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Wagging school affects marks, principals warn

HIGH school principals in the Gladstone region fear students will be tempted to skip school in the lead-up to school holidays this weekend.

Wagging has never been condoned by schools, but many parents believe their children deserve extra time off to enjoy birthdays, family holidays or travel.

But the effect of occasional days off on a student's achievement can be crippling, with real disadvantage observed, according to Tannum Sands State High School community liaison officer Carol Shuttleworth.

"We're working right up till the last day - we're not putting a video on in the classroom and letting them watch Lion King," she said.

Attendance rates at public high schools in the Gladstone region were between 86-91% in 2013, according to figures supplied by the Department of Education, Training and Employment and by schools.

Attendance is worse than five years ago at Toolooa and Gladstone state high schools.

But Tannum Sands has succeeded in bringing attendance up from 88% in 2009 to 91% in 2014.

Deputy principal and attendance officer Katrina Bayldon said competition among year levels had helped a lot.

Independent school St Stephen's Lutheran College principal Ian Marks said taking time away from school could be okay.

His Glenlyon Rd school boasts a 95% average attendance rate so far this year.

"You need to attend to achieve, it's as simple as that," he said

Mr Marks attributes his school's success to strong relationships with parents and a commitment to planning for student absences.

Topics:  education high school school attendance school holidays



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