It is relevant to schools in communities where students are not school-ready or have poor attendance. It is also relevant to schools where transition to secondary school shows significant development gaps and those with lower secondary school completion rates.
Why is it Important?
Regular absenteeism stunts student development. Students returning after absences are unsettled and struggle to fit into the routines and expectations of the classroom, which then triggers poor behaviour.
Low and sporadic attendance compromises a school’s entire teaching and learning program, including the learning of higher attendees. It also disrupts the teacher’s instructional delivery as they scramble to accommodate the needs of poor attendees.
Classrooms are further disrupted when students fall behind. Teachers are forced to choose between keeping a student back, which means they become bored and misbehave, or pushing them up, which means they are too challenged and misbehave.
An effective learning program cannot solve chronic poor attendance and lack of student school readiness. It requires engaging and collaborating with parents, families and local service providers.
High Expectations for Every Student
This is achieved by supporting parents to ensure their child:
- is in school every day
- is healthy (gets the right amount of sleep, has nutritious meals and routines that support the learning opportunity)
- has the money put aside to meet their educational needs (to pay for uniforms, books, school fees and extracurricular activities)
- is emotionally and academically ready for secondary school
- has their minor medical issues addressed on the day to limit interruptions to learning
- can access nutritional school meals that parents pay for
- can access health checks and services to ensure their health and any special needs are met.
High 5 Program Essentials
Five key programs make up the High 5.
Schools have a 100 per cent attendance aspiration for every child and work to ensure that every child attends school all day, every day. The evidence-based attendance framework is used to reinforce and celebrate high attendance and follow up every non-attendance or lateness with parents. It uses ‘push’ and ‘pull’ strategies to drive community-wide positive social norms around the aspiration of 100 per cent school attendance. The school sets school-wide strategies, and each teacher develops their own classroom plan to improve classroom attendance. The entire teaching faculty works to ensure every student is ‘at school, on time, uninterrupted, every school day’. Teachers work with parents and students to reinforce and embed the aspiration of 100 per cent attendance and school readiness. Low attending students are case-managed, with additional support provided to their parents to resolve the challenges impacting their child’s attendance.
Schools need every student to attend school having had the right amount of sleep and a nutritious meal, dressed in the school uniform, and with the necessary equipment for learning. School leaders and teachers monitor their students’ school readiness and discuss any issues with parents on how they can ensure healthy home routines that best support the student.
Schools ensure every student has their wellbeing cared for and addressed through a four-tiered framework. Tier 1 focuses on the school-wide delivery of a social-emotional curriculum that develops students’ social skills. Tier 2 involves a case management approach to identifying and addressing individual student issues impacting on their wellbeing. Tiers 3 and 4 are focused on ensuring students’ issues are clinically treated through professional care.
Schools require parents to meet their child’s additional education expenses as a priority investment. Student Education Trusts (SETs) enable families to put aside money and access age-appropriate quality educational goods and services for their child. Parents can plan for and meet their child’s educational needs as they arise from birth to graduation. Teachers provide advice on what educational resources and expenses are a priority for their child, and parents purchase goods and services through retail outlets or the school.
Schools ensure students are ready for high school and transition to a quality high school that will meet their needs and develop their talents. Teachers work with Year 5 and 6 students and their families to close any academic and development gaps, and find the right school that their child will succeed in. Teachers assist parents with school applications and meetings, scholarships, and preparing the child to live away from home (for boarding schools). Parents are encouraged to set up a trust fund for their children and start saving when the child is very young so that when they start high school they have around $4,000 to meet their child’s needs for high school. Graduating primary students are inducted into the school alumni so they can continue to participate in school events during the holidays when back home, and are role models to siblings.