Attendance Policy

ATTENDANCE/PARTICIPATION POLICY FOR ST MEL’S COLLEGE

1 POLICY STATEMENT
1.1 St Mel’s College subscribes to and conforms to all relevant statutory legislation.

2 PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
2.1 St Mel’s College affirms that parents have the primary responsibility for ensuring that children of compulsory school-going age attend school regularly once they are enrolled at school, and bearing in mind that they are obliged to complete three years of post-primary education up to their eighteenth birthday.

2.2 St Mel’s College affirms that parents have a social responsibility to ensure that students attend school regularly regardless of age or status and they should ensure that their children complete their education.

2.3 St Mel’s College affirms that parents have a statutory obligation to notify the school principal or his/her nominee, in the form of a written explanation or a doctor’s cert, explaining the reason for each absence.

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/approve of school attendance;
• Discussing planned absences with the school.
• Refraining, if at all possible, from taking holidays during school time
• Encouraging them to participate in school activities.
• Informing the school in writing 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.

2A Pupils Responsibilities
• Pupils have the clear responsibility to attend school regularly and punctually.
• Pupils should inform staff if there is a problem that may lead to their absence.
• Pupils are responsible for promptly passing on absence notes from parents to their class teacher.
• Pupils are responsible for passing school correspondence to their parents.

3 PRINCIPAL’S RESPONSIBILITY

3.1 A register of all students who have been admitted to the school will be maintained by the Principal of St Mel’s College.
3.2 St Mel’s College affirms that a student, who has not reached the age of 16 years or who has not completed three years of post-primary education, cannot be removed from the register, except

3.2.(a)For inter-school transfer and then only after all details regarding attendance and educational progress have been issued to the new school.

3.2.(b)Where for whatever reason a student is removed from the school under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 Section 20(4).

3.3 St Mel’s College affirms that the Principal shall, after admitting a student from another second level school notify the Principal of said school that he/she has registered said student.

3.4 St Mel’s College affirms that the Principal must maintain a record of attendance and non-attendance on each school day or part thereof of each student registered at the school, which specifies the fact of attendance or failure to attend and the reasons for such failure.

3.5 St Mel’s College affirms that the Principal must notify the Educational Welfare Board as follows:
• Where a student is suspended for a period of not less than 6 days.
• Where the aggregate number of school days on which a student is absent (for whatever reason) during a school year is not less than 20 days.
• Where, for whatever reason, a student’s name is removed from the register in accordance with the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 Section 20(4) and under Section 3.2 above.
• Where in the opinion of the Principal, a student is not attending school regularly and the reasons for such non-attendance. In addition, such information should be available to the Board of Management, as appropriate.
3.6 St Mel’s College affirms that the Principal may at his/her discretion, delegate duties regarding school attendance to other professionals working in the school.

4 COLLEGE’S RESPONSIBILITY

4.1 St Mel’s College maintains a caring and pastoral ethos with regard to students.

4.2 St Mel’s College, shall in as far as is possible be required to co-operate with the Educational Welfare Service (TUSLA) and with the Educational Welfare Officer and shall seek to establish good and positive relationships with them.

5 BOARD OF MANAGEMENT’S RESPONSIBILITY

5.1 The Board of Management of St Mel’s College shall ensure that the statutory obligations of the college with regard to college attendance and participation are adhered to.

5.2 The Board of Management of St Mel’s College shall submit a report on attendance levels in the College to the Educational Welfare Officer, NEWB as required.

5.3 St Mel’s College shall ensure that all information is collected and issued in accordance with the Data Protection act (1988).

5.4 St Mel’s College shall ensure that an evaluation of the effectiveness of the process, strategy and policy regarding attendance is carried out regularly.
6 STATEMENT OF STRATEGY:

6.1 As per The Education (Welfare) act 200 Section 22(1) and 22(2) St Mel’s College has drawn up a Statement of strategy with regard to attendance/participation, subject to the functions of the Minister pursuant to section 7 (1) of the Education Act 1998

6.2 St Mel’s College uses the following strategy to promote good attendance/participation. The development of whole school structures in a positive and pro-active attempt to deal with the issues of attendance and non-attendance, supported by the Pastoral Care programme in the school. The fostering of school and community awareness of the effects on school attendance of the following:
• Participation by students in employment.
• Entertainment/social activity.
• The abuse of alcohol and drugs.
• Communication with parents.
• The rewarding of students regarding good attendance/participation.
• Early identification of “at risk” students.
• Establishment of a “care team” for the purpose of identifying and supporting “at risk” students.
• Establishment of close links with the homes of “at risk” students.
• Fostering, promoting and establishing contacts by the school with other schools and bodies engaged in youth work.( The Attic Youth Café)

• The development of whole school structures in a positive and pro-active attempt to deal with issues of attendance/participation.
• Regular evaluation of the school’s operation as it relates to attendance/participation, with a view to encouraging an atmosphere conducive to good attendance/participation.
• Reasoning with the student.
• Reprimand, including advice on how to improve.
• Loss of privileges.
• Detention during breaks or outside of school hours. ( Thursday afternoon detention)
• Prescribed additional work.
• Any other strategy that may be of relevance to the needs or circumstances of the school.

6.3 It is the responsibility of students who are absent from class/school for any reason to find out details of work missed. This applies also to students who miss class due to sporting or other extra-curricular activities.

In September 2013 an Attendance monitoring process was put in place at the college with the introduction of VS Ware and texts are sent home daily to parents if students are not in attendance. Staff members are requested to take a roll for each class period and attendance is monitored throughout each day as a result. Meetings are arranged with parents if mitching is suspected or attendance is irregular.
St Mel’s include Attendance awards as part of the end of year Awards Ceremony. Students who have full attendance for the year are recognised with Certificates and Vouchers and Awards are also given at Junior and Leaving Certificate level. Attendance is also part of the Reports sent home to the parents at Christmas and Summer time.

This Policy was ratified at the Board of Management Meeting on 20/11/2017

Chairman of the Board of Management Conal Gibbons