The Education and Welfare Act (2000) states the following:
22.—(1) The board of management of a recognised school shall, after consultation with the principal of, teachers teaching at, parents of students registered at, and the educational welfare officer assigned functions in relation to, that school, prepare and submit to the Board a statement of the strategies and measures it proposes to adopt for the purposes of fostering an appreciation of learning among students attending that school and encouraging regular attendance at school on the part of such students (hereafter in this section referred to as a “statement of strategy”).
Accordingly, the Board of Management of the North Kildare Educate Together School has prepared the following attendance strategy. This strategy has been prepared in the context of a strong attendance record at the school.
Informing parents of the importance of regular attendance
The importance of regular and punctual attendance at school is explained to parents of incoming Junior Infants at the Junior Infant information meeting organised annually in June. The parents are informed of the responsibilities of the school and of parents under the Education and Welfare Act. The manner in which the school interacts with the NEWB is outlined and parents are provided with an information pack containing a summary of the main points covered at the meeting. This information is reprised at the Junior Infant Curriculum evening organised in September. Parents of children who join the school later than Junior Infants are given a copy of the information pack. The importance of regular and punctual attendance is also stressed at the curriculum and information meetings organised for First, Third, Fifth and Sixth classes during the first term each year.
Communicating with the NEWB
The school requires that parents submit a written explanation for all absences and these absence notes are retained to facilitate the quarterly and annual returns to the NEWB. Responsibility for the school’s returns to the NEWB lies with the Assistant Principal. In the event of a child accumulating twenty absences or more during a school year, this information is relayed to the NEWB. If a child is late for school and is marked absent on the roll although they may be present in school for most of the school day, the school provides parents with a note verifying that this has been the case.
Giving feedback to parents regarding their child’s attendance
The attendance of each child is noted prior to the annual parent-teacher meeting in February each year and is communicated to and discussed with parents at that meeting. The child’s annual attendance is entered on the end-of-year report which is posted to parents during the last week in June.
Identifying patterns of absence
Teachers are encouraged to be vigilant regarding patterns of absence which may indicate a child failing to attend school for a reason that is not legitimate. This includes, but is not limited to, consistent absence on the same day of the week e.g. Friday or siblings being consistently absent on the same day.
If such a pattern is identified, the teacher will inform the principal. The class teacher or the principal may contact the parents concerned to bring the school’s concern to their attention and to find out if there is a legitimate reason for the pattern of absences and to consider whether the school can in any way assist in improving the child or children’s attendance.
Rewarding good attendance
Teachers will also monitor children with particularly good attendance records and these children may be rewarded by being praised. It has been decided not to give further reward as the BOM recognises that at primary level it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their child attends school and it is not our intention to discriminate against children who through no fault of their own would never be in as position to be a top attender in their class.