This policy document was drawn up:
To ensure and maintain a high level of attendance at school by all pupils.
The Principal, in consultation with The Board of Management, staff and parents' committee officers drew up this Policy on Attendance.
The policy was drafted for the following reasons:
The Board of Management wishes to comply with legislation, such as:
The Education Act, 1998
The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000
The Board of Management wishes to promote and encourage regular attendance as an essential factor in our pupils' learning.
Relationship to School Ethos
Ethos: In Scoil Phádraig Naofa, inspired by our Catholic faith, we nurture learning, friendship and mutual respect.
Scoil Phádraig Naofa endeavours to enable every pupil to actively participate in all school activities. Regular attendance helps to create a stable learning environment for all pupils, and the school hopes to promote co-operation among pupils, parents/guardians and staff in maintaining a high level of regular attendance through the school year.
To ensure a positive and welcoming learning environment
To raise awareness of the importance of regular school attendance
To identify pupils at risk of leaving school early
To promote and to foster positive attitudes to learning
To ensure compliance with the requirements of the relevant legislation.
A strategy for promoting good school attendance
The Board of Management is committed to providing a positive school atmosphere which is conducive to promoting good school attendance.
In this regard:
Scoil Phádraig Naofa endeavours to create a safe, welcoming and friendly environment for our pupils and their parents/guardians.
The teaching staff collaborates in the planning and implementation of the primary school curriculum, so as to provide a stimulating learning environment for all pupils.
The school will promote development of good self-esteem in the children.
A special reward system will be introduced for promoting good attendance at school.
The attendance rates of pupils will be monitored by the class teacher in the first instance, and the class teacher will notify the Principal of any concerns regarding the attendance of any child.
Pupils with a poor attendance record will, insofar as is practicable, be supported in an effort to improve their attendance.
New entrants and their parents/guardians are, each year, invited to an induction meeting, through which the school's policies and procedures and other general information are explained.
The calendar for the coming school year is distributed to parents annually and published on the school website and a reminder is published in September. Parents/guardians are encouraged to plan family events around school closures, thus minimising the chances of non-attendance related to family holidays during the school term.
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 and approve of school attendance;
Discussing planned absences with the school.
Refraining, if at all 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 (with dentists etc), 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.
Recording and Reporting of Attendance and Non-Attendance
Section [(21) (9)] of the Act states that: "a pupil's absence can only be authorised by the Principal when the child is involved in activities organised by the school or in which the school is involved". The school principal cannot authorise a child's absence for holidays during school time. However, it is essential that parents inform the school of such arrangements.
Reasons for pupils' absences must be communicated in writing, by parents/guardians to the school and will be retained by the school. To facilitate this, such communications should be in the homework diary on the designated pages. Parents/guardians should communicate reasons for absences in Infant classes on a separate page or sheet of paper. If a child is absent, when the child returns to school s/he should give/send a written note to the class teacher which contains the child's name, the dates of absence and the reason for the absence. These notes will form a record which may be inspected by the Education Welfare Officer on a visit to the school. The school may contact parents when a written explanation for the child's absence is not received by the school.
Section 21 of the act obliges schools to inform the Education Welfare Officer if a child is absent on more than 20 days in any school year, or if a child does not attend school on a regular basis.
In such cases the Education Welfare Officer (following all reasonable efforts by the Education Board to consult with the child's parents and the Principal of the school) may serve a 'School Attendance Notice' on any parent who he/she concludes is failing or neglecting to cause the child to attend the school. A successful case taken against the parent may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.
Reasons for absence are recorded and reported to the EWB five times during the school year through an online system. An annual report is submitted - not more than six weeks following the end of the school year - detailing the overall level of attendance at the school during that school year. This information will be communicated to the school community through the school's newsletter.
The Principal in consultation with the Deputy Principal shall
Inform the Education Welfare Officer:
If a pupil is not attending school regularly.
When a pupil has been absent for 20 or more days during the course of a school year.
If a pupil has been suspended for a period of six or more days.
When a pupil's name is removed from the school register.
Inform parents of a decision to contact the Education Welfare Officer of concerns regarding a pupil.
The Deputy Principal in consultation with the Principal will:
Maintain attendance copy circulated around the classes for the recording of daily attendance for the Leabhar Tinnrimh.
Ensure that the Leabhar Tinnrimh and the school register of pupils is maintained in accordance with regulations.
Ensure that the Register is filled in by 30th September. Enrolment forms and birth certificates are used to fill in the Register. A copy of the birth certificates is taken so that originals can be returned.
Give roll number for each new child or transferring pupil to class teachers for the class roll book and each child's name and address in Irish on receipt of same from the Principal.
Will kee letters of confirmation of enrolment of pupils who have transferred to another school on file.
Insofar as is practicable, promote the importance of good school attendance among pupils, parents and staff
The class teacher will:
Maintain the school roll-book in accordance with procedure.
Keep a record of explained and unexplained absences.
Contact parents in instances where absences are not explained in writing.
Encourage pupils to attend regularly and punctually.
Inform the Principal of concerns s/he may have regarding the attendance of any pupil.
Pupils have the clear responsibility to attend school regularly and punctually.
Pupils should inform staff if there is a problem that may lead to their absence.
Pupils are responsible for promptly passing on absence notes from parents to their class teacher.
Pupils are responsible for passing school correspondence to their parents, on the specified day.
Transfer to Another School
Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), the Principal of a child's current school must notify the Principal of the child's previous school that the child is now registered in their school.
When a Principal receives notification that a child has been registered elsewhere he/she must notify the Principal of the pupil's new school, of any problems in relation to attendance at the pupil's former school and of such matters relating to the child's educational progress as he or she considers appropriate. This applies to pupils who transfer between primary schools and to pupils who transfer from primary to second-level education.
Subject to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act attendance, behaviour and academic records of children who transfer to another primary school will be passed to the Principal of the school, by post, as soon as we receive written notification of transfer.
Attendance, behaviour and academic records of children who transfer from another primary school will be sought directly from the previous school.
Attendance, behaviour and academic records of pupils transferring to a second level school will be sent to the school, if requested, once enrolment has been confirmed.
The following will provide some practical indicators of the success of this policy:
An increase in annual attendance rateBoard of Management, Staff and parent/guardian awareness of their legal obligations under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000
Roles and Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the Principal and staff to implement this policy under the guidance of the school's Board of Management.
This policy will be implemented immediately following ratification by the Board of Management and communication to the Parents' Committee.
This policy was drafted by the Principal in Term 2, 2010/2011.
It was ratified by the Board of Management on Date: ___________________
Signed: _____________________________ Chairperson, BoM
The Board of Management will review this policy in three years' time or sooner should any problems arise.