'A wake-up call': Push to get NSW kids back at school
There's a concerted push to get NSW school students back in the classroom to help restore attendance to pre-COVID levels.
The NSW government is launching a campaign called "Every Day Matters" across social media, TV streaming services and radio to reinforce the importance of attending school for students' academic success.
Preliminary student attendance data for NSW public schools shows improvements to attendance rates for term one this year, but the figures remain below the target of 95 per cent.
Last year, the average attendance rate in NSW public schools was 85.7 per cent, dipping below the figure for 2019, when the rate was 90.2 per cent.
In term one this year, the overall attendance rate was 89.4 per cent.
The campaign will stress that missing just one day of school each fortnight adds up to four weeks of lost learning a year, or an entire year of missed class time over a student's school life.
The government wants to reduce absenteeism close to weekends and public holidays, reduce family trips during term time and cut arbitrary days off.
Premier Chris Minns says a good education is vital for the next generation.
"It's our job to ensure we get kids back into classrooms where they belong, learning and reaching their full potential," he said on Thursday.
Education Minister Prue Car said school attendance was vital to help students develop a sense of belonging, maintain friendships and do well in their studies.
"The data shows that NSW students who develop positive attendance behaviour in year 7 are, on average, three months ahead in their learning by year 9," she said.
"This is a wake-up call that we need to prioritise good attendance across the state."