since 2010, when there were 54 exclusions.11

The WA Department of Education is currently reviewing its existing policies relating to the prevention of, and response to, incidents of violence in WA schools. The Commissioner supports a comprehensive review of these policies.

Children who are excluded or are otherwise disengaged from mainstream schooling have a number of alternative education options.

The School of Special Educational Needs: Behaviour and Engagement (SSEN:BE) provides educational support and services for students with extreme, complex and challenging behaviours. The SSEN:BE incorporates the Midland Learning Academy and 13 engagement centres.12  In 2016, the Midland Learning Academy re-engaged 17 severely disengaged students who, by the end of 2016, had an average attendance rate of 80.9 per cent.13   In 2017, the Midland Learning Academy supported 21 students.14 In 2017, the engagement centres managed 788 students across WA.15 

Regular attendance is critical for these students, however due to the complexity of their individual circumstances, attendance rates for these students are not comparable to other students in WA. The 2017 Annual Report of the SSEN:BE provides further information on these attendance rates.

Non-government Curriculum and Reengagement in Education (CARE) schools are also available, which cater to young people in secondary school who are marginalised from mainstream education. Approximately 1,700 WA students are enrolled in CARE Schools which support completion of the WA Certificate of Education.16 Attendance is a key focus for staff at CARE schools as the students enrolled in these schools have often had very low attendance rates in the past. Information on student attendance for each CARE school is generally provided in their performance or annual reports.

Children and young people with medical or mental health issues

For some students a medical or mental health issue prevents them from successfully participating in mainstream school programs, in this case the School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health (SSEN:MMH) provides educational programs and services. Support is available for both public and private school students and includes educational programs at Perth Children’s Hospital, within the home or to support transition to the student’s enrolled school. In 2017, the SSEN:MMH had over 60 programs servicing over 5,851 students.17

Children and young people engaging with the SSEN:MMH will often have a medical or mental health issue which impacts on their attendance rates. The attendance rates of students with a low level of contact with SSEN:MMH services over one semester initially decline, however they recover to pre-contact levels. Those students engaged with SSEN:MMH services over multiple semesters due to their more significant medical or mental health issues, will generally continue to have lower attendance rates than the general population.18 For more information on the services provided by the SSEN:MMH, the children and young people accessing these services, and attendance rates refer to the School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health 2017 Annual Report.

Children and young people in Banksia Hill Detention Centre

Approximately 170 children and young people aged between 10 and 17 years are held in the Banksia Hill Detention Centre on an average night. In July 2017, the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services inspected the Banksia Hill Detention Centre and as part of this inspection it was established that the education services delivered at Banksia Hill did not meet community standards.19

Education services at Banksia Hill are not managed by the WA Department of Education and attendance data is not available. The Inspector noted that following some critical incidents in May 2017 the education centre was closed for a period of time and at the time of their review full-time education had not yet been restored in July 2017. In their review, they noted that through observation of classrooms and feedback from staff and young people many students had disengaged from the learning program and were playing card games or doing colouring-in activities during class times.

The Inspector recommended that if significant improvements are not made over the next three years, serious consideration should be given to transferring responsibility for education at Banksia Hill to the Department of Education.20.

All children have the right to an education and for the children and young people in a detention facility an education is particularly important to enable them to create a positive future.

