Liberals announce policy to reduce school truancy

Today the State Liberals announced a series of policy measures to combat truancy in our schools.

If elected, the State Liberals will:  

  • Amend the Education Act to increase the maximum fine for parents who allow their children to be chronically truant from $500 to $2000; 
  • Amend the Education Act to increase the fine for hindering or obstructing officers in identifying children not at school from $5000 to $7500;
  • Audit all public schools’ attendance policies to ensure that they meet minimum standards;
  • Audit all children in care who are on reduced hours of attendance at school and reengage them in mainstream education, as recommended by Justice Nyland;
  • Increase the number of Education Department truancy officers by 50 percent; and,
  • Enforce the powers under Section 76 and 78 of the Education Act to prosecute parents who make no attempts to keep their children in school, or who obstruct officers in identifying their children as truant.

School truancy was identified in the Nyland Royal Commission and earlier child protection inquiries as an important indicator that a child may be at risk.

Children who frequently miss school also have lower education outcomes and are less likely to access support from their school communities.

“Parents who take no responsibility for their children’s education should be held accountable,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“Five days away per term over a child’s whole education adds up to more than a year of missed schooling.”  

“Truancy has been a common factor in so many child protection cases that have traumatised South Australians over the last decade,” said Shadow Minister for Education John Gardner.

“Despite numerous inquiries into the child protection and education system in South Australia that identified truancy as a key priority, the Weatherill Labor Government has been dragging the chain when it comes to keeping our kids in school.

“Our plans to reduce school truancy are in keeping with our 2036 reform agenda to protect the most vulnerable people in our community, especially children.”