home page

2005 Student Attendance at Aurukun Campus


2005 Attendance and Transition Team: Andrew Shaw, Debra Taylor, Megan Hobbins and Ty Pickering.

Team Leader: Debra Taylor


Context and Purpose

Throughout every term in 2005, but especially term 3, there has been a heavy focus on attendance strategies across the Aurukun Campus.  The allocation of one full time staff member and development of improved attendance systems  has resulted in a significant increase in overall school attendance in 2005.


This is the result that we as a staff want and demand as educators and are accountable to within this college.  This is the result that challenges accepted norms that �we can�t do anything� with non - attending indigenous Aurukun children.  This is the result that the Aurukun council, Justice group and elders want to ensure Aurukun has educated future leaders.  This is the result that proves school can be a proactive agent of change within a community as opposed to a passive institution.


This is the result that says we will not accept a 6 year old coming for one day a term as normal.


Anything less simply proves that we as a team are prepared to accept the status quo of historical abysmal school attendance due to the perceived 'overwhelming complexities of the community'.  Anything less means we can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that as �service providers� people can come and use our service but if they don�t, then 'its not like you can do anything� '


It is these personal philosophies that each individual staff member must be very clear on if we are to succeed as a team.


Our children coming back to school in 2005 is cause for celebration.  To ensure a positive transition back to school for our children we must be prepared.  As professionals we must plan for campus specific transition/ reentry strategies.




Historical Comparative Data

2000 - 2005 Overall
Term by Term break down
2005 Class by Class
Campus by Campus
Cape York Schools

  • Chronic non � attenders (less than 40% attendance)/ poor attenders (70% or less attendance) are out of school routine and unaware of school expectations in behaviour and work ethic.
  • Aurukun Campus has a well mapped out history of abysmal attendance in the last five years, especially in terms 3 and 4.

  • Rich tasks and depth studies are sequentially built on over entire term/s.  Students who miss large amounts of school days miss large amounts of essential curriculum.
  • We have 8 teachers who have only had 1- 2 years of experience in teaching and who are thus in the beginning stages of learning their craft.  They do not a large repertoire of teaching strategies to draw from to help cater for multi ability levels within the same class. However, what they lack in experience they more than make up with high expectations.


  • The community has a history of �no work Fridays�.
  • The community families have cultural obligations to attend funerals, prepare for house openings etc that often take priority over regular school attendance.
  • The community expects the school to do something, anything.

Critical Issues



  1. How do we engage students who have missed large chunks of rich tasks or depth studies without simply relying on literacy / numeracy work books?
  2. Do we use lit/ num workbooks as a specific short term transition curr.  (ie set timeline clearly articulated to student) into the class�s current rich task or depth study?
  3. How do we balance expectations on personal accountabilities for teacher professionalism to cater for curr. for these reentry students with what is required as support from the attendance team?
  4. How can we practically cater for reentry students in new basics curriculum?
  5. How can we practically cater for reentry students in accepted behaviour?
  6.  How can we practically cater for reentry students in school routines?


  1. How do we proactively empower parents to actively take responsibility for their child�s regular school attendance?
  2. How do we proactively reward families for sending their children to school?
  3. How do we ensure that we are not encouraging parental passivity and dependency through school driven attendance strategies as opposed to sustainable, long term, empowering strategies that do not rely on individual charisma?
  4. How do create a multi agency approach to truancy to coordinate 'blow - ins'?

The Game Plan...

Aurukun Campus Specific Attendance Strategies Operating in Term 3 and 4, 2005


The majority of these strategies are currently being piloted and are constantly reviewed




In Class


1-       Week 6 each class teacher has a town map showing where students lived, family disciplinarians and caregivers.

2-       Students who are away for 3 consecutive days� teacher and community person do a home visit.

3-       After two home visits student referred to Community Liaison officer - Debra Taylor with home visit data booklet completed.

4-       Home visit data booklet completed for every admin/ teacher/community home visit.

5-       Classroom week by week attendance chart tracking individual students- visible and hanging up in each class

6-       Creation of positive and supportive learning environment.

7-       Contextualising New Basics curriculum.

8-       Class attendance roll marked twice and up to date each day i.e. L put in for late students.

9-       Re-entry strategies for non attending students. Prepared booklets of work, expected behaviour, revisit class rules.

1-       Community Liaison Officer visit (after two teacher home visits) First warning letter

2-       Forward names to appropriate agencies

Whole School


1-Weekly awards

Friday luck dip, each student gets a ticket. Drawn out of a hat for a voucher from the shop.

2- Monday Attendance/kickstart Parade (inclusive of preschool) � The school week has started, 10: 40 � 11:00

*Best attending class of the week, best attending individual students from each class, most improved attender from each class, school song, under the mango trees outside the council office, community members to handout awards

3 -Wednesday Celebration Parade � 2:00 � 2:30

 * Two awards from each class celebrating excellent behaviour/ curr. Work, school song, under the mango trees, baby packs presented to 2005 mums

4- Review breakfast program

5- Art afternoons, Megan to help coordinate with arts centre

*One class a week, Teachers to organise lesson to integrate in with NB, Kids artwork to be displayed in the community

6- Clubs afternoon (Friday) for everyone therefore not behaviour/attendance based.

