St. Mac Dara’s School Attendance Policy

●St. Mac Dara’s seeks to promote and foster an environment that encourages students to attend school regularly and participate fully in the life of the school.

●St. Mac Dara’s seeks to advise and assist students and the parents of students who exhibit problems relating to attendance at school and to behaviour in school.

●St. Mac Dara’s supports strategies and programmes aimed at preventing non-attendance at school and will regularly monitor the effectiveness of these strategies and programmes.  Where deemed necessary, St. Mac Dara’s will seek the assistance and advice of the NEWB to resolve serious non-attendance cases.

Parents– In accordance with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act (2000), parents must ensure that their child(ren) attends school on a regular basis.

–          Where a child is absent from school during part of a school day, or for a full school day or more than one school day, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the child must, in accordance with the procedures specified in the school’s Code of Behaviour, notify the school authorities (Tutor, Year Head, Principal, Deputy Principal) of the reasons for the child’s absence.

School Registers– From the commencement of each academic year, the school must maintain a register of all students attending the school.

–          From the day each student first attends St. Mac Dara’s, the school authorities will enter the student’s name and date of his/her first attendance and, from that date, the student concerned shall be deemed to be a student in the school.

–          Where a student is registered in St. Mac Dara’s who is also registered in another school, the Principal of the student’s previous school will be informed in writing

–          Where a student leaves St. Mac Dara’s to attend another school, as soon as notification is received from the second school that this student is now registered there, that student’s name will be removed from the register in St. Mac Dara’s.

–          In respect of each school day throughout the academic year, a record of attendance or non-attendance of each student registered in St. Mac Dara’s will be maintained.

Records of attendance-Where a student does not attend, this non-attendance, and reason for non-attendance, will be recorded.

–          Where a student is suspended for a period of not less than 6 days, the principal will inform, in writing, the educational welfare officer.

–          Where the aggregate number of school days on which a student is absent is 20 or more, the Principal will, in writing, inform the educational welfare officer.

–          Where a student’s name is removed from the register, the principal will, in writing, inform the educational welfare officer.

–          Where the Principal deems that a student is not attending school regularly, the educational welfare officer will be notified, in writing.

–          A student will be deemed not to be absent from school where the period of absence is authorised by the principal and relates to activities organised by the school or in which the school is participating.

Strategies to encourage good attendance

The school’s mission statement says: “We, the community of this college, through a caring and collective approach, aspire to provide a broad-based education for all, to foster respect and dignity and to promote a safe and just environment by positively encouraging all to realise their full potential”.

– through the promotion and nurturing of a friendly, caring environment and by encouraging all students to realise their potential, it is hoped that students will attend regularly.

– by rewarding good attendance, it is hoped to encourage all students to attend school regularly.

– by emphasising to students and parents the importance of education in a child’s life, it is hoped to encourage regular attendance.

– by emphasising to students and parents the link between poor attendance and early school leaving, it is hoped to encourage regular attendance.  This may be achieved through Year Group assemblies, newsletters, individual and general meetings.

– through monitoring and effective recording of non-attendance, to identify at an early stage students who are likely to have school attendance problems and to offer support to both parents and students through teachers, Tutors, Year Heads, Guidance and Care teams, NEWB.

– through the provision of a wide range of subjects, to cater for the diverse needs of all our students.

– as part of our commitment to being an inclusive school, to not only respect difference but to provide the support services necessary for students with special educational needs. It is hoped that such provision will enable all students to feel part of the school community, thus encouraging them to attend regularly.

– by provision of an extensive extra- curricular and co-curricular programme, to encourage students to participate and, thus, attend school regularly.

– to identify whether a lack of engagement with the school curriculum is contributing to problems of non-attendance and to consider initiatives which might address this such as review of subject choices, reduced timetable, consultation with Guidance department.

– to liaise with local and feeder primary schools to identify potential attendance problems and to receive information and advice which might help to develop strategies to improve attendance when the child(ren) is in St. Mac Dara’s.

– to use all the support agencies of the school where appropriate, including guidance, pastoral care, chaplaincy, to help resolve problems of non-attendance.

– to reflect the caring ethos of the school by dealing with all cases of regular non-attendance in a fair and sensitive manner.

March 2006.