KILBRIDE NATIONAL SCHOOL
School Attendance Strategy
Our Statement of Strategy affirms our school’s commitment to attendance as an important aspect of our school ethos and school policy.
Our attendance strategy hopes to continue to promote attendance and encourage parents and children to see that good attendance helps children to become fully involved in school life.
Aims of our School Attendance Strategy
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to promote a school climate of a welcoming atmosphere, positive teacher-pupil relationships and a supportive teaching and learning environment.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to build a culture of high expectations among all staff and with every pupil for the pupil’s learning, participation and attendance.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to recognise how all areas of the pupil’s experience at school impacts on their engagement and attendance.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to recognise the complexity of some pupil’s lives and difficulties and seeks to secure the involvement and support of many agencies and community supports for the pupil’s overall well-being and welfare.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to place an emphasis on teamwork with parents to secure high levels of attendance, partnership in developing attendance policy and close working relationships with parents of individual pupils to address problems.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to affirm our school’s commitment to valuing the culture of every pupil and ensuring that every pupil will make the most of the learning opportunities provided by our school.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to recognise every pupil’s capacity to attend school, learn well and achieve good outcomes.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to challenge stereotypes that might assume that pupils from particular backgrounds or with particular experiences will always have a problem with attendance and learning.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to build each pupil’s sense of personal responsibility for their own learning, and their responsibility to their peers and their teachers to be at school every day.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to encourage parents and pupils to attend school punctually.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to inform our school community of its obligations, as outlined in the Education Welfare Act, and share the responsibility of promoting school attendance.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to identify and monitor pupils who may be at risk of developing school attendance problems.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to ensure that our school has procedures in place to promote punctuality, attendance and participation.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to identify and remove, insofar as is practicable, obstacles to school attendance.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to raise awareness of the importance of good school attendance.
- Our Statement of Strategy aims to continue to comply with requirements as laid out by the Education Welfare Act and NEWB guidelines under the umbrella of An TUSLA.
Our School will ensure that:
- The importance of school attendance is promoted throughout the school.
- Pupils are registered accurately and efficiently.
- Pupil attendance is recorded daily.
- Parents or guardians are contacted when reasons for absences are unknown or have not been communicated.
- Pupil attendance and punctuality is monitored.
- The excellent attendance of children is acknowledged by certificate and rewarded by prizes at the end of each school year.
- School attendance statistics are reported as appropriate to: The Educational Welfare Services of Tusla and The Board of Management of Kilbride National School.
- The school day is from 8.45 a.m. to 1.30p.m for Junior and Senior infants and 8.45 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. for all other classes.
- All pupils and teachers are expected to be on time.
- All staff are expected to be in school at 8.30 a.m.
- The school will contact parents/guardians in the event of pupils being consistently late.
- Names of children who are late are recorded each day by the class teacher on Aladdin.
- Parents who present children for school after classes have commenced are required to sign their child into school. The Principal is obliged under the Education Welfare Act, to report children who are persistently late, to the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla.
- 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. Homework will not be provided for children absent from school on holidays.
- If a parent decides to take a child out of school for holidays, the Principal will request the parent to provide a letter to the school to say they are doing so and are aware of the implications.
- Where there are regular holiday absences, the school will remind parents of the educational and potential legal impact of removing pupils from school for periods of time.
- In circumstances where a child is removed for class during the course of the school day the parent/guardian responsible will sign the sign-out book in the school office. This will note the date and time the child leaves the school. This document will also record the date and time of the child’s return to class should the absence be for a brief period to attend an appointment.
- Reasons for pupils’ absences must be communicated in writing, by parents/guardians to the school and will be retained by the school.
- If a child is absent, when the child returns to school s/he should provide a written note to the class teacher, which contains the child’s name, the dates of absence and the reason for the absence. These notes will form a record, which may be inspected by the Education Welfare Officer on a visit to the school. The onus is on parents to give an explanation explaining a child’s absence, otherwise no explanation will be noted as the reason for the absence and this will be returned to the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla.
The Promotion of Good School Attendance
Parents can promote good school attendance by:
- Ensuring regular and punctual school attendance.
- Notifying the School if their children cannot attend for any reason.
- Working with the School and the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla to resolve any attendance problems;
- Making sure their children understand that parents support and approve of school attendance.
- Discussing planned absences with the school.
- Refraining, if at all possible, from taking holidays during school
- Showing an interest in their children’s school day and their children’s homework.
- Encouraging them 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.
- Informing the school in writing of the reasons for absence from school.
- Ensuring, insofar as is possible, that children’s appointments (with dentists etc.), are arranged for times outside of school hours.
- Contacting the school immediately, if they have concerns about absence or other related school matters.
- 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.
How Pupils can promote good school attendance:
Pupils have the clear responsibility to attend school regularly and punctually.
- Pupils should inform staff if there is a problem that may lead to their absence.
- Pupils are responsible for promptly passing on absence notes from parents to their class teacher.
- Pupils are responsible for passing school correspondence to their parents, on the specified day.
