Kids are teaching parents
Kids are talking to parents about it – and that’s the important one that can make a difference about whether kids attend school or not Sharon Case, teacher
THE staff at Mossman State School’s dedication to improving attendance rates of students has been paying dividends for more than just grades, morale and attitudes to learning – with the school being selected by the Queensland Government to take part in a study designed to identify what some Queensland schools are doing right when it comes to attendance.
The research will be conducted by researchers from the School of Education from the University of Queensland, and is being commissioned by the Department of Education and Training.
In a Queensland first, Mossman State School is one of 50 schools selected because of sustained increases in attendance of the past five years.
“Kids start to feel successful once they start coming to school every day,” said head of teaching Sharon Case.
“Attendance is crucial to kids achieving success.”
The secret, said Ms Case, was ensuring parents knew their children wanted to go to school – and the success over the past few years was showing parents were getting that message. “I do think our kids are changing the view of parents.”
Mossman State School has an attendance rate of 91 per cent which is a marked improvement on previous year’s attendance rates which were as low as 86 per cent in 2014.
Students are spurred on to line up long attendance streaks through rewards like excursions and treats, as well as school-wide recognition for collective class attendance rates.
“We try to encourage a culture of class identity … students want to win an excursion, but they also want the glory of being the highest attendance class.”
Each week the class with the highest attendance was recognised at school assembly, and each term the winning classes go on excursions.
The highly competitive culture has led to a neck and neck race between prep students and year 6 – with two classes within striking distance of taking out this term’s award – a trip to the pool, a pizza party and of course, bragging rights.
“The kids get so excited – they’re giving parents the message that they have to go to school.
“Kids are talking about it, teachers are talking about it and kids are talking to parents about it – and that’s the important one that can make a difference about whether kids attend school or not.”
Mossman State School students Zech Paulke and Brooke Dalziel from year 6A, which is in the running to have the highest attendance rate for term 3.