The Education Welfare Act (2000) places a statutory responsibility on schools and parents to provide for the optimum attendance of every student. Tusla oversees school attendance nationwide and each school has been assigned an Education Welfare Officer whose duty it is to liaise with the school in relation to any attendance problems which may emerge. The Principal must inform the Education Welfare Officer where any of the following occur:
- A student has reached 20 days absence cumulatively
- A Principal is concerned about a student’s attendance
- The Board of Management decides to expel a student
- A student has been suspended for 6 days or more cumulatively
- A student’s name is to be removed from the school register for whatever reason
Recording of Absences:
- Each teacher must take an accurate roll call at each class and record this precisely on VSWare. In the event of computer system’s failure at 8.50 a.m. a list of absent students must be sent to the data secretary.
- An absence text alert is issued regularly to parents/ guardians based on the data input by teachers.
Verifying and Recording Reasons for Absence:
- Year Heads are asked to check the daily list of absent students on their VSWare dashboard.
- If a Year Head considers it appropriate, s/he may phone the home of the absent student to check the reason for absence (or may ask the Deputy Principal to do so if teaching for the duration of morning).
- Lateness: all students who arrive late for school must sign in at the school office to allow for their attendance record to be amended.
- Absences known in advance (eg: dentist, medical appointment, family occasion): students must give a note to the Year Head at earliest convenience & must sign out at the school office on departure from school.
- Where possible, parents/guardians should notify the school by phone before 9.30 a.m. of absence due to illness, family emergency, unexpected circumstances etc. to allow the absence to be recorded before the issuing of the text alert.
- When students are away on school activities under the supervision of school staff they are recorded as being present but on school business.
- Signing Out: students are not permitted to leave school without bringing a note from a parent/ guardian to their Year Head. In emergency/ urgent circumstances, parents may phone the school office to grant this permission & provide the note the following day.
To sign out:
The student meets her Year Head (Deputy Principal/ Principal if Year Head not available) at the start of the school day (not at the time at which she wishes to sign out ) & provides a note from a parent/ guardian.
The student signs out at the school office & provides the name of the Year Head/Principal/Deputy Principal who gave permission for signing out ( students must not use parent/ guardian name here).
To sign in:
a student returning to school following an absence during the school day must sign in at the school office.
- Absence notes for illness/ urgent family absences: students must place a note in the Year Head’s letterbox.
School Interventions in cases of Absence:
Regular text alerts regarding absence – texts will be issued regularly for all unexplained absences based upon 8.50am & 1.35pm roll calls.
- 7 days absence – an in-school discussion will take place between the student & her Year Head
- 10 days absence – phone call from Year Head to parent/ guardian
- 15 days absence – letter home to parent
- 20 days absence – statutory notification to Tusla re attendance record of student.
Procedures for Monitoring Punctuality:
Punctuality is a valuable aspect of classroom management & is an essential quality in the lives of our students. It is essential that students attend class punctually to ensure an orderly learning environment.
- All students are expected to be punctual for each class, each day.
- Students who arrive after 8.50am must sign in at the main school office. Lateness due to severe weather conditions will be noted as such.
- Parents/ guardians of students who are late on 7 occasions will receive a letter from the Year Head requesting them to support the school in matters of punctuality.
- Students who report late to class at other times will be sanctioned by the class teacher.
Procedures for Students who Feel Unwell During School Time:
- Parents must provide the school with an emergency contact number and ensure that there is always someone available for the school to contact, should it be necessary.
- Students who have ongoing medical problems may need medical interventions during the school day. Staff will be informed & trained on the procedures for unwell students in their classrooms & those with medical needs. It is the responsibility of parents to notify the school at the time of admission of any medical condition affecting their daughter. The same responsibility exists should a medical condition be diagnosed at any stage during the student’s time at the school.
- A teacher who feels that a student is too unwell to be present in class should send the student (accompanied by another student who will return to class immediately) to the SEN room & register. If the student who feels unwell cannot return to class by the next class period, the school secretary will telephone the parent/ guardian/ nominated emergency contact & make arrangements that the student be collected.
- A student leaving the school due to illness must sign out at the main school office having received permission from her Year Head/ Deputy Principal/ Principal.
- On the students’ return to school, the parent/ guardian must provide a note of explanation to the Year Head.
- Note: In the case of medical emergency, if parent/ guardian cannot be contacted, the school reserves the right to contact a medical professional/ ambulance service
Roles & Responsibilities:
To be responsible for putting notes of explanation for absence/ late/ permission to leave in the designated box for Year Head’s attention.
- To submit notes re absences known in advance to Year Head before 11.15 a.m on the day of absence.
- To be in school & in class punctually each day.
- Must share in the responsibility and support school procedures on attendance & punctuality.
- Must ensure that their daughters attend punctually each day.
- Where possible, should notify the school before 9.30 a.m. of absence due to illness etc.
- Must notify the Year Head of reasons for absence when a student is absent for part of a school day, a school day or more than a school day.
- Must provide a written explanation for their daughters’ absence/ late arrival/ request to leave school early etc using the appropriate notes in the school journal.
- Must provide an emergency contact number / be available to collect their daughter in the event of illness.
- Should arrange medical, dental & other appointments outside of school time where possible.
- To be responsible for monitoring students’ attendance & notes & for communicating with the student and her parents/ guardians when issues arise.
- Completion of Tusla attendance referrals in co-operation with the Principal/ Deputy Principal.
- To accurately record & monitor attendance at every class through the use of the VSWare system.
Principal/ Deputy Principal:
- To issue attendance alert SMS messages to parents on a regular basis.
- To be responsible for the implementation of the Attendance & Punctuality Policy & Procedures
- To notify the Education Welfare Officer in circumstances as outlined above.
- To review the attendance & punctuality procedures on a regular basis.
In implementing these procedures the Board of Management in Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy endeavours to ensure that all students partake in & benefit from the education provided by regular & punctual attendance at school and class.
- Parents are reminded that unauthorised absence from the school premises or from classes by students is a serious breach of Health & Safety Guidelines, Child Protection Guidelines & the School’s Code of Behaviour.
- The school authorities cannot accept responsibility for students who absent themselves from school or from a class for any purpose without prior permission.
- Parents are responsible for students when they sign out during the school day.
- The Principal/ Deputy Principal reserve the right to exercise discretion in the implementation of school sanctions in exceptional circumstances.
Ratified & adopted by the Board of Management: 19th January 2016