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How parent engagement can help with attendance management

July, 2017

How parent engagement can help with attendance management

The recent Ministry of Education report on student attendance rates, also highlighted that Maori and Pasifika students had the lowest attendance rates, with only just over 50 per cent, of these students regularly attending school.

While this is alarming, unfortunately this is not new information. Research into the subject shows that there are a number of factors that play a part in this, but one thing that schools can do to improve student attendance rates is to increase parent engagement with the school and encourage a more culturally inclusive school community.

Is your school putting in enough effort to include parents?

The key influencing predictor to parent support of their child’s learning is not parent or child behaviour or attitudes, but the school’s behaviour and attitude. When parents feel that the school is actively trying to involve them, they generally respond by becoming more involved in their child’s education. You can read one of our previous blogs to see how you can encourage parents to connect.

Unlock the parent potential

As always, communication is the key here. Communities are about relationships. Relationships are about communication. Help your students’ parents feel included and find their identity within their child’s school life through effective, regular communication.

To learn more about effective parent-school communication and strategies to involve parents at school, download the white paper.

Importance of parent engagement for schools

How to empower parents to help reduce truancy in New Zealand

July, 2017

How to empower parents to help reduce truancy in New Zealand

Is Early Notification absent at your school? Increase parent awareness of truancy by keeping them informed with easy communication apps.

A recent Ministry of Education report showed that student attendance rates were falling across New Zealand. 76,500 students were away from school each day in 2016. That equates to 10.2 per cent of students, up from 9.9 per cent in 2015.

Truancy costs schools significant time and resources

For schools that don’t have an early notification system in place and have to follow up on absent students manually, this rise in unexplained absences will also require an increase in time and money spent locating these absent students. For example, a school with a roll of 1000 students with a 10.2 per cent truancy rate can cost the school $20,400 per year in time spent following up and making phone calls. You can see for yourself what this could equate to for your school by using this calculator.

As well as potential significant cost savings to your school by having an early notification attendance management system, there are many other benefits such as student safety and providing a quicker and more convenient method for parents to be aware and respond.

Benefits of Early Notification for parents and caregivers

  • Fast notification of absence (which could potentially be a child safety issue).
  • Parents and caregivers can respond quickly and cost effectively.
  • It’s less embarrassing for them to respond to a text than a phone call if they had forgotten to notify the school of their child’s absence or the reason for the child’s absence is personal.
  • Texting is more convenient for those who are unavailable to respond to personal calls during work or study hours.
  • Feedback from our customers, says that texts are the preferred method of school communication for most parents and caregivers.

Benefits of Early Notification for Schools

  • Less time spent by the Attendance Officer in contacting caregivers of absent students.
  • Less expensive than calling mobile phones.
  • Responses go directly into the Student Management System and are easily viewed by the Attendance Officer, making them efficient to process (service offered by some EN providers).
  • Responses are saved in the Student Notes (service offered by some Student Management Systems).

Click here, to find out more about how an early notification system can help your school.

Why Do New Zealand Schools Use Early Notification?

January, 2016

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Early Notification (EN) is the use of text and/or email messages to notify parents that their child is inexplicably absent from school.

Parents have the opportunity to reply and notify the school of the reason for the absence (e.g. sickness) or that they aren’t aware of the absence, which could be a safety or truancy issue.

Two New Zealand principals share why they opted to use EN over traditional attendance management methods:

Otago Boys’ High School

In the past, for teachers and parents of students at Otago Boys’ High School, there was often a lack of attendance information being shared.

Dougal McGowan, the Deputy Rector of Otago Boys’ High School said that when he arrived at the school, they didn’t have any idea about what the absentee rate was. They didn’t communicate with anybody about it because they didn’t collect the required data efficiently enough.

The concerns around absenteeism and sharing this information with parents was a major driver for a new solution because parents voiced their concerns about not knowing whether their sons were at school or not.

“There’s been a total paradigm shift. Now, with EN we can contact parents directly,” says McGowan.

Wanganui City College

When a student was marked as absent from Wanganui City College, making an enquiry phone call to their parents, found through their student management system KAMAR, wasn’t always straightforward.

Wanganui City College Deputy Principal Doug Ewing says “When we phoned we weren’t always getting in touch.” This was not only a problem regarding the child’s safety but was also time-consuming and frustrating for the office staff making the calls.

“The number one benefit to using School-links EN is the immediacy and the convenience of contacting parents for attendance matters. Rather than calling parents when a child is absent, secretarial staff send a text to parents about the issues. Email is a bit beyond where our parents are at as they’re mostly connected to texting on their cell phones – so texting is the most effective way to get a hold of them,” says Doug.

To learn about more reasons New Zealand schools are using Early Notification and other attendance management strategies, attend the School-links webinar in February.

Attendance management systems webinar details

Date: 18 February 2016
Time: 11:00am – 11:20am
Presenter: Andrew Balfour, Managing Director of School-links
Topic: Attendance Management systems in New Zealand schools
Audience: School Leaders, Executive Officers, Board of Trustee members
Register: Click here