NSW Attendance plummets, Sydney to host global maths congress and other top news.

20th July 2019

The Good Schools Guide is bringing you the latest inside scoop about today’s educational scene.

Attendance rates are plummeting in NSW schools

The NSW Department of Education has reported that about 470 government schools across NSW have attendance rates below 90 per cent, and in some parts of NSW rates plummeted to as low as 60 per cent. Attendance rates have become a key concern for the Department of Education, with analysts predicting that students can potentially miss up to four years of schooling by year 10.

The data also shows a correlation between poor attendance and school locations, with the worst rates clustered in rural and regional areas of NSW, and most of Sydney's worst-attended schools in the city's west and south-west. The NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, stresses the importance of ongoing attendance in schools. "For a student to achieve their educational best and boost their career and life options, ongoing attendance at school is essential," she says.

Expert researchers have indicated that a student with poor school attendance can experience cycles of isolation. This is because they’re away from their peers at school. Children in their early stages of schooling can also get anxiety about attending school if they are missing long periods of time.

Pups across schools help kids with literacy

Story Dogs is a program that brings dogs into Australian schools to help children who are struggling at their reading. Once a week, year two and three students who lack confidence are partnered with a pup from Story Dog to help them improve their literacy.

It’s proven that when children read to dogs, they become more confident readers. Woolaware Public School student Terry struggled reading in front of the class. Story Dogs have partnered him with a labradoodle named Sandy who comes in once a week for Terry to read to. With the help of the program, Terry’s reading showed improvement. "He never used to be able to read, now he's reading anything and everything, more confident too," his mum Tania said.

Story Dogs now has 473 volunteer dog teams in 278 schools around Australia and is slowly expanding with the help of the public. Visit https://www.storydogs.org.au/ to find out how you can help.

Sydney to host global maths congress

Sydney has won the right to host the International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME15) for 2024. ICME15 was won by a consortium of eight peak Australian bodies in mathematics education, comprising of Australia’s leading STEM societies

More than 2,800 mathematics educators, mathematicians, researches, teachers and resource producers are expected to attend the maths congress. Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the conference will help Australia’s innovation and excellence in maths teaching, sharpen NSW’s focus on delivering STEM education and improve Sydney’s reputation as a leading conference destination.

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