RMDS Statement of Strategy on Attendance (2013)
The Education and Welfare Act (2000) states:
22.–(1) The Board of Management of a recognised school shall, after consultation with the principal of, teachers teaching at, parents of students registered at and the educational welfare officer assigned functions in relation to that school, prepare and submit to the Board, a statement of the strategies and measures it proposes to adopt for the purposes of fostering an appreciation of learning among students attending that school and encouraging regular attendance at school on the part of such students (hereafter in this section referred to as a “statement of strategy”).
Accordingly, the Board of Management of Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School has prepared the following attendance strategy. This strategy has been prepared in the context of a strong attendance record at the school.
Informing Parents of the Importance of Regular Attendance:
The importance of regular and punctual attendance at school is explained to parents of incoming Junior Infants and any new pupils starting in RMDS at the information meeting for new parents organised annually in June. The parents are informed of the responsibilities of the school and of parents under The Education and Welfare Act. The manner in which the school interacts with the National Education and Welfare Board (NEWB) is outlined and parents are provided with an information pack containing a summary of the main points covered at the meeting. This information is reprised at the class meetings in September. Regular reminders are also included in the weekly school newsletter. Attendance is an item on the Principal’s report to every Board of Management meeting.
Communicating with the NEWB:
The school requires that parents submit an explanation for all absences. For absences of more than one day this must be a written explanation. These records are retained to facilitate the quarterly and annual returns to the NEWB. In the event of a child accumulating twenty absences or more during a school year, this information is relayed to the NEWB. Responsibility for the school’s returns to the NEWB lies with the Principal.
Giving Feedback to Parents Regarding their Child’s Attendance:
The attendance of each child is noted prior to the annual parent/teacher meeting in November each year and any concerns discussed with parents at that meeting. The child’s annual attendance is entered on the end-of-year report.
Identifying Patterns of Absence:
Teachers are encouraged to be vigilant regarding patterns of absence which may indicate a child failing to attend school for a reason that is not legitimate. This includes, but is not limited to, consistent absence on the same day.
If such a pattern is identified, the teacher will inform the Principal. The class teacher or the Principal may contact the parents concerned to bring the school’s concern to their attention and to find out if there is a legitimate reason for the pattern of absences and to consider whether the school can in any way assist in improving the child or children’s attendance.
Ratified by the Board of Management of RMDS 7 October 2013
Chairperson: Colm Healy