School Attendance

School Presence and Engagement

Safe and Caring Schools: A Policy Directive and Action Plan to Enhance Student Presence and Engagement

Safe and Caring Schools: A Policy Directive and Action Plan to Enhance Student Presence and Engagement

Students who attend school regularly are more engaged in learning, have a greater opportunity to access school and community resources, have a greater sense of belonging, and are more likely to reach their full potential. Student presence and engagement is required for success.

Student absence is a serious impediment to a student’s educational performance and well-being. Absenteeism can have lasting negative impacts on student achievement, graduation rates, transition to post-secondary education, employment, and social inclusion, as well as on the community at large.

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning commits to working across the system and alongside parents, communities, and educational partners to enhance proactive and preventive practices in order to increase student presence and engagement. Collectively, we share responsibility to facilitate and promote student presence and engagement with a focus on identifying and removing barriers early.

"Student absenteeism is a puzzle composed of multiple pieces that has a significant influence on education outcomes, including graduation and the probability of dropping out. The factors that contribute to it are complex and multifaceted, and likely vary from one school setting, district, and state to another (Garcia & Weiss, 2018)."

Attendance issues are often a first sign that a student is experiencing life challenges and there is a multitude of contributing factors, including academic, social, economic, and psychological. The greatest gains for students are when systems are in place to respond to individual needs before poor attendance patterns can become entrenched. In alignment with this approach, Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning has developed an Attendance Policy Directive and Action Plan to provide provincial guidance to build upon the work of school divisions, school leaders, educators and other partners.

Foundational Principles and Conditions for Success: Enhancing Student Presence and Engagement

  • Presence and engagement begins with relationships. Reciprocal and respectful relationships with students, families, parents, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, communities, organizations and the school must be established and nurtured.
  • Student success and well-being are the collective responsibility of all who are responsible for children and youth.
  • Individualized student-centred planning and monitoring puts students at the centre of all planning and responses.
  • Safe, caring, and inclusive learning environments are foundational to student presence and engagement.
  • Responding to and supporting student presence and engagement are an enduring commitment requiring consistent and constant attention.

Best practices will continue to be compiled and shared as this policy directive and action plan are implemented by educators, school leaders, students, parents, the community and others.

Feedback from students, parents, teachers, principals, divisional leaders and others is vital in identifying elements of the policy that are working well and areas that may require additional focus. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the policy and its implementation throughout the year by emailing Feedback will be monitored regularly throughout the year.