There is a very strong tradition of good attendance in C.B.S. Primary, Mitchelstown. In order to continue this tradition we are anxious that parents be aware of the absolute necessity for regular, punctual attendance at school.
Quite simply, children cannot learn if they are not in school. The following strategies have been put in place to help foster an appreciation of learning and good attendance:
Education Welfare Act
The Education Welfare Act became law in July 2002 and under that law, parents have an obligation to send their children to a recognised school. The Board of Management of a school is obliged to have an attendance policy which promotes attendance awareness and good practice and provides for monitoring and reporting of same. The original CBS Primary Organisational Sub-committee for “Attendance” was set up in March 2005. Since then the policy has been reviewed annually with input from our H.S.C.L. Officer and S.C.P. Project Worker.
The committee now consists of Nigel Griffin (D.P.), Mairéad Sheehan (S.C.P.) Project Worker & Enda McCafferty (H.S.C.L.).
It was decided to develop this policy because –
- The law states that all children are required to attend school everyday.
- It is the responsibility of every parent/legal guardian to make sure that their son attends everyday.
- It leads to better results at school.
- It leads to better career opportunities when pupils leave school.
- It leads to a better understanding of the material being taught in class.
- It results in increased self-confidence and self-esteem.
- A good attendance pattern facilitates a positive transition into secondary school.
RELATIONSHIP TO OUR “SCHOOL VISION”
Our vision is that “Through positive learning experiences, each child will be stimulated to achieve his full potential, face life confidently and respectfully, mindful of his responsibility to the wider community.”
Therefore, our school cherishes all pupils equally and in order to achieve their true potential they need to be
present at school. We emphasise the need to develop fully, as this cannot be achieved, without regular school attendance.
To promote good attendance through the following:-
- Rewarding students with good attendance records.
- Identifying pupils with poor attendance in school.
- Developing links between the school and the families of pupils with poor attendance, through co-operation with our S.C.P. Project Worker, Mairéad Sheehan and Enda McCafferty (H.S.C.L.) Co Ordinator.
- Identifying and removing obstacles to good attendance.
- Implementation of a staged approach to tackling absenteeism among our targeted pupils in co-operation with our S.C.P. Project Worker, Mairéad Sheehan and Enda McCafferty (H.S.C.L.) Officer.
Children will not reach their full academic potential if they do not attend school regularly. The following strategies have been put in place to help foster an appreciation of learning and good attendance.
Roll Call - The Roll Call will be taken each day in all Mainstream Classes between 9.55am and 10am. Pupils presenting to school after this time will be marked absent unless the school has been informed by Parent/Guardian, prior to this time, giving a reason for the pupil’s late arrival.
A).For the General Student Body:-
Rewards will be presented for good and improved attendance i.e.: -
· 1 day or less up to February Mid-term
· 1 day or less from February Mid-term to summer holidays, discounting absences prior to February.
· Reward stickers will be attached to the pupil’s mid-term break and summer holiday reports by class teachers.
· Record of boys not presenting with absent notes will be recorded on Aladdin (Tracking System).
· Teachers will issue early leaving and late arrival slips.
For Mid-term Reports the attendance will be graded as follows:
Ø 0-1 day absent - Excellent + Sticker
Ø 2-3 days absent - Good
Ø 4-6 days absent - Fair
Ø 7+ days absent - Needs attention
B).For our Tracker Pupils:-
- Aladdin (computerised attendance system) checked by S.C.P. Project worker, Mairéad Sheehan on a fortnightly basis until February, to ascertain attendance and weekly thereafter. Teachers will check boys not presenting with absent notes.
- Monthly draws for boys involved. Names entered into draw for every full fortnight of attendance. Draw takes place in Family Room for class groupings 2nd - 6th.
- Prior to February break and at the end of the academic year boys with improved attendance throughout the year are treated to a party during school time, towards the end of the school year - or given a treat after school.
- Teachers will inform a member of the Committee if they have concerns regarding the attendance of a pupil not already on the tracking list.
Identification of Students with poor attendance
Tracker pupils will be chosen on the basis of their previous year’s attendance. Information on the attendance of incoming 1st class pupils will be sought from child's previous primary school(s), however, 1st class pupils will not be included in the tracking project except in instances where the Attendance Committee deem it necessary. The option of adding a first class pupil will be examined in December. Parent(s)/ Legal Guardian(s) will be informed by letter when a child is added to the Attendance Tracking Programme.