*Encourage Friday attendance through fun.

7- Year 1 packs

7- Students need to be transition ready

* Target key students from year K-6 and map and awareness raise in the community, Visits to Weipa in term 4 and one in term 3, Review transition plan for year 6 with Kamiel

8- Changed lunch times

9- Best attender of the month - AFL push bike?




1-       Creation of the first  P&C/reference group in five years

*reflect what community wants i.e. teasing and You Can Do It, Creation of language signs around the school, SAE and Wik Mungkan, Campus, traditional dance group

2- Weekly newsletter

*New baby photo, Attendance photo, Special events photos, attendance data, staff member of the week, staff member profile, selected articles to be part of the weekly college newsletter, each class to contribute

3- Marketing

*noticeboards at the shop, post office, health centre, HACC, tavern and school notice board, Celebrate best attenders -photo and drive around to see families prior to awards or early in the week, Celebrate most improved attenders at public parade on Monday, Copies of newsletters throughout the community � Wik Inana articles every month, Photos of students having fun, Wik phrases, Posters with catchy phrases, Faxes to agencies, Whole school attendance barometer at the shop, Posters of elders supporting the campus and talking about the importance of education

4- Positive letters/certificates for good attendance to families (weekly)

5- Plastic (Best attending family sign) similar to no alcohol sign displayed in family yards.

6- Review Cultural camps � see art centre

7- Student vs. teacher sports afternoon at Woyan Min 4.00 -5.00

8- Baby packs for new 2005 babies � positive visits, photos + pack to welcome baby as a campus learner

9- display board for children�s work- exemplar and one class per week

10- Poster competition for attendance � prizes, display

11- Possible computer courses at school - who is going to run it?

12-Town Siren or songs to wake up community � ute being fixed by Graham

3-       Children not coming to school display P-7/8/9 -60% Needs to be okayed by justice group




1-       Sport and Rec afternoon activities- co-coordinated/staffed

*movies/disco with free popcorn for best attenders

2- Kids club every Monday and Wednesday

3- weekly Council prizes for good attendance

4- Liaise with justice group-attend meetings/report back

5- Liaise with police, Families and communities/Dept of child safety, Arts Centre

8-Council sponsoring shop vouchers for best attenders

9 � Weipa fun day trip for term 3, 2005 best attenders

4-       Referrals to appropriate agency for poor attenders � continuous, data driven, constant checks on progress

Transition from Aurukun Community back to Aurukun Campus - Some practical classroom strategies developed by 2005 Attendance and Transition Team


These strategies are underpinned by the success of student transition being measured by longevity at school as opposed to spikes in overall attendance which return to a low plateau.  In addition, we recognise that successful student transition is a two way process between the family and campus.  This creates real family ownership as opposed to �my child has not been at school for six weeks, here you deal with him/her� passivity.  To this effect, Debra, Megan and Andrew will be seeing families to sit in with their child for the rest of the term.  Below are some extra strategies we can use as a teaching team.

We need to be prepared in a physical sense

Have I got enough pencils?


Have I got enough desks?


Do I have a writing/maths etc. book for each student?


Do I have enough chairs for students and parents who may come into class?


We need to be prepared in our curriculum

Do I have independent high interest, low literacy booklets for short term (1 -2 days) usage to maximise initial student feelings of success?


Do I have independent high interest, low numeracy booklets for short term (1 -2 days) usage to maximise initial student feelings of success?


Do I have team building activities to enhance cooperation within the new class dynamics?

  • ie. �Unknot� the class - Students in a circle facing inwards.  Each student grabs another student�s hand.  The class now needs to cooperate to untangle themselves.  This can also be done in smaller groups
  • Follow the leader � students walk in a line.  What ever the leader does all other students must copy
  • Blind mans bluff � One student blindfolded, the other leads them around a set course ensuring the blindfolded student doesn�t trip etc.
  • Warm fuzzie desk pouches � Each student makes a warm fuzzie or �being kind� pouch for their own desk.  Students write a kind thought about another student and put in another student�s/teacher�s/ T/A�s pouch.  Low literacy students can have previously made sentences that they can reconstruct etc.


We need to be prepared with our human resources

Does my T/A know that as soon as a new student/s comes in he/she will need to physically sit with that student/s, go through the 4 -5 classroom rules, be in close proximity throughout the day etc.?


Have I given four student names to Debra or Megan who require extra family support ie family member sitting in on class to support student�s transition?


We need to be prepared to refocus on class routines and school behaviours

Do I stop my curriculum teaching and establish class expectations when it is required ie. A short sharp lesson on 4 - 5 expected class behaviours?


Am I on time after the break bell to ensure students aren�t left to bounce off each other?


Are we doing relaxation activities to calm students when they come back in after lunch ie rock and water, breathing activities etc?


Do I have a ready to go social skilling program that targets desired behaviour ie. A 30 minute lesson on teasing/ being kind or resilience strategies? � see Andrew if you need ready to go lessons�


Do I have a buddy teacher to provide short periods of time out with set work for students?


Do I have regular class discussions about expected school behaviour and the differences between school and some community behaviours ?




These strategies are by no means exhaustive.  Please contact the Attendance and Transition Team if you have more ideas so that we can add them to this list. 

[email protected]


powered by Atwone � Western Cape College