Attendance Policy




Scoil Mhuire Junior,


Dublin 15

Telephone/Fax: (01) 8216916 

Email:                           Website :


Attendance Policy


In line with our stated targets to improve rates of attendance as outlined in our DEIS Plan, the updating of the schools attendance policy was deemed to be an important step.  The redrafting was a collaborative school process involving staff and Board of Management, following initial drafting by a representative group.



The main factors contributing to the formulation of a revised policy can be summarised as follows:


  • To promote and encourage regular attendance as an essential factor in our pupils’ learning
  • Legislative requirements such as the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the Education Act, 1998
  • The role of the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB)
  • Concerns over the increased levels of disadvantage in the school and the effects on attendance
  • The need to respond to changing attitudes in education.


Aims and Objectives

The revised policy is geared towards:


  • Ensuring that pupils are registered accurately and efficiently
  • Ensuring that pupil attendance is recorded daily
  • Encouraging full attendance where possible
  • Identifying pupils at risk
  • Enabling learning opportunities to be availed of fully
  • Raising awareness of the importance of school attendance
  • Fostering an appreciation of learning
  • Identify pupils at risk of leaving school early
  • Ensuring compliance with the requirements of the relevant legislation
  • Developing, subject to available resources, links between the school and the families of children who may be at risk of developing attendance problems
  • Identifying and removing, insofar as is practicable, obstacles to school attendance.


Compliance with School Ethos

This policy complements the school ethos of nurturing potential in a caring environment where the welfare of children is paramount.



Roles and Responsibilities

All staff have an input into the implementation of the policy. Class teachers record individual patterns of attendance and punctuality. The Educational Opportunities Secretary contacts parents when children are absent.  The Deputy Principal has responsibility for maintaining the Leabhair Tinreamh and making returns to NEWB. The HSCL teacher maintains strong links with the ‘at risk’ families, offering support and making home visits. Regular meetings are held between the principal & HSCL to discuss improvements & disimprovements in attendance.


It is the responsibility of the Principal and staff to implement this policy under the guidance of the school’s Board of Management.



School begins at 8.50 am.  All pupils and teachers are expected to be on time.  The school will contact parents/guardians in the event of pupils being consistently late.  The Principal is obliged under the Education Welfare Act, to report children who are persistently late, to the Education Welfare Board.


Recording and Reporting Attendance

The school attendance of individual pupils is recorded in the Leabhar Rolla (Roll Book) of each class and on the school administration system (Aladdin) on a daily basis. Class attendance data is recorded daily in the Leabhar Tinrimh section of Aladdin.  The annual attendance of each individual pupil is recorded in the Clár Leabhar (Register), together with information provided in enrolment forms (Pupil’s Name, Date of Birth, Address, Religion, Parents’ Names and Parents’ Occupations).


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 at/by 9.50am each morning.  Any pupil not present will be marked absent for the day.  The roll book may not be altered once it has been filled in.  A note, phone message or verbal notification to the class teacher from parents/guardians is required to explain each absence. Such notes will be retained by the class teacher. Reasons for absences are entered into the Aladdin system. Parents/guardians must call to the Office if they wish to collect a child early during the school day. They are signed out & a record of all early departures is maintained at the Office. Parents are discouraged from collecting children early unless absolutely necessary. Proof of appointments is required once a child has been taken out on three occasions. Late arrivals must enter through the office (not the classroom door) & are recorded on the Aladdin system


Parents/guardians are made aware of the requirements of the NEWB particularly the by-law relating to absences of more than 20 days per school year. Parents are notified by text message when their child has missed 10 and/or 15 days. They are notified in writing in the end of year report of the total number of absences during the school year. Parents of pupils whose non-attendance is a concern are invited to meet with the Principal and informed of the school’s concerns. The Educational Opportunities Secretary notifies the parents in writing, of improvements and disimprovements in attendance, at the end of each term.


Child & Family Agency (Tusla)

In accordance with Section 21 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), the Education Welfare Officer (EWO) is informed if:


  • A child is expelled
  • A child is suspended
  • A child has missed more than 20 days.

A child is removed from the roll after 20 consecutive days absent without an explanation from the family in accordance with Circular 33/2015.


Returns are made to NEWB every quarter, noting the number of absences of 20, with reasons for these absences.


The Child and Family Agency is furnished with the total attendances in the school year through the Annual Report Form which is completed on-line.



