Taskforce Proposes Truancy Solutions

30 May 2008 2:37 PMJann Stuckey

May 30 2008

As a result of student absenteeism a taskforce was set up to tackle the issue last month.

At the second taskforce meeting on Wednesday 28 May, local stakeholders all agreed to explore the idea of a ‘Parent Information Kit’ as well as a call for uniformity in attendance management systems in schools.

“Since our first meeting and subsequent media coverage the Education Minister quickly came forward with a set of guidelines supposed to help schools address truancy,” said Mrs Stuckey.

“A number of residents and stakeholders said they were surprised these measures were not already in place and that they offered no real answers to the problems. Several educators sent in useful information on combating this complex problem.

“Chronic absenteeism can have damaging results. Education research shows that if a child misses one day of school each week from prep to year ten, it equates to missing two years and one term of school.

“Furthermore, if a child is half an hour late to school each day from prep to year ten, it is equivalent to missing one year and one and a half school terms.

“Another frightening statistic is that girls who are frequently absent from school are over represented in the statistics for teenage pregnancy. 

“The taskforce recommends that a ‘Parent Information Kit’ be distributed to each child’s parents upon their enrolment, viewing involvement with parents as an important partnership with the school.    

A Parent Information Kit could provide valuable information such as –

• A letter to parent/guardian
• Research data on effects of low school attendance on young people
• rules about school attendance
• what parents can do to support their child’s attendance at school
• what to do if your child needs time away from school
• how will the school help with school attendance

“Another positive suggestion put forward to the meeting was to call on the Queensland State Government to implement a uniform system to record student attendance in all Queensland schools. Presently schools across Queensland have a range of systems to manage and record student attendance and some are having major glitches with them.

“I applaud stakeholders for coming forward with proactive ideas. We are still waiting for responses from the Minister for Police and Education regarding our requests for a school-based police office program and a Gold Coast truancy liaison officer,” said Ms Stuckey.