Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee

ALL gov­ern­ment high schools in the Mt Druitt and St Marys area have recorded stu­dent at­ten­dance rates well be­low the state av­er­age.

Some high schools have recorded alarm­ing at­ten­dance lev­els – more than 10 per cent be­low the state av­er­age, which cur­rently sits at 92.9 per cent.

Schools in the area have had to im­ple­ment strict strate­gies in an at­tempt to lift at­ten­dance rates as a re­sult. Prin­ci­pals are also work­ing with or­gan­i­sa­tions to help com­bat tru­ancy rates among stu­dents.

ALL gov­ern­ment high schools in the St Marys and Mt Druitt area have recorded at­ten­dance well be­low the state av­er­age in the past year.

The av­er­age state at­ten­dance rate was 92.9 per cent in 2014, the high­est rate recorded over the past 10 years.

How­ever, many schools in the area were not fol­low­ing the trend.

Chi­fley Col­lege Bid­will Cam­pus had an 82 per cent at­ten­dance rate while its Dun­heved cam­pus was at 84 per cent.

Other schools in the area, such as Coly­ton and St Clair high schools, were at 86 per cent and 87 per cent, re­spec­tively.

The at­ten­dance rates for in­dige­nous stu­dents were even worse, with the low­est be­ing 77 per cent at­ten­dance at Chi­fley Col­lege Mt Druitt.

Com­pared with schools in more af­flu­ent ar­eas, there is a dif­fer­ence of more than 10 per cent in some cases, with Tur­ra­murra High School’s at­ten­dance rate com­ing in at 96 per cent.

While these at­ten­dance fig­ures in­clude le­git­i­mate ab­sences due to ill­ness, it is be­lieved a large amount was due to tru­ancy.

St Clair High School prin­ci­pal Chris Presland said the school had pro­ce­dures in place to com­bat tru­ancy.

“We see at­ten­dance slip­ping from about Year 8, hit­ting a low point in Year 9 and 10, so we try to fo­cus there,” he said. “We track at­ten­dance very regularly us­ing online roll mark­ing for ev­ery les­son.

“Once a child’s at­ten­dance reaches be­low 85 per cent, we in­ter­view the fam­ily - mostly it’s about early in­ter­ven­tion.”

Mar­garet Bell, who man­ages the Learn­ing Ground in Mt Druitt, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that runs a va­ri­ety of pro­grams aimed at get­ting tru­ant­ing kids back to school, said: “We have an 80 per cent suc­cess rate and in the past three years we have re­turned 188 stu­dents back to school. We also work with the par­ents so they have the abil­ity to guide their kids...” A Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion spokesman said school at­ten­dance was taken very se­ri­ously.

“It is a par­ent’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that their child at­tends school ev­ery day that the school is open...” the spokesman said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.