School attendance rates worse in regions

A PARLIAMENTARY report reveals school kids in regional Queensland are turning up to school less than kids in Brisbane.

The parliamentary Education and Innovation Committee report into school attendance rates found overall attendance rates differed by region but the metropolitan region had significantly higher attendance rates than the other regions in both 2013 and 2014.

Metropolitan students, running from Moreton Bay to the Lockyer Valley, had the highest attendance rates with 86.2% of students attending at least 85% of classes.

Students in the Central Queensland education zone - including Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mackay - had the third best attendance record in the state with 81.7% of students attending 85% of classes, with the Gold Coast jumping in front this year.

In the North Coast region - including Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast schools - 80.6% of students went to 85% of classes, slightly more than Toowoomba, Warwick and south western students where 80.3% went to 85% of school.

There was good news through with the Central Queensland and Darling Downs schools experiencing an increase in students who with 100% attendance, and figures up across the state from 2013.

Committee chair and Burdekin MP Rosemary Menken said regional Queensland students were doing it tough.

"We all know it's much harder in the regions. They're doing it tough compared to the city," she said.

But Ms Menken said there were encouraging signs in the data - especially with an increase in indigenous attendance rates.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said attendance rates had been an issue for some time.

"Schools are doing all they can to encourage attendance. But there's more to a child's life than just school," he said.

"Especially in rural areas where a kid might have helped muster cattle or be on a tractor in the morning and have done half a day's work before school even starts.

"In urban centres there is an issue, with the cost of child care, with older kids being asked to look after younger siblings while their parents are at work."

- APN NEWSDESK


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