School attendance by Tasmanian students in the crucial Grades 11 and 12 learning years remains alarmingly low under the Gutwein Government according to new data.
Only two Year 11 and 12 Tasmanian Extension Schools reported attendance rates greater than 90 per cent in the first half of 2021, with the vast majority recording rates of between 60 and 70 per cent and with some schools seeing rates fall to as low as 36 per cent of session minutes attended.
“It’s abundantly clear that the Liberal Government has dropped the ball on engaging Tasmanian kids and providing them with a purposeful school experience,” Mr Willie said.
“The government cannot blame the COVID pandemic for alarmingly low attendance when it is clear that across some schools attendance is actually worse this year than it was last year during the lockdown.
“The government and newly minted Education Minister Sarah Courtney have been alarmingly silent on what they intend to do to lift attendance, on what they intend to do to engage students and in fact on what they intend to do in the vital education space at all to provide our future generations with the best possible start.
“Tasmania already unfortunately has an attainment rate for Year 12 which has continued to decline to 58 per cent which is well below the national average of 72 per cent.
“Tasmanian unfortunately also has the lowest Year 12 retention rate of any Australian state at 73.9 per cent compared with the national average of 82.1 per cent.
“It’s enormously sad that Tasmanian teenagers are not finding their high school experience to be an engaging one to such an extent that they are simply not showing up.
“The continuing decline in school attendance can be attributed to the fact that many young people don’t see a pathway to employment.
“Teachers and school staff can only work within the government policy settings and they are working extraordinarily hard, often at breaking point.
“Ms Courtney needs to tell students, parents and teachers what support the government will offer to lift these alarmingly unacceptable attendance rates.”
Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Education Minister