TRUANT RATE “A CONCERN”
Support group says truancy is out of control
A MT DRUITT community leader says truancy among school students in the region is “out of control”.
Mt Druitt Learning Ground’s Debbie Higgison said her program for struggling students found many had no connection to school.
Her findings validate statistics from the national My School website that shows high school attendance rates in St Marys and Mt Druitt are as much as 12 per cent lower than the state average.
HIGH school attendance rates in the St Marys and Mt Druitt areas are up to 12 per cent lower than the state average.
Statistics from the national My School’s website show rates in all schools in the area have dropped in the past year.
The statewide average for attendance in 2015 was 92.2 per cent, however, local schools such as Chifley College Shalvey Campus and Chifley College Bidwill Campus recorded attendance rates as low as 78 per cent during term three.
Colyton High School and Chifley College Dunheved Campus were also below the state average with an attendance rate at 80 per cent.
Debbie Higgison, of Mt Druitt Learning Ground which runs a program for struggling students, said truancy was out of control.
“We have found the kids don’t feel a connection to school,” Mrs Higgison said.
“If they want to socialise they’ll do it on Snapchat or Facebook, if they want to know something they will Google it. Sometimes the abuse between parents and kids is so bad the parents just give up on sending the kids to school.”
Mrs Higgison said more support was needed.
“Services like headspace and like our program are at capacity; we now have a waiting list,” she said.
Mt Druitt state Labor MP Edmond Atalla is calling on the State Government to change its policy on truancy.
“I am asking for a review of the policy that was first introduced in 1999, to see if it is still valid,” Mr Atalla said.
“This particular policy gave police power to investigate, it is still in place but it seems police aren’t even aware of it.”
Mr Atalla said he also was trying to facilitate a meeting between Learning Ground and the Education Minister.
An Education Department spokesman said school attendance was taken seriously. “Where school-based strategies have not been successful in resolving attendance concerns, home school liaison officers and Aboriginal student liaison officers work with public schools, students and their families to address issues,” he said.”
The department can also seek a Compulsory School Order in the Children’s Court.
TRUANCY RATES Kids skip school