1. Rationale for the Policy
Whilst there is a very strong tradition of good attendance at school in Kealkill National School
it is important that parents/guardians are fully aware of their obligations to ensure that their
children have consistent and punctual attendance at school. Regular attendance and punctuality
at school is essential in order for each child to fulfil his/her educational potential. The Board of
Management and school staff promote and support regular attendance and punctuality at school
and consider it as an essential factor in maximizing pupil progress at school.
Kealkill National School Attendance Policy is based on the obligations arising from the Education
(Welfare) Act 2000 (section 22) and on the guidance provided in Developing the Statement of
Strategy for School Attendance: Guidelines for Schools – Tusla 2016. The policy also considers
the updated DES requirements for recording and reporting on school attendance as per Circular
33/2015. This updated policy was originally drawn up by the Principal & Deputy Principal in
consultation with the Assistant Principals/Pastoral Care team. It was circulated to school staff
and representatives of parents and to the BOM for comment in advance of its ratification. The
policy was updated in November 2022.
2. Relationship to the Characteristic Spirit of the School
Kealkill National School seeks to enable every pupil to actively participate in all areas of school
life both curricular and extra-curricular. Regular attendance and punctuality at school helps to
create a stable learning environment for all pupils. The school management and staff expect the
co-operation of pupils, parents/guardians and staff in encouraging and maintaining a high level of
regular attendance by pupils throughout the school year.
3. Aims and Objectives of this Policy are as Follows:
- To support and encourage high rates of school attendance and punctuality at all class levels
- To raise awareness amongst parents and guardians about the importance of school attendance and punctuality
- To ensure that pupils are registered as enrolled in the school and that pupil’s attendance is recorded daily and that attendance records are monitored regularly by the school.
- To identify pupils at risk of poor attendance and those at risk of underperformance at school due to attendance and punctuality issues
- To promote a positive learning environment to enable all pupils to avail fully of learning opportunities
- To comply with the requirements of the relevant legislation in relation to school attendance
- To develop supportive links between the school and families at risk of attendance and punctuality issues.
4. Roles and Responsibilities in Relation to School Attendance
The Principal, Deputy Principal, Teachers, and other School Staff, in consultation with Parents,
and the BOM, are responsible for the implementation of this policy. It will be the responsibility
of the Principal Teacher/Deputy Principal monitor overall school attendance levels in the school. Assistant Principals and Class teachers are responsible for monitoring individual pupil’s
attendance and for identifying and reporting ongoing concerns for ‘at risk’ pupils. Parents/
Guardians are strongly discouraged from taking children out of school for holidays during the
school term. All such absences will be noted and teachers are not obliged to assign school work for such pupils whilst on holidays.
The Education Welfare Act 2000 (amended by the Child and Family Agency Act 2013) obligates
schools to undertake the following actions in respect of school attendance matters:
- Maintain a record of students attending the school
- Record school attendance and notify the relevant Educational Welfare Officer of issues relating to attendance.
- Support students with difficulties in attending school on a regular basis.
- Prepare and implement a school attendance strategy to encourage, in a positive way, regular school attendance and an appreciation of learning within the school.
- Prepare and implement a code of behaviour, standards of behaviour and disciplinary procedures for the school.
- Liaise with other schools and relevant bodies on school attendance issues.
Kealkill National School uses the Aladdin Student Management System as approved by the BOM to manage pupil information and to record pupil daily attendance. As and from 2017/18 school year, Kealkill National School no longer records pupil attendance in the Leabhar Rolla. All previous Leabhair Rollaí are kept on the school premises as valuable school records and may be accessed as necessary by school personnel.
5. Punctuality – Being at School on Time and for the Full School Day
- School begins at 9am and ends at 1.40pm (Infants) and 2.40pm (1st – 6th Classes).
- All pupils and staff are expected to be in school in a timely manner and to remain at school for the full school day.
- School gates open at 08.40am, to allow for the orderly and safe arrival of pupils into the school building. Pupils are supervised from 8.40am to 8.50am
- Younger pupils, in particular, should be accompanied by a parent/guardian/responsible adult coming to school.
- The school is responsible for maintaining a record of children who arrive late to school, leave school early or are collected late. A pupil will be recorded as being late to school if they arrive after 9.10am Roll Call. Teacher may access the attendance record to update the Aladdin system to note a pupil’s late arrival to school and will note the time of arrival and the reason for being late if applicable.
- Pupils who are in class for Roll Call (normally 9.10am) are marked as present for the
- school day.
- Parents/guardians must contact the teacher/school if their child needs to leave class early during the school day. Parents should refrain from collecting pupils early from school unless it is for good reason.
- Class Teachers will monitor patterns of attendance and punctuality and will bring concerns to the attention of parents/guardians at an early stage if necessary.
- If punctuality continues to be an issue then teachers should bring the issue to the attention of the Assistant Principal/ Pastoral Care teacher for the class level who will alert the Principal/Deputy Principal.
- In cases of concern about school attendance the Education Welfare Officer/TUSLA will be contacted.
