Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
There is no excuse for schools that do not report to parents on their child’s attendance record within the day, says truancy expert MGM Wireless.

MGM Wireless Executive Chairman Mark Fortunatow says schools that report absences days after the event are ineffectual in tackling truancy, a growing issue that was highlighted in the Adelaide Advertiser on 30 April (Public school students are wagging for two or more weeks a term).

“We recognise that attendance management is complex and involves a whole range of issues, but it must begin with one fundamental step – keeping parents informed in the shortest time possible when their child is not at school,” Mr. Fortunatow says.

“It is all too easy for students and even parents to shift the blame when the school does not keep them informed within the day.”

Mr. Fortunatow says that today’s parents all have mobile phones and find a text message less invasive than a phone call. Additionally, text messaging systems save valuable school funds as they are far cheaper for schools to operate than phoning parents or sending letters.

“It is so easy now to implement an automated attendance management system that is designed to fit with the culture of the school,” Mr. Fortunatow adds.

“Our systems don’t just send out text messages, they automate the process of escalating an issue, for example when parents do not acknowledge messages. The system can also create watch lists of at-risk students and automate individual case management.”

Mr. Fortunatow says that to have South Australian schools reporting more than half their students are absent without explanation for more than 10 days in one term is “masking social issues that will have a long-term impact on our communities”.

He warns that truancy is growing at a rate his company has previously not seen.

“Our own data shows that, nationally, unexplained absences are skyrocketing, even in primary schools, which was unimaginable in the past.

“In some school regions in Australia, our reports are provided to Centrelink, where payments to parent are tied to their children’s attendance at school.

“We are now calling for South Australian Government to put automated text messaging in every school. This can even be free, as we now have systems where parents are more than happy to pay for the texts about their children’s school life, so there really is no excuse.”


Contact Profile

MGM Wireless Ltd (ASX:MWR)

MGM Wireless uses patented School Attendance Management solutions to empower schools to effectively communicate with parents and caregivers using SMS text messaging in combination with culturally sensitive communication to improve attendance, student welfare and safety. MGM Wireless is recognized in Australia and internationally as pioneers and market leaders. MGM’s professional services team delivers an integrated suite of software and communications using its own infrastructure. The solutions enable schools to reduce costs, increase productivity, discharge their duty of care, engage parent involvement, and ultimately improve student learning and social outcomes. Schools in Australia, New Zealand and America use Messageyou software in their day to day operations.
Mark Fortunatow, Executive Chairman, MGM Wireless
P: +61 (0)8 8104 9508
M: 0421 328 984
W: www.mgmwireless.com


truancy, attendance, students



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