Truancy – tough love

What we’ll do

A Marshall Liberal Government will ensure that children are not disadvantaged by parents who do not place appropriate importance on education by implementing a range of measures to combat chronic truancy in our schools.

We need to ensure that parents take responsibility for their children’s education and, while it is unfortunate that some parents require the threat of legal action to make them do the right thing, we owe it to their children to take decisive action.

We will:

  • amend the Education Act to increase the maximum fine for parents who allow their children to be chronically truant from $500 to $2000 and increase the fine for hindering or obstructing truancy officers from $5000 to $7500
  • audit all public schools’ attendance policies to ensure they meet minimum standards
  • audit all children in care who are on reduced hours of attendance at school and re-engage them in mainstream education, as recommended by the Nyland Royal Commission
  • increase the number of Education Department truancy officers by 50 percent
  • enforce powers under Sections 76 and 78 of the Education Act to prosecute parents who make no attempt to keep their children in school, or who obstruct officers in identifying their children as truant.

Why we’re doing it

Children who are chronically truant have lower education outcomes and are more likely to be vulnerable or at risk.

School truancy has also been identified by child protection inquiries, including the Nyland Royal Commission, as an important indicator that a child may be at risk.

Currently in South Australia, parents who allow their children to be chronically truant can be fined up to $500. However, very few parents, if any, are ever prosecuted. This means there is no legal incentive for lax parents to abide by the law and ensure their children get to school.

By ensuring our children are in school, we will see stronger school communities and better educated children.

That’s why we will undertake comprehensive reform to address truancy.