Attendance and Non Attendance at School

Document Type

Book Chapter


University of Western Australia Press


Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


Education, Fogarty Learning Centre




This chapter was originally published as: Gray, J. & Partington, G. (2003). Attendance and non attendance at school. In Quentin Beresford and Gary Partington (Ed.), Reform and resistance in Aboriginal education : the Australian experience. (pp. 133-163). Original book available here.


Encouraging positive school experiences is central to the process of lifting both achievement and retention rates among Aboriginal youth. While there is an emerging awareness that more Aboriginal children view school as rewarding and enjoyable than did previously, this is not the experience of the majority. For most, school remains a place dominated by conflict and/or self-doubt. Explaining such responses is a complex matter. Chapter One explored the theoretical issues behind the often tenuous relationship between Aboriginal youth and school, while other chapters have dealt with the many underlying sociocultural factors. The focus of this chapter is two-fold: to document and explain patterns of attendance and non-attendance and to outline some of the specific school-based factors involved.