Information Note - Attendance (20 days explainer)
It's coming to the time of year where, due to illness or otherwise, absences are beginning to increase and people begin to worry about getting close to the 20 day mark. Because of this, it's as good a time as any to explain how attendance recording and reporting works in schools.
Attendance is recorded daily by the class teacher on our online roll books via Aladdin. If later than 9:10am, the time of arrival is also recorded here (this is calculated by Aladdin into learning time missed at the end of the year).
There are two reporting mechanisms for attendance where attendance is reported to TUSLA, the child and family agency.
School Attendance Reports
There are two reporting periods in the year, September to December and January to June. We submit the school attendance returns in January for September to December and again at the end of the school year for the second half of the year.
On this form we are required to list any pupils, over the age of 6, who have missed 20 school days for any reason. Our Aladdin system is automated to inform you when your child reaches the 20 days threshold. If a child has missed 20 days or more when we have reached either of the reporting periods, they are included on our report. It is rare that these reports lead to any follow up, unless it is a significant amount of days missed, but it is possible.
If it is followed up the Education Welfare Officer will ask if the absences were explained. Explained absences, due to illness etc, are not a cause for concern and shouldn't cause any worry at all. A large number of unexplained absences may lead to further involvement from the Education Welfare Officer.
The reports are not something to be concerned about and if you get a text saying your child has missed 20 days of school, and as such will need to be included on our returns, please don't be concerned. While attendance is hugely important and good attendance correlates strongly with improved outcomes, there are also very valid reasons for children to miss school and this is understood.
Discretionary referrals are made where a school is worried about the attendance of a pupil. This might be due to a lot of unexplained absences, a pattern of absence, significant ongoing issues with punctuality leading to a lot of missed learning time, etc.
A school will refer a child to the Education Welfare Officer where they have these concerns. The role of the Education Welfare Officer is primarily to offer support to families to improve attendance.
Key things to note
The aim of attendance and punctuality procedures are to ensure the child gets the best experience of education and maximises learning time. We are available to support as needed.
There is no need for concern if you get a text saying your child has missed 20 days and will be included on the attendance report. Explained absences are recorded as such.
Be sure to submit an absence reason to your child's class teacher each time your child is absent. Please ask for a new absence book, should you require it.
Aim to have your child in school for 9:10am each day. We understand this isn't always possible, and understand that sometimes there will be times when this is not possible.