St. Josephs CBS, Nenagh believes that regular and punctual school attendance is an essential requirement for all students seeking to attain their full potential at our school
- To comply with the Education Welfare Act 2000
- To maintain accurate attendance records
- To discourage absenteeism, lateness and unwarranted withdrawal of students during the school day
- To develop a sense of personal responsibility in students
- To acknowledge the role of parents and their responsibility in ensuring their child’s full attendance in school
Aims and Objectives:
- To encourage full attendance by all students for the full school year
- To detect and correct patterns of poor attendance, as quickly as possible
- To ensure that students punctually attend each class period in the school day, unless involved in a school based activity
- To improve communication with parents regarding punctuality and attendance
Roles and Responsibilities:
- To ensure that adequate systems are in place to record attendances and absences of students
- To make reports to the Education Welfare Officer as required by the Education Welfare Act 2000. They must maintain attendance records for all students and inform TUSLA, if a child is absent for more than 20 days in a school year.
- To inform parents/guardians and students of procedures for the notification of absences or withdrawal of students from the school
- The rewarding of students who have good attendance records
- With the assistance of the Attendance Officer, to identify students who are at risk of dropping out at an early stage
- The establishment of closer contacts between the school and the families concerned
- The co-ordination with other schools of programmes aimed at promoting good behaviour and encouraging attendance
- The identification of aspects of the operation and management of the school and of the curriculum that may contribute to truancy and the removal of those aspects in so far as they are not necessary for the proper running of the school.
- To receive reports from Year-heads and the Attendance Officer on issues relating to attendance
- To monitor and investigate unauthorized absences (with class tutors, Year-heads and the Attendance Officer) from the school
- To contact parents/guardians where unauthorized absences are suspected
- To seek and file written explanations for student absences from parents/guardians in the school journal
- To note trends in absence records of individual students and to bring it to the attention of the parents/guardians of the student concerned
- To contact parents/guardians where unauthorized absences occur or are suspected and to notify the Deputy-Principal and Attendance Officer of the same
- To monitor students attendance through weekly reports on VSWARE
- To liaise with year heads in investigating the reason or reasons for poor attendance.
- To discuss attendance issues with the Principal and Deputy Principal to ascertain how to proceed in individual cases.
- To inform students and parents of the need to contact the school and provide medical certification when a student is absent for medical reasons either during the illness or upon return to school.
- To refer students experiencing difficulties with school life to the pastoral team.
- To talk to students who are regularly late and encourage them improve their time keeping.
- To take a roll in each class, using the online system
- To discuss student’s attendance records with parents/guardians at Parent-Teacher Meetings
- To impress on the students the importance of regular attendance and ensure that they understand their responsibility to find out and “catch up” on worked missed during their absence.
- To report regular absences to Year-heads and class tutors and Attendance Officer
- To ensure regular attendance of students and unwarranted absences
- To notify the school in writing the reason for all student absences: such notice should be given prior to the absence if possible or otherwise immediately afterwards in the school journal. Telephone or oral messages must be confirmed in writing as soon as possible
- To provide to the school reliable contact telephone numbers and alternative “emergency” numbers.
- To adhere to the procedures set out in this policy for the withdrawal of students from the school during the school day
- To acknowledge and where necessary, reply to communications from the school in relation to attendance issues
- Parents and guardians have a legal obligation to ensure that their child attends a school or otherwise receives an education. If the TUSLA (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
Monitoring of Attendance
- Attendance is monitored through VSWARE. Each class teacher records their absences for each class. Management, Year Heads and the Attendance Officer have access to attendance trends and weekly reports for groups and individual attendance for full days, partial days and individual lessons.
