Statement of Strategy for School Attendance

 

STATEMENT OF STRATEGY FOR SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

Introduction

This policy document has been drawn up by Kilmacanogue National School, Kilmacanogue, Bray, Co Wicklow, roll number 18365Q, to ensure a high level of attendance at school by all pupils, as well as to acknowledge and maintain the very high level of attendance already in evidence and acknowledged in the Whole School Evaluation (WSE) of 2010.

Vision/Values/Rationale

The Board of Management wishes to comply with legislation, such as:

  • The Education Act, 1998
  • The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000

The Board of Management wishes to promote and encourage regular attendance as an essential factor in our pupils’ learning and to work alongside such agencies as Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, in caring for the overall welfare of each of our students including their attendance at school.

Relationship to the Characteristic Spirit of the School

Kilmacanogue National School, actively strives to enable every pupil to participate in all school activities. Regular attendance helps to create a stable learning environment for all pupils, and the school hopes to promote co-operation among pupils, parents/guardians and staff in maintaining a high level of regular attendance through the school year. Kilmacanogue National School, has very positive reputation for being a very inclusive, caring school, where each child is regarded as an individual and feels very much cared for and respected. Children of all creeds and none and from every parts of the globe as well children with special needs form the fabric which is Kilmacanogue National School and without the contribution of each child, our school ethos would be meaningless and cold. Instead we have a wonderfully spiritual and uplifting school ethos where every child is cherished and where each one of us is enriched because of the very special children in our care.

Aims

  • To raise awareness of the importance of regular school attendance
  • To identify pupils at risk of leaving school early
  • To promote and to foster positive attitudes to learning
  • To ensure compliance with the requirements of the relevant legislation
  • To provide a stimulating and exciting environment within which children are regularly enthusiastic to learn and attend
  • To emphasise that each child is special and important to the community of Kilmacanogue National School and its overall wellbeing and wholesomeness.

Recording and Reporting of Attendance and Non-Attendance

The school attendance of individual pupils in each class is electronically recorded daily via the school management system of the Aladdin programme. Class attendance data is transferred electronically to the Leabhar Tinrimh (Attendance Book) interface. The annual attendance of each individual pupil is also recorded together with information provided in enrolment forms (Pupil’s Name, Date of Birth, Address, Religion, Parents’ Names, Address(s) and Contact Details).

If a pupil does not attend on a day when the school is open for instruction, his/her non-attendance will be recorded by the class teacher. The roll call is taken before 10:30am each morning. Any pupil not present will be marked absent for the day. A note or email or message in the homework journal from parents/guardians is required to explain each absence. Such notes/emails will be retained by the school. Parents/guardians must also provide a notification if a child will be departing early from school during the school day.

Late arrivals enter the school through the main school doors and early departures are recorded at the Secretary’s office by parents signing the child out. Such late arrivals and/or early departures will also be recorded on the school management system of the Aladdin programme.

Parents/guardians are informed on the school report at the end of year, of the total number of absences during the school year. Pupils whose non-attendance is a concern are invited to meet with the principal/teacher where they will be informed of the school’s concerns. When a pupil has missed 15 days the school will notify the parents/guardians of this in writing. Such absences will also be recorded on the school management system of Aladdin.

The school will inform the Education Welfare Officer via the NEWB/Tusla website in the quarterly return, where a child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular, where a pupil is removed from the school register and where a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more.

Whole School Strategies to Promote Attendance

Kilmacanogue National School constantly strives to create a safe, welcoming, happy, all inclusive, holistic environment for all our children and their parents/guardians. Parents/guardians are consulted in drafting and reviewing policies with the aim of promoting a high-level of co-operation among the school community. The teaching staff collaborates in the planning and implementation of the primary school curriculum, so as to provide a stimulating learning environment for all pupils. Exciting and stimulating ‘surprise’ activities are regularly introduced to the children. Such activities include: yoga and meditation classes, creative arts and crafts classes, GAA blitz sporting activities, learning to play musical instruments from the orchestra, homework free days, dressing up in various costumes for themed days, performing plays and concerts, party balloon days, cooking days……etc all carried out with a view to encouraging each child to be excited coming to school, never knowing what to expect which will liven up their day along with the stimulating curriculum presented by the very creative teachers in Kilmacanogue National School.

