School Attendance Policy

School Attendance Policy


There is a very strong tradition of good attendance in St. Patrick’s N.S. However, we are anxious that parents be aware of the absolute necessity for regular punctual attendance at school.


  • To foster an appreciation of learning by having good attendance practises.
  • To comply with requirements under Education Welfare Act 2000
  • To raise awareness of importance of school attendance.
  • To identify pupils at risk of school leaving early
  • To enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development.


Defining and Recording Non-Attendance:

“A parent is obliged to cause a child between the ages of 6 and 16 to attend at ‘a national school or other suitable school’ on each day that the school is open for instruction.” Education Welfare Act 2000

  • A child is expected to attend each day.
  • Non-attendance is recorded in the roll book.
  • A letter is provided by parents explaining the absence in accordance with the Education Act 1998.
  • All explanatory notes from the parents are kept in the child’s file.
  • Each student’s absence is recorded in the Student Absence Report book.
  • The category of absence is also identified.
  • If a child misses a half day a verbal or written explanation is required.
  • If a note isn’t forth coming the school secretary will contact the parents requesting a letter of explanation.


If there is a difficulty with punctuality or poor attendance:

  • Class teacher will talk to the parent about the matter and remind them of their statutory duty as parents to ensure that their child is sent to school.
  • When a child has missed 12 days a letter is sent home to parents highlighting this and encouraging improvement.
  • If there is still no improvement the principal along with the class teacher will have a further discussion.
  • The principal would formally meet the parent outlining that the Board of Management of the school will be informed about the poor attendance, and/or the Welfare board office will be contacted.
  • The NEWB will be contacted regarding any child who has missed 20 days or more. The EWO and Principal will work together to support families of children with particularly poor attendance.


Promoting Attendance:

  • Our school motto is based on ‘Mol an Óige agus Tiocfaidh Siad.’
  • We promote attendance through ongoing praise to attendance.
  • Class teacher will highlight good attendance in the classroom.
  • Principal will highlight good attendance at assembly each term.
  • Specific incentives may be offered to particular children to encourage attendance.
  • At the end of the school report, children’s level of absence is identified and compared to the class average attendance.
  • At the initial meeting of parents of any new pupils, the “Don’t Let Your Child Miss Out” leaflet will be distributed.
  • To promote positive attendance activities/games are held first thing in the morning so that children will not wish to miss out on them.
  • In the interest of health and safety of the children, parents are reminded that external doors are closed at 9.30 each morning.
  • With older children we have discussions about improving time-keeping.


Procedures in relation to the Removal from Register/Transfer from another school:

The school is aware that ‘A principal may only remove a pupil’s name from a school register where they have been informed that the child has been enrolled in another school or when the Welfare Board notifies them that the child has been registered by it as in receipt of out-of-school education.’


The Board of Management may in exceptional circumstances suspend a child. (see Code of Behaviour)


Transfer to another school:

Where parents remove a child from a school the principal is obliged to give them and the new school a certificate stating child’s record of attendance and absences in the school, the last class the child attended, and any other relevant information pertaining to the education of the child.


Transfer from another school:

When St. Patrick’s receives a new student, the principal will notify the principal of the child’s last school attended that the child is now registered in our school “as soon as may be”. When a principal receives notification that a child has been registered elsewhere he/she must notify the principal of the pupil’s new school of any problems in relation to attendance at the pupil’s former school and of such matters relating to the child’s educational progress as he or she considers appropriate.



  • Parents who fail to send in a letter of explanation of absence will be contacted by the school secretary.
  • When a child reaches 12 days absence, a letter will be automatically sent to parents informing them of this and the responsibility of the school to report to NEWB should the child reach 20 days absence.
  • A report is sent to the NEWB as required.



Removal of a Pupil during the School Day



  • To highlight the importance of remaining in school for a full school day
  • To ensure the safety of all pupils in our school by having all visitors and parents report to the school office
  • To ensure the accountability of all pupils during any emergency evacuations
  • To retain a record of pupils regularly leaving school early



Pupils are expected to remain in school for a full school day. Pupils should only be removed early from school in cases of emergency or unavoidable medical appointments.




  1. Unavoidable medical appointments / Withdrawing a sick child from school


If a pupil needs to leave early for an unavoidable medical appointment, a letter should be sent in beforehand from his/her parents.


If a child is sick during the school day, the secretary will firstly ring the parent and if uncontactable, will ring the emergency contact number. Ensure all phone numbers are up to date.


When collecting the child, the parent should report to the school office where she/he will be asked to sign the child out in the Appointments Record. The parent can then wait in the foyer while the secretary collects the child from the classroom.


On returning the child after the appointment, the return time will be recorded in the Appointments Record.


No child will be allowed to leave the school with any other adult other than his/her parent unless a letter has been received beforehand naming the person who is to collect the child.



  1. Arriving late to school due to medical appointment or emergency

Our school day begins at 9.20am. If a child has a medical, dental or unavoidable morning appointment, a letter be sent in beforehand from his/her parents. The school rolla is taken daily at 10am. In this case the rolla will be kept open for this child until 12pm (maximum). After this time, the child has missed half of the school day and will be marked absent.


  1. Emergencies

The parent should ring the school en-route and explain the situation. The secretary can then have the child collected from the class and ready to meet the parent. The parent will be asked to sign the child out in the Appointments Record.


No child will be allowed to leave the school with any other adult other than his/her parent unless the parent themselves has been in an accident. In such cases, the child will only be released to an immediate family member known to the Principal & staff, as named as the Emergency Contact person.



School starts at 9.20am. For security reasons, all doors will be locked at 9.40am. Rollas will be called at 9.40am. If a child arrives to school after 9.40am, they must be brought to the Office through the Reception Entrance. Parents/ Guardians/Senior pupils will be asked to sign the Late Arrivals Record. The secretary will bring the junior children to the classroom to prevent disruption as class will have already commenced.


The Principal will meet with the parents of children who are continually late to discuss strategies to improve punctuality.


If following school intervention & strategies punctuality does not improve, the principal will report the case to the Education Welfare Officer for further intervention and action.


A copy of the policy will be given to members of staff, Board of Management, and available to parents to view in the school.


Ratified: ______________________                                    Date:_______________

            Chairperson of the Board of Management


The original policy was drawn up in 2009, reviewed in 2011 and again in 2014.


Next review: October 2017 or as necessary