Minister threatens sanctions over absenteeism in remote schools

Amata school kids performing at traditional dance for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion. Photo: Justin McManusIndigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has vowed to impose sanctions on parents in remote indigenous communities whose children are not attending school.

Senator Scullion declared his intention after figures showed the strategy to boost school attendance in remote communities without sanctions had failed to significantly improve attendance.

The minister yesterday met Greg Wirth, principal of the Amata Anangu School, south of Uluru, where fewer than 60 per cent of enrolled pupils attended school during second term.

Figures were similarly poor across other communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands in the north-west of South Australia.

Mr Wirth said there had been a spike in attendance after the new approach started in term one, with school attendance supervisors employed to boost school attendance.

The minister announced his intention at Amata after handing out certificates to children with unblemished attendance records.

One local described the plan as: ”No school, no pay.”

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