Strengths of the school in relation to good school attendance:
Our school climate encourages a welcoming atmosphere where our children’s emotional well- being is at the heart of every aspect of our school life and work. Our school strives to promote positive teacher-pupil relationships and a supportive teaching and learning environment. Our school ethos, policies and practices work consistently together to support good attendance. Management and Staff work together as a team with a consistent approach to attendance.
Concerns in relation to a pupil’s attendance are immediately dealt with and an investigation takes place as to the reason why the pupils are absent. Supports are put in place to help pupils who may be absent due to emotional distress or through no fault of their own. Pupils are made feel safe and secure in our school and are encouraged to speak to their teachers if they have anxieties about attending school.
Parents and pupils are a central part of our school community and have opportunities to contribute to and take appropriate responsibility for attendance and punctuality.
School staff members liaise with parents/guardians to ensure pupils attend school regularly and punctually. Parents/guardians are reminded weekly as to the importance of attendance and punctuality and are notified of attendance figures.
Pupils are involved in social skills programmes and emotional well-being programmes in order to help them to develop their self-esteem and a positive attitude to school life.
School Attendance System: The Aladdin Student Management System makes it easier to track attendance throughout the school from the office desk.
Play Therapy: The school employs a Play Therapist who works with children usually because of behavioural or emotional difficulties. Non-directive play therapy is used.
Parents Association: A vibrant Parents Association works with Principal and staff in the school.
Literacy Programme: A variety of literacy programmes are in place in the school.
Numeracy Programmes: A variety of numeracy programmes are in place in the school.
Assembly: Assembly is held every Friday which rewards positive behaviour including attendance.
Extra -Curricular Activities – Our school provides a wide variety of extra-curricular activities including athletics, drumming, dance, hurling.
Learning Support and Resource teachers: Our SEN team is on hand to provide support to pupils at all times.
A positive classroom environment: Our school has a wonderful ethos and positive class environment. Pupils are very happy in our school.
Building Improvements made to the school have provided our pupils with an improved learning environment and more rooms for helping pupils with particular needs.
ICT – IWB in every classroom leads to new supports in teaching and learning
Positive behavioural and anti- bullying strategies used within the school encourage pupils to behave appropriately and have a positive attitude to themselves and others.
While attendance is generally very good there are a number of concerns.
- A holiday culture is beginning to emerge in early September and June.
- A small minority of pupils are allowed to miss school for minor reasons.
- Larger numbers in classes.
- Punctuality is becoming a serious issue with quite a number of pupils late on a regular basis. This causes a huge amount of disruption to the teaching and learning in the school.
Recording and Reporting of Attendance and non-Attendance
The school attendance of individuals is recorded in the pupil information Aladdin system on a daily basis for each class. Class attendance data is automatically recorded daily in the leabhar tinreamh (Register). The annual attendance of each pupil is also recorded in the pupil information system.
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 10.20am each morning. Any pupil not present when the roll is called will be marked absent for the day. A note from parents/guardians is required to explain each absence. Notes will be retained by the class teacher until the end of the school year. Notes are shredded by the class teacher
Parents/guardians of pupils who have missed 15 days are informed by letter detailing number of days missed and the fact that NEWB will be informed of these absences when the child reaches 20 days.
The school must inform the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla where a child has missed 20 days or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular and/or where a child is suspended or expelled.
Where there is an irregularity in attendance that is repeatedly causing concern, the parents will be called in to meet with the Principal to discuss ways that we can help to improve the attendance of the child. An irregularity could be a pattern of Mondays or Fridays being days in which a student is absent from school.
Whole School Strategies to promote attendance/retention:
Early Intervention: A pack is prepared each year for new enrolments. Information from the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla about the importance of attendance is included.
Communication with Parents: Traditionally we have Parent-Teacher meetings in October. Any attendance issues should be raised with the parents at this point. School Information letters are regularly sent home to parents each term outlining the importance of attendance and punctuality and stating the obligation on staff to report non-attendance. Parents are also informed, of their responsibility, to send a note explaining absences to the staff.
School Records of Attendance: The staff is involved in keeping daily, monthly and annual records of attendance. The staff also keeps notes received from parents regarding absences.
School Reports: Children’s individual attendances are recorded in the annual school report which is sent home to parents. In the cases of children transferring to secondary schools and/or other primary schools attendance records are also forwarded.
The Educational Welfare Services of Tusla: Quarterly and annual returns are forwarded to the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla about attendance every year.
Promotion of Good attendance: Certificates are presented termly at assembly and at the end of the year to children who have had full attendance or to children who have only missed one day. Medals/prizes are also presented at the end of the school year to children who missed no days during the school year. The school certificates and medals are purchased from school funds.
SPHE: As part of our Social Personal and Health Education Programme each class teacher teaches SPHE. This hopes to promote self-esteem and encourage attendance through areas such as “Making Choices”.
Homework: Our school has a Homework Policy. Homework creates a good link between school and home and also helps to nurture lifelong learning. A copy of the content of the policy and the Code of Behaviour is forwarded to parents at the beginning of each school year. Both documents are also available on our website. Parents are free to approach the teacher if the child is experiencing issues with homework.