- Every student is expected to be in attendance from 9am until 3.36pm on every school day
- Students may not be absent from school except when the absence is unavoidable due to illness, urgent family reasons or other legitimate and unavoidable reason as listed in the school journal
- It is the responsibility of the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) to furnish the school with a signed and dated note outlining the reason for every recorded absence. Parents are requested to ensure all discretionary absences occur outside term time. School management provide a calendar of the school year to assist them in this regard. If a note is not produced the day following their absence, the student is referred to the Year-head by the class teacher
- Students arriving late to class must sign the Late Book in the office before going to class. The student will get a note of “late arrival” from the Office in his student journal, stating the time the student is sent to class. Students are marked “late” in the online system by teachers. Late arrival to school on a repeated basis may be viewed as a breach of discipline and sanctions may apply. School management may text parents for morning or afternoon lateness, and there is after school detention for persistent lateness
- In the event of the student becoming ill or getting injured during the day they should inform their Year-head who may send them to the Principal or Deputy Principal to obtain permission to go home. If such permission is granted, contact with their parents/guardians should be through the school office. Students should not contact home via a mobile phone prior to getting permission to leave the school premises. Parents/guardians are expected to make arrangements to collect their son at the school office in the event of a student being ill or injured. When a student returns to school, he must have a note to explain his absence.
- If a student is returning to school after a prolonged absence, the following applies:
- The student reports to the Deputy-Principal or Principal before returning to class with a note of explanation in his student journal
- The Deputy-Principal or Principal will sign the note of explanation for the prolonged absence in the student journal
- The Deputy-Principal or Principal will discuss the student’s return to class and how work missed will be made up
- The Deputy-Principal or Principal will inform the Year-head of the student’s return to class
- Where applicable, medical certificate is to be presented and retained in the school
- The unauthorised absence of a student from any class during the school day will be viewed as a breach of discipline and appropriate sanctions may apply
- Where a teacher is organising an approved activity which necessitates the absence of students from class, a list of such students is posted in the staffroom and a copy given in to the school office
- On rare occasions, a student may be absent from school due to suspension for breach of discipline. Students are expected to use their time out of school productively by applying themselves to their studies.
The National Educational Welfare Board
TUSLA, Child and Family Agency, (formerly National Educational Welfare Board) 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. Their 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. They also help to co-ordinate all policies concerning attendance and educational welfare. The Board also:
- Monitors school attendance, and takes a range of measures where children do not attend school
- Maintains a register of children who are not attending a recognised school
- Maintains a register of young persons of 16 and 17 years of age who leave school early to take up employment and makes arrangements for their continuing education and training in consultation with providers and employers
- Collects data on school attendance and non-attendance, suspensions and expulsions
- Intervenes in relation to proposed school expulsions
With the consent of the parents, TUSLA may arrange for an examination of the intellectual, emotional or physical development of a child. If the parent refuses consent, TUSLA 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.
Education outside the school system
The Minister may prescribe minimum standards of education for those educated outside the recognised school system.
TUSLA is obliged to maintain a register of children who are receiving education but not attending a recognised school. In effect, this register will show the names of children who are being educated at home or in a non-recognised school – it is not a register of school dropouts.
Parents, whose children are not attending a recognised school, must register their child with TUSLA. If the parent agrees, TUSLA will then investigate the educational arrangements that have been made for the child and judge whether or not the child is receiving the prescribed minimum education. If TUSLA is satisfied, it may enter the child’s name on the register.
If TUSLA is not satisfied, it may either require the parents to comply with its requirements in order to ensure that the child receives the prescribed minimum education and then register the child, or refuse to register the child. There are also provisions for removing a child’s name from the register
Obligation to Attend School
Parents do not have to send their children to a recognised school if:
- The child is on the register described above
- Parents have made an application have their child included on the register but a decision has not been made or an appeal is pending
- The child is being educated outside the state
- There is a good reason for the child not attending school
If TUSLA refuses to register a child, or requires an undertaking from a parent or removes a child from the register, the parent may appeal to the Minister. The Minister will appoint an appeal committee, which may decide to register the child, refuse to register the child or require an undertaking.
Where no appeal is brought, TUSLA must make every reasonable effort to have the child in question enrolled in another school. If this fails, TUSLA must ensure that the child receives a prescribed minimum education
Sanctions for Breaches of the School Attendance Policy:
Refer to the “Code of Behaviour”