Changing social habits and patterns necessitated the updating of the schools attendance policy. The redrafting was a collaborative process involving staff and Board of Management, following initial drafting by a representative group.
The main factors contributing to the formulation of a revised policy could be summarized as follows:
- The changing fabric of society
- The role of TUSLA- Child and Family Agency
- Levels of disadvantage
- Legislative requirements such as the Education Welfare Act 2000
- Changing attitudes to education
Aims and Objectives:
The revised policy is geared towards
- Encouraging full attendance where possible
- Identifying pupils at risk
- Promoting a positive learning environment
- Enabling learning opportunities to be availed of
- Raising awareness of the importance of school attendance
- Fostering an appreciation of learning
Compliance with School Ethos
This policy complements the school ethos of nurturing potential in a caring environment where the welfare of children is paramount.
Roles and Responsibilities:
All staff have an input into the implementation of the policy. Class teacher’s record individual patterns of attendance and the school principal make returns to TUSLA. The Deputy Principal has responsibility for maintaining the Leabhair Tinreamh. It is the responsibility of the Principal and staff to implement this policy under the guidance of the school’s Board of Management.
Individual school attendance is recorded in the Leabhair Rolla of each class and class date is recorded in the Leabhair Tinreamh. All children attending and data on parents are recorded in the school register. We also record attendance on a computerised system called Aladdin which make it easier to see attendance and notes, calls “reason for being absent, early leaving and late arrival is easy to record on Aladdin
A note from parents/guardians is required to cover each absence and they are dated and kept in a central location (administration office). Parents are made aware of the requirements of the TUSLA particularly the bye law relating to absences of more than 20 days per school year.
- Traditionally, school attendance is strong in our school and has not been adversely affected by social changes. However, staff remain vigilant so that risk students are identified early. Risk students can be categorised as those who miss more than 5 days in a 20 day period without an accompanying note of explanation from parents/guardians. Appropriate contact takes place between school and parent/guardians either via letter or note in the homework diary when this occurs. A meeting between parents and Principal may be set up if deemed necessary. Absences of more than 20 unexplained days are automatically referred to the Education Welfare Officer.
- Parents/guardians are requested to send a written note when children are absent from school.
All written notes/medical certificates are kept by the classroom teacher for the school year.
When deemed necessary, some notes/medical certificates are sent to the office for filing while the child is in Scoil Phadraig. This includes all written documentation sent to the school regarding children showing patterns of continuous absence.
- The school is also part of the Stranorlar Schools Completion programme. This programme aims to encourage children attend school regularly and to stay at school until they have at least finished their Junior Cert.
Communication with other Schools
- When a child transfers from Scoil Phádraig to another school, school records on attendance, academic progress etc. will be forwarded on receipt of written notification of the transfer.
- When a child transfers to Scoil Phádraig confirmation of transfer will be communicated to the child’s previous school, and appropriate records sought.
- Pupils transferring from Scoil Phádraig to Post Primary school will be forwarded on receipt of confirmation of enrolment.
Communication with Parents
The school informs all parents of the implications of non-attendance as per the Education Welfare Act 2000. This information is disseminated by regular school circulars. Parents of new children are informed on enrolment. Parents are also contacted by letter or phone call when their child has missed 10 and 15 days respectively.
Parents/guardians can promote good school attendance by:
- ensuring regular and punctual school attendance.
- notifying the school if their children cannot attend for any reason.
- working with the school and education welfare service to resolve any attendance problems;
- making sure their children understand that parents support good school attendance;
- discussing planned absences with the school and refraining, if possible, from taking holidays during school time
- showing an interest in their children’s school day and their children’s homework.
- encouraging them to participate in school activities.
- praising and encouraging their children’s achievements.
- instilling in their children a positive self-concept and a positive sense of self-worth.
- informing the school in writing of the reasons for absence from school.
- ensuring, insofar as is possible, that children’s appointments are arranged for times outside of school hours.
- contacting the school immediately, if they have concerns about absence or other related school matters.
- notifying, in writing, the school if their child/children, particularly children in junior classes, are to be collected by someone not known to the teacher.
The school promotes good attendance by
- Creating a safe and welcoming environment
- Ensuring children are happy
- Displaying kindness, compassion and understanding
- Being vigilant so that risks to good attendance such as disadvantage, bullying, etc. are identified early
- Sometimes rewarding good attendance with certificates. This practice was discontinued recently.
The Child and Family Agency is informed if:
- A child is expelled
- A child is suspended
- A child has missed more than 20 days
The Child and Family Agency is furnished with the total attendances in the school year through the Annual Report Form which is completed on-line.
The success of any Attendance policy is measured through
- Improved attendance levels
- Happy confident well-adjusted children
- Positive parental feedback
- Teacher vigilance
- Don’t let your Child Miss Out – NEWB 2004
- Education Welfare Act 2000
- Education Act 1998 and Section 29 Education Act
- “Empty Desks”- C.D.U. Mary Immaculate
Signed on Behalf of the Board of Management:
Chairperson: ______________________________ Date: ______________________
Principal: ______________________________ Date: ____________________
Date of next review: _______________________________