Rutland N.S. Attendance Policy was devised in June 2006, reviewed in February 2011 and revised in May 2017
Aims and Objectives:
Rutland National School endeavours to promote a positive learning environment and provide learning opportunities for children which encourage school attendance. This policy complements the school ethos of nurturing potential in a caring environment where the welfare of children is paramount.
The objectives of the school attendance policy are
Encouraging full school attendance where possible
- Listing the strategies to improve attendance
- Outlining the interventions to address problematic school attendance
- Identifying pupils at risk of early school leaving
- Raising awareness of the importance of school attendance
- Improving overall attendance figures
- Providing lessons for children which are structured, focussed and differentiated to address the varying needs of our pupils
The school promotes good attendance by;
- Creating a safe and welcoming environment
- Ensuring children are happy
- Displaying kindness, compassion and understanding
- Keeping up to date with attendance records and acting upon relevant information.
- Being vigilant so that risks to good attendance such as disadvantage, bullying, etc, are identified early
- Rewarding good attendance with certificates, mid-term and end-of-term prize giving ceremonies
- Repeatedly emphasising the importance of attendance and punctuality to children and parents
Individual school attendance is recorded on the DataBiz daily by each class teacher. Statistics are then recorded in the Leabhar Tinreamh. The children’s attendance is now filed online via Databiz which is integrated with POD and has replaced the school register.
Parents are made aware of the requirements of the TUSLA Education Welfare Service particularly the law relating to absences of more than 20 days per school year. Parent’s phone numbers are released to the NEWB via referral forms.
The school recognises that punctuality & attendance are interrelated and being in school on time is promoted.
What constitutes attendance at school?
- The Official starting time of school is 8:45 a.m. Any children who are more than 60 minutes late for school are marked as absent. This is communicated to parents at the beginning of each school year via letter and at the start of year welcome meetings.
- Conversely, any child who attends school for one hour or less, leaving to attend an appointment or otherwise, but does not return to the school will equally be marked absent, unless there is a genuine medical reason for such
- Whether children attending secondary school open days are marked absent or present is dependent on the times of entrance exams, etc and is at the discretion of the class teacher
- The Board of Management are keen that children attend school daily and that extra-curricular trips from local agencies do not impinge on children’s attendance and education. The BOM are willing to work with local agencies to ensure this does not occur
- Children encouraged by staff to attend breakfast club daily to ensure they are in school on time.
- Clock display in reception highlighting ‘on time for school’ in green, ‘late for school (5-10 minutes) in orange and ‘very late for school’ in red to visually reinforce the concept of being on time for school
- Class dojo points are awarded to children who arrive to school on time.
- Senior pupils pay time back at yard if they have been late three times without a note
- Children who arrive any time after 9.50am will be marked absent from school
Rewarding Full Attendance
- Reward best class for full attendance termly as an incentive with pizza party or similar reward
- Attendance Notice Board –there is a notice board in the reception area displaying photos of children who have had full attendance for the previous term. A separate section of notice board displays photos of children who have had full attendance for the entire year.
- Monthly pictures of children in each class who have had full attendance uploaded to the school website. Children also given sticker/treat.
- Rewards at end of term for children who have not missed one day that school year/have only missed 1-2 days that school year.
Christmas – ice-cream/breakfast party
Easter – ice-cream/breakfast party or picnic in park
Summer – cinema/zoo or similar and certificate of attendance
Recording attendance and Communication with parents
- Beginning of year Reminder letter to parents informing them of the provisions. (See attached letter) of Section 21 (4) of The Education Welfare Act (2000)
- The school circulates NEWB information booklets. The school also informs all parents of the implications of non-attendance as per the Education Welfare Act 2000. Parents of new children are informed on enrolment.
- Posters promoting attendance displayed in the school
- An attendance steering committee comprising of the in school management team and the HSCL. This committee meets every month to discuss issues pertaining to attendance
- Class record sheet of persistent late comers
- Parent template for absences to encourage reporting reasons for absences
- Teachers discuss and emphasise importance of attendance at beginning of year ‘Welcome Meeting.’ Statistics related to correlation between attendance and academic achievement are shown to parents.
Staff remain vigilant so that risk students at risk of non-attendance are identified early. A meeting between parents and Principal will be set up if deemed necessary.
Steps taken to address poor attendance
- After 5 days of absences class teachers will speak with parent/guardian
- After 10 days of absences parent/guardian will be sent standardised letter and TUSLA/EWS attendance information sheet
- After 15 days of absences the principal will contact and meet with parents/guardians
- After 20 days of absences the NEWB will be informed
- After 20 days, parents will be sent a letter to inform them their child has missed over 20 days and the school has been obliged to send this information to TUSLA in a referral
Regular interim measures taken by the Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator, class teacher or other staff may be undertaken include include phone calls, discussions with parents, HSCL home visits target family activities such as parent and child cooking.
The school principal and HSCL draw up a list of children with poor attendance for the target list and monitor it weekly. This is revised after each mid-term and reviewed by the attendance steering committee 2/3 times per year.
- If a child has been absent for a certain number of days**, their attendance is then monitored daily on a record chart by the HSCL
- Rewards (ice-cream party, golden tickets, stickers etc.) are then given at the end of certain time periods (2 weeks, 1 month) for target children who have improved their attendance
*This number depends on the time of year, the child’s circumstances, attendance history, etc
TUSLA/Education Welfare Service
Under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, schools are obliged to contact TUSLA’s
Education Welfare Officer to inform them if:
- A child has missed a cumulative total of 20 days of school or more
- A student has been suspended for a cumulative total of six or more days
- A principal is concerned about a student’s attendance
- Before a child is expelled
The school will also contact TUSLA if a child is on a reduced timetable for a significant length of time.
The NEWB is furnished with the total attendances in the school year through the Annual Attendance Report which is completed on-line.
Rutland NS also submit a Statement of Strategy for School Attendance to TUSLA.
The success of our Attendance Policy will be measured through;
- Improved Attendance levels – as measured monthly/termly through Databiz statistics and annually for review by the staff and BOM
- Positive parental feedback
- Teacher vigilance
Beginning of year letter sent to all parents
Section 21(4) of the Education and Welfare Act 2000 places an obligation on all schools to report absences from school of 20 days or more in any school year to the Education and Welfare Board. This same Education Act states that it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that their child attends school regularly and if there is a reason for the absence parents/guardians must explain this to the Teacher/Principal. This notice should be given in writing once the child returns to school. To help parents/guardians there is an attached template that you can use to explain your child’s absence. Please fill in relevant date, teachers name, tick reason for absence and sign.
Schools are also obliged to mark a child absent if /she arrives later than 60 minutes after official school starting time i.e., after 9.50 a.m. It is extremely important that your child arrives in school punctually. The most important work of the day is completed in the morning and missing out on this will have a negative effect on your child’s educational progress. All teachers will be monitoring the times children arrive in school for the next month to identify the late-comers.
We fully understand that there are often very genuine reasons for absences and late-starts but persistent absences and lateness is not something we welcome in the school.
More than 10 days absent letter sent
I am writing regarding X’s attendance. X has missed 10 days of school so far this year, which is two full weeks.
Under the law, every child must attend school regularly up to sixteen years of age. When your child is absent, as their parent, you must let the school know the reason for this absence every time. It is school policy that you do this in writing.
Under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, when a child has been absent for 20 days the school has a duty to report this to the TUSLA Education Welfare Officer.
Please ensure that X attends school daily, unless X is very sick. Thank you for your co-operation in this matter.
Principal, Rutland N.S.