Four out of 10 students skipped at least a month of school this year as attendance levels failed to bounce back from pandemic lows. Source: The Australian.
New school performance data reveals students in schools dominated by poor families have fallen years behind children from affluent schools.
Only 61.6 per cent of students turned up to at least 90 per cent of classes in Term 1 this year – equivalent to a month of lost schooling.
Students who skip school one day a week will miss the equivalent of three years of education by the time they leave school.
Attendance levels are higher than last year’s record low of 49.9 per cent, but still well below pre-pandemic levels of 73.1 per cent in 2019. In some of the nation’s poorest schools, at least half the students missed a month of school this year, reflecting rising rates of disengagement and a growing trend of “school refusal’’.
Falling levels of attendance helped drive the disastrous results in this year’s NAPLAN tests, in which one in three students failed to meet minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare yesterday warned that poor students are being “segregated’’ into low-performing schools. He called for the most talented teachers to be paid more to teach in the most disadvantaged schools.
Mr Clare said students from disadvantaged backgrounds need extra support at school through parenting services, speech and occupational therapy, or on-site nurses. He said there was a “long way to go’’ to improve attendance levels, and schools must focus on student wellbeing.
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace blamed the low attendance on Covid-19 and flu infections, rather than truancy.
Four in 10 kids missed at least a month of school this year (By Natasha Bita, The Australian)