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Attendance – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure

Version number 2.3 | Version effective 23 December 2021
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Attendance – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure

Audience

Education Queensland International (EQI), EQI staff, school staff, Overseas students, EQI homestay providers, parents/Department of Home Affairs (DHA) approved guardians of Overseas students and agents.

Purpose

This procedure outlines the roles and responsibilities of EQI and schools and the steps they follow to manage Overseas student attendance, including:

  • monitor Overseas student school attendance
  • provide intervention to assist Overseas students who are at risk of not meeting attendance requirements
  • escalate to EQI where an Overseas student is at risk of not meeting attendance requirements, and
  • cancel an Overseas student’s enrolment and report them to the Australian Government for unsatisfactory attendance.

Overview

This procedure complements the following Department of Education (DoE) policies and procedures:

Overseas students (and parents or DHA approved guardians for primary-aged Overseas students) are informed about school attendance requirements during orientation. Schools record international student attendance in OneSchool in the same manner as all other state school students. However, the thresholds for intervention, attendance calculation and the consequences for breaching school attendance requirements are different for Overseas students enrolled in an EQI course. This is because:

  • maintaining satisfactory attendance is a student visa condition
  • Commonwealth law requires EQI to be proactive in notifying and counselling Overseas students who are at risk of failing to meet attendance requirements
  • EQI is required by law to report Overseas students who have breached attendance requirements.

If EQI reports an Overseas student’s unsatisfactory attendance to the Australian Government, EQI will also cancel the Overseas student’s enrolment. If EQI decides to cancel an Overseas student’s enrolment, that decision will not take effect until the internal appeals process is completed, unless the Overseas student’s health or wellbeing, or the wellbeing of others is likely to be at risk.

Overseas students (and parents or DHA approved guardians for primary-aged Overseas students) are informed about school attendance requirements during orientation including:

  • start and finish times
  • late arrivals process
  • school absence phone number
  • serious illness, injury or incident process
  • suspension of enrolment (approved by Director, EQI and not counted as an absence)
  • student visa conditions relating to attendance.

School attendance percentages for Overseas students are calculated using OneSchool on a term basis rather than ‘year to date’. Schools develop and implement student-specific and circumstance-specific early intervention strategies to ensure that an Overseas student’s attendance does not fall below 80% (generally ten full days absence, or equivalent) in any school term.

Where compassionate or compelling circumstances apply, EQI or an Overseas student may initiate a temporary suspension of enrolment. When enrolment is temporarily suspended, absence from school is not included in attendance monitoring calculations. Schools should be proactive in initiating a suspension of enrolment where compassionate or compelling circumstances could impact an Overseas student’s attendance requirement. Implementing the Exemptions from compulsory schooling and compulsory participation procedure is not required.   

Overseas students can appeal decisions in relation to attendance, in accordance with the EQI Appeals procedure.

Responsibilities

School staff (for example, International Student/Homestay Coordinator or Line Manager)

  • regularly monitor attendance and liaise with relevant teaching staff
  • intervene early and assist Overseas students who are at risk of not meeting school attendance requirements
  • liaise with parent/DHA approved guardian/homestay provider regarding attendance and Overseas student absences
  • escalate issues and concerns to school principal
  • maintain accurate and up-to-date records in OneSchool (for example, adding a record of contact in OneSchool for each contact with Overseas student).

Director, EQI

  • decide whether to report an Overseas student to the Australian Government for unsatisfactory attendance and cancellation of enrolment.

EQI staff

  • report unsatisfactory attendance and cancellation of enrolment to the Australian Government, as directed by the Director, EQI
  • ensure safe and appropriate arrangements are made if the Overseas student’s enrolment is cancelled, in accordance with the Change of welfare - subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure.
  • maintain up-to-date records in the international student management system and Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS)
  • provide advice and support to school principal and school staff implementing this procedure.

School principal (or delegate)

Process

Process:  1, Monitor 2. intervene 3. escalate 4. cancel

Image 1 : Process – student attendance

1. Monitor

School staff

  • liaise with the officer responsible for monitoring attendance, for example, Student Services Officer, Attendance Officer, Year Level Coordinator, within the school about Overseas student attendance and absences
  • calculate Overseas student attendance percentages using OneSchool and review Overseas student attendance records regularly 
  • identify patterns of absence, for example, regular late arrivals, early departures and/or absences from a class, absences for three or more consecutive days.

