Attendance Policies & Procedures

1.0 Overview

1.1 In line with legislation from the National Code 2018 standard 8 providers of education to overseas students are required to have a documented policy and procedure for monitoring student attendance.

1.2 The purpose of this document is to outline processes for monitoring Student Attendance.

1.3 International House Sydney is responsible for its administration systems to ensure attendance monitoring and compliance.

2.0 Organisational Scope

2.1 International House Sydney accepts the responsibility to monitor and educate students about Attendance Compliance at all stages of a student’s enrolment and tuition.

2.2 The policies and procedures outlined here apply to the staff and students of International House Sydney and are consistent with all Pre-Arrival and Post-Commencement course documents provided to students and the material provided to staff.

3.0 General Principles

3.1 Attendance is important from an educational and legal perspective. It is a serious matter, which needs to be understood by teachers, non-teaching staff, and students.

3.2 100% attendance is expected of International House students irrespective of the visa a student is on, e.g. student, working holiday, tourist, business etc.

3.3 All student absences are marked daily on the weekly attendance roll by the class teacher. No exceptions are made to this rule regardless of any documents the student may provide.  Absence may be as a result of illness, lateness, non-attendance or leaving class early. A numerical system of 0.5 per 30 minutes is used to indicate the number of hours absent.

3.4 It is a teacher’s responsibility to maintain Class Rolls so that they accurately reflect attendance. Teachers are the first line of enquiry and it is their responsibility to discover why a student is absent, late or leaves early.  Students that have not attended for five consecutive days are contacted, may be issued with a warning letter and also asked to attend counselling with the Director of Studies.

3.5 Weekly Routine:   After class on Mondays, teachers are required to leave the rolls in the yellow folder in the staff room for entry into the BECAS system. On Tuesday morning, they are collected from the yellow folder in the staff room. Any issues that cannot be dealt with by a teacher are to be passed on to the Director of Studies, Student Services Officer or School Registrar, who are available at any time to teachers/students who wish to discuss their attendance.

3.6 All students are subject to attendance requirements. It is made known to the students prior to enrolment, after enrolment and throughout their course by their teachers and college staff.

3.7 Attendance percentage is calculated either per COE or enrolment if not on a student visa.  If courses such as General English and English for Academic Purposes are included on a single COE, for which different certificates are presented to the students upon completion, attendance will be calculated separately.

3.8 80% is the minimum attendance required for a student to receive an International House certificate upon completion of a course. Students with less than 80% attendance may request a letter to prove their study, which will have their course, dates, level attained and overall attendance.

3.9 Attendance thresholds for enrolments, i.e. how many absences can be taken whilst achieving the minimum attendance requirement, are not advertised, but may be given to an individual student at the discretion of International House, per individual case.

3.10 Students receive up to three warning letters relating to poor attendance.  When a student’s attendance falls to 80% or below, they are issued with an Intent to Report to Immigration letter.  Students have 20 working days to appeal in writing their absences. Medical certificates must be produced during this time. For student visa holders, it is necessary to explain why International House should not report them to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

3.11 Although student visa holders are told that they will be reported if their attendance falls below 80%, it is at the discretion of International House Sydney whether to report a student whose attendance is 70%-80% and who is making progress in the course. Where discretion is necessary, a committee of various key college staff will meet to discuss the individual case.

3.12 It is important for all staff to be aware that the DOS, School Registrar and Managing Director will decide what circumstances will attract ‘special circumstances’ in calculating attendance. Examples of accepted non-attendance are serious illness accompanied by a medical certificate and family emergencies, where there is supporting evidence.  In the same way, long-term non-attendance, without regard for the rules of the study visa, may be a cause for suspension of course (see Policy Number 01NC13 for Deferring, Suspending or Cancelling the Student’s Enrolment).

3.13 A committee including the Director of Studies, Student Services Officer and Registrar meet weekly to discuss individual cases or trends.

3.14 At any time, a student may initiate the school’s complaints and appeals procedure (see Policy Number 01NC08 for Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure).

4.0 Procedure

4.1 Student attendance and absence for each session is marked on the class roll by the class teacher.

4.2 Completed class rolls, with a week’s attendance accounted for, are collected on a Tuesday by administration staff. Absence is entered into the International House Sydney database. Based on this information, the percentage of attendance is calculated, updated and visible on the new class roll, which is distributed to teachers on a Tuesday.

4.3 On Tuesdays, class teachers review the Attendance records prepared by the Student Services Manager.  Students can check their attendance percentage at any time and are regularly reminded of their obligations.

4.4 The school Registrar monitors student attendance closely, with a weekly review of updated percentages and all Class Rolls.

4.5 Class Teachers distribute Attendance Letters on Tuesday.  These are signed by both the teacher and student, with a copy being kept by the student.  A signed letter is returned to School Registrar by Thursday of the same week. Any unsigned letters must also to be returned to School Registrar, upon which the Registrar emails both the student and agent.

4.6 All communication with a student or agent relating to attendance is noted in the International House Sydney database.

4.7 Should a student receive a third and final warning letter, they have 20 working days to provide a written response explaining why International House Sydney should allow them to continue studying at the school and should not report them to DIAC. If a student chooses not to reply or is unable to be contacted, they may automatically be reported to DIAC when the 20 day period has expired.

4.8 An appeal may be lodged and can be successful if supported with genuine medical certificates and the student’s attendance is above 70%. The appeal decision will be made by a committee of various key college staff who will meet to discuss each individual case.

4.9 Upon advisement by DEEWR, it is at the discretion of International House whether to report the student to DIAC if the student has finished their course of study prior to the 20 day time period after the third and final letter.  All students with less than 70% attendance will be reported to DIAC.

4.10 A student and/or agent will be sent written notification if the student is to be reported to DIAC.

4.11 After discussion with the DOS, Registrar and Managing Director, a student may be reported to DIAC via the PRISMS system.Detailed information relating to the individual student’s case is input into the PRISMS system. A system-generated “Letter of Non-compliance” is given or sent to the student.

4.12 Although the matter is now in the hands of DIAC, International House Sydney can provide some guidance to the student in terms of assisting the student in understanding the process DIAC will take.

4.13 At any stage, the student is welcome to take advantage of International House Sydney Complaints and Appeals Policy & Procedure 01NC08, which the student is made aware of through wall charts, by staff, and in an attachment to the third warning letter.