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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Rod Welford

    ‘Every Day Counts’ campaign to help reduce absenteeism

    Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Rod Welford

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    ‘Every Day Counts’ campaign to help reduce absenteeism

    Education and Training Minister Rod Welford today launched a statewide campaign to reduce student absenteeism and drive home the message that every day counts at school.

    Mr Welford said the ‘Every Day Counts’ campaign was aimed at changing parent, community and student attitudes to school attendance and ensuring every child attended school every school day.

    “Parents need to be aware that students need a legitimate reason to be away from school because if they’re not at school they are missing out on vital parts of their education,” Mr Welford said.

    “The majority of students do attend school consistently, but there is a small percentage of students who are absent for extended periods without good reason – and this is totally unacceptable.

    “The average student attendance rate in Queensland is about 92 per cent – this means students are away an average of 18 days a year. Most students only take a few days off each year due to illness or family reasons, so obviously there are some students who are absent a lot more days than the average.

    “This can only have a detrimental impact on their education. My Department’s research shows that there is a clear relationship between attendance at school and student achievement, such as in the national literacy and numeracy tests. Higher rates of attendance at school mean higher levels of achievement and as attendance drops off, so does the rate of achievement.

    “Going shopping or visiting family, staying up late and being tired or extending school holidays are not acceptable reasons to be away from school. I know that all parents want the best for their children, so I am urging them to make sure that their children are enrolled in school, and attend on every school day.”

    Mr Welford said schools would play a vital role by monitoring attendance, identifying those students with attendance problems and managing this by the use of early intervention strategies.

    “Schools and teachers should be aware of the early warning signs for children at risk of chronic absenteeism,” he said. “These include many unexplained absences, including children arriving late or leaving early, and children experiencing learning difficulties or health issues.

    “These problems are best managed by early identification and intervention. Earlier this year I introduced the Guidelines to address chronic absenteeism, school refusal and truancy and schools can use these to plan and document their school’s approach to improving school attendance.

    ‘While there is no ‘quick-fix’ to chronic absenteeism, a partnership between schools, parents and the local community has proven effective in reducing absenteeism and improving school attendance. By working together, schools along with local businesses and shopping centres may also develop protocols to manage students who are on their premises during school time.”

    Media contact: Marnie Stitz or Emma Clarey on 3237 1000