2. Intervene

School staff

  • identify, investigate and resolve unexplained absences by talking to the Overseas student and/or their parent, DHA approved guardian or homestay provider, as required
  • if attendance falls to 90% in any school term (generally where an Overseas student is counted as absent five full days, or equivalent):
    • discuss with the Overseas student and parent/DHA approved guardian or homestay provider the  reasons for absence, referring to the ISP standard terms and conditions and potential consequences for non-compliance (for example, Overseas student may be reported to the Australian Government and the Overseas student’s visa and enrolment may be cancelled), you may choose to use the Attendance meeting letter as an option
    • review and implement intervention strategies to assist the Overseas student to improve their school attendance, for example:
      • counselling the Overseas student to determine reason for absence and providing support
      • engaging with the parent/DHA approved guardian or homestay provider
      • re-engagement program for the Overseas student
      • support group for attendance
      • individualised attendance improvement plans
    • record the discussions as a record of contact in OneSchool
  • where the Overseas student is, or is likely to be, absent for more than four consecutive school days due to an illness, injury or other serious event, consider whether a temporary suspension of enrolment on compassionate or compelling grounds is appropriate:
  • escalate to the school principal when attendance falls to 85% or below
  • keep homestay provider informed of interventions and decisions (for example, ISP attendance warning letter.

School principal (or delegate)

  • if attendance falls to 85% in any school term (generally where an Overseas student is absent for 7.5 days, or equivalent):
    • issue ISP attendance warning letter to the Overseas student and parent/DHA approved guardian
    • meet with the Overseas student and (if possible) the parent/DHA approved guardian or homestay provider, to discuss reasons for absence, and to reinforce the ISP standard terms and conditions and consequences for non-compliance (if the Overseas student’s parent/DHA approved guardian or homestay provider is unable to attend the meeting, meet with the Overseas student and liaise with the other parties after meeting)
    • review and implement intervention strategies that are in place to ensure that they are still appropriate and adjust if required 
    • inform EQI that the Overseas student has been issued an ISP attendance warning letter.

3. Escalate

School principal

  • if attendance falls below 80% in any school term (generally where the Overseas student is absent for 10 full days, or equivalent), notify Director, EQI by sending an email to EQInternational@qed.qld.gov.au, including:
    • “(student name), unsatisfactory attendance, (school name)” in subject line of email
    • a list of all relevant evidence, in chronological order, in the body of email (for example, school attendance records, OneSchool records of contact, meeting notes, proof of compassionate or compelling circumstances, appropriate intervention strategies)
    • confirmation of attendance percentage as at the date the email is sent
    • assurance the school has complied with this procedure
  • if attendance falls to 70%, repeat above steps to immediately notify the Director, EQI noting that this level of attendance is only allowed in compassionate or compelling circumstances.

Director, EQI

  • as soon as practicable after receiving a notification that an Overseas student’s attendance has fallen below 80%, issue an Attendance show cause notice to the Overseas student and parent, notifying the DHA approved guardian and agent (where applicable):
    • give the Overseas student/parent/DHA approved guardian three working days to show cause as to why the Overseas student should not be reported to the Australian Government for unsatisfactory school attendance
    • ask for evidence demonstrating that compassionate or compelling circumstances apply
  • consider the Overseas student/parent/DHA approved guardian’s request to extend the deadline to respond to the show cause, if required
  • where a response to the show cause is received, consider it and decide, within three working days, whether the Overseas student should be reported to the Australian Government and have their enrolment cancelled
  • if the decision is to not report (for example, enough evidence of compassionate or compelling circumstances supplied or they can demonstrate that attendance is above 80%):
    • issue a Decision not to report for unsatisfactory attendance letter to the Overseas student and parent, notifying the DHA approved guardian and agent (where applicable), making it clear that EQI will issue an Intention to report for unsatisfactory attendance letter if the Overseas student’s attendance falls below 70% for the term
    • inform the school principal
  • if no response is received, or if a response to the show cause has been received and the decision is still to report, issue an Intention to report for unsatisfactory attendance letter to the Overseas student and parent, notifying the DHA approved guardian and agent (if applicable) without exception
  • where attendance falls below 70% for the term, issue an Intention to report for unsatisfactory attendance letter to the Overseas student and parent, notifying the DHA approved guardian (if not already sent prior), without exception
  • follow the Complaints and appeals – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure if an appeal against the Intention to report for unsatisfactory attendance letter is received.

