Keeping kids in class

A visit from Matthew Bowen and Ray Thompson is just one of the strategies used in the Try for 5! program to encourage primary school students to attend school.

The former Cowboys players have been visiting the 14 schools from across north Queensland who are participating in the Sun Metals Try for 5! Challenge.

Vincent State School was one of five schools to receive a visit from Bowen and Thompson today.

"We came into the prep class to encourage the kids – they get a little excited when they see myself and Matty come in. We played some games and reiterated the importance of coming to school," Mr Thompson said.

Vincent are currently sitting third on the Try for 5! leaderboard with a 2.06% improvement in attendance.

"We came to Vincent today to visit the preppies to make sure they're on track and to keep them motivated," Mr Thompson said.

As an intra-school competition Try for 5! motivates individual classes and schools to achieve 100% attendance by offering fortnightly prizes and awards to the best performing.

Prep teacher Cassie Koppe said that the prep class was aiming to help their school claim top spot on the leaderboard. At the end of the year the winning school of the Sun Metals Try for Five! Challenge claims a signed Cowboys jersey.

"At the beginning of this term our class had an average of about 80%, however for the last five weeks prep have improved and moved up into the 90's," Ms Koppe said.

According to Ms Koppe the visit from Bowen and Thompson helps with students' progress.

"I had one little girl who maybe attended two or three weeks of term 1, whereas now she's only missed two days of term two," Ms Koppe said.

The program is designed to address short and long-term impacts of students missing foundation learning in their primary years through poor school attendance.

Sun Metals have partnered with Cowboys Community Foundation to support the program. Sun Metals Chief Financial Officer Kathy Danaher explained the reason behind their commitment.

"Our support of the program is an opportunity to give back to the community and invest in the future of our city," Ms Danaher said.

Bowen and Thompson encourage students by participating in classroom activities, motivating individual students and recording personalised video messages to some students who need extra support.