Endnotes

  1. The student attendance rate, KPM 1 (b), is defined as the number of actual full-time equivalent student-days attended by full-time students in Years 1 to 6 as a percentage of the total number of possible student-days that students could have attended over the period.
  2. The student attendance level, KPM 1(c), is defined as the proportion of full-time students in Years 1-6 whose attendance rate is greater than or equal to 90 per cent over the period of Semester 1 of the reporting year (from 2015).
  3. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2017, National Report on Schooling data portal, Student attendance rate by school sector and state/territory for Year 1-10 students.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Hancock KJ et al 2013, Student attendance and educational outcomes: Every day counts, Report for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2018, Commonwealth of Australia.
  8. WA Department of Education 2018, 2017 Student Suspension data (website).
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. WA Department of Education, School of Special Educational Needs: Behaviour and Engagement (website).
  13. WA Department of Education, Final Report 2016-17, p. 30.
  14. WA Department of Education 2018, School of Special Educational Needs: Behaviour and Engagement, 2017 Annual Report.
  15. WA Department of Education 2018, School of Special Educational Needs: Behaviour and Engagement, 2017 Annual Report.
  16. WA Department of Education 2018, Alphabetical List of Australian Schools with enrolment numbers at 1 September 2018. CARE Schools were identified through a google search and from a WA Department of Education list of Alternative Education Programs: CARE Schools.
  17. WA Department of Education, 2018, School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health: 2017 Annual Report.
  18. WA Department of Education, 2018, School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health: 2017 Annual Report.
  19. Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services 2018, 2017 Inspection of Banksia Hill Detention Centre, WA Government.
  20. Ibid.

Measure: Importance of attending school

While attendance rates and levels provide an objective measure of school attendance, it is also important to understand how students view school and their perspectives on the importance of attending school. This represents a valid measure of student’s engagement and their likely participation.

Proportion of Year 3 to Year 6 WA students saying being at school every day is very important, somewhat important or not important, by selected characteristics, in per cent

Male

Female

Metropolitan

Regional

Non-Aboriginal

Aboriginal

All

Very important

71.5

76.6

72.9

76.7

73.4

84.9

74.4

Somewhat important

25.5

22.1

24.7

21.7

24.6

12.3

23.5

Not important

3.1

1.3

2.4

1.6

2.0

2.7

2.1

Source: Commissioner for Children and Young People WA 2018, School and Learning Consultation: Technical Report

In 2016, the Commissioner for Children and Young People (the Commissioner) conducted the School and Learning Consultation which sought the views of Year 3 to Year 12 students enrolled in government, Catholic and independent schools across WA on the positive and negative factors that influence their engagement in education.

Students in Year 3 to Year 6 generally perceived attending school every day to be important – almost three quarters of students said it is ‘very important’ to them to be at school. The remaining one-quarter answered that it is ‘somewhat important’ to them. A small proportion of respondents (2.1%) said it is ‘not important’ to them.2

There were no significant statistical differences between male and female students or regional differences.

Interestingly, a significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal Year 3 to Year 6 students said being at school every day is ‘very important’ to them (84.9% versus 73.4%).3  This is an interesting finding particularly when considered against the attendance data for Aboriginal students which shows that Aboriginal students attend less often and less regularly than their non-Aboriginal peers.

In the Commissioner’s 2015 consultation with Aboriginal children and young people, Aboriginal children and young people expressed a clear understanding of the connection between a good education and a good quality of life. However, they also identified barriers to attendance including family issues, transport or access difficulties and cultural differences.4 Additionally, in a 2010 Wellbeing Survey conducted on behalf of the Commissioner, Aboriginal children in remote areas spoke of the difficulties of attending school due to the loss of family members and attendance at funerals.5

When students in the School and Learning consultation were asked if their family says it is important that they go to school every day, 86.4 per cent of all Year 3 to Year 6 respondents answered ‘yes’ to this question and 11 per cent said ‘sometimes’. A small proportion of students (2.6%) reported that their family does not say it is important that they go to school every day.

There was no significant difference between male and female students, students in regional and metropolitan areas or between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in regard to how important regular school attendance is to their families.

Endnotes

  1. The Commissioner for Children and Young People’s School and Learning Consultation was conducted from July to November 2016. The purpose of the Consultation was to seek the views of Year 3 to Year 12 students enrolled in government, Catholic and independent schools across WA on the positive and negative factors that influence their engagement in education. In total, 1,812 students across 98 schools participated in the survey and 1,174 students participated in the group discussion between July and November 2016. Schools from all nine geographic regions of WA were involved in the consultation. For more information refer: Commissioner for Children and Young People 2018, School and Learning Consultation: Technical Report, Commissioner for Children and Young People WA.
  2. Commissioner for Children and Young People 2017, Speaking Out About School and Learning, The views of WA children and young people on factors that support their engagement in school and learning, Commissioner for Children and Young People WA.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Commissioner for Children and Young People WA 2015, "Listen To Us”: Using the views of WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to improve policy and service delivery, Commissioner for Children and Young People WA.
  5. Nexus Strategy Solutions, Sankey Associates and Fletcher J 2010, Research Report: Children and Young People’s Views on Wellbeing, for the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA, p. 53.

