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Same day student absence notification

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The safety and wellbeing of students are the highest priorities for the department. Parents need to know if their child hasn't turned up for school, and schools need to know when and why a child is absent.

State schools are required to notify parents on the same day that any student is absent from school without explanation.

Schools can choose the approach to same day notification that best suits the local community. This may include text or email messages, phone calls or home visits. It is also recognised that for any notification process to be effective, parents will need to ensure the school has current contact details and schools will need to have effective and efficient processes in place to ensure this occurs.

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Frequently asked questions

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 wellbeing 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 has not turned up for school.

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

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 (PDF, 736KB).

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 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.:

  • a Family Court Order may direct that one parent has sole responsibility for the child and the other parent is not to have any access to information about the child
  • a domestic violence order may prohibit a parent from having contact with the school or receiving information about the child
  • a child protection order may be in place, and in such cases the Child Safety Officer should be notified as well as the carer.

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

Systems and processes

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Last updated 09 July 2019