6. School Attendance – Means Being in School Every Day (Unless for a Good Reason)
Recording and Reporting of Attendance and Non-Attendance
Pupils are expected to be at school on time each day. In Kealkill National School the attendance of each pupil is recorded electronically on the Aladdin School Management System on a daily basis in accordance with Circular 33/2015. Attendance data for each class is recorded automatically, by the same system replacing the Leabhar Tinrimh (Attendance Book).
The Deputy Principal ensures that the obligatory school returns in relation to pupil attendance are made on a regular basis as directed by Education Welfare Service/TUSLA. The Primary Online Database (POD) of the Dept of Education and Skills holds relevant data in respect of each pupil such as PPSN, name, Mother’s Maiden Name, Address, Date of Birth, Gender, Nationality, Religion, Ethnic background whether in receipt of learning support or Irish exemption. School Attendance Data may be recorded on POD also. Parents/guardians are informed in writing in the end of year (June) report of the total number of absences during the school year. The school is obliged to inform the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) in writing;
where a child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, attendance is irregular, a pupil is removed from the school register and a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more.
The following strategies are in place in Kealkill National School to help foster an appreciation of learning and good attendance:
- The school calendar is publicised to parents (via the school website, Aladdin Connect and school journal) in advance of the beginning of each school year to ensure parents are aware of the school terms and closures.
- Attendance is called in all classes at 9.10am each morning. Pupils who come to school after Roll Call are marked Absent – however the teacher can record that the pupil arrived late and note the time and the reason for the late as necessary. The absence will be recorded as LATE.
- Parents must provide Class Teacher with an electronic explanation of their child’s absence on return to school via Aladdin Connect (such as illness, family event, appointments etc). Parents/guardians should also inform teacher in writing if their child needs to leave class early during the school day. Parents should call in person to the school office and inform the secretary when seeking to collect children early and the reason for the early withdrawal.
- The in-school management Team of Principal, Deputy & Assistant Principals regularly review pupil attendance and punctuality records with particular focus on unexplained absences and pupils who are regularly late. Parents/guardians are contacted to discuss the matter and an improvement plan may be put in place.
- The school office will contact parents/guardians of target pupils who are presenting with persistent school absences on a daily basis to check if the absence is warranted.
7. Identification of Students who are at Risk of Developing School Attendance Problems
Categorised as follows:
a) Irregular Absences: 5 days absent in a 20-day period without a valid reason.
b) Seriously Irregular Absences: 10 days absent in a 20-day period without a valid reason.
c) Chronic Absences: 15+ days absent in a 20-day period without a valid reason.
For Irregular and Seriously Irregular Absences the Class Teacher will contact parents to discuss the attendance matter and to ensure that improvement strategies are put in place by parents.
For Chronic Absentees the Pastoral Care Teacher and/or Class Teacher will inform the Principal. In such cases parents will be required to meet with the Pastoral Care Teacher and/or Principal to discuss the matter.
School Attendance rates and absence reasons are recorded and reported to TUSLA in accordance with the current reporting requirements during the school year through the TUSLA online system. An Annual Report is submitted to TUSLA at the end of the school year – detailing the overall levels of attendance at the school during that school year. Where deemed necessary the Principal will refer cases of ongoing and chronic absences and poor punctuality to the Educational Welfare Officer/TUSLA In such cases the Education Welfare Officer (following all reasonable efforts by TUSLA to consult with the child’s parents and with 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/guardian may result in a monetary fine and/or imprisonment.
8. Required Notification for Pupils Transferring between Primary Schools & to Secondary Schools
Pupils Transferring to Kealkill National School from another School
Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), the Principal of Kealkill National School must notify the Principal of the child’s previous school that the child is now registered in this school. (Confirmation of Enrolment Letter).
Pupils Transferring from Kealkill National School to Another School
The Principal of the receiving school is required to notify Kealkill National School that an incoming child is a registered pupil in the new school. A copy of the pupil’s latest school report (detailing academic progress, school attendance etc) may be sent to the new school by request with the permission of parents.
Pupils Transferring from Kealkill National School to Secondary School
Upon receipt of written verification of enrolment and a written request for school reports for named pupils the Principal/Deputy Principal will ensure that all relevant school reports regarding attendance, behaviour and academic records of pupils are forwarded to secondary schools in the format of the NCCA Education Passport as necessary.
9. Success Criteria
The following will provide some practical indicators of the success of this policy:
- Continued high rates of school attendance and punctuality in Kealkill National School.
- Increased Parent/guardian awareness of their legal obligations in relation to school attendance and punctuality under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.
- Positive reinforcement of ‘very good school attendance ’ and ‘improved school attendance’ at all class levels.
- Monitoring and tracking of pupils who are ‘at risk of ongoing patterns of poor school attendance’ by Class Teachers and by the Pastoral Care Team with emphasis on early intervention to address identified concerns.
- Good practice and procedures in relation to electronic recording of daily pupil attendance (Aladdin System).
- Ongoing liaison with the Educational Welfare Officer /TUSLA to address cases of concern at an early stage.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management at its meeting on 14th November 2022.