Family pic for school absence story
Family pic for school absence story

Compulsory school attendance back for Qld kids

SCHOOL attendance is now compulsory again for Queensland children with students marked absent if parents keep their kids at home over COVID-19 fears without medical reasons.

It comes after Queensland state school attendance figures reveal that just 86 per cent of students were attending schools in the final week of last semester, 1 per cent online and 85 per cent in classrooms.

If a parent or carer chooses to keep their child at home without a reasonable excuse, schools should implement the usual student absence procedures, which includes following-up with families to ensure attendance, an Education Department spokeswoman said.

"Students unable to return to school or participate in the learning program due to medical reasons will be supported by their school, just as they would in the case of any extended student medical absence," the spokeswoman said.

"Schools can determine the most appropriate approach, taking into account the expected duration of absence, the student's learning needs, available tools and resources, and the school's established approach to supporting continuity of learning."

 

Laura Bezuidenhout with her daughter Emily, 6, at their home in Kenmore. Picture: Richard Walker
Laura Bezuidenhout with her daughter Emily, 6, at their home in Kenmore. Picture: Richard Walker

 

According to the Department of Education's attendance policy, parents have a legal obligation to ensure children participate in full-time education unless they have a reasonable excuse.

Parents can be prosecuted if they do not ensure their kids are enrolled and are attending school, with about 27 parents or guardians charged over absences in 2019.

Kenmore mother Laura Bezuidenhout said while community transmission of COVID-19 is low, compulsory attendance was necessary.

"If we have another spike, or if someone in your household has a medical condition, I think attendance should be optional," she said.

"School attendance has many limitations and homeschooling can be enriching with a wide variety of experiences but given that not all parents are prepared to homeschool properly, compulsory attendance is probably a good thing."

Originally published as Compulsory school attendance back for Qld kids


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