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Presentation Primary School Waterford

A great tradition of education in Waterford since 1798

Statement of Strategy for School Attendance

Statement of Strategy for School Attendance

Introduction

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.

Rationale

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

 

Punctuality

  • 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
    • Raffles
    • 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
    • Bizworld
  • 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)

 

Communication

  • 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

 

Evaluation

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