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Department of Education
Information about schools and information for educators > School operations >

Same day student absence notification

Frequently asked questions

Definition, rationale and policy

Systems and processes

Definition, rationale and policy

What is same day student absence notification?
Queensland state schools are to advise parents/carers when their child is absent without explanation as soon as practicable on that day, allowing time for parents/carers to respond before the end of the school day.

From Day 1 Term 3 2016, this requirement was in place for students who are in out-of-home care.

From Day 1 Term 1 2017, this requirement was in place for all students.

Why introduce a same day notification requirement?
The safety and well-being of students are the highest priorities for the department.

This requirement reflects community expectations.

Schools need to know when and why a child is absent and parents/carers need to know if their child hasn't turned up for school.

Improvements in technology and its widespread use help make same day notification readily accessible for many schools and families.

Where are the state school's responsibilities about same day notification outlined?
Both the Roll Marking in State Schools External Link and Managing Student Absences and Enforcing Enrolment and Attendance at State Schools External Link procedures have been updated to reflect this change.

Are parents/carers to be notified every time a student is away from school without explanation?
Yes. If a student is away for one or more days and no explanation has been provided by the parent/carer, a notification should be provided each day.

What do schools do when a parent says they don't want to be notified about their child's unexplained absence?
The parent should be advised that the school is required by law (specifically, section 22 of the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017) to notify them when their child is absent from school without explanation, and to seek a reason for the absence from the parent. All parents should be made aware of the range of ways they can let the school know that their child will be away and the reason why.

What if a student is refusing to attend school?
Even when, despite a parent/carers best effort, a child refuses to attend school, the parent/carer should still contact the school as soon as possible each day to let them know. If a child is refusing to go to school it is important for parents/carers to talk to the principal early for advice and to find out what assistance is available.

Does this policy apply to non-state schools?
Non-state schools have agreed to adopt same day notification.

Non-state schools can access associated standing offer arrangements (SOAs) established by the department. However, as such arrangements are designed according to specific requirements for Queensland state schools (for example, OneSchool requirements), if planning to use an SOA, non-state schools will need to confirm that products meet their requirements.

Do schools need to notify parents/carers of an unexplained student absence on days like the last day of term or sports carnival?
Yes. Students should be attending school every day as it is vital to their educational outcomes, employment options, future earning capacity and general well-being - Every Day Counts. Parents/carers should be notified each and every time a student is away from school without an explanation.

What about same day notification for students who are in out-of-home care (OOHC)?
For a student in OOHC, the notification should be sent to the carer of the student.

The requirement for same day notification for students in OOHC has been in place since the start of Term 3 2016.

Students enrolled in a school of distance education (SDE) do not physically attend school but participate online from home. Do same day student absence notifications still apply?
Schools of distance education are not required to establish a same day absence notification process but may choose to do so. The nature of distance education means that parents/carers are usually directly involved in delivering their child's education and know where their child is on a school day. Further, a student enrolled in a program of distance education is considered to be attending when they complete and return the assigned work for the program.

Does same day student absence notification apply to students who are undertaking a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship (SAT)?

Same day student absence notification will only apply for SATS on the day/s they are scheduled to be at school.

When a SAT is scheduled to be at the workplace or at training they are responsible for notifying their employer, training provider and school if they are unable to attend work or training that day. See the 'Role of the apprentice or trainee' in the Guide to School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships Adobe PDF document External Link.

On the day/s the young person is scheduled to be at work or training, schools should mark them on the roll with the absence reason code 'F - Off Campus Activity'. This will not count as an absence on the student's or school's attendance data. Refer to the Roll Marking in State Schools External Link procedure for further information.

How does notification occur when court orders are in place?

The parent to be notified will depend on what is directed by the court order e.g.:

Search the departmental intranet for more information about family law matters affecting state schools.

Systems and processes

Do all schools have to use electronic roll marking?
No. Hard copy rolls can continue to be used provided this allows the school to meet the policy requirement for same day notification.

Do all schools have to notify parent/carers in the same way?
No. Schools can choose how they advise parent/carers based on their local context e.g. schools may choose to notify by email, SMS, phone call or home visit.

Who do schools notify if an 'independent' or mature age student is absent without explanation?
Same day notification still applies to students who are 'independent' or are mature age and are absent from school without explanation. The notification will be made to the nominated contact person in OneSchool - which may be the student themselves. Schools can refer to OneSchool for information on how to change a student's independent status.

How can schools ensure notifications are sent to the correct parent/carer?

