Absence Procedures

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The following procedures meet government requirements that must be followed by NSW schools.

All student absences from school require parents/carers to give a reason for the absence. Absences fall into one of the following categories:


1. Justified and Unjustified Absence

Student Absence Line

Parents of children from Kindergarten to Year 12 have a responsibility to make sure their children attend school every day. On occasion, your child may need to be absent from school.

Justified reasons for student absences may include:

  • Being sick, or having an infectious disease
  • Having an unavoidable medical appointment
  • Being required to attend a recognised religious holiday
  • Exceptional or urgent family circumstances e.g. attending a funeral
  • Published public transport delays or traffic accidents

Unjustified reasons for student absences may include:

  • Sleeping in
  • Running late
  • Missing the train/bus
  • Traffic congestion
  • Couldn't get ready in time

Parents are required to provide an explanation for absences to the school within 7 days from the first day of any period of absence. Parents can contact the school by telephone, written note, or email. Where an explanation has not been received within the 7 day timeframe, the school will record the absence as unjustified on your child's record.

Where a child is absent, an explanatory letter from the parent/carer must be provided to Reception upon his or her return to the School, or else a call

If the absence is greater than five days, or else if the student has missed a Senior College assessment task, the letter should be accompanied by a Medical Certificate.

If you are aware that the student will be absent for a particular reason, the School should be notified in advance, verification will still be required upon the student’s return to school. Any student who requires leave during the term should make a request for leave in writing to the relevant Head of Junior School, the Head of Middle School or Head of Senior College. This must be completed using the Media:Application for Exemption for Leave Form (a).pdf. Leave will not be granted to Secondary students if it coincides with the completion or handing in of Higher School Certificate Assessment Tasks or if it will cause a student to miss course work compulsory for the Higher School Certificate. Obviously, there will be exceptional circumstances when this rule cannot be applied. The School strongly discourages students from leaving early for or returning late from a vacation as there is ample holiday time during the year.

2. Late Arrival / Early Departure

Student Absence Line: Junior School 9286 9500; Middle School 9009 5454; Senior College 9009 5461.

Late Arrival: Any student who arrives late for school needs to report to Reception at either St Andrew’s House Foyer or the Bishop Barry Centre Level 1 so they can be signed in appropriately. A note should be written by the parent/carer, addressed to the School, explaining their child’s lateness, or else the parent/carer should call the Student Absence Line (see above). After 8:30am Middle School students are to report to St Andrew’s House Reception and Senior College students are to report to BBC Reception to obtain a late arrival pass. Secondary students may be required to make up time after school if they are late. Detentions for repeated lateness will be issued by the Year Coordinator or Head of House. Parents will be contacted if student’s lateness becomes a consistent problem. Lateness will appear on the Student Report.

Consequences for Unjustified Lateness In the high school, if a student signs in less than 15 minutes late, a caution will be recorded as a discipline entry in Edumate. Three cautions in a fortnight will result in an afternoon detention entered on Edumate by the Head of Division. If a student signs in more than 15 minutes late, an automatic afternoon detention will be recorded on Edumate.

Early Departure: In the instance where a child needs to leave School early, he or she will need to visit Reception with either a note written in their diary (where applicable), a note from their parent/carer or the School nurse or a parent/carer phone call to the School Reception (Gawura School 0405 315774; Junior School 9286 9500; Middle School 9286 9680; Senior College 9286 9600) advising the time they will be collected, or be leaving the School premises if appropriate, and the reason for the early departure. Year 11 and 12 students are allowed to sign in late and sign out early during the school day if they have no classes.

3. Other Types of Leave

The School strongly discourages leave during term time as it is disruptive to student learning and to the individual’s assessment calendar. However, exemptions for leave may be granted in a school year for students whose parents have provided an Media:Application for Exemption for Leave Form (a).pdf attached with relevant documentation and submitted at least two weeks before the intended leave to the relevant Head of Divisions (Gawura School, Junior School, Middle School or Senior College) for approval.

Reasons must fall in one of the following categories:

  • Exceptional domestic circumstances;
  • Health of the student where sick leave or alternative enrolment is not appropriate;
  • Child being prevented from attending school because of a direction under section 42D of the Public Health Act 1991 i.e., due to a contagious disease; or
  • Employment in the entertainment industry or participation in elite sporting events for short periods of time i.e., for one or two days.

Leave requests for family holidays are discouraged as they will not be approved under normal circumstances. Assessment obligations must be taken into consideration and may also prevent the student from having leave approved.

Compulsory School Attendance

Student attendance is monitored by the school as regular attendance at school is essential for students to achieve their educational best and increase their career and life options.

In NSW all children between the ages of six years and below the minimum school leaving age are legally required to enrol at, and attend school, or be registered for Home Schooling. All students must complete Year 10, or its equivalent and until they turn 17, students must be:

  • In school, or registered for home schooling, or
  • In approved education or training (eg TAFE, traineeship, apprenticeship) or
  • In full-time paid employment (average 25 hours/week) or
  • In a combination of work, education and/or training.

Enrolled students 17 years and over, are required to attend school regularly to meet course requirements.

Concerning patterns of student attendance may result in parent teacher conferences and development of management plans to improve attendance. Other actions from the school may also apply. Please read the following for further parent information regarding student attendance Compulsory School Attendance - Information for Parents

Too Sick For School?

Sometimes it's hard to know if your child is really coming down with something or just suffering a bout of Monday-itis.

For safety's sake, if your child seems unwell you should always keep them home from school and seek medical advice.

The Media: Too Sick for School Fact Sheet.pdf will help answer your questions about common childhood illness and how long sick students need to miss school. These are important guidelines to follow in order to reduce the risk of other students and staff at school also becoming sick.

Translations can be found at http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/wellbeing/health/too-sick-to-go-to-school

PLEASE NOTE: This information has been supplied by NSW Health and is not intended to replace a visit to your doctor if anyone in your family is unwell.