In the event of your child being absent from school due to illness, it is necessary that a note of explanation be forwarded to the class teacher on the day of your child’s return to school. In the case of absences of more than one day, a telephone call to the office indicating your child’s expected date of return is required. Prolonged absences from school due to illness should be supported by a medical certificate.
You may receive a SMS notification if your child is absent 3 or more days, or has a number of unexplained absences during the year. If you do receive a SMS, please follow the directions.
Should a student arrive late to school you are asked to escort your child into the school premises. It is a legal requirement that all partial absences are recorded on the electronic class roll and an explanation provided by the parent/carer.
If you wish to pick up your child earlier than 2:50 pm please enter via the school office and speak to one of the school secretaries. Your child will be called for and will meet you at the school office.
If your child has an attendance rate of less than 90%, you will receive a letter from the school. Please see the “Compulsory School Attendance Information for Parents”.
Compulsory School Attendance Information for Parents
Exemption of Leave in School Time:
Leave from school for holiday/overseas trips in school time is not encouraged and must be explained in writing to the School Principal.
An exemption from attendance may be granted for leave taken due to exceptional circumstances (not holidays).
A leave form (“Application for Exemption for Extended Leave”) must be completed at least 4 weeks in advance if over 10 working school days. Leave forms can be obtained from the school administration office. Leave during school terms is strongly discouraged.
Leave of less than 10 days needs to also be approved by the Principal. Please write a letter to your child’s class teacher outlining the details of the leave, including the first and last school day that the child will be absent.
In NSW, school attendance is compulsory for children over the age of six years until the minimum school leaving age of 17 years. Students must complete Year 10, and after Year 10 until they turn 17 years of age, students must be:
- in school or registered for home schooling, or
- in approved education or training (e.g. TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship), or
- in full-time, paid employment (average 25 hours per week) or in a combination of work, education and/or training.
What if my child has to be away from school?
If your child has to be absent from school, you must tell the school and provide a reason for your child’s absence. To explain an absence, parents or carers may send a note, or email the school.
A small number of absences may be justified if your child has to:
- go to a special religious ceremony
- is required to attend to a serious and/or urgent family situation (e.g. a funeral)
- is too sick to go to school, or has an infectious illness.
Children need to arrive at school and class on time. Lateness to school or leaving early from school must be recorded as a partial absence.
Application for Exemption
If you consider that it is in your child’s best interests to be exempted from the legal requirement to attend school for any length of time, you must apply to the Principal for an exemption. The school will provide an Application for Exemption from Attendance at School form, and assist you to complete it, if necessary. The Principal will consider your application and decide whether to grant a Certificate of Exemption from Attendance at School.
Responsibilities of the School Principal
Principals help to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of your child. They must also keep accurate records of student attendance. Principals are able to question requests for a child to be absent from school and are also responsible for deciding if the reason given for an absence is justified. Principals may request medical certificates or other documentation for long or frequent absences explained by parents as being due to illness.
When absences are unexplained by parents, or explanations are not accepted by the Principal, the school will work with parents to identify the reasons for non-attendance and put in place strategies, so the child can return to school. Principals may ask support staff or other agencies to assist.
What if my child continues to have unsatisfactory attendance?
It is important to understand that the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC), on behalf of the State Minister for Education, may take further action in cases where children of compulsory school age have recurring numbers of unexplained or unacceptable absences from school. The following actions may be taken in these cases:
- Attendance Meetings
Parents, and sometimes their child, can be asked to attend a meeting with school and Catholic Education Office personnel and, in some cases, DEC regional officers. The aim of the meeting is to help identify strategies to support the child and family, and remove barriers to non-attendance. Other agencies may also be invited, if parents agree.
- Compulsory Attendance Conferences
If school attendance does not improve, parents and sometimes their child, can be asked to attend a compulsory attendance conference. The conference, which will be run by a trained conference convenor, aims to help the school, parents and other agencies to further identify the issue impacting on a child’s attendance. The outcome of a compulsory attendance conference is for the parties to agree to undertake certain actions to improve a child’s attendance. These actions are agreed in writing.
- Compulsory Schooling Order
If previous attempts to resolve the issues of a child’s attendance are not successful, legal compliance can be sought through an application to the Children’s Court for a Compulsory Schooling Order. The aim is to assist a family and/or child to address the issues preventing satisfactory school attendance. This has the added enforcement of a Court’s powers.
If all attempts by schools, the Catholic Education Office and DEC regional support staff fail to improve a child’s attendance, action can be taken by the Local Court with the result of fines being imposed up to a maximum of $11,000.
Further information is available from
Do you need an interpreter
Interpreting services are provided, where possible, for parents and carers who do not speak or understand English well and for deaf parents and carers who use sign language. For more information on interpreter services contact your school or phone the Telephone Interpreter Service and have them contact the school. The telephone number to ring is 131 450. Ask for an interpreter in the required language and the interpreter will call the school and stay on the line to assist you with your conversation. You will not be charged for this service.