Fraser Coast kids wagging class more than city cousins

A PARLIAMENTARY report reveals school kids in regional Queensland are turning up to school less than kids in Brisbane, with one in five Fraser Coast kids missing at least 15% of classes.

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 this year.

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.

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.

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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.

There was good news though with the Central Queensland and Darling Downs schools experiencing an increase in students 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.

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."



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