Principal’s Update: Attendance & Senior School Library

February 15, 2024  
Dr Julie Greenhalgh - Principal


Thank you to those parents who contacted the School asking for clarification around my reference to attendance in the last newsletter. I am very grateful to those parents who raise their concerns directly with us.

Attendance at schools is a current concern for the NSW Education authorities. I understand that Attendance Officers are being placed in public schools in order to monitor student attendance because poor attendance at school is proven to have a detrimental impact on student learning. Schools in NSW are actively reminding parents that attendance at school in term time is mandatory for NSW children.

Some years ago, the NSW Department of Education made the sensible decision to encourage students across the state to improve their attendance. One of the ramifications of this decision was the introduction of a fairly detailed system of recording attendance and absence. This includes classifying and recording any student absence in accordance with codes supplied by the Department.

Some absences, such as illness, are easily classified. At The Illawarra Grammar School, we are not requiring medical certificates for all absences, only for the days associated with formal assessment tasks in the Senior School.

Other absences, such as attendance at family funerals, approved TAFE courses off-site, or representation of the School at off-site events including representative sport, are coded accordingly. Absences such as these are deemed to be “Acceptable”.

Absences such as family holidays in term time are deemed to be “Unjustified or Unacceptable” and are coded accordingly.

The coding of some other absences is at the Principal’s discretion and is usually determined by the priorities of the relevant School. At The Illawarra Grammar School, for example, we highly value elite sport, so attendance at worthwhile elite sporting events, resulting in absence from school, is deemed to be “Acceptable”. Of course, if the absences start to accumulate to a worrying level, we will be in touch with parents to discuss possible solutions.

If parents are unsure about the approval of any event, they should contact Mrs Sullivan, the Head of Academic and Pastoral Care in the Senior School, or Ms Clayton in the Junior School.


Senior School Library

Over the past two weeks I have spoken with Year 12 students in their year group meeting about the possibility of opening the Senior School library for their use on Saturdays in term time. I am conscious that some students prefer to study at school, perhaps even with their TIGS friends. Local libraries are sometimes noisy and congested; our library is much more conducive to private study.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive from these senior students. Therefore, our School library will be open from 9.00am-1.00 pm on Saturdays in term time for Year 12. I am hoping this will commence in Term 2.

Students may come and go as they wish; they should wear sensible casual clothing including enclosed shoes and they need to bring their school ID with them. No siblings or friends from other schools can be accommodated.

I will be speaking with Year 11 students in the near future, and extending the same offer to them.

This arrangement is a privilege for these senior students and, of course, our normal expectations of appropriate behaviour apply.


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