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Student Attendance at School: Tips and Strategies for Families

In the UGDSB, we know how important school attendance and established routines are for students to build knowledge, skills and confidence. We also recognize that ensuring consistent attendance at school relies on strong home/school relationships and consistent communication.    

Every day that a student is absent from school is a lost opportunity for that child or adolescent to learn, build social skills, and receive the benefits associated with the sense of community found within our schools. Chronic or prolonged absenteeism can also result in decreased academic success and related employment prospects later in life. Increased feelings of anxiety following long periods away from school are also common as students begin to worry about their grades, lost credits, catching-up on missed assignments, as well as interactions with their peers who may wonder where they have been. 

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. 

While Ontario Law states that children between the ages of  6 and 17 must attend school, we do understand that sometimes illness and other circumstances mean that a student must be away for a period of time.  These situations, however, should be exceptions and school administrators have a responsibility to follow up and address extended absences with families.  

Please know there are many supports and resources available to you at the school to promote regular attendance with your children.  Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have questions or concerns.  In addition, please refer to the list below of home-based practices that can help encourage attendance with your child(ren) should attendance issues arise.

Did You Know?

If your child misses… 

That equals…

Which is…

Over 13 years of schooling this is…. 

1 day every 2 weeks

20 days per year

4 weeks per year 

Nearly 1 ½ years of schooling 

1 day each week

40 days per year

8 week per year

Over 2 ½ years of schooling 

2 days per week

80 days per year

16 weeks per year

Over 5 years of schooling 

3 days per week

120 days per year

24 weeks per year

Over 7.5 years of schooling 

Attendance Suggestions for Parents/Guardians

Below are some different tips and strategies that families can try at home to help encourage school attendance.


Routines/Environment at Home:

Involving the School:

Next Steps/What to do if it’s not working: