Queensland’s Education department is considering a statewide rollout of notification systems that will automatically SMS or email parents if their children fail to turn up to school.
A spokesperson for the department confirmed an initial pilot of the the messaging capability was already underway within a number of state schools to "provide insights into best practice which will inform future directions".
A handful of schools in the state have independently installed these sorts of messaging systems as a way to combat truancy.
The Glenmore State High School in Rockhampton sends SMS messages to parents whenever their child records an unexplained absence, and parents can respond via email or reply directly to the text message to offer a reason for the student’s failure to turn up.
Later this month the government plans to go to market for a panel of off-the-shelf attendance management systems that schools will be able to pick from for their automated messaging capability.
It is looking for cloud-based services that require minimal bespoke configuration, and the ability to exchange data with the statewide ‘OneSchool’ student management system. They will also need to generate longer-term attendance reports to be delivered back to the school and central office.
When teamed with a messaging solution, the future solution will fully automate the process of messaging parents based on the marked roll of attendance.
The department indicated, however, that it was unlikely to force all schools to install or use a messaging solution.
"Schools recognise that in some cases texting or emailing may not be the most effective form of communication with parents/carers," a spokesperson said.
"Schools use communication methods that best suit the needs of their school community."