Review of Attendance Policy (Oct 2017)
Changing social habits and patterns necessitated the updating of the schools attendance policy. The redrafting was a collaborative process involving staff, parents and Board of Management. It needs to be reviewed in light of Circular 33/2015 regarding electronic roll books.
There is a strong tradition of good attendance in Scoil Mhuire, Ballyhooly. In co-operation with parents we strive to help each pupil achieve his or her full potential and so we will promote a positive attitude towards good attendance and punctuality.
The main factors contributing to the formulation of a revised policy could be summarized as follows:
To promote and encourage regular attendance as an essential factor in our pupils’ learning
- The changing fabric of society
- The role of the National Education Welfare Board.
- Levels of disadvantage
- Legislative requirements such as the Education Welfare Act 2000 & Education Act 1998
- Changing attitudes to education
Aims and Objectives:
The revised policy is geared towards
- Ensuring that pupils are registered accurately and efficiently
- Ensuring that pupil attendance is recorded daily
- Encouraging full attendance where possible
- Identifying pupils at risk
- Promoting a positive learning environment
- Enabling learning opportunities to be availed of
- Raising awareness of the importance of school attendance
- Fostering an appreciation of learning
- Ensuring compliance with the requirement of the relevant legislation
Compliance with School Ethos:
This policy complements the school ethos of nurturing potential in a caring environment where the welfare of children is paramount.
Scoil Mhuire 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.
Roles and Responsibilities:
It is the responsibility of the principal and class teacher to implement this policy under the guidance of the school’s Board of Management.
The school principal will ensure that the school register for pupils on Aladdin is maintained in accordance with regulations. The principal will 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 or when a pupil’s name is removed from the school register. The Principal will inform parents of a decision to contact the Education Welfare Officer of concerns regarding a pupil and insofar as is practicable, promote the importance of good school attendance among pupils, parents and staff.
The class teacher will maintain the school the Aladdin school software programme in accordance with procedure. Keep a record of explained and unexplained absences. Promote a reward system for pupils with exceptional attendance. Encourage pupils to attend regularly and punctually. Inform the principal of concerns s/he may have regarding the attendance of any pupils.
Class teacher's record individual patterns of attendance and the school secretarial staff make returns to N.E.W.B. The Deputy Principal (Margaret Sheahan) has responsibility for maintaining the Leabhair Tinreamh.
School begins at 9.20 am. All teachers and pupils are expected to be on time. The roll will be called at 10.15 am. The school will contact parents / guardians in the event of pupils being consistently late. The Principal is obliged under the Education Welfare Act, to report children who are persistently late, to the Education Welfare Board.
The school attendance of individual pupils is recorded on Aladdin for each class on a daily basis.
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. Any pupil not present at roll call, 9.45am, will be marked absent for the day unless the teacher has been informed in writing beforehand that the child is due to attend school later that day. The child will need to attend school for at least one and a half hours to be marked present on the roll. The roll 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 recorded on Aladdin and retained by the class teacher in the child’s class file which is passed on to the new class teacher each year. Parents/guardians must also provide a note if a child departs early during the school day. Late arrivals and early departures are recorded in the Student Attendance Book in each classroom. Children will be marked present if they are not in school but are representing the school at outside activities.
Parents/guardians are made aware of the requirements of the NEWB particularly the by-law relating to absences of more than 20 days per school year. They are notified 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 and are informed of the school’s concerns.
If a child misses 10 days they will receive an automatic text from Aladdin / school. The same procedure is in place when a child has reached 20 days absent.
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.
Individual school attendance is recorded on Aladdin on a daily basis. With parental permission pupil details are recorded on Primary Online Database (POD).
A note from parents/guardians is required to cover 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 day.
Parents / guardians are made aware of the requirements of the N.E.W. B particularly the bye law relating to absences of more than 20 days per school year
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
National Education Welfare Board
The Education Welfare Officer is informed if:
- A child is expelled
- A child is suspended
- A child has missed more than 20 days
The N.E.W.B is furnished with the total attendances in the school year through the Annual Report Form which is completed on-line.
- Traditionally, school attendance is strong in our school and has not been adversely affected by social changes. However, staff remains vigilant so that risk students are identified early. Risk students can be categorised as those who miss more than 5 days in a 20 day period without an accompanying note of explanation from parents/guardians. Appropriate contact takes place between school and parent/guardians either via letter or note in the homework diary when this occurs. A meeting between parents and Principal may be set up if deemed necessary.
- Where a pupil who has been absent for 10 days or more parents / guardians will be notified by text accordingly. All staff to be vigilant.
- Absences of more than 20 days are automatically referred to the Education Welfare Officer.
See Statement of Strategies for School Attendance 2017
Communication with other Schools
- When a child transfers from Scoil Mhuire Ballyhooly to another school, schools records on attendance, academic progress etc. will be forwarded on receipt of written notification of the transfer.
- When a child transfers into Scoil Mhuire Ballyhooly confirmation of transfer will be communicated to the child’s previous school, and appropriate records sought.
Primary Online Database (POD) can automatically transfer pupil personal profile information.
- Pupils transferring from Scoil Mhuire Ballyhooly to a Post Primary school will have their records forwarded on receipt of confirmation of enrolment.
Student Attendance Book
- To highlight the importance of remaining in school for a full school day
- To ensure the safety of all pupils in our school and following child protection guidelines, by having all visitors and parents report to the school office
- To ensure the accountability of all pupils during any emergency evacuations
- To retain a record of pupils regularly leaving school early
Pupils are expected to remain in school for a full school day. Pupils should only be
removed early from school in cases of emergency or unavoidable medical
Unavoidable medical appointments / withdrawing a sick child from school
If a pupil needs to leave early for an unavoidable medical appointment, a letter
should be sent in beforehand from his/her parents.
If a child is sick during the school day, the secretary/teacher will firstly ring the
parent and if he/she is not contactable, they will ring the emergency contact number. Parents should ensure all phone numbers are up to date.
When collecting the child, the parent should report to the school office where
she/he will be asked to sign the child out in the Student Attendance Book. The
parent can then wait in reception while the secretary collects the child from
the classroom. The teacher may meet with the parent also to explain about any sickness that may have occurred.
On returning the child after the appointment, the return time will be recorded in
the Student Attendance Book.
No child will be allowed to leave the school with any other adult other than
his/her parent unless a letter or phone call has been received beforehand naming the person who is to collect the child.
The parent should ring the school en-route and explain the situation. The secretary
can then have the child collected from the class and ready to meet the parent.
The parent will be asked to sign the child out in the Student Attendance Book.
Communication with Parents
The school circulated the N.E.W.B information booklet “Don’t Let Your Child Miss Out” to all parents. The school also informs all parents of the implications of non-attendance as per the Education Welfare Act 2000. This information is disseminated by school circular. Parents of new children are informed on enrolment.
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 good 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.
The success of any Attendance policy is measured through
- Improved attendance levels
- Happy confident well adjusted children
- Positive parental feedback
- Teacher vigilance
- Don’t let your Child Miss Out - NEWB 2004
- Education Welfare Act 2000
- Section 29 Education Act
- “Empty Desks”- C.D.U. Mary Immaculate
Time & Implementation
This policy will be implemented once passed by the Board of Management at the meeting on 8th November 2017. It will be available to be read by all interested parties in the Plean Scoile folder in the office.
It will be reviewed again in 2019.
Scoil Mhuire Ballyhooly