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It's not okay to be away

9 May
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Students are skipping an average of three weeks a year of school according to recent data released relating to Victorian secondary schools.

While this data relates to secondary schools it would be interesting to view data from the primary sector. My hunch is that it would be just as high, if not higher.

I am amazed by the shift in attitude toward staying away from schoo that has occurred in recent years. Being sick is one thing. But I am hearing stories about children being absent from school for what in the past would have been NO EXCUSE whatsoever. Reasons for absences that I have heard lately include children:

  • Staying away to to celebrate their own birthday or a siblings' birthday
  • Going shopping for clothes
  • Spending time with a parent or relative
  • Extended weekend
  • Not wanting to take part in school activities such as sports as they don't interest kids

It is not just a matter of taking a day or two off here or there. It seems that there are serial offenders and that is the real worry. It is often the kids who can least afford a day off school who take the most time off.

There needs to be a shift in attitude toward school whereby learning is highly valued by parents. In fact, so highly valued that is not okay for kids to be away from school unless there are good medical grounds or extenuating, family circumstances.

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