School staff

  • closely monitor the Overseas student’s attendance and keep the principal informed
  • keep the homestay family/DHA approved guardian informed regarding Overseas student attendance and interventions
  • maintain the Overseas student’s enrolment and welfare (where applicable) while appeal process is underway.

4. Cancel

Director, EQI

  • instruct EQI staff to report unsatisfactory attendance and cancellation of enrolment to the Australian Government, in PRISMS where either:
    • no appeal is made
    • an appeal is withdrawn
    • the internal appeal (20 working days) and external appeal (10 working days) are unsuccessful (EQI is required to wait for the outcome of an external appeal before notifying).
  • issue applicable template letters under the Complaints and appeals – subclass 500 (schools) visa (for example, No appeal received letter template and Confirmation of cancellation of enrolment template) to the Overseas student/parent
  • notify the school principal of the outcome.

EQI staff

  • report the Overseas student to the Australian Government, in PRISMS, as soon as practicable (within 14 days), whether the Overseas student has elected to cancel their enrolment in the program prior
  • cancel the Overseas student’s enrolment record/s in ISMS and notify the school once completed
  • inform the Overseas student of the need to seek advice from DHA on the potential impact on his or her student visa
  • ask the Overseas student/parent to complete the ISP refund request form, if eligible for a refund
  • review and assess the refund request in line with the ISP standard terms and conditions.
  •  give notice of any refund to the Australian Government within 7 days of the repayment.

School staff

  • refer to the Change of welfare – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure to ensure that safe and appropriate arrangements are in place for the Overseas student’s departure, if the Overseas student is in homestay
  • finalise and issue any outstanding school reports to the Overseas student
  • cancel the Overseas student’s enrolment in OneSchool.

Definitions

Term

Definition

Agent

Education agent registered with EQI to recruit Overseas students for EQI programs.

Compassionate circumstances

Circumstances that:

  • are not in the Overseas student’s control or created by the Overseas student
  • adversely impact on the Overseas student’s welfare or course progress (for example, illness, bereavement or traumatic events may qualify).

Compelling circumstances

Circumstances which, in the opinion of EQI staff or school staff, are in the Overseas student’s best educational interests.

Course

A course registered on CRICOS offered by Department of Education trading as Education Queensland International.

Delegate

Is a classified officer (Heads of Department, Deputy Principals and Principals) nominated by the principal who is authorised to make some International Student Program decisions on behalf of the school principal.

Department of Home Affairs (DHA)

Australian Government responsible for immigration.

DHA approved guardian

A parent/legal custodian or a relative over the age of 21 years approved by the Department of Home Affairs to be responsible for the Welfare of Overseas students under the age of 18 years.

EQI

Education Queensland International

EQI staff

DoE employees working in DEi, trading as EQI.

Homestay provider

Homestay provider is a family, a couple or a single person who is approved by DEi or schools to host overseas students in their home.

International Student Programs (ISP)

A study pathway offered to Overseas students to fulfil their academic potential, develop new skills and achieve personal goals in a way that suits their individual needs.

International Student Programs includes: Primary School, High School, International Baccalaureate, and High School Preparation.

OneSchool

A comprehensive program to help Queensland State Schools manage key teaching and school administrative activities. Its features cover a wide range of school operations.

Parent

Natural parent or legal custodian.

Overseas student

Student in Australia on visa subclass 500 (schools sector) enrolled in an EQI course.

School

For International Student Programs: Queensland state schools accredited by EQI to deliver international student programs.

For Study Tours: Queensland state schools accredited to deliver study tours.

For International Services: Queensland state schools, and non-state schools (for Global programs only).

School staff

Employees of schools with responsibilities to support international students. For example – International Student Coordinator, Homestay Coordinator, Head of Department, Deputy Principal, Accredited Officer (Study tours).

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

  • Nil

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

Nil

Review date

24 January 2023
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