Book Rental Scheme: Books are available to families under our book rental scheme. We keep changes to our booklist to a minimum so as not to put pressure on parents.
Equality of Participation: We are very mindful in our school that some parents are under considerable pressure financially .We endeavour to ensure that our school helps those families with difficulties when it comes to swimming classes, school trips etc. All children are treated equally and we ensure that no child is left out of any activity in our school.
Our special needs team: Sometimes children can be reluctant to attend due to perceived failure or weakness in English/Maths or academics in general. Our SEN team intervene to ensure that each child is given support so that all children can integrate successfully into the classroom environment.
Communication with other schools/Agencies
- If a parent hopes to enrol a child in our school from another primary school in the state the principal contacts the principal of the other school to inform them of the request. It is hoped that the principal would then pass on any concerns re: attendance. Once the child is enrolled in our school the Principal will send a letter to the other primary school informing them that the child has now enrolled in the school.
- If a child from our school transfers to another school, details about the child are passed onto the other school. These details include attendance figures, results of standardised tests (where applicable) and any other relevant education report.
- When a child transfers to a secondary school the school report showing attendance for the previous year and standardised test reports are passed on to the principal/senior post holder in that school.
- Returns are made to the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla each quarter outlining the number of children who have missed 20 days. Annual returns are forwarded showing total attendance for all children and total absence numbers.
- Referral forms are also completed by the staff and returned to the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla when we have a concern about a child’s non-attendance at school.
- The Educational Welfare Services of Tusla will also be informed if a child has been suspended, for 6 days or more, and also if a child is being expelled.
- The principal of the school may also contact Social Workers (if involved) to discuss children.
Targets 2016 – 2019
- To monitor the schools attendance record in relation to the national standards published by Tusla.
- To maintain the schools attendance record at or in line with the national standards published by Tusla.
- To decrease the number of pupils reported to the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla for missing 20 days from 9% in 2016 to 7.5% in 2019.
- One child missed 30 days or more in 2016 and the target is to maintain or reduce this by 2019.
- To bring average level of attendance up to 97% in 2019 from almost 95% in 2016.
- Maintain our excellent transfer rates to secondary school
Overall attendance in our school is very good in relation to the national standard.
- The average attendance in our school in May 2015 was 95.96%
- The average attendance in our school in May 2016 was 95.2%.
- The average attendance in our school in May 2017 was 96.2%.
Our school attendance as of the 1st of June 2015 was as follows:
Seven pupils missed 20 days or more.
Our school attendance as of the 1st of June 2016 was follows:
Ten pupils missed 20 days or more. One child missed 30 days or more.
Our school attendance as of the 1st of June 2017 was as follows:
Five pupils missed 20days or more. One child missed 30 days or more.
Other Actions 2016/2017
- Don’t let your child miss out booklet distributed to the parents of all new entrants and to parents of targeted children.
- Children in Junior Infants who are likely to miss days to be identified early by class teacher and their names given to the school Principal.
- Regular notes and PA newsletters sent to parents outlining our strategy and the importance of attending school.
- Parents who attend our Open Night and New Entrant’s Day are reminded of the importance of attending school regularly and of our School Attendance Strategy.
- Parents are invited to the school regularly to attend school events.
- We will continue with our present policy of developing the physical characteristics of our school ensuring pride in our school and increasing connectivity.
- The percentage attendance will be monitored monthly.
- A vibrant Parent’s Association ensures great communication and a great sense of working together.
- Parent teacher meetings are used to remind parents of the importance of good attendance at an early age.
- Certificates will be given to good attenders at end of each term to promote good attendance.
- Good attendance to be promoted at assembly every Friday.
- Throughout the school year, the principal will meet with all parents of children who have exceeded 20 days absence.
- The end of year school report includes a grading system for number of days missed and parents receive feedback on their child’s attendance i.e. fair, good, very good, and excellent.
- Social Skills Programmes to be taught throughout the school.
- Staff will continue to meet to devise individual strategies and help for those pupils who are in difficulty.
This will be done by-
- Class teachers.
- School Principal.
- Regular communication with the Education Welfare Officer.
Actions 2017 – 2018 – Please see recording and reporting of non-attendance.
We will also be repeating all the successful interventions from year 1.
Actions 2018 – 2019.
Repeat all successful interventions from years 1 and 2.
Review and reflection.
Success Criteria and evaluation
We will reflect on the success of our Attendance Strategy in a number of ways:
- Termly records and reporting of absences.
- Termly awards for attendance.
- Monthly percentage figures for attendance.
- Annual attendance figures.
- Feedback from the Inspectorate, the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla, parents and outside agencies.
- Analysis of the Educational Welfare Services of Tusla
- Analysis of individual class attendance.
Attendance/Retention strategy review
Dated: 28th June 2016
Deirdre Murphy Principal
Lynette Mallee Deputy Principal
Board of Management of Kilbride National School