The Department of Education and Early Childhood (DDECD) released new guidelines in regard to student attendance last term. The DEECD policy outlines concerns for students who have more than five Unapproved Absences in one calendar year. Parents are expected to notify their child’s school giving an explanation of why their child was absent and notify the school prior of any absences their child will take that they are aware of. For absences in regard to extended family holidays to be approved, parents must notify their child’s school prior to the holiday and get from their child’s teacher a Student Absence Learning Plan which their child must complete while they are away. In line with this, we have revised our Student Attendance Policy and Protocols at Greenvale. Please find following some extracts from the policy which was ratified at our School Council meeting. You may also view the whole Student Attendance Policy on our website.
The Education and Training Reform Act 2006, the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007 and the Education and Training Reform (School Attendance) Regulations 2013 require children of school age (six to sixteen years) resident in Victoria are required to be in full-time attendance at a government or registered non-government school unless they are receiving approved home tuition, correspondence education, or have been granted an exemption by the Regional Director.
- All enrolled students are required to attend school unless reasonable and valid grounds exist for them to be absent.
- Illness is reasonable grounds for an absence – shopping excursions or birthday parties are not.
- Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children attend school regularly, and are only absent if ill or if absolutely necessary.
- Parents have a further responsibility to provide a written note or return a completed absence form to the school explaining why an absence has occurred
- If a student returns to school after an absence which is unexplained, the teacher will send home a Student Absence Reminder Form.
- The principal will ensure parents of students with high levels of unexplained or unapproved absences and late arrivals are contacted, with the view to developing and implementing strategies to minimise absences.
- For students going on an extended (more than one week) family holiday, a Student Absence Learning Plan will be developed, with the expectation that the student completes the work while they are away.
- In general, it would be expected that the Principal would excuse absences for
- Medical and dental appointments, where an out of hours appointment is not possible.
- Bereavement or attendance at a funeral of a relative or friend of the student, including a student required to attend Sorry Business.
- School refusal, if a plan is in place with the parents to address causes.
- Cultural observances, if the parent notifies the school in advance.
- Family holidays, where the parent notifies the school in advance and the student completes any Student Absence Learning Plan agreed by the school, parent and student.
- In general, the Principal would not be expected to excuse absences where
- Approval had not been sought in advance.
- The student was absent due to participating in leisure or social activities without approval.
- The conditions of approval have not been met (e.g. Student Absence Learning Plan for a family holiday not completed).
- The parent has provided no explanation of the absence.