Often students with disabilities struggle with getting to school on time. There are numerous reasons for this such as medical issues, psychological problems, mental health problems, anxiety, family difficulties, physical and/or hidden disabilities to name a few.
Schools should be advising families if a student is either late to school and/or doesn’t attend school. A school should not just record absences only to have parents advised when they receive their school report. This is not working with families and trying to help the student. Often this is a cry for help from students.
See link to some reasons why students don’t attend school:-
School Attendance – Government School Procedures clearly states: –
- When should parents be contacted if an explanation for absence has not been received?
5.1. Principals must ensure the school has effective measures in place to monitor and follow up student absences with parents. Parents must provide an explanation to the school within 7 days of the first day of any period of absence.
5.2. Contact with parents on the same day or following day of an absence where parents have not contacted the school is an effective strategy for supporting regular attendance of students and ensuring absences are explained within the required 7 day period. Contact can be made by means such as providing the parents with an Absentee Notice-Compulsory School Attendance, by telephone, email or SMS text message.
5.3. If the school does not receive an explanation of the absence from the parents within 7 days, the principal or delegate will take all reasonable measures to contact the parents within 2 school days after the 7 day timeframe has elapsed (if contact has not already been made). The Telephone Interpreter Service and translated materials, including letters can be used as required when communicating with parents from language backgrounds other than English if an explanation for absence has not been received.
- 11.4. Where errors occur in roll marking:
A. in an electronic attendance register – an amendment should be made within 7 days of the absence.
B. in a manual attendance register – a line is to be ruled through the existing entry and the correct entry made above within 7 days of the absence. Correction fluid must not be used
- 24.Resources to Support the Regular Attendance of Students at School.
Every Student, Every School is an initiative providing better learning and support for students with a disability, additional learning or behaviour support needs in our public schools. Addressing the learning and support needs of students with a disability strongly supports regular attendance at school.
Copy of Government schools procedure document can be locate here – https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_admin/attendance/sch_polproc/att_proc.pdf
Link to school attendance policy – https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_admin/attendance/sch_polproc/PD20050259.shtml
Link to National Standards for Student Attendance Reporting – http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Standards_for_Student_Attendance_Reporting_-_updated_October_20___.pdf
Check your childs school reports to ensure no unexplained absences are being recorded and you have not been advised.
One family, of which both family members work, so are not home when the child leaves for school due to work commitments. Their child, in senior years has ADHD and the school is very aware of this. The students school did not advise parents of these unexplained partial absences until school report time.
When the family questioned the school the school advised a note had been given to the student to give to them. The family advised they did not receive any note and the student could not remember being late to school (having ADHD and school report comes home way after the event, how would the student remember).
Given the student has a known disability of ADHD, part of the issue with ADHD is working memory problems, organisation and planning problems, the school should have been responsible in contacting the parents prior to school report time rather than recording unexplained absences, considering attendance is a legal record. This would have allowed the family the time to speak with their child the first time it happened, try to implement help, rather than allow it to continue over the school reporting period. The family believes this is because the school will not acknowledge the students difficulties and the school do not want to communicate with the family.
Interesting to note also, this families same school has sent out several SMS messages over several years advising their child was not at school, when they actually were!!
Fair to the student??? Fair to the family??? Reasonable adjustment??? You be the judge.
I truly think a lot of schools do not understand or want to GLD/2E students. This is where schools should work with parents, communicate, understand parents still at times have to advocate on behalf of their senior student, plus schools need to understand these students more.