Notify parents of an absence

This information has moved to the new Policy and Advisory Library (PAL). The content is an archive only and is no longer being maintained. For accurate advice visit PAL.

This page includes an overview of how to notify parents of a student absence and systems that schools can use.

How to contact parents

Schools can choose how they advise parent or carers of a student absence. This might be via:

  • email
  • SMS
  • an app / push notification message
  • phone call
  • a combination of all of the above.

An automated messaging solution is the most effective way to notify parent or carers of any unexplained student absences.

Make sure you have up to date contact details

It's important that you have up to date contact details for parents. Here are some ways to encourage your school community to provide their current details:

  • School newsletter reminders.
  • Email reminders.
  • Double checking with parents/carers when they are visiting the school office.
  • Social media messages.
  • Website alerts.

Use can adapt these template excerpts for schools newsletters and social media (docx - 330 (docx - 330.52kb).

Electronic roll marking and notifying parents

Electronic roll marking makes the attendance process more efficient. It will also help your school meet its policy requirements for same-day notification of unexplained absences.


eCases software is available to all government schools to record daily attendance. Once a roll has been marked in eCASES and saved, the student attendance and absence data is automatically updated in CASES21.

You can then use the CASES21 SMS and email service to send out notifications. You're able to:

  • send SMS messages and emails to parents of unexplained absences
  • notify parents of students who are ill
  • send out other school related communication.

You can send a single message or to a group of recipients at the same time.

For example, CASES21 can send SMS messages to all nominated parents of students who were absent on a particular day or it can send emails to the same group of people.

Choosing an automated service

If your school decides to use a service outside eCASES, the system must:

  • include the ability to send out same-day notifications for unexplained absences
  • be able to export data into CASES21 at least monthly
  • meet the requirements in the school attendance guidelines.

Schools can use Student Resource Package funding to help meet the attendance guidelines.

Use the attendance software functionality matrix (docx - 329.92kb) to see at a glance what features are available from the major software providers. The matrix also includes SMS costs.

Here are some considerations when choosing a system:

  • Costs—set up and ongoing.
  • Current practice.
  • Features.
  • Size of your school.
  • Technology currently available at school.
  • Technical capability of staff.
  • Data privacy.
  • Mobile phone coverage in your intake area.
  • What the community expects.

Once a new system is set up, it's important to:

  • communicate the change to the school community
  • make sure staff are trained on the new system
  • have a contingency plan for contacting parents in case the system goes down.