Attendance

Attendance

Introduction

 Regular school attendance is crucial if the pupils of Cadamstown National School are to achieve their potential and meet the three general aims set out by the Primary School Curriculum 1999:

  • to enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her
  • potential as a unique individual
  • to enable the child to develop as a social being through living and cooperating with others and so contribute to the good of society
  • to prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.

Function of the school Attendance Policy:

  1. To outline the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in school attendance.
  2. To outline the procedures for parents when their child is absent from school.
  3. To explain guidelines for reporting poor attendance and the services available to support the pupils in Cadamstown National School in maintaining and improving attendance.

 

The importance of regular school attendance

The importance of regular school attendance cannot be overestimated. Regular attendance is a prerequisite to a good education and therefore must be a high priority for school staff, parents and the pupils. By failing to attend school regularly, pupils diminish the value of education provided for them. They may also damage the learning of others because fluctuations in the size of pupil group may restrict the scope for effective teaching.

 

Legislation and Regulation

The legislation governing school attendance in Ireland is the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the national agency established to ensure that every child attends school regularly, or otherwise receives an appropriate minimum education. It also advises the Government on school attendance and education provision. The Board’s emphasis is on helping schools, families and children, rather than imposing penalties for non-attendance at school. It employs educational welfare officers at local level throughout the country to provide support and advice to parents and schools and to follow up on absences from school.

 

The NEWB published an analysis of school attendance at primary and post primary schools which states that from 2003/2004 to 2005/2006 the national level of non-attendance in primary schools was over 6% or 12 days absence on average for each student. In post-primary schools the level of non-attendance was about 8% or 13 days absence on average for each student.

Responsibilities of Cadamstown National School

The staff of Cadamstown National School are obliged to keep a register of the students attending the school. They must also maintain attendance records for all students and inform the NEWB if a child is absent for more than 20 days in a school year.

The principal must also inform the NEWB if, in his view, a student has an attendance problem. This could arise if the student is not coming to school without any explanation from the parent.

  1. Parents/Guardians are made aware of the official opening and closing times of the school. Any student arriving after these times is late for school.
  2. Individual pupil attendance is recorded each day in the morning. If a child is not present for the roll call they will be marked absent even if they come to school later on in the day.Students will only be allowed to leave the school premises earlier than the official times if there is a confirmed request from parents/guardians.
  3. Parents/guardians will be informed when twenty days absence has been reached and that they have been reported to the NEWB

School Attendance Strategy

The Board of Management of Cadamstown National School has prepared this school attendance policy and submitted it to the NEWB. This policy encourages, in a positive way, regular school attendance and an appreciation of learning within the school.

  •  Promoting High Attendance
  1. A whole school approach to attendance will focus primarily on promoting attendance.
  2. Teachers will record children’s attendance every day. Children who attend every school day in a particular month will have one night off homework as a reward.
  3. There will also be a certificate of Excellent Attendance awarded to any pupil who has missed 2 days or less in the school year.
  4. The child’s attendance will also be recorded on the end of year report.

 

  • Establish Close Contact between Home and School.

Parents should inform the school of any planned absences e.g. appointments, family matters beforehand. If the child is sick and will be absent for longer than three days the parent should ring and inform the class teacher.

Cadamstown National School will make an initial attempt to address irregular attendance as soon as it is identified. The class teacher will contact parents and inform them how many days their child has missed and see how this could be improved.

 

  • Recording and explanations

Parents should provide a written note to explain all absences even if the teacher was informed orally. They can do this by using the “Absence Notes” section in the back of the Homework Journal. The teacher will gather up these notes at the end of the school year.

 

  • Family Holidays during Term Time

The NEWB strongly advises against taking children out of school to go on holiday during term-time.

 

Responsibilities and Duties of Parents

Under the Education Welfare Act 2000 parents must inform the school if their children will be absent from school on a school day and the reason for the absence, for example, illness. It is best to do this in writing. Parents and guardians have a legal obligation to ensure that their child attends a school or otherwise receives an education. If the NEWB considers that a parent is failing in his or her obligation, it must send the parent a School Attendance Notice warning that legal action would follow if the child did not attend school regularly. Before doing this, it must make reasonable efforts to consult with the parents and the child. If the parent fails to comply, he or she may be prosecuted. If convicted, the parent may be fined €634.87 and/or imprisoned for a month and fined €253.95 for each subsequent day that he or she fails to send the child to school. If the parent claims that suitable alternative education is being provided, he or she must prove this. It will be a defence for the parents to show that they have made all reasonable efforts to send the child to school – in such cases, the Health Service Executive (HSE) must be informed.

The NEWB leaflet for parents “Don’t let your child miss out” is available and attached to this policy.

With the consent of the parents, the NEWB may arrange for an examination of the intellectual, emotional or physical development of a child. If the parent refuses consent, the NEWB may apply to the Circuit Court for an order that the examination be carried out. The Circuit Court may grant the order if it is satisfied that the child’s behaviour, lack of educational progress or regular absence from school without a reasonable excuse warrants an examination.

  

What can parents do to help?

  1. Make sure that your child goes to school regularly, arrives on time and keeps to the school’s rules. It’s a good idea to start these positive habits at an early age.
  2. If your child starts missing school, help the school to put things right. Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of him/her missing school.
  3. If your child is ill, contact the school on the first day of your child’s illness.
  4. If your child is ever absent from school, you must tell the school why.  Do this by following the arrangements put in place by the school.
  5. If you want permission for your child to be absent from school because of a special occasion you should ask for permission well in advance and give full details.
  6. Take an interest in your child’s school work.
  7. Check and sign your child’s journal every week

 

Review: This policy will be reviewed at the end of each school year.

Ratification and Communication

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management of SN Baile Mhic Adaim on 18/9/2012.

A copy of the policy will be made available to teachers and parents.

 

 

Signed: Fr. Gerard Breen,                                  Date:  18/9/2012

Chairperson.

 

Signed: Paddy Judge,                                           Date: 18/9/2012

Principal.