Policy on Attendance

Introduction
This policy document was drawn up:

  • To ensure and maintain a high level of attendance at school by all pupils.

The Board of Management, in consultation with staff and parents/guardians drew up this Policy on Attendance.

Rationale
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 the Characteristic Spirit of the School
Scoil Mhuire Naofa, An Ród 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.

Aims

  • 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.

Content

Recording and Reporting of Attendance and Non-Attendance

The school attendance of individual pupils is recorded in the Leabhar Rolla (Roll Book) of each class on a daily basis. Class attendance data is recorded daily in the Leabhar Tinrimh (Attendance Book).  The annual attendance of each individual pupil is recorded in the Clár Leabhar (Register), together with information provided in enrolment forms (Pupil’s Name, Date of Birth, Address, Religion, Parents’ Names and Parents’ Occupations).

If a pupil does not attend on a day when the school is open for instruction, his/her non-attendance will be recorded by the class teacher. The roll call is taken at 9.50am each morning.  Any pupil not present will be marked absent for the day.  The roll book may not be altered once it has been filled in.  A note from parents/guardians is required to explain each absence. Such notes will be retained by the class teacher. Parents/guardians must also provide a note if a child departs early during the school day.

Early departures are recorded by the class teacher in a sign out book.

If a pupil regularly arrives late to the school the Principal will be informed by the class teacher and an individual record kept.  Parents/guardians are informed in writing on the end of year report of the total number of absences during the school year. Pupils whose non-attendance is a concern are invited to meet with the Principal during Parent/Teacher meetings and are informed of the school’s concerns.

The school must inform the Education Welfare Officer in writing, where a child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular, where a pupil is removed from the school register and where a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more.

Whole School Strategies to Promote Attendance

Scoil Mhuire Naofa An Ród, endeavour to create a safe, welcoming environment for our pupils and their parents/guardians. Parents/guardians are consulted in drafting and reviewing policies with the aim of promoting a high-level of co-operation among the school community. 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.

New entrants and their parents/guardians are invited to engage in an induction day, through which the school’s policies and procedures in relation to attendance are explained. There is a focus on the value of regular attendance and on the importance of developing good attendance habits from Junior Infants onwards.

Scoil Mhuire Naofa An Ród school’s homework policy, drawn up in consultation with parents/guardians, clearly outlines the school’s expectations in terms of the quantity of homework assigned and in the quality of homework presented. There is a consistent approach to homework throughout the school.

The calendar for the school year is published annually in the first newsletter of the year. It is hoped that this approach will enable parents/guardians to plan family events around school closures, thus minimising the chances of non-attendance related to family holidays during the school term.

Pupils are expected to wear the correct school uniform.

Parents/guardians are informed if a child has no lunch.

Certificates will be awarded for full attendance during the school term. Plaques will be awarded for full attendance for the school year. Plaques and certificates will be awarded at school assemblies.

Communication
The school has developed a good relationship with the local representative of the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) and there is ongoing communication in relation to children who are at risk.

The school maintains communication with local pre-schools and second-level schools in order to make the transition for pupils as easy as possible. Pupils in Sixth Class participate in S.O.S. programme (Stepping over to second level) to ease the transition from primary to second level education.

Strategies in the Event of Non-Attendance
Section 17 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), states that ‘the parent of a child shall cause the child concerned to attend a recognised school on each school day’.

Section 21 of the act obliges schools to inform the N.E.W.B. (National Education Welfare Board) and 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 NEWB 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 and the information booklet provided for new entrants.

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.

Success Criteria
The following will provide some practical indicators of the success of this policy:

  • An increase in annual attendance rates
  • Board 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.

Implementation
This policy will be implemented immediately following ratification by the Board of Management and communication to the Parents’ Association.

Ratification, Communication and Review
This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management in Term 1, 2011/2012.

It was officially communicated to the members of the school community via the school website on 31st January 2011 and subsequently to the Board of Management.

It was ratified by the Board of Management.