Victorian students are spending less time in the classroom, with school attendance continuing to decline over the past five years.

Students at both primary and secondary school are missing more and more school days – meaning fewer opportunities to learn.

Year 5 students on average are missing 16.4 days of school and Year 6 students 17.3. That is more than three school weeks missed each year. 

At the secondary level, many students in Years 7-10 miss more than four weeks at school.

It comes as Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee heard last week that attendance rates for Aboriginal students at a primary level has deteriorated every year under the Andrews Labor Government.

For Aboriginal students, average days lost at the primary level amounted to over five school weeks, exceeding the government’s target of 24 missed school days. Results for Aboriginal primary school students in literacy and numeracy are also trending backwards, with the biggest drop in reading at Year 3.

At the secondary level, Aboriginal students are missing the equivalent of over seven weeks (37.8 days), compared to 21.3 days (Years 7 to 10) and 17.3 (Years 11 and 12) for secondary students overall.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Education, Cindy McLeish:

“A good education has the ability to transform lives and set our students up for the future. Attendance and engagement at school is a crucial part of the process. The evidence is clear and consistent that educational outcomes are negatively impacted by lower attendance.

“There is a risk that many more students disengaged from school this year. It is imperative that those students are identified and offered appropriate support to re-engage.

“The Andrews Labor Government has no plan to ensure our kids get the very best start in life. A much-needed start that sets them up for the jobs they need in the future.”