Introductory Statement

This policy is being reviewed and revised following attendance at NEWB School Attendance & Participation Conference and in recognition that school attendance is very important for our students.

 

Rationale

Scoil Chiarain decided to review its attendance because:

  • It is a priority area identified by management and staff
  • It is a requirement under the Education & Welfare Act 2000
  • A high percentage of students (34%)miss more than 20 days per year and are notified to the NEWB (figures June 2007 & June 2008)
  • Broken attendance interferes with children’s learning and participation in school life

 

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of School

Scoil Chiarain “strives to maximise the learning skills, social skills, self worth and sense of independence of it’s’ pupils.”  In order to benefit fully from the programme on offer, we believe that students need to attend regularly.

 

Aims

Scoil Chiarain seeks to:

  • To promote positive attitudes to and foster an appreciation of learning
  • To create a nurturing, safe learning environment where students feel welcome and secure
  • To raise awareness of the importance of school attendance
  • To identify students at risk of leaving school early
  • To enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development
  • To provide a relevant, varied and interesting learning experience for students
  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner that encourage pupils to attend school
  • To comply with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act 2000 and work with Welfare Officers and other professionals to achieve the highest level of attendance possible for each student.

 

Current Policy

Role of Class Teacher

  1. Teachers call the roll daily and keep an accurate record of attendance.
  2. Parents are informed that children should attend every day unless they have a valid reason to be excused. Teachers reinforce this message with parents and students.
  3. A written explanation is expected from parents to explain any absences. In some cases, a telephone call to the school will suffice.
  4. In the event of a parent failing to contact the school, a standard note will be sent home requesting a parent’s signature. (Appendix 1)
  5. Written notes and parent forms will be held as part of the child’s file for one year by the class teacher.
  6. A protocol is in place for marking rolls, collating information each week and month and to gather information for quarterly returns to NEWB. (Appendix 2). Teachers are required to co-operate fully by having documentation prepared promptly for collection.
  7. The Home Economics teacher is responsible for completing own rolls and making returns to the principal at the end of the year. These returns are forwarded to the DES.

 

Role of Special Duties Teacher

  1. One teacher has responsibility for monitoring and recording school attendance. Weekly and monthly totals are collected from each class group. Individual students identified and notified to the principal for follow up with EWO.
  2. School returns to NEWB are collated and completed and brought to the principal to forward.
  3. To give advice on filling in rolls or answer queries in relation to roll books when requested by staff members.
  4. To provide New/Class roll books to each class group each year.

 

Role of Principal

  1. To highlight attendance issues with parents, staff and BOM.
  2. To provide school calendar to parents to allow them plan for school breaks.
  3. To communicate concerns to the Education Welfare Officer and work with her towards resolving any difficulties a student may be  experiencing.
  4. To inform parents if a report is being made to the NEWB – a standard form is used for this. (Appendix 3)
  5. To keep BOM informed of attendance issues.
  6. Maintain the school records and retain copies of all reports to NEWB.

 

Role of Parents

  1. Parents have a duty to ensure their child attends school regularly.
  2. Parents are required to inform the school if their child cannot attend for any reason.
  3. As many students depend on school transport to bring and collect them from school, parents are asked to have the child ready in the morning and to be available to receive their child in the afternoon.
  4. Where students use public transport or other means to come to school, parents are asked to ensure they are punctual but not to arrive too early as no supervision is available before 9.10.

 

Role of Students

  1. Students are expected to participate fully in school life and adhere to school rules.
  2. They are expected to bring notes to and from home when requested.
  3. They are encouraged to discuss any problems they may have in school with staff or parents.
  4. Students are expected to make every attempt to be punctual for school when travelling independently on public transport.

 

Role of BOM

  1. To ensure that Scoil Chiarain complies with all the requirements of the Education Welfare Act 2000.
  2. To support the school community strategies to promote attendance.

 

Whole School Strategies to promote attendance.

  • Scoil Chiarain strives to promote full attendance of all students by:
  • Organising special transport for those who require this
  • Organising bus passes for those wishing to travel by public transport
  • Employing bus escorts to ensure a safe and comfortable journey to and from school
  • Creating a warm and welcoming environment for students each day
  • Having a breakfast club for all students each morning and providing a variety of lunch options for students
  • Providing a varied and interesting specialist curriculum where each child can experience success
  • Liaising with parents about their child’s progress and particularly when children are absent
  • Ensuring that all children can participate in all school related activities regardless of ability to contribute financially
  • Ensuring additional support is available to students who are unable to participate in particular activities due to illness/injury
  • Working with the Education Welfare Officer and other professionals to promote /facilitate attendance
  • Identifying potential early school leavers and work with parents and pupils to encourage attendance and completion of programmes.
  • Having regular and annual award certificates for attendance at the end of year prize giving ceremony.
  • Highlighting attendance with parents at parent meetings and through the school newsletter.

 

Strategies in the event of non-attendance

The school must inform the Education Welfare Officer is writing where a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more, where the child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular and when the pupil is removed from the school register.

The Board of Management, through the principal, ensures that Scoil Chiarain complies with its statutory requirements under the Act. As stated previously, protocols exist and are used to inform parents of students absences, explanations are sought and recorded and the EWO informed when appropriate.

Where pupils are suspended for serious misbehaviour issues, a letter is sent home (both by hand and by post) outlining the sanction and reason for same to parents. Absences due to suspension are recorded and reported to the EWO and in the Annual Report to NEWB. Suspension generally lasts from 1 to 3 days except in extremely serious cases when permanent exclusion may be under consideration. Parents are informed of their rights of appeal as outlined in the Act and may be supported by the EWO in preparing a submission for the BOM.

Where students present with significant behaviour/emotional problems, additional support may be sought from the NCSE to ensure their continued attendance in school.

As a special school we recognise that some of our students will require specialist support (speech & language therapy, educational psychological support, occupational therapy and art therapy) and the Board of Management makes every effort to ensure that this is available through the school during school hours. This aids full participation in school as attendance at clinics and other agencies may require a child to miss a whole day at school for short appointments.

Where attendance at school is erratic or problematic, the school may engage with social services or other agencies to seek family support to help overcome this problem.

 

Communication with other schools.

When considering pupils for enrolment in Scoil Chiarain, a school report is requested and history of attendance sought.

When students transfer from our school, a history of attendance is available with all other relevant reports. 

In September each year, the principal informs schools that new students have registered and transferred to our school. A copy of this letter is also sent to the referring agency for their information. 

Where places are not available, a letter is sent to parents, the school and the referral agency notifying them that the child may remain on the waiting list until a suitable place becomes vacant. (See enrolment policy)

 

Annual Report

The Annual Report is prepared by the Special Duties Teacher and signed by the Principal and forwarded to the NEWB. A report on attendance and other school matters is made to parents by the BOM at the annual meeting in October.

 

Success Criteria

  • Increase in attendance levels
  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils

 

Implementation Date

October 2008.

 

Timetable for Review

September 2017 with reference to the TUSLA guidelines "Developing the Statement of Strategy for School Attendance". 

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Address

St. Canice's Rd,

Glasnevin,

Dublin 11,

d11 vk64

 

Contact

Email: scspecial@eircom.net
Telephone: (01) 8370622
 
Fax: (01) 8379005