Holy Family School
Telephone: 049-5552257 Old Bridge Road,
Fax: 049-5556150 Cootehill,
Policy on Attendance
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.
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
Holy Family School endeavors 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 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
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 Clar 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 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 in the pupils file. The parents of pupils whose non-attendance is a concern are contacted by the Principal to discuss reasons for non-attendance and to work with parents to encourage attendance.
Whole school strategies to promote attendance
Holy Family School endeavors to create a safe, welcoming environment for our pupils and their parents / guardians. Traditionally school attendance is strong in our school. The school practices an ‘Open Door’ policy and is conscious of the strong support from parents and the Parents Association.
Due to the category of pupils attending the school the special needs of our pupils may lead to non-attendance because of health or behavioural issues. It is the policy of the school that the Principal and staff will work with parents / guardians to put in place programmes to encourage attendance.
The teaching staff collaborates in the planning and implementation of the school curriculum, so as to provide a stimulating learning environment for all pupils.
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:
- The school curriculum, insofar as is practicable, is flexible and relevant to the needs of the individual child.
- The school will promote development of good self-concept and self worth in the children
- Support for pupils are in place in accordance with Department of Education & Science guidelines
- Internal communication procedures are in place to inform teachers of the special needs of pupils
- The assistance of the Education Welfare Officer will be utilised, if necessary.
- 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 poor attendance record will, insofar as is practicable, be supported in an effort to improve their attendance.
The school principal will:
- Ensure that the school register of pupils is maintained in accordance with regulations
- 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
- Insofar as is practicable, promote the importance of good school attendance among pupils, parents and staff
The class teacher will:
- Record school attendance
- 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 she/he may have regarding the attendance of any pupil.
Our school has a policy of dual placement. For part of the week the pupil attends the Holy Family School and for the remainder of the week the pupil attends their local national school. The two schools meet regularly to develop programmes, monitor the child’s progress and encourage attendance. The pupil is marked present on the days he/she attends the Holy Family School.
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 recognized school on each school day’.
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 Education Welfare Board 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.
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.
Guidance for parents
Section [(21) (9)] of the Acts states that ‘a pupil’s absence can only be authorized by the Principal when the child is involved in activities organized 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 communication should not be in the homework diary, but on a separate page or sheet of paper. If a child is absent, when the child returns to school s/he should give 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 will contact parents when a written explanation for the child’s absence is not received by the school.
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 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
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.
This policy will be implemented immediately following ratification by the Board of Management and communication to the Parents Association.
This policy was drafted in Term 1, 2010/2011.
It was ratified by the Board of Management on ____________________________________
Signed: _______________________________________________ Chairperson, BOM
Review Date: _________________________________________________