- Special weighting will be given to pupils from the Traveller Community.
- Tracker list will be reviewed every Easter, with a view to removing or adding children to the tracking programme.
- Children removed from the list will still be monitored.
Implications of absenteeism
A). For the General Student Body:
Regardless of the child’s circumstances, there is a standard procedure regarding communication of a child’s attendance between the home and the school.
Appropriate contact will take place between the school and parents/guardians of these children.
a) For pupils absent without a valid note from Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s), the teacher will inform the Parent(s)/ Legal Guardian(s) by homework journal/letter and request a valid note. (CF letter request).
b) For pupils absent for 15 days or more Mairéad Sheehan will write to Parent(s)/ Legal Guardian(s) informing them of the number of days missed. In this letter Parent(s)/ Legal Guardian(s) will also be offered the opportunity to visit school to discuss the implications regarding the TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) with Enda McCafferty and avail of supports which can be offered to them.. Mairead Sheehan SCP will notify Deputy Principal regarding this. (CF letter non trackers 15+)
c) For pupils absent for 20 days or more the teacher will inform Mairéad Sheehan /Deputy Principal, who will inform TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) and notify Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) of this by letter. (CF letter non tracker 20+)
d) A referral form for pupils absent for 25 days will be sent, if deemed necessary, to TUSLA and a letter will be sent informing parents/legal guardians of this.
Teachers will also notify Mairéad Sheehan, Enda McCafferty or Deputy Principal if they have concerns regarding a particular child’s attendance pattern.
Mairéad will check Aladdin fortnightly for boys who are not presenting with absent notes. The teacher will inform Mairead Sheehan of this. Where there are concerns about a pupil’s attendance at any time they may be added to the tracker list. Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) will be informed about this by letter. Where concerns remain, a referral form may be submitted to TUSLA (Child and Family Agency). This referral may be made at any point of the staged approach.
For Tracker Pupils – The Staged Approach
- 10 days absent – Enda McCafferty (phone call) to offer support and explain “Staged Approach”.
- 15 days absent – S.C.P. Project Worker Mairead Sheehan to send a letter informing Parent(s)/ Legal Guardian(s) of the actual number of days absent. Enda McCafferty will follow up with a phone call to arrange a meeting to offer support. (CF tracker 15+)
- 20 days absent – S.C.P. Project Worker Mairead Sheehan to send a letter to Parent(s)/ Legal Guardian(s) informing them of the number of days absent and that we are obliged to contact TUSLA (Child and Family Agency). (CF tracker 20+)
- 25 days absent – Referral form, signed by Principal, will be submitted to TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) by the Attendance Committee. A letter will be sent to parent(s)/guardian(s) informing them of this. (CF tracker 25+) Enda McCafferty (HSCL) will follow up with a phone call to arrange a meeting with the parents/Guardians.
Each child's attendance record will be recorded on the mid-term and end of year report cards.
Attendance, behaviour and academic records of children who transfer to another primary school will be passed to the Principal of the school by post as soon as we receive written notification of transfer.
Attendance, behaviour and academic records of children who transfer into CBS Primary Mitchelstown will be sought directly from the previous school. Attendance, behaviour and Academic records of pupils transferring to Secondary School will be sent to the school once enrolment has been confirmed.
Notes are required from parent(s)/guardian(s) after any absence full/half day. Notes should be on a separate letter or on space provided on homework journal. Parents collecting children during the school day for any period must sign the “Sign In”/”Sign Out” book in Reception. Parent(s) dropping their children to school late will also sign this book. Early leaving and late arrival slips will also be applicable in these cases.
- Success of policy implementation will be assessed through staff / parent / pupil feedback.
- Improvements in attendance of children with poor history of attendance.
- Figures compiled by Mairéad Sheehan (SCP) on the pupil’s annual attendance.
Roles and Responsibilities
Policy will be developed and monitored by the School Attendance Committee, M. Sheehan, E. McCafferty and Nigel Griffin, ratified by Board of Management and implemented by the whole staff.
This Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.