Heywood principal defends school's attendance rate

THE principal of Heywood and District Secondary College has made a frustrated rebuke to MySchool data released this month. 

Analysis by The Standard of MySchool figures showed the school has the region’s worst attendance rates at 89 per cent. 

“I’ve got no problem with accountability ... but it’s just one snapshot. We’re really proud of the improvement in our attendance,” principal Glen Kane said. 

“Our attendance rate has improved by 23 per cent.

“Over the last six months, compared to the same time as the year before, the number of days students missed class has improved by 23 per cent.”

MySchool data and NAPLAN performance figures are published by the government to show parents how their child’s school is performing against national averages.

While figures show historical data, including the gains of a particular school, the spotlight inevitably falls on the school’s current performance.

Heywood and District Secondary College increased its attendance rate between 2012 and 2013.

Mr Kane said the introduction of a mentoring program called ‘Standing Tall’ and a tweaked school house system that places students in smaller groups had helped Heywood tackle the attendance problem even further. 

“We introduced the Standing Tall mentoring program midway through last year to target kids whose attendance was low,” Mr Kane said.

He said the Commonwealth- funded program had been successful at Hamilton’s Baimbridge College by using community leaders to spend time with students. 

“It goes for three years and it’s allowed us to employ a co-ordinator,” he said.

Other principals have criticised NAPLAN testing, arguing it only paints a narrow picture of a school on a single day. 

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