In This Together

Importance of Going to School Every Day
Making sure that young people attend school every day is so vital – both to their social development and their academic progress. Remember that is the law of every Australian State and Territory that children go to school every day, and for good reason!

Regular attendance at school is one of the best predictors of academic success. The better the attendance, the better the school achievement! If you allow your daughter to miss around just one day a fortnight, over the course of their school career that amounts to more than a year’s schooling! Of course she is going to do less well than her regularly attending counterparts with that sort of attendance record. But every single lesson is important; vital work is missed - an explanation, a reference, a fact or idea... every single lesson!!!

Regular attendance at school helps your daughter to make and keep good friends. If your daughter is away from school, her friends will find others with whom to associate. And things happen at school - things which her friends will be talking about, laughing about, sharing stories and memories. If your daughter is not there to share these experiences, she might feel “left out” and excluded from that time, from that conversation, from that experience shared. She missed out...

Regular attendance at school raises feelings of confidence and self-esteem. You gain a sense of belonging to a community by feeling comfortable and at home there. That sense of belonging also impact a young person’s feelings of self-worth – through inclusion in a community, support from others, approval from those around her. And this sense of inclusion and support doesn’t come as easily if you are only there in a part-time capacity.

Regular attendance at school helps young people to understand how to be a good citizen, how to fulfil obligations, how to take responsibility for their own actions. Not every day is going to be a good day. When you go to school, even if there is something you are not looking forward to, or if you are feeling slightly “below par”, you learn about your own inner strength, and you develop a little more resilience. As a parent, you want your daughter to be adaptive, resilient, community minded. You want her to know that, even if she is a bit uncomfortable or unhappy, she is strong enough to get through it, maybe even with a smile....

Here are some thing you can do to help your daughter to attend school each day:

1. Talk positively about school. Talk about the importance of it, and your expectation that she will go to school every day. Do this as a matter of routine from the earliest times that she starts to think about school. Do this in an encouraging way – generating excitement and anticipation about the great things about school – opportunities to learn, to have good friends, to experience new things, of belonging to a social and caring community.
2. Help your daughter around school routines when she needs it – particularly in the Primary and younger Secondary years. Help her to be organised the night before, to get up early, to be ready to leave when she needs to.
3. As your daughter gets older, talk to her about her dreams and aspirations – a career, a university course, an ultimate goal. Even if she has no idea about what she will finally end up doing after school, making sure that she understands the importance of a good end-of-school qualification, a good school reference and a good set of report cards. This may help her to see the relevance of going to school each day.
4. Everyone needs medical appointments, dentist and orthodontist appointments, and other such arrangements from time to time. Demonstrate your commitment to school attendance by trying all you can to schedule these outside of school hours – early morning or after school, or in the school holidays. Of course this is not always possible, but you communicate a great deal about your values and your commitment to schooling by trying to do this where you can. Similarly with family activities, travel and the like. Do all you can to reinforce the importance of going to school every day by not taking your daughter out of school unless it is absolutely imperative.
5. Make sure you do all you can to keep your daughter healthy – you know the importance of a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, getting sufficient sleep and so on. Allow your child to stay home only in the case of a contagious or severe illness.

If your daughter doesn’t want to go to school, you need to make a judgement:

  • Is she actually really sick and should stay home?
  • Is she just being a little lazy and would prefer a day at home? This is perfectly understandable – we all feel like that from time to time! It is just that adults push through this and get up and go to work anyway. Do you need to help her find that inner strength to overcome those feelings of lethargy and indifference to school?
  • Or is there something more worryingly wrong at school – is she being bullied, finding schoolwork overly difficult, or is she having trouble making friends? If your daughter frequently says that she doesn’t want to go to school, find a quiet time to talk through the issues which may be confronting her, or things she is feeling uncomfortable about. If she isn’t forthcoming, talking to someone at school – her class teacher or someone on the pastoral team might help to shed some light on what the school is seeing and help you to devise some strategy to help her feel more comfortable at school.

We always welcome conversations with parents about this sort of matter – if you are worried or not sure how your daughter is experiencing school. We want her to be happy and flourishing too! Do give us a ring if would like to chat about how to help your daughter get the most out of school and attend, every single day.

Jenny Allum
Head of School