Attendance

Attendance Strategy Statement

An Attendance Strategy statement was drawn up on 2001 in compliance with the requirements of the Education Welfare (2000) Act, and it has been revised on a number of occasions to take account of changing circumstances in our school. This policy document was presented in draft form at a staff meeting on 30 September 2010 and at a Board of Management meeting on 11 October 2010.  It was reviewed in September 2011 and again in November 2014.

Rationale

Section 22 of the Education Welfare (2000) Act requires that a board of management prepare and submit to the Education Welfare Board, a statement of the strategies and measures it proposes to adopt for the purposes of fostering an appreciation of learning among students and encouraging regular attendance at the school. All members of the St. Colmcille’s B.N.S. community (students, parents, teachers, ancillary staff and visitors to the school), are included within the scope of this document.

 Relating the Attendance Strategy Policy to the Characteristic Spirit of St. Colmcille’s B.N.S

St. Colmcille’s B.N.S. is committed to providing a caring learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full educational potential.  Communication between home and school is a vital ingredient in this education process. Our school aims to be a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of its community.  This community is defined as the pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary staff and visitors to the school. Our school is open to positive reflections of diversity in its staff and pupil population, with its décor and activities making reference to cultural, racial and religious difference.

 Aims

  • to foster an appreciation of learning
  • to raise awareness of the importance of regular school attendance
  • to identify pupils at risk of early school leaving
  • to enhance the learning environment
  • 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 the requirements of the Education Welfare (2000) Act

 Defining and Recording Attendance and Non-Attendance

  • Each child, to whom the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 applies (that is, those between the ages of 6 and 16) is obliged by law to attend school every day on which the school is in operation unless there is a reasonable excuse for not attending.
  • The rolls are marked each morning from 9.40 a.m. onwards
  • Notes from parents with regard to non-attendance of their children are kept by the class teacher. (A note in the Homework Journal is not sufficient)
  • When it is necessary for a pupil to leave school early, a note must be sent to the class teacher or permission sought from Principal or Deputy Principal. Notes are retained until child returns to school. Parents/ guardians are asked to call personally to the classroom to collect the child. Any person collecting a child on behalf of the parent/guardian should present written authorisation with a telephone contact number.

Whole School Strategies to promote attendance

The School Environment

  • The school environment is welcoming and child-friendly

Early intervention

  • At the induction meeting for parents of new pupils, the principal emphasises the importance of regular attendance

Communication

  • The school produces an information booklet
  • Details of school events and policies are contained on the school website, colmcilles.net
  • Parents are given details of the school calendar as soon as possible in the year prior to the one to which it relates. Parents are advised to arrange family outings and holidays with the official school closings in mind.
  • All Parents are advised that the school authorities are obliged to notify the TUSLA Welfare Officer when a child is absent regularly or if a reasonable excuse has not been provided for an absence by the child’s parents.
  • As a result of a review which was undertaken in September 2011, the following additional strategies were adopted:
  • Every pupil with 20 unexplained absences in the previous school year will be monitored on a daily basis
  • Text message will be sent to the parents of these pupils on the first day of an absence
  • Subsequent texts will advise parents of the number of days missed, and they will be advised to comply with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act
  • If 5 days absences are accumulated, the School Completion Programme Co-ordinator will make contact with the parents, initially by phone
  • If there is no improvement in attendance, a home visit will be undertaken by the School Completion Programme Co-ordinator
  • If school-based strategies fail to improve a pupil’s attendance, the TUSLA Welfare Officer is contacted

The school report to parents contains details of attendance and non-attendance

Late arrivals at school

  • The times at which pupils arrive at school are recorded in their Merit Books by the pupils. Stamps are not deducted unless there is persistent late arrival at school
  • A standard letter has been prepared which is sent to parents when there is a concern about a pupil’s time-keeping

 School Uniforms

  • A supply of school uniforms is kept in the Secretary’s Office so that implementation of the dress code is not used as a reason for non-attendance

Lunches

  • Snacks are kept in the Secretary’s Office for the pupils who may forget their lunches

Homework

  • Support for pupils in instances where there is a perception that difficulties with the doing of homework are impacting on a pupil’s attendance

Equality of Participation

  • The School Completion Programme or the School Jog Fund may be used to subsidise those pupils for whom there is a difficulty with regard to paying for outings etc

Other Incentives

  • Football Leagues are organised to encourage regular attendance
  • The School’s Code of Behaviour contains a merit scheme which acknowledges and rewards regular attendance
  • Homework passes , subject passes, time on the computer or additional games time may be given as rewards for good attendance

Support

  • The Resource Teachers in the school provide a wide variety of support for our pupils.
  • The school has the services of a School Completion Programme Co-ordinator and a School Completion Programme Project Worker. There is access for pupils to counselling.

Procedures in relation to the Removal of a Pupil from the Register/ Transfer to or from another school

  • The principal removes a pupil from the register when notice has been received from another school to which the pupil has transferred
  • The school sends details of attendance / support received / school reports to the school to which the pupil has transferred
  • When a pupil transfers to our school, details of attendance etc are sought from his previous school
  • Details with regard to suspensions and/or expulsions are contained in the School’s Code of Behaviour

Annual Report

  • Details with regard to school attendance are furnished to TUSLA on 4 occasions during the year, and an overall report on attendance is submitted at the end of the school year

Success Criteria

The effectiveness of the Attendance Strategy policy will be reviewed informally at staff meetings, and formally at the end of each quarter, when composite figures for attendance and non-attendance are compiled. Improvements in percentage attendances will be commented on by the principal, and dis-improvements will be discussed at staff meetings or with relevant school personnel.

Roles and Responsibilities

The importance of regular school attendance is such that all members of our school community have roles to play in ensuring that all possible strategies are utilised to ensure that pupils attend school on a regular basis. Overall responsibility for the co-ordination and monitoring of the various implementation strategies rests with the Principal, but every member of the school community is involved in the implementation of this policy.

 Deputy Principal

  • Has responsibility for monitoring Roll Books and Attendance Records

School Completion Programme Co-ordinator

  • Undertakes home visits

School Completion Programme Project Worker

  • Monitors attendance records of at risk pupils. Sends out texts

School Secretary

  • Compiles reports for TUSLA

 Class Teacher

  • The class roll is kept accurately and concerns with regard to non-attendance are brought to the attention of the Principal
  • School Completion Programme Project worker is informed on 1st day of absence of pupil who is on target list
  • Notes with regard to non-attendance are kept on file for 1 school year
  • Incentives and rewards with regard to attendance and improvements in attendance are in place

Pupils

  • Will be responsible for recording details of their attendance in their Merit Books

Implementation Date

This policy was reviewed in September 2011 and again in November 2014.

New structures have been in place since September 2011

Ratification and Communication

The revised attendance strategy was reviewed at the Board of Management meeting on 10 November 2014. It was uploaded to school website on 12 November 2014.

Review date

This policy will be reviewed in November 2017.

Thomas Shields

(Chairperson)