Change to Law on Marking School Attendance during Remote Learning

Victorian registered schools are now permitted to mark the roll once per day, instead of twice, which is required by the Minimum Standards (Attendance register, under Enrolment Minimum Standard).

Consistent with our advice to school clients, the VRQA however notes that:

“It’s important schools continue to ensure the care, safety and welfare of their students, including child safety and the risks posed in an online environment. Schools should consider the duty of care owed to their students and that different and sometimes greater measures need to be taken for younger students or students with disabilities.

The ministerial direction is in place for the duration of Victoria’s state of emergency or until a date determined by the Secretary, during which time the VRQA is to refrain from:

  • reviewing or evaluating school compliance with the prescribed minimum standard for monitoring and recording student attendance twice a day
  • pursuing a principal or person in charge of a registered school for non-compliance with section 4.3.7 of the Education and Training Reform Act which states it is an offence if attendance is not recorded in the attendance register in accordance with the minimum standard.”

The Ministerial Direction dated 14 April 2020 will last for as long as the state of emergency lasts, and applies to school compliance from 14 April 2020 until end of the state of emergency.

Attendance Recording Advice has also been published by the Department. One FAQ provides:

“Schools may use a range of mechanisms to determine if students are attending in a remote learning context. This includes:

  • Learning contact: the school verifies that the student has engaged with learning tasks through participation in teaching schedule. This may include through the student’s engagement with the school’s learning platform, through teachers’ direct interactions with the student and through student’s submission of work.
  • Student, parent or carer contact: the school makes contact with the student, parent or carer to verify the student’s participation that day.
  • Onsite attendance: student is recorded as present at a school site for onsite programs.”

Next steps

If you have any questions about your compliance with the Minimum Standards during this time, please do not hesitate to contact us.