Statement of Strategy for School Attendance
Changing social habits and patterns necessitated the updating of the schools attendance policy. The redrafting was a collaborative school process involving staff and Board of Management, following initial drafting by a representative group.
The main factors contributing to the formulation of a revised policy can be summarised as follows:
- To promote and encourage regular attendance as an essential factor in our pupils’ learning
- Legislative requirements such as the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the Education Act, 1998
- The role of the Education Welfare Service (TUSLA)
- Levels of disadvantage
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
- Promoting a positive learning environment
- Fostering an appreciation of learning and education
- Enabling equal access to learning opportunities for all pupils
- Raising awareness of the importance of school attendance
- Developing links between the school and the families of children who may be at risk of developing attendance difficulties
- Identifying and addressing obstacles to school attendance
- Ensuring compliance with the requirements of the relevant legislation
Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School
In co-operation with parents and guardians, we strive to help each pupil achieve his/her full potential and so we will promote a positive attitude towards good attendance and punctuality.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Principal and Staff will insofar as is practicable, promote the importance of good school attendance among children and parents/ guardians.
The Principal will:
- ensure that the school register of children is maintained in accordance with regulations
- ensure that the Education Welfare Service is informed where necessary
- when 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
- when a pupil has been suspended for a period of six or more days
- when a pupil has been expelled
- inform parents of a decision to contact the Education Welfare Service when concerned about a pupil’s attendance
The class teacher will:
- record attendance in accordance with procedure
- monitor pupil attendance and punctuality
- encourage children to attend regularly and punctually
- promote a reward system for children with exceptional and improving attendance records
- keep a record of explained and unexplained absences
- monitor patterns of absenteeism in respect of individual children about whom they may be concerned
- inform the Principal of concerns regarding the attendance of any pupil
The Home School Community Liaison Teacher (HSCL) may:
- support parents in their role to ensure regular and punctual school attendance
- alert parents by phone call or text message when absences of 10 days or more have accumulated
- notify parents/guardians by letter when absences of 15 and 20 days have been reached
Parents/Guardians can support regular attendance by:
- ensuring their child/children attend school regularly and on time
- notifying the school if their child/children cannot attend for any reason
- informing the school, preferably in writing, of the reasons for absence from school
- ensure, insofar as is possible, that children’s appointments (with dentists etc.) are arranged for times outside of school hours
- refrain, if at all possible, from taking holidays during school time
- show an interest in their children’s school day and their children’s homework
- encourage their children to participate in school activities
- praise and encourage their children’s achievements
- contact the school immediately, if they have concerns about school related matters which may impact negatively on their child’s attendance
- School begins at 9.00am.
- All pupils and teachers are expected to be on time.
- 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.
Recording and Reporting Attendance
- Attendance of individual pupils is recorded on the Aladdin computerised system each day.
- Attendance is recorded at 10am each morning.
- Pupils not in attendance at this time are recorded as absent. This record cannot be altered.
- Although pupils arriving after 10am have been recorded as being absent, their arrival time will be noted on the Aladdin computerized system.
- Parents/ Guardians are required to provide an explanation, preferably in writing, to explain absences.
- Reasons for absences may be written in pupil’s homework journal
- Reasons given for absence or late arrival will be recorded on the Aladdin computerized system.
- Children leaving during school day are required to complete a form which will be retained by the class teacher. This form will be available from the office.
- All notes pertaining to absences will be retained for the duration of school year.
- Parents/Guardians are notified of the total number of days missed in the end of year report card
Strategies to Promote Good 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 will endeavour to ensure that:
- the school curriculum, insofar as is practicable, is flexible and relevant to the needs of the individual child
- new entrants and their parents/guardians may be invited to an induction meeting through which the school policies and procedures in relation to attendance are explained.
- the calendar of closures for the school year is communicated with parents/guardians at start of school year.
- reward systems are in place to encourage and reward good attendance These may include:
- Certificates for X number of days attended
- Highlighting most improved attendance
- Attendance competitions between class groupings
- Acknowledging good and improved attenders at School Assemblies
- the awarding of “Full Attendance” certificates by the Mayor is celebrated annually.
- there is a consistent approach to homework throughout the school and students may be supported through attendance at “Homework Club”.
- all pupils can avail of a free lunch as provided through the School Meals Scheme
- art, music, drama and sporting activities may be scheduled for times of the week when poor attendance may arise i.e. Mondays/ Fridays
- programmes to support pupils in their social, emotional and personal development are utilised. These may include :
- anti-bullying programmes i.e. SALT
- Incredible Years ( NEPS)
- Roots of Empathy ( Barnardos )
- Rainbows Bereavement Programme
- Social Programmes i.e. Re-Tracking
- Learning for Life (School Completion Programme)
- programmes to encourage and develop the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills which support student life skills are availed of. These may include:
- Junior Achievement
- the school works in partnership with local bodies to promote good school attendance and promote equal access to learning opportunities for all pupils. These bodies may include:
- Waterford Area Partnership
- Waterford Sports Partnership
- School Completion Programme
- Junior Achievement Programme
- Waterford I.T.
- Municipal Library
- Waterford Corporation
- Local Clubs e.g. GAA, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, boxing etc
Responding to Poor Attendance
- Attendance of individual pupils will be recorded on the Aladdin computerised system daily.
- Aladdin will alert the class teacher and Home School Community Liaison teacher ( HSCL ) when absences of 10, 15 and 20 days have been reached
- At 10 days the HSCL will meet with the class teacher to discuss reasons given by parents for absences.
- Following this, the HSCL may alert parents by text message or a phonecall as to the number of days missed to date.
- The HSCL may visit or arrange to meet parents/ guardians informally to discuss concerns.
- When a pupil has missed 15 days, following a discussion with the class teacher and Principal, a letter may be sent to parents informing them of situation.
- This may be followed up by a meeting with the HSCL and Parents/Guardians to discuss and address concerns.
- At 20 days accumulative absence, a formal letter will be sent to parents informing them of the school’s statutory duty to inform the Education Welfare Service.
- A formal meeting may be arranged between parents/guardians, HSCL, class teacher and Principal to address concerns.
- Where the school has made all efforts to address attendance difficulties, the Principal may seek assistance from the Education Welfare Service ( TUSLA)
- When a pupil transfers from Presentation Primary School to another school, appropriate records sought by school authorities will be forwarded on receipt of written notification of the transfer.
- When a child transfers into Presentation Primary School, confirmation of transfer will be communicated to the child’s previous school and appropriate records sought.
- Pupils transferring from Presentation Primary School to a post primary school will have appropriate records forwarded on receipt of confirmation of enrolment.
- The Education Welfare Service is informed of the total attendances in the school year annually.
- The Education Welfare Service is informed when:
- A child has missed more than 20 days.
- A child has been suspended
- A child has been expelled
The success of any Attendance Policy is measured through:
- Improved attendance levels as measured through Aladdin computerised records and statistical returns
- Happy confident well -adjusted children
- Positive parental feedback
- Teacher vigilance.
This Statement of Strategy was approved by the Board of Management in February 2017
The Statement of Strategy was submitted to TUSLA