Ballintemple
National   School

Pupil Attendance Policy


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Introduction

Ballintemple National School is committed to providing a learning environment that will foster all children’s learning and encourage them to attend school regularly. We will strive to provide a stimulating school day, with clear guidelines and structures in place so that children feel welcome and nurtured while attending school. We will support all children in achieving satisfactory attendance. We discourage ‘casual absences’ from school as they have a negative impact on children’s attitude to school and consequently on children’s learning.

Aims of the Attendance Policy
The aims of the policy are to

  • Encourage pupils to attend school regularly and punctually
  • Share the promotion of school attendance amongst all in the school community (Board of Management, school staff, parents and pupils)
  • Inform the school community of its role and responsibility as outlined in the Education (Welfare) Act 2000
  • Identify pupils who may be at risk of developing school attendance problems
  • Ensure that the school has procedures in place to promote attendance
  • Identify and remove obstacles to school attendance

The school will ensure that:

  • The importance of school attendance is promoted throughout the school
  • Pupils are registered accurately
  • Pupil attendance is recorded daily
  • Parents or guardians are contacted when reasons for absences are unknown or have not been communicated
  • Pupil attendance and lateness is monitored
  • School attendance statistics are reported as appropriate to:
  • The Education Welfare Board
  • The Education Welfare Officer
  • The Board of Management

Strategies/measures we use to ensure regular attendance

  • We aim to provide a warm, welcoming and supportive learning environment for our pupils, one in which they are valued and respected and in which provision is made for their learning needs.
  • The school curriculum is taught in a flexible manner and is tailored to the needs of the individual child. It is our aim that all children experience success while at school. Our class teachers and support teachers seek to ensure that children, who may be experiencing learning difficulties, are actively supported and encouraged with appropriate teaching and furthermore that their homework is tailored to the particular needs of these pupils.
  • Internal communication procedures are in place to inform teachers of the special needs of pupils e.g. children with Psychological Assessments/Occupational Therapy reports
  • The Principal / Deputy Principal will monitor children’s attendance and promote good attendance throughout the school by visiting the classes on a regular basis and reminding the children of the importance of regular attendance.
  • Teachers will regularly remind the children of the importance of full attendance.
  • We publicly and positively affirm those children who have excellent attendance. Each year, those with full attendance are awarded with ‘Attendance Certificates.’
  • We have regular communication with parents and provide them with updates on their child’s attendance if it is a cause for concern.
  • Our school’s Code of Behaviour / Anti Bullying Policy takes a positive approach to fostering good behaviour which in turn can have a positive effect on attendance.
  • We ask parents to ensure that the children attend school by 8.50am.
  • The attendance rates of pupils will be monitored by the class teacher in the first instance, and the class teacher will notify the Deputy Principal of any concerns regarding the attendance of any child.
  • The assistance of the Education Welfare Officer will be utilised if needed.
  • Pupils with a poor attendance record will be supported in an effort to improve their attendance.

Punctuality
The school will open to receive children at 8.30am and a staff rota is in place to supervise early arrivals. No responsibility is accepted for children arriving before that time. Classes commence each day at 8.50am and finish at 2.30pm (1.30pm in the Infant school.) Children are required to be in their classrooms not later than 8.50 a.m. Parents will be regularly reminded of the importance of punctuality by way of the school newsletter / school text.

Parents are reminded that punctuality is important at both ends of the school day. Failure to collect children on time, after school, can often lead to younger children in particular becoming upset. It can also have a knock-on effect on the operations of the school where infant teachers take afternoon classes in the main school etc.

The class teacher, Deputy Principal / Principal will monitor both morning and evening punctuality patterns and will contact parents to resolve any issues which may arise.

Guidance for Parents
Section [(21) (9)] of the Act states that: “A pupil’s absence can only be authorised by the Principal when the child is involved in activities organised by the school or in which the school is involved”. The school Principal cannot authorise a child’s absence for holidays during school time. However, it is essential that parents inform the school of such arrangements by note in the homework journal.

Reasons for pupils’ absences must be communicated in writing, by parents/guardians to the school and will be retained by the school for the duration of the school-year. To facilitate this, such communications should not be in the daily homework section of the homework diary, but on the separate ‘explanations for absence’ pages at the back of the diary. This relates to children in classes 1st – 6th.

Parents of children in the Infant classes should inform the class teacher by note. These notes will form a record which may be inspected by the Education Welfare Officer on a visit to the school. The class teacher will contact parents by note in the homework journal, when a written explanation for the child’s absence is not received by the school. Failing this, the school secretary or Deputy Principal will contact the parents asking that the note of absence be completed. This requirement will be communicated to parents as part of the first newsletter of each school year.

Parents/guardians can promote good school attendance by:

  • Ensuring regular and punctual school attendance
  • Informing the school in writing of the reasons for absence from school
  • Working with the school and Education Welfare Service to resolve any attendance problems
  • Discussing planned absences with the school
  • Refraining, if at all possible, from taking holidays during school time
  • Showing an interest in their children’s school day and their children’s homework i.e. placing a value on education
  • Encouraging children to participate in school activities
  • Praising and encouraging their children’s achievements
  • Instilling in their children a positive self-concept and a positive sense of self-worth
  • Ensuring, insofar as is possible, that children’s appointments (with dentists etc), are arranged for times outside of school hours.
  • Notifying, in writing, the school if their child/children, particularly children in junior classes, are to be collected by someone not known to the teacher

School Principal
The School Principal will

  • Promote the importance of good school attendance among pupils, parents and staff
  • Inform parents of a decision to contact the Education Welfare Officer in relation to concerns regarding a pupil.
  • The School Principal will inform the Education Welfare Officer:
  • If a pupil has been suspended for a period of six or more days
  • When a pupil’s name is removed from the school register

School Deputy Principal
The School Deputy Principal will

  • Ensure that the school register of pupils is maintained in accordance with regulations.
  • Promote the importance of good school attendance among pupils, parents and staff
  • Inform the Education Welfare Officer when a pupil has been absent for 20 or more days during the course of a school year.

Class Teacher
The class teacher will

  • Maintain the school roll-book in accordance with procedure
  • Encourage pupils to attend regularly and punctually.
  • Inform the Deputy Principal / Principal of concerns s/he may have regarding the attendance of any pupil.

Record/Communication

  • Children transferring from / to Ballintemple N.S. to other Primary Schools
  • Subject to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act, children’s attendance (as well as other academic/behavioural records) will form part of the transfer information between schools.
  • Attendance, behaviour and academic records of pupils transferring to a Second Level School will be forwarded to the school, on request, once enrolment has been confirmed.

Ratified by Board of Management on 19th March 2015