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5. General School Information

Student Attendance

Under Section 25 of the Education Act 1990

Parents are responsible for:

  • enrolling their children of compulsory school age in a government or registered non-government school or registering them with the Board of Studies NSW for home schooling.
  • ensuring that their children attend school regularly.
  • explaining the absence of their children from school promptly and within seven days to the school.
  • taking measures to resolve attendance issues involving their children.

Hours of Attendance

The College cannot accept legal responsibility for students prior to 8.30 a.m. or after 3.30 p.m.  Classes begin at 8.55 a.m. and conclude at 3.20 p.m.  The College grounds and buildings will not be supervised outside the normal hours of attendance – 8.30 a.m. until 3.30 p.m. – unless otherwise stated.

Student Absence

If a student of compulsory school age (ie between the age of 6 and 17 years) is unable to attend school because of illness, etc., parents are asked to contact Student Services by phone or email prior to 9.00 a.m. on the day of the absence.  A written explanation, signed and dated, on the student’s first day back at school is required (note or email).  The student is to hand the note to his/her Home Group teacher who will ensure the College Roll is correctly maintained.  There is a form at the back of the Student Planner parents can complete for absences.  An SMS message will be sent to the nominated contact person at 10.00 a.m. each day for any unexplained absence.  If you receive an SMS message please reply with an explanation for the absence on the phone that received the SMS.

In the case of lengthy and/or foreseen absences, application should be made to the Principal requesting permission for the student to be absent from school and providing details of the reasons for the absence.  Application forms are available via a link attached to the weekly Newsletter or from the Student Services’ Office. It is important that arrangements are made to ensure that all Assessment Tasks and other commitments are fulfilled.

Under the Education Act 1990:

  • Principals may record up to 15 days in a school year for students of compulsory school age who have provided an explanation of the absence which has been accepted by the principal.
  • Principals may grant an “Exemption from School Attendance” under circumstances outlined in the act including:
    –    misadventure or unforeseen event
    –    participation in special events not related to the school
    –    domestic necessity such as serious illness of an immediate family member
    –    attendance at funerals
    –    recognised religious festivals or ceremonial occasions.

Late Arrival

It is most important that students arrive punctually for school which commences at 8.55 a.m.  If a student arrives late he/she must report to the Student Services Office to receive a ‘late note’.  If the late arrival is foreseen, parents are requested to provide a written explanation. Where no note is provided, the Assistant Principal or his delegate may phone parents to check that all is well.

Leave During the School Day

If a student must leave the College for an appointment, etc., the student must have a note from his/her caregivers explaining the reason for the absence. This note must be handed to the student’s Home Group Teacher during the Home Group period.  It is the responsibility of the parents to arrange transport to and from the College. The student must report to the Student Services Office and sign out of the school and, if returning, sign back in on their return.  The student must also receive an Early Leavers Note on which will be printed the student’s name, date, time, reason for leave and authorisation. Students unable to obtain a note before 8.55 a.m. should apply in advance and collect their note from the College Student Services Office on the day prior to the leave.  Students must carry this card on their person between 8.55 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. and present it on request to authorised Attendance Officers, Police or shopping centre security.

Unexplained Absence

We aim to provide a fair and supportive environment that provides mutual respect for learning and growth.

Regular attendance at school is compatible with the values of Catholic education at St John’s College, Woodlawn.  Continuity of attendance is in keeping with the spirit of responsibility as outlined by the Board of Studies to enable students to benefit from teaching and learning experiences.

In addition, students who attend regularly will benefit greatly from the pastoral experiences of College life.

If a student is absent from the College parents/carers must provide a reason for their child’s absence by contacting the College on the day via:

  • SMS
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Letter on the day of his/her return

If no communication is received on this day, the following action will be taken by the school:

  1. Note is written in planner by Home Group Teacher to remind the student that an explanation note is required.
  2. If no explanation note is received, parents will be contacted by phone/email by the Home Group Teacher.
  3. A formal letter will be sent to parents asking for an explanation of the absence.

Under the Education Act 1990, absences not explained by parents within 7 school days are to be recorded as unexplained, irrespective of whether an explanation is received after the seven school days.

If a student of compulsory school age has a recurring number of unexplained or unacceptable absences from school the College is required to contact the Catholic Schools Office. The College may then initiate a number of additional school based strategies including:
–    student and parent interviews;
–    reviewing the appropriateness of the student’s educational program;
–    development of a school based attendance improvement plan;
–    referral to the School Psychologist or outside agency;
–    support from school based personnel.

For further information about school attendance and the school leaving age, refer to the following website:


All students will be allocated a locker.  The sensible use of the lockers ensures that all students have a secure area in which to store their valuable books and equipment. Students are requested to always lock their lockers after use and to not divulge their padlock code to anyone. Students are allocated a combination lock on their arrival at the College. Lost or damaged padlocks should be reported to the relevant Year Coordinator. The cost of a replacement will be met by the student. Students are expected to ensure that the locker is kept tidy and free of stickers and graffiti.

Students need to store all their school resources and College bag in their locker on arrival at school.  Lockers are to be accessed before Home Group, at recess, lunch and at the conclusion of Period 6.  During the school day, students should only carry the equipment necessary for each two period bracket of lessons.