New entrants and their parents/guardians are included in the formulation of school policies by inviting them to offer suggestions and also by keeping them updated of all changes and updates through various meetings whether those be general meetings or one-on-one meetings. The importance of regular school attendance is emphasized in a positive manner as well as the maintenance of it in a habit forming manner from Junior Infants. Children will regularly be applauded and rewarded for their high level of attendance especially those managing 100% achievement.

The school calendar for the coming school year is published annually in June, with a reminder in September. It is hoped that this approach will enable parents/guardians to plan family events around school closures, reducing the chances of non-attendance related to family holidays during the school term which is strongly discouraged.

Communication

The school has developed a good relationship with the local Education Welfare Board (EWB) personnel and there is ongoing communication in relation to children who are at risk.

 

Strategies in the Event of Non-Attendance

Section 17 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), states that ‘the parent of a child shall cause the child concerned to attend a recognised school on each school day’, thus a parent/guardian is obliged to ensure that their child attends. They have no choice in this matter nor does the child and it is in the best interest of everyone concerned that the daily arrival of each child to school is successfully managed without parents/guardians giving inappropriate ‘ear’ to children expressing a negative attitude toward their attending school. Most children enjoy school and settle in very quickly. This can be enhanced by the positive attitude of their parents/guardians, which is something which we at Kilmacanogue National School actively encourage.

Section 21 of the act obliges schools to inform the Education Welfare Officer if a child is absent on more  than  20  days  in  any  school  year,  or  if  a  child  does  not  attend  school  on  a  regular  basis.

In such cases 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) may serve a ‘School Attendance Notice’ on any parent who he/she concludes is failing or neglecting to cause the child to attend the school.  A  successful  case  taken  against  the  parent  may  result  in  a  fine  and/or  imprisonment.

Reasons for absence are recorded and reported to the EWB twice during the school year through an online system. An annual report is submitted – not more than one week following the end of  the school  year  –  detailing  the  overall  level  of  attendance  at  the  school  during  that  school  year.

Transfer to Another School

Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), the Principal of a child’s current school must notify  the Principal  of  the child’s  previous  school  that  the  child  is  now  registered  in  their school.

When a Principal receives notification that a child has been registered elsewhere he/she must notify the Principal of the pupil’s new school, of any problems in relation to attendance at the pupil’s former school and of such matters relating to the child’s educational progress as he or she considers appropriate. This applies to pupils who transfer between primary schools and to pupils who transfer from primary to second-level education.

Success Criteria

The following will provide some practical indicators of the success of this policy:

  • An increase in annual attendance
  • The level of attendance not being compromised by holidays.
  • The overall level of contentment and enthusiasm shown by the parents/guardians and their children for school and its activities.
  • The increased levels of scores as recorded in tests, whether they be regular class tests or standardized tests.
  • The overall increase in standard of curricular subjects.
  • Board of Management, Staff and parents/guardians awareness of their legal obligations under the Education (Welfare) Act
  • The visits from past pupils wanting to share their positive experiences in Kilmacanogiue National School.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Principal and class teacher to implement this policy under the guidance of the school’s Board of Management.

School Principal

The school principal will:

  • Ensure that the school register of pupils is maintained in accordance with
  • Inform the Education Welfare
    • If a pupil is not attending school
    • When a pupil has been absent for 20 or more days during the course of a school year
    • When a pupil’s name is removed from the school register
  • Inform parents of a decision to contact the Education Welfare Officer of concerns regarding a pupil.
  • Insofar as is practicable, promote the importance of good school attendance among pupils, parents and

Class Teacher

The class teacher will:

  • Maintain the school attendance in accordance with
  • Keep a record of explained and unexplained
  • Encourage pupils to attend regularly and
  • Inform the Principal of concerns s/he may have regarding the attendance of any pupils

Parents/Guardians

Parents/guardians will ensure that the children are on time for school and that absences are kept to an absolute minimum.

 Review and Monitoring

 

This Statement of Strategy for School Attendance policy will be monitored and reviewed by the Board of Management of Kilmacanogue National School on an annual basis and when the need arises. The board will ensure adequate training and support is provided for all staff when and where required.

Statement for School Attendance Policy

 

Reviewed:     5/11/2017

 

Signed :       Judy O’Toole       (Chairperson)

                       Niamh Murray      (Principal)

Submitted to Tusla:   5/11/2017