Children in care

Children and young people in care often face significant barriers to educational attendance and attainment. However, educational participation and attainment are pivotal to their long-term outcomes.1

The Department of Education has provided attendance rates and levels for all compulsory aged WA children in care. While this data is not directly comparable to the ACARA data above,in 2017 35.7 per cent of children in care did not attend school more than 90 per cent of the available time.

Attendance for all compulsory aged children (pre-primary to year 12) in out-of-home care, in per cent, WA, 2016 and 2017

Attendance rate

Attendance level

Attendance rate

90% or greater

80% - <90%

60% - <80%

<60%

2016 Semester 1

86.9

65.7

15.7

8.8

9.9

2017 Semester 1

87.4

64.3

17.0

9.8

8.9

Source: WA Department of Education administrative data provided to Commissioner for Children and Young People WA (unpublished)

Similarly, the Department of Communities 2015 Outcomes Framework report shows that the attendance level (regularly attending) of WA children and young people in care at government schools was 67.1 per cent (58.8% for Aboriginal students and 76.1% for non-Aboriginal students).3

In other words, only around two-thirds of students in out-of-home-care attend for at least 90 per cent of the time. This is significantly lower than the attendance level for all students in government schools of 73.7 per cent.4

For further information on the attendance and achievement levels of children in care refer to:

Endnotes

  1. Tilbury C 2010, Educational status of children and young people in care, Children Australia, Vol 35, No 4.
  2. Data provided by the WA Department of Education to the Commissioner, noting the following: children in care are flagged in the Department’s administrative enrolment data, Semester 1 student attendance data is verified by school principals, and the attendance rate is the average half days attended as a percentage of available half days.
  3. Number of children at compulsory school age who have been in care for the entire reporting period and are regularly attending (90 per cent attendance) an education program, divided by the number of children at compulsory school age who have been in care for the entire reporting period, expressed as a percentage. Source: WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support 2016, Outcomes framework for children in out-of-home care in Western Australia: 2015-2016 Baseline Indicator Report, WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support.
  4. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2017, National Report on Schooling data portal, Student attendance rate by school sector and state/territory for Year 1-10 students.
Children with disability

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that people with disability should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, and that children with disability must not be excluded from free and compulsory primary education or from secondary education.

WA students with disability commonly either attend special schools that enrol only students with special needs, special classes within a mainstream school or mainstream classes within a mainstream school (where students with disability might receive additional assistance).

In 2009, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on the prevalence of disability amongst children aged five to 20 years in Australian schools. In WA, 9.3 per cent of children and young people aged five to 20 years attending school had a disability in 2009.This analysis has not been repeated.

A new data collection – the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability – provides a detailed snapshot of students receiving an adjustment for disability across Australia. This collection is still in the early stages of implementation and data cannot be compared across states, however the data for WA shows that around one in five students received some level of adjustment to access education in 2017.

Students with disability receiving adjustments by level of adjustment as a percentage of the total student population, WA, 2016 and 2017

Level of adjustment

2016

2017

Support with quality differentiated
teaching practice

7.0

8.9

Supplementary

7.8

8.3

Substantial

2.0

2.5

Extensive

0.8

0.8

All adjustments

17.6

20.5

Source: Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability in Education Council, 2016 and 2017 - data on students in Australian schools receiving adjustments for disability.

The data set is designed to collect information on the full range of students receiving adjustments to support their access and participation in learning because of disability, not just those who have a medical diagnosis. The data is collected by teachers using their professional judgements, based on evidence, to classify the adjustment levels.

For an overview of school attendance data for children with disability, refer to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare paper, Disability in Australia: changes over time in inclusion and participation in education.  

Limited data exists on school attendance rates or levels for children with disability.

