Attendance @ OVS2024-06-05T11:50:08+00:00

Making sure your child attends school every day

Going to school every day is really important if children are to achieve and succeed. As parents and carers, it’s up to you to make sure your child attends school every day, from when they first start school until they are 16.

Does my child have to go to school every day?

Yes, your child must go to school every day. Under the Education Act 1989, parents and carers of school children up to 16 years old can be prosecuted if their child is away from school without a good reason.

Why do they need to go every day?

Going to school every day really is the key to getting the best out of school because:

  • it sets up good habits for going to school right from day one
  • learning to read, write and do math takes a lot of practice and is easier to master if your child goes to school regularly
  • each day is a chance to learn something new
  • school offers your child regular, dedicated help to master the many skills they need
  • it teaches your child life skills like commitment, being reliable, having a good work ethic and sticking with things when they get hard.

What about my 5 year old?

Even though you don’t legally have to enrol your child at school until they turn 6, most children in New Zealand start school when they are 5.

Once your child has started school however they need to attend every day. School used to be compulsory from age 6, but the law changed in July 2017, and now children need to attend every day from when they first start school.

If your child is going to be away from school for any reason you should always let us know.  We need to know the reason that your child is away and that they are safe. Report any absence using our HERO app or by phoning the office.

What if my child needs to be away from school?

Your child should go to school every day. But sometimes they might need to be away from school because they are too sick to attend, have an appointment or need to be at a tangi or funeral.

If your child is going to be away from school you should let the school know as soon as possible. Check what your school’s process is for letting them know about absences. You will need to let them know that your child will be away, why and for how long.

Your child’s safety and wellbeing is a priority for the school.  If your child doesn’t turn up to school they will be concerned for their safety. If the school doesn’t hear from you, they will get in touch with you to make sure your child is okay.

If your child is going to be away for several days, talk to their teacher about getting some work to do while they are away, so that they don’t fall behind in class.

Can I take my child out of school during term time to go on holiday?

No, a holiday is not a good enough reason to take your child out of school, so holidays should be planned outside of term time.

Events like a birthday or a special day’s shopping aren’t considered valid reasons for being away from school either.

In all instances of extended absences, you will need to advise the school

What if my child is often off school sick?

If your child misses a lot of school because of a serious illness you may be able to get help from a regional health school. 

What can I do to make sure my child is going to school?

The key here is to make school the priority. There are things you can do at home, and things you can work side by side with the school on.

At home

  • talk to your children about why it is important to go to school every day – ask them what they want to be in the future. Their education is the key to doing well in life
  • be positive about school
  • set good habits about going to school from day one
  • prepare your children the night before school – make sure they have done their homework
  • have a good morning routine that gets them to school on time, relaxed and with everything they need
  • don’t let them have the day off just because they would rather be at home
  • keep absences due to sickness to times when your child is actually sick – don’t keep them at home when you know that they are just nervous about school – talk to the school who can help your child overcome this
  • know about your child’s school life – ask questions, listen to your child. This will make it easier to pick up on any issues they might be having
  • keep family holidays outside of term-time, as every day at school is an opportunity to build skills, and repetition is critical for learning – especially for primary school children
  • don’t overload them – school may be exhausting for your child so make sure they have some downtime after school to relax and have a break.

Working with our  school

  • build a strong OVS relationship with the school and teachers to improve communication – it’s easier to talk to them if a problem arises
  • get involved with the school – volunteer for parent help, go on school trips, help out on the PTA. It helps you to get to know the teacher and the school, and it shows your child that you prioritise their schooling
  • learn your school’s process for letting them know about absences, and contact them as soon as you know your child is not going to be at school that day
  • talk to the teacher or principal if your child is reluctant to go to school, and work together to problem solve.

What can I do if my child refuses to go to school?

This can be really upsetting. Talk to your child about why they don’t want to go. Be supportive. There may be a reason, like:

  • not getting on with some of the other children
  • bullying
  • feeling too much pressure in their learning
  • a health issue, like wetting their pants
  • a problem with their teacher or other staff member.

Talk to your child’s teacher or principal straight away.  Whatever the reason, you won’t be the first parent to talk to the school about that type of situation.  We will have some good advice, and you’ll be able to work together to help your child.