Sia Mastro Editorial 1 September 2023

Recently in the media there has been a spotlight placed on the declining rates of attendance in NSW across primary and secondary aged students. This is unfortunately due to increased mental ill health and its impact on motivation and engagement within the school context. Renowned researcher Profession Donna Cross OAM (2021) aptly noted that “attendance is not just about showing up; it’s about the connection we build and the experiences we share both in and out of the classroom.”

The Student Wellbeing Hub (studentwellbeinghub.edu.au) advocates for compulsory attendance each day as it plays a significant role in cultivating a strong sense of belonging amongst peers, innately builds connection through established relationships and positively impacts behaviour through increased levels of motivation and engagement (Dr Lyn O’Grady, 2020).

The resource from NSW Department of Education indicates the impact:


Brigidine College recognises that building connections is the cornerstone of emotional wellbeing and that “relationships are the number one predictor of a long and happy life” (Cross, 2022). Our priority is to create a school environment that prioritises students’ health and wellbeing through the careful planning of a systemic, whole school approach that protects and strengthens young people to deal with their challenges in life. These connections become pillars of support during triumphs and challenges, nurturing emotional resilience.

Sia Mastro
Director of Student Wellbeing

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