It is therefore difficult to assess how WA children with disability are faring in relation to equal access to education.

Endnotes

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017, Disability in Australia: changes over time in inclusion and participation in education, Cat No DIS 69, AIHW.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 4429.0 - Profiles of Disability, Australia, 2009: Table 6 Children with a disability at school/Table 3 – children with disability.
  3. Education Council, Nationally Consistent Collection of Data: School students with disability 2017, 2017 data on students in Australian schools receiving adjustments for disability.
Policy implications

Student absences from school are influenced by a combination of home, school and individual factors. However, the relative importance of the various causes is contested. Parents and students tend to highlight school-related factors (for example, poor teaching and failure to engage students); while educators tend to stress parental attitudes and the home environment.1,2

Improving the outcomes for disadvantaged students requires multiple approaches with shared responsibility between students, families, schools, communities and a range of government agencies.3

Parents have an important role in encouraging their children to value and enjoy school and learning. There is strong evidence showing parental expectations and attitudes towards school significantly influence children’s experiences and outcomes.4 Parent participation in school activities, such as, visiting their children’s class, attending assemblies and parent-teacher nights and volunteering, all provide a mechanism to allow parents to demonstrate their interest in their children’s education.

Families experiencing disadvantage and stress often struggle to engage in this manner, therefore additional services and programs can provide support.Research also suggests that ensuring parents are better informed about how poor attendance adversely impacts their children’s future wellbeing will also improve results.6

Schools have a significant role to play in improving attendance levels. A 2010 study found that there were very few high-quality evaluations of programs to improve attendance, therefore evidence about what works is lacking.7 However, there are a number of indicators that highlight a child is having difficulty, some of which suggest the following for policy and practice: 

  • Focus early on children with a high level of unauthorised absences, which are more strongly associated with low achievement, than authorised absences.8
  • Provide intensive and early assistance to students who are falling behind in literacy and numeracy so that poor attendees can make progress and those at risk of disengaging are supported.9
  • Policy and programs should continue to be developed that take account of Aboriginal cultures and history, and develop expanded understandings of what it means to participate and engage in education.10
  • Develop educational programs in collaboration with parents and community-based organisations.11
  • For children with disability good practice includes moving towards an inclusive education culture through policy and practice, including the development of appropriate support structures and funding regimes, and in-class changes including alternative curricula, individual planning and the use of technologies.12

Data gaps

Data reporting on the attendance rates and levels of children with disability is needed; without this it is difficult to assess whether children with disability are being provided with consistent and equitable access to education and support and to allow comparisons with children without disability.

Data on attendance rates and levels of children and young people in juvenile detention (Banksia Hill) should also be collected and reported on.

Endnotes

  1. Purdie N and Buckley S 2010, School attendance and retention of Indigenous Australian students, Issues Paper No 1 produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.
  2. Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment 2013, Performance insights: School attendance.
  3. Hancock KJ et al 2013, Student attendance and educational outcomes: Every day counts, Report for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
  4. Department of Education, Fact Sheet: Parent engagement in learning, Australian Government.
  5. Hancock KJ and Zubrick SR 2015, Children and young people at risk of disengagement from school, prepared by Telethon Kids Institute for the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA.
  6. Hancock KJ et al 2013, Student attendance and educational outcomes: Every day counts, Report for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
  7. Purdie N and Buckley S 2010, School attendance and retention of Indigenous Australian students, Issues Paper No 1 produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse.
  8. Hancock KJ et al 2013, Student attendance and educational outcomes: Every day counts, Report for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
  9. The Smith Family 2018, Attendance lifts achievement: Building the evidence base to improve student outcomes, March 2018, The Smith Family.
  10. Purdie N and Buckley S 2010, School attendance and retention of Indigenous Australian students, Issues Paper No 1 produced for the Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  11. Ibid.
  12. The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) 2013, Inclusive Education for Students with Disability: A review of the best evidence in relation to theory and practice, ARACY.
Further resources

For more information on school attendance refer to the following resources:

For more information on young people’s views, see Speaking out about School and Learning