From the Principal

Fear of Missing Out

For those who clicked on this to read about the FOMO syndrome related to social media, SORRY, wrong article.

This blog is about our fear that students who are absent from school are missing out on education and opportunity.

A day here and a day there seem innocuous in thirteen years of education, don’t they? I mean, does it really matter if your son or daughter doesn’t feel like going to school or misses out on a few days of school? It’s your choice as a parent to let this happen but are you aware of the potential cost to your child?

Note: Unexplained or unauthorised absences are actually a breach of state law.

Parents of children from Kindergarten to Year 12 must ensure their children attend school every day. On occasion, your child may need to be absent from school. Justified reasons for student absences may include:

  • being sick or having an infectious disease
  • having an unavoidable medical appointment
  • being required to attend a recognised religious holiday
  • exceptional or urgent family circumstances e.g. attending a funeral

Parents must provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence. Where an explanation has not been received within the 7-day timeframe, the school will record the absence as unjustified on the student’s record.…and…/school-attendance

The facts around missing school are actually quite scary.

  • Missing just one day of school has negative consequences for a student’s academic achievement, the first major study linking poor attendance to lower NAPLAN results has found.
  • School attendance patterns established as early as Year 1 can predict how often a student will show up to class right throughout high school, according to the research.
  • In a major international survey of 15-year-olds, conducted by the OECD in 2012, almost one-third of Australian students said they had skipped at least one day of school in the previous two weeks. That means Australian students skip school more frequently than any other developed country except Turkey and Italy. In high-performing countries such as Japan and Korea that figure was less than 2 per cent.
  • A 10 day period of unauthorised absence in a year is sufficient to drop a child about a band in the NAPLAN testing.
  • Research shows that missing 10 percent of school negatively affects a student’s academic performance.
  • Studies show an indication that the achievement in mathematics is an area that can be affected possibly more than other curriculum areas by lower attendance.
  • The impact of attendance is greatest in the early years when a considerable amount of the learning is building on the previous day’s work.
  • Reading the material and completing work independently does not compensate for the loss of insight gained during class discussion or the loss of competency acquired through explanation or supervised schoolwork.
  • Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year.
  • When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.

Summary: There is no safe threshold to missing school. Every absence has a cost.

On the positive side, research indicates that regular school attendance is one way you can really make a difference in your child’s learning potential.

  • Students are more likely to succeed in academics when they attend school consistently. Research has shown that your child’s attendance record may be the biggest factor influencing his or her academic success.
  • Students who attend school regularly are more likely to pass reading and math assessments than students who didn’t attend school regularly.
  • Discussions, demonstrations, experiments and participation are all important parts of the daily learning activities that enhance learning and add depth to the knowledge covered by the curriculum.
  • Just by being present at school, your child is learning how to be a good citizen by participating in the school community and learning valuable social skills.
  • When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child get better grades, develop healthy life habits, avoid dangerous behavior and have a better chance of graduating from high school.
  • Students who attend school even when they “don’t feel like it” are developing self discipline and grit – incredibly important life skills.
  • Students who develop an “on the job” attitude toward school are more desirable to future employers.

Summary: Research shows that coming to school improves engagement, academic results and social skills. 

Our message:

Be here.










Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School
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