• Policy Number: SCS2023013
• Document Rescinds/Replaces: N/A
​​​​​​​​​​​​​• Date Released: 15 May 2023
• Review Date: 15 May 2025
• Policy Type: Operational
• Audience: Public
• Approved: Executive Director
• Document Owner: Director, School Support

School attendance plays a role in enhancing the lives of students in schools. Every day of attendance adds to a student’s academic achievement and success at school, and conversely every absence, can impact their learning and progress.

In NSW, all children from six years of age are legally required to attend school or be registered for home schooling. After students complete Year 10, and until they turn 17 years of age, they must remain enrolled in school, be engaged full time in approved education, training, employment, or a combination of the two.

This policy sets out the requirements for the attendance of students enrolled with Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) to ensure compliance with these legal obligations.

This policy applies to SCS staff and parents/carers of students enrolled in an SCS school. In this policy, SCS staff means all employees or members of religious orders engaged in schools.

The following principles guide this policy:

3.1 Regular school attendance is essential for student learning and wellbeing.

3.2. Parents/carers of a child who is of compulsory school age (between the ages of 6 and 17) are legally responsible for the enrolment and attendance of their child at school.

3.3 All students who are enrolled at an SCS school are expected to attend the school each day, unless they are unwell or unable to attend for an approved reason, or have been granted an exemption.

3.4 SCS schools will take appropriate action to follow up student absences and respond promptly to any school attendance matter if there is a belief it threatens student welfare, wellbeing or safety.

3.5 That an absence must be explained within 7 days. If it is not, the absence will be recorded as an unexplained absence.

4.1 Principals (or their delegate)

Principals (or their delegate) are required to ensure that the school complies with its obligations with respect to attendance. These being to:

4.1.1 Ensure the school maintains an accurate attendance register (roll) in a form consistent with legislative obligations and securely retain any records relating to student absences (such as medical certificates, phone logs, text messages, statutory declarations etc.)

4.1.2 Provide information to students and parents regarding attendance requirements, including the use of SCS designated online forms to use when absences occur and for the consequences of unsatisfactory attendance.

4.1.3 Ensure effective school processes are in place for staff to monitor attendance and manage student absences, including active review of explanations, requests and reasons, and contacting parents/carers promptly following an unexplained absence. An absence is unexplained if parents/carers have failed to provide an approved reason via SCS’ electronic attendance system or by phone to the school within 7 school days.

4.1.4 Ensure applications for exemptions from attendance are managed consistent with SCS processes and legislative requirements.

4.1.5 Maintain documentation on the management of student absences and exemptions.

4.1.6 Ensure that there is a system established for signing out students who need to leave the school premises during school hours.

4.1.7 Promptly investigate all attendance concerns, including part day absences (such as lateness)

4.2 Parents/Carers

Parents/carers of students enrolled at an SCS school are required to:

4.2.1 Ensure their child attends school each day unless exempt or absent for an approved reason.

4.2.2 Explain the absence of a student as soon as possible and within 7 school days from the first day of absence, otherwise the school will record the absence as an unexplained absence.

4.2.3 Provide a medical certificate where a student’s frequent, recurring or long term absence is explained as being due to illness.

4.2.4 Apply in advance for planned student leave using the SCS electronic attendance system.

4.2.5 Work in partnership with the school and SCS to address any issues impacting on a student’s attendance.

5.1 Principals (or their delegate) will determine when and how to respond to attendance concerns, in accordance with the SCS Attendance Procedures, based on factors such as:

  • the student’s history and circumstances
  • the frequency and duration of non-attendance and reasons provided by parents/carers
  • other risk factors.

5.2 Where safety, welfare or wellbeing concerns arise from a student’s non attendance, Principals (or their delegate) are to immediately notify the Student Wellbeing and Learning Team who, in turn, may notify the Child Safety Team.

5.3 If a student’s attendance remains at an unsatisfactory level after the school and SCS staff have implemented all of the available strategies to improve attendance, the matter will be referred to the Child Safety Team for further action, which may include an application to a court of law for a Compulsory Schooling Order. Referrals to the Child Safety Team will only occur following written authorisation from the Manager: Student Wellbeing and Learning Team and the Director of School Support.

If you have any questions about this policy or would like further information, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Learning Team at studentwellbeing-contact@syd.catholic.edu.au, and on Phone 02) 9568 8485.

• Policy Number: SCS2023013
• Document Rescinds / Replaces: N/A
• Date Released: 15 May 2023
• Review Date: 15 May 2025
• Policy Type: Operational
• Audience: Public
• Approved by: Executive Director
• Document Owner: Director, School Support