Bundaberg students excelling in the fine art of truancy

BUNDABERG students get an A-plus for their ability to skip school.

The area's children and teens are among the state's worst waggers, missing more than 150 years of school since 2010.

Bundaberg had the 10th highest level of absences out of the state's 75 council areas.

The region's primary and secondary pupils skipped 58,037 days between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2014.

This adds up to 159 years of lost education.

An APN Newsdesk analysis of State Government data reveals unexplained, unauthorised and "other" absences accounted for 28,828 days missed and illness came second on 15,621 days.

Un-gazetted holidays were responsible for 9641 days off and 3947 absences were the result of disciplinary action.

Of the region's 40 public schools, Bundaberg North State High had the highest rate of absences with 2665 days lost over the five years.

This was the 22nd highest level of absenteeism among the state's 1239 public schools.

Kepnock State High School, with 2657 days missed, sits at 25 on the state-wide absentee ladder.

Friday was the most popular day off with 12,559 missed.

Education Minister Kate Jones said parents must take responsibility for making sure their children went to school.

"We want every child to be in class every school day and families, particularly parents, play a critical role ensuring children attend school," Ms Jones said.

"It's important parents develop routines for regular on-time school attendance because it will set their children up for success."

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Andrew Pierpont said children who continually missed school would pay for it later in life.

"Missing small amounts of time regularly can have a long-term effect," Mr Pierpont said.

"There's a great deal of research around students missing school. It affects their reading age and that will affect their employability and lead to other types of social impacts."

He said absenteeism was everyone's problem.

"The target should always be 100% attendance," Mr Pierpont said.

"Everyone needs to realise that improving attendance is about the school working with the kids and working with their parents and their families and working with the community as well.

"It's not a real quick fix in most situations.

"It's about steady improvements."

AT A GLANCE

Number of Bundaberg public school absentee days from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014:

Other/Unexplained/ Unauthorised

28,828

Illness

15,621

Holiday

9641

Disciplinary

3947

WORST FIVE SCHOOLS

School

days missed

Bundaberg North

State High School

2665

Kepnock State

High School

2657

Bundaberg State

High School

2563

Isis District State

High School

2269

Gin Gin State

High School

2113

DAYS OFF

Day

missed

Friday

12,559

Tuesday

11,719

Wednesday

11,708

Thursday

11,461

Monday

10,590



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