To ensure notifications are sent to the correct parent/carer, schools should:

When a parent is not to receive information about a child, schools may make the parent/s 'inactive' in OneSchool (available to DoE employees only). Reactivation of a parent can occur at any time.

Are schools required to purchase a new system if they are happy with their current process?
No. Schools can continue to use their current attendance management process if it allows them to meet the requirement of advising parent/carers when their child is absent without explanation on that day, allowing time for parent/carers to respond before the end of the school day.

Is there a Standing Offer Arrangement (SOA) that schools can use to purchase an attendance management system?
The department has established an electronic attendance management system SOA. Suppliers will be added to this SOA as further contracts are negotiated.

For those schools seeking a text messaging service that can be used with OneSchool or another electronic roll marking system, a text messaging/short messaging services (SMS) SOA is already available for schools to use.

Are schools required to purchase a system from a provider listed in the SOA?
While use of the SOA is not mandatory, schools are strongly encouraged to use the SOA which provides the following benefits:

What factors should schools consider when choosing a system for roll marking and notification?
The key elements of same day student absence notification are robust roll marking processes and parent/carer contact.

Schools need to decide what system to use for roll marking and how parent/carers will be notified.

The decision on which system to use will require consideration of the context of each school, including the size of the school (i.e. the number of students and staff) and the average number of unexplained student absences.

For roll marking (e.g. electronic, hard copy), schools may consider:

For parent/carer notification (e.g. email, SMS, phone call, app), schools may consider:

Can I just use OneSchool for same day notification?
All state schools can use OneSchool to electronically mark class rolls. Information on how this can be done is found in the OneSchool Help Material on Attendance /Absence.

While OneSchool does not have the functionality to send text or email messages to parents/carers, it can generate an export file of student absence information (SMS Text Message Export) that can be used by administration staff to call parents/carers, or with a messaging service provider to send notifications. Information on this is found in the OneSchool Electronic Roll Marking guide.

An SOA is already in place to support schools to purchase text messaging services.

OneSchool can also produce the Absent Students (Unexplained) for Current Day report. This report provides a list of students that are absent without explanation for the current day. This list should be cross checked against other student absence information e.g. attendance line messages, timetable changes; and then used by administration staff to advise parents/carers of an unexplained student absence.

For information about using OneSchool, please refer to the OneSchool Help materials or contact the OneSchool Helpdesk on 1800 680 445.

How might a small school implement same day student absence notification?
Some factors which small schools may consider when implementing same day student absence notification are outlined in What factors should schools consider when choosing a system for roll marking and notification?

For a small school Microsoft® Word document External Link, the process may be:

How could a medium-sized school implement same day student absence notification?
Some factors which the school may consider when implementing same day student absence notification are outlined in What factors should schools consider when choosing a system for roll marking and notification?

For a medium-sized school Microsoft® Word document External Link , the process may be:

How could a large school implement same day student absence notification?
A large school with a high number of daily unexplained absences is likely to require an automated solution.

The school will need to decide what system to use for roll marking and how parents/carers will be notified.

Usually for large schools, electronic roll marking is most efficient. The system that they choose - OneSchool or an external electronic roll marking system - will involve the consideration of:

Larger schools are also likely to require an automated messaging solution. Sometimes these are part of the system that will do the electronic roll marking, otherwise the school will need to engage with a separate messaging service. When deciding the type of notification to be sent to parents/carers (e.g. email, SMS), the school will need to consider:

While automated systems can provide an excellent solution to same day notification, it is important to ensure that only the correct students are identified. There still needs to be a level of manual cross checking of student absence data before the notification process occurs.

For a large school Microsoft® Word document External Link , the process may be:

or

How do schools follow up an unexplained absence and for how long?
Follow up is required when no response has been received to the same day notification and should occur as soon as practicable after the day of the absence. Schools should document the process and parameters they will use to follow up unexplained student absences.

Schools can determine the most appropriate ways to follow up with parents/carers which could be:

If there is no response from the parent/carer to the follow up, schools will need to make a decision when follow up is to cease and to leave the absence recorded as unexplained. Schools should then consider whether to commence the failure to attend process, as outlined in the Managing Student Absences and Enforcing Enrolment and Attendance at State Schools External Link procedure.

What are some ideas to help keep parent/carer contact details up-to-date?
Having accurate and current parent/carer contact details in OneSchool is essential for many school processes, including same day student absence notification.

Some ways to encourage parents/carers to provide their current contact details to the school include:

Will a school's same day notification process be audited?

As part of the department's Standard School Audit Program, internal auditors examine whether there is a same day absence notification process in place and working effectively.

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This page was last reviewed on 19 Jun 2018

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