School Attendance Policy St. Peter’s N.S.
This policy document was composed in September 2014. This is part of the review towards the compilation of a Strategic Three Year Plan under the school’s inclusion in the DEIS programme. It is felt by the staff that attendance should be one of our targets in our DEIS plan.
Our school decided to review its attendance because:
· It is a priority area identified by the staff.
· It is a requirement under Education Welfare Act 2000.
· School needs to encourage pupils to be in attendance.
Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school
We aim to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed. The school adopts a holistic approach to the education and development of each child and to the enhancement of teaching and learning processes. We believe that an effective Attendance Policy will help to foster an appreciation of learning and to raise the importance of regular attendance.
· To foster and appreciation of learning
· To raise awareness of importance of school attendance
· To identify pupils at risk of school leaving early
· To enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development
· To promote positive attitudes to learning
· 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 requirements under Education Welfare Act 2000/Guidelines from NEWB Guidelines
Defining and Recording Non-Attendance
· Our school defines non-attendance as not being present in school at roll call at 9.45am (Exceptions being made for absences authorised by the BOM e.g. school tours, religious services arranged through the school, participation in sports arranged by the school etc.)
· Non-attendance is recorded as per Department of Education and Science guidelines on the approved roll book and Aladdin. The roll book is stored in each teacher’s classroom and each teacher has access to Aladdin.
· It is school policy that a pupil must bring a written note to explain absence. This is then put in the child’s folder and referred to when the teacher is filling in NEWB returns.
· The school reminds parents/Guardians regularly via newsletter etc. about the importance of good attendance and the effects of non-attendance has on pupil learning.
· If a child is withdrawn from school during the school day, the parent/Guardian must sign out the pupil and indicate the reason for the withdrawal. This folder is maintained by the Secretary.
Whole school strategies to promote attendance:
· Environment: The Board of Management strives to create a safe and welcoming environment for our pupils and their parents. Children who are late are welcomed by teachers and if any child is persistently late the issue is raised with the relevant parents. This is dealt with by the attendance monitor.
· Early intervention: The Principal will speak to the new Mothers/Fathers to inform them of procedures in relation to attendance and the importance of attendance. This will happen at the Open Day (see paragraph on Strategies)
· Assessment: If pupils miss school on a day when they know there is a test, the test is given when the pupil returns to school.
· Rewards: Good attendance is acknowledged by the school through the awarding of Good Attendance Certificates and Full Attendance Certificates each year.
· Reports: The school reports the total amount of days absent in a year to parents in the end of year reports/parent teacher meetings. If a child has missed 15 days it is noted that this is three full school weeks etc.
· The attendance monitor and Assistant Principal checks attendances and lates daily and records same. Meetings are set up as necessary.
· Parents: The school communicates the requirements of schools and of parents under the Education Welfare Act to parents both in September and June each year.
· Learning Needs: The school provides a comprehensive support service to try to cater for children experiencing learning difficulties.
· SPHE policies: The school has a full range of policies under the umbrella of SPHE to raise the self-esteem of pupils including the Walk Tall Programme, Circle Time and Stay Safe Programme.
· Anti-Bullying Policy: The school has a written anti-bullying policy and procedures in place to investigate all incidences of bullying
Strategies in event of non-attendance
· The rollaí are called every morning at 9.45am. If any of the “targeted” pupils are missing, the class teachers report the names to the attendance monitor by 9.05am, who subsequently phone the parents.
· A close eye is kept on absences on Mondays and Fridays.
· Serious cases are reported to the BEWB, (E.W.O.). Also the four annual absence reports are sent to the NEWB.
· While our monthly attendance percentages are quite good (nearly always over 95%/96%), the Attendance monitor and Assistant Principal, Miss Aideen Carroll, monitor the punctuality and attendance on a daily basis.
· This forms part of the review under the school’s inclusion in the Deis programme.
· Parents are made aware of the schools duties outlined in the Education Welfare Act in relation to reporting the non-attendance of a child to the Education Welfare Officer, of the serving of a “school attendance notice” by the Education Welfare Officer (following all reasonable efforts by the Education Board to consult with the child’s parents and the principal of the school) on any parent who they conclude is failing or neglecting to cause the child to attend the school and of the possible consequence of a successful case being taken against the parent.
· When a child is absent from school parents are expected to contact the school as soon as possible to inform the school as to the reason for the child’s absence. For short absences, a written note upon the child’s return is sufficient.
· The Attendance monitor will ring the parents on the third day of a child’s absence if she hasn’t been informed previously.
· The principal will inform the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) in writing where:
(a) A student is suspended from the school for a period of not less than 6 days,
(b) The aggregate number of school days on which a student is absent from our school during a school year is more than 20 days.
(c) A student’s name is, for whatever reason, removed from the register, or
(d) A student is, in the opinion of the principal, not attending school regularly
· Every effort will be made to work with the families in question and to put in place any supports the school can to help the families
· Teachers will be sensitive to any child who has missed school and will endeavour to “catch up” on work missed without putting undue pressure on the child in question.
Procedures in relation to the Removal from Register/Transfer from another school
· The Principal will only remover a pupil’s name from the school register where the school has been informed in writing that the child has been enrolled in another school or when the Welfare Board notifies the school in writing that the child has been registered by it as in receipt of out-of-school education.
· When a child is transferred to another school the principal will give the parents of that child and the new school a certificate stating child’s record of attendance and absences in the school, the last class the child attended, and any other relevant information pertaining to the education of the child.
When a child is transferred from another school the principal will inform that school and the NEWB in writing that the child has enrolled in our school.
· The principal will inform the Board of Management of the level of attendance at the school for each school month. The principal will report the level of attendance to the NEWB by using the online services provided at www.schoolreturn.ie
Roles and Responsibility
· Principal – overall responsibility, specific responsibility for informing NEWB, responsibility for reporting to BOM
· Class Teacher – responsibility for creating a welcoming atmosphere in the classroom, for marking the DES roll book and Aladdin Daily and for keeping absence notes in the pupil’s file and informing the attendance monitor re absences by 9.05am
· Support Team – meeting the identified educational needs of the child (Attendance Monitor and Assistant Principal)
· Parents – responsibility for ensuring child attend school regularly and punctually, for informing the school the reasons for any absences and for informing the pupil of the adverse effects of missing school
· Education Welfare Officer – responsible for following up and supporting all pupils reported to it by the principal
· Board of Management – overall responsibility, responsible for funding the awarding of certificates etc.
Implementation of policy will take place as and from September 2014.
Timetable and Review
New procedures will be reviewed and if necessary amended at the end of each school year and upon receipt of revised guidelines from National Education Welfare Board/DES/other agencies.
· Education (Welfare) Act 2000
· Education Act 1998
· “Empty Desks” 2000, Michael Finneran: Curriculum Development Unit, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
· Circular 20/90 on Discipline, also as Appendix 54 CPSMA Handbook
· Circular 22/02 Appeals Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998
· Management Board Members’ Handbook. Revised 2004. CPSMA
· Report to the Minister of Education, Niamh Breathnach T.D. on Discipline in schools.
Ratified by the Board of Management of St. Peter’s National School September 2014