Whole School Strategies to Promote Attendance

Scoil Mhuire Junior endeavours to create a safe, welcoming environment for our pupils and their parents/guardians. Parents/guardians are consulted in drafting and reviewing policies with the aim of promoting a high-level of co-operation among the school community. The teaching staff collaborates in the planning and implementation of the primary school curriculum, so as to provide a stimulating learning environment for all pupils.


In recent years, school attendance has improved greatly in our school.  However, the staff remains vigilant so that ‘risk’ students are identified early.  Risk students can be categorised as those who miss more than 5 days in a 20-day period without an accompanying note of explanation from parents/guardians. The Educational Opportunities Secretary monitors the returns on the Aladdin system, and three times a week, she contacts parents of children whose absence during the previous week remains unexplained. A meeting between parents and the Principal may be set up if deemed necessary.


Absences of more than 20 days are automatically referred to the Education Welfare Officer.

A child is removed from the roll after 20 consecutive days absent without an explanation from the family, in accordance with circular 33/2015.


New entrants and their parents/guardians are invited to engage in an induction process, through which the school’s policies and procedures in relation to attendance are explained. There is a focus on the value of regular attendance and on the importance of developing good attendance habits from Junior Infants onwards.

  • Children who have full attendance at various points throughout the year are awarded certificates at Halloween, Christmas, Easter and June, and congratulatory letters are sent home
  • Where children are making improvements in their attendance this will be rewarded at the end of each term.
  • In relation to the children with poor attendance, letters are sent home to inform parents of the number of absent days
  • Any child with full attendance and up to two days missed throughout the year will receive a certificate and a voucher




Parents will be informed that they have a legal duty to ensure that their child is attending school and is at school every day that the school is open, unless there is a genuine reason for him or her not to attend (Section 17 of Education (Welfare) Act 2000). Only absences relating to activities organised by the school or in which the school is involved can be authorised by the principal (Section 21(9) of Education (Welfare) Act 2000).

Therefore, we cannot give ‘permission’ for holiday absences during term time. We strongly discourage parents from taking students on holidays during term time. If a parent decides to take a child out of school for holidays, the parent must provide a letter to the school to say they are doing so and are aware of the implications. Work for the children cannot be provided while they are on holidays.


The calendar for the coming school year is published annually in June and a reminder is published in September. It is also available throughout the year on the school website. It is hoped that this approach will enable parents/guardians to plan family events around school closures, thus minimizing the chances of non-attendance related to family holidays during the school term.




Procedures for dealing with persistent non-attendance.

In cases where the Education Welfare Officer is informed of absences of 20 days and over, (following all reasonable efforts by the Education Board to consult with the child’s parents and the Principal of the school), the EWO 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 may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.


Reasons for absence are recorded and reported to the EWB during the school year through an online system. An annual report is submitted – not more than six weeks following the end of the school year – detailing the overall level of attendance at the school during that school year. This information will be communicated to the school community through the school’s newsletter.



The school has a good relationship with the local Education Welfare Board (EWB) personnel and there is ongoing communication in relation to children who are at risk.


The school works with the local area partnership, the Educational Opportunities Programme and other agencies in developing programmes to promote school attendance (through HSCL Co-ordinator).

The attendance plan of HSCL and EOP is recorded on Aladdin. These programmes aim to minimise the risks of irregular or non-attendance and to maximise the opportunities provided to all pupils.



Communication with other Schools

Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), when a child transfers to another school, the Principal of a child’s new school must notify the Principal of the child’s previous school that the child is now registered in their school. In keeping with this legislation,

  • When a child transfers from Scoil Mhuire Junior to another school, the schools records on attendance, academic progress etc will be forwarded on receipt of written notification of the transfer. This transfer will be recorded on the Pupil Online Database and imported by that school via POD.
  • When a child transfers into Scoil Mhuire Junior confirmation of transfer will be communicated to the child’s previous school, and appropriate records sought. This transfer will be recorded on the Pupil Online Database and exported by our school via POD.


Communication with Parents

The school also informs all parents of the implications of non-attendance as per the Education Welfare Act 2000.  This information is disseminated through the school newsletter and the website. Parents of new children are informed on enrolment.


Parents/guardians 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 education welfare service to resolve any attendance problems;
  • making sure their children understand that parents support good school attendance;
  • 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.
  • 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 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.




The success of any Attendance Policy is measured through:


  • Improved attendance levels as measured through Aladdin records and statistical returns
  • Happy confident well adjusted children
  • Positive parental feedback
  • Teacher vigilance.



Implementation/Ratification and Review

This policy was reviewed in September 2016


Ratified by Board on 15th November 2016.


Signed __________________