Every Day Counts! Why regular student attendance at school really matters

Posted April 5, 2024

In the UGDSB, we know how important school attendance and established routines are for students to build knowledge, skills and confidence. Regular attendance is more than just a requirement; it’s a critical building block for academic success, social development, and future opportunities. While we may face challenges that can make school attendance difficult, it’s important to understand the impact of frequent absenteeism and how we can work together to support regular attendance.

The Impact of Frequent Absenteeism

  • Every day a student misses school results in:
    • Lost learning opportunities.
    • Hindered development of social skills.
    • Missed benefits of the school’s sense of community.
  • Chronic absenteeism can lead to:
    • Decreased academic success.
    • Diminished employment prospects in the future.
  • Extended absences often cause:
    • Increased anxiety about:
      • Falling behind in grades.
      • Losing credits.
      • Catching up on missed assignments.
    • Concern over peer interactions and questions about their absences.

Did You Know?

If your child misses… That equals…Which is…Over 13 years of schooling this is…. 
1 day every 2 weeks20 days per year4 weeks per year Nearly 1 ½ years of schooling 
1 day each week40 days per year8 week per yearOver 2 ½ years of schooling 
2 days per week80 days per year16 weeks per yearOver 5 years of schooling 
3 days per week120 days per year24 weeks per yearOver 7.5 years of schooling 

Tips for Families to Encourage Regular Attendance

Understanding the challenges, here are some strategies families can implement to promote regular attendance:

  • Establish a Reliable Routine: Consistent bedtimes and morning routines can help make school mornings predictable and less stressful. Preparing the night before—laying out clothes, packing backpacks, and discussing breakfast—can also smooth the way.
  • Communicate the Value of Education: Talk with your child about how going to school every day can help them achieve their dreams and goals. Make the connection between attendance, learning, and future opportunities.
  • Engage with Teachers and School Staff: Stay in close contact with your child’s teachers and school staff. They can offer insights into how your child is doing and suggest ways to support their learning and attendance.
  • Set Attendance Goals: Create positive reinforcement around attendance. Celebrate milestones like a week or a month of perfect attendance with simple, meaningful rewards.
  • Plan for Absences: Understand the school’s attendance policy and communicate any expected absences in advance. For unavoidable absences, work with teachers to make sure your child can catch up.
  • Address Challenges Early: If you notice patterns of reluctance to attend school or frequent illnesses, talk to your child and seek support from school counsellors. Often, early intervention can resolve underlying issues.

Our Commitment to Support

For students struggling with attendance, the UGDSB offers many supports including access to Attendance Counsellors, Social Workers, referrals to community agencies and support staff in schools, in addition to many ways to ensure students keep connected and on top of their learning for periods when they have to be absent from school. 

Remember, every day counts. Together, we can make a positive impact on students’ education, well-being and future.

For more resources and support around student attendance, please visit the UGDSB website. 

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