The Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Broken Bay has come up a new initiative to encourage attendance at its forty-four schools on the North Shore, Northern Beaches and the Central Coast.
Anne Nicol, Education Officer in Student Wellbeing and Attendance, said that the Learning Every Day Counts initiative supported parents and teachers to work together to solve absenteeism. “When families come to us, we collaborate as a team to support the student with teachers, school staff and school counsellors,” she said.
The key to the initiative was that parents, teachers and staff all worked together, she said.
“We wrap around the student to support them.”
Anne added “many parents do not realise the cumulative effect of allowing their child to take a day off every now and then, and one day a fortnight adds up to one year’s lost learning over a child’s schooling life”.
One in four primary students and one in six secondary students do not attend school regularly, with research showing that their academic and social skills can suffer.
Anne-Marie Newham, School Counsellor at St Leo’s Catholic College in Wahroonga, said that if a child was anxious about school, the latest research showed that missing more time could make their anxiety worse.
“Avoidance is not an effective strategy. It just increases the anxiety of getting back into school,” she said.
The initiative helps parents identify the signs of school refusal early so that the school could work with the family on a strategy.
“If we identify it early we’re in a much better place to work through whatever is bothering that student.”
Gemma Haggenmueller, a parent from St Agatha’s Catholic Primary School in Pennant Hills, said that the initative helped parents come up with a structured routine to get to school on time every day.
“I think it’s really important to set good routines and have positive attitudes around good attendance,” she said.
The Broken Bay Diocese is holding workshops for parents to provide some tools to encourage children to attend school regularly. The workshops will include:
- Developing positive routines for school
- Encouraging your child’s ‘can-do’ attitude
- Establishing life-long skills and good habits
Sacred Heart Catholic School 1 Bobbin Head Rd Pymble
|Tuesday 27th August||
Morning 9.30am – 11am
Evening 6.30pm – 8pm
|OLR Catholic School 92 Glennie St Wyoming||Tuesday 3rd September||9.30am – 11am|
|St Cecilia’s Catholic School Panonia Rd Wyong||
Tuesday 3rd September
|6.30pm – 8.pm|
|St Kevin’s Catholic School 57-59 Oaks Ave Dee Why||Wednesday 11th September||9.30am – 11am|
|St Kieran’s Catholic School 63 Gordon St Manly Vale||Wednesday 11th September||6.30pm – 8pm|
For further information vontact your local Catholic School