Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, H18 W897

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Coláiste Oiriall Attendance Policy



The Education Welfare Act, 2000 provides a comprehensive framework for promoting regular school attendance. Under the Act, every child must attend school regularly up to sixteen years of age or complete at least three years education in a post primary school, whichever comes later.

Coláiste Oiriall seeks to ensure that all its students receive a fulltime education which maximises opportunities for each student to realise their potential. Coláiste Oiriall strives to provide a welcoming, caring environment, whereby each member of the school community feels wanted and secure. All school staff work with students and their families to ensure each student attends regularly and punctually.

This policy sets out Coláiste Oiriall’s overall goals and objectives in relation to attendance in line with our mission statement. It also sets out the strategies that we uses to promote high levels of attendance in the school, to prevent poor attendance, to intervene where attendance difficulties emerge and to provide support to students whose attendance is a cause of concern.

Aims and Objectives

  • To ensure that attendance and punctuality is a priority for all stakeholders in the school including students, parents and teachers.
  • To develop a framework which defines agreed roles and responsibilities and promotes consistency in carrying out designated tasks.
  • To provide support, advice and guidance for parents and students.
  • To develop a systematic approach to gathering and analysing attendance related data.
  • To further develop a system of rewards and sanctions.
  • To recognise the needs of the individual student when dealing with attendance related issues or planning reintegration following a significant period of absence

Improving Student Engagement

We have a supportive, positive and welcoming school environment. We know the importance of identifying the needs of the individual child and we have appropriate strategies in place that addresses identified needs. Intervening early, offering personalised support and engagement with families and their children is important. We understand the importance of community interventions that maintain connectedness with the school, the student, the family and the community, addressing both personal and practical issues around disengagement.

Guiding  Principles

Coláiste Oiriall’s commitment to attendance an important aspect of our school ethos. We have built a culture of high expectations for the student’s learning, participation and attendance. We believe that all areas of the student’s experience at school impacts on their engagement and attendance. We recognise the complexity of some students’ lives and difficulties and we emphasise interaction with parents to secure high levels of attendance.

Coláiste Oiriall recognises every student’s capacity to attend school, learn well and achieve good outcomes. We question stereotypes that might assume that students from particular backgrounds or with particular experiences will always have a problem with attendance and learning. We aim to build each student’s sense of personal responsibility for their own learning, and to be at school every day.

A whole-school approach

A whole-school approach to attendance will mean that school ethos, policies and practices work consistently together to support good attendance, attendance is a regular part of planning and discussion, that management and staff work as a team, with a consistent approach to attendance and that parents and students are part of an inclusive school community and have opportunities to contribute to the attendance policy.

Communicating standards

Coláiste Oiriall has set down the standards expected in relation to attendance. These standards are clear and aim to promote full attendance by all students. These standards are communicated to all members of the school community.  We provide information about procedures for notification of a student’s absence to the school and how the school subsequently deals with absenteeism.

Recording and Monitoring Attendance

Coláiste Oiriall has devised ways of identifying students who are at risk and to comply with this requirement, we keep accurate records for all student absences and failure to attend. We capture, measure and analyse school-wide attendance, class and year group patterns and also track individual attendance patterns.

We  are alert to emerging patterns of poor attendance and are aware of students and groups of students whose attendance is of concern. We are particularly mindful of students with additional vulnerabilities for poor attendance. When patterns are probed, they often reveal times of the day, week or school year that are disproportionately affected by poor attendance. Identifying the pattern can also suggest the interventions that a school can take to reduce absences.

We use VSware computerised system which is a robust system to ensure accurate and comprehensive attendance records are maintained. Attendance is accurately recorded at the beginning of each morning. We also take roll calls in each class in each classroom where attendance and explanations for absences are recorded and monitored.  

Promoting Good School Attendance

We have a set of attendance practices and strategies that promote good attendance among all students. These help to prevent poor attendance patterns from developing and can help to identify emerging attendance issues. These practices include general awareness raising and setting high expectations, involving parents in setting high expectations, reward systems, recording attendance in student’s school reports, positive affirmation of attendance when the roll is being taken.

We provide extra-curricular activities such as sport, music, debating and art. We believe that these activities can support students in their school attendance, particularly when they cater to the particular interests of the students who are experiencing attendance difficulties and when they are scheduled for times of the week when patterns of poor attendance are apparent.

Empowering students to have a say in their school and in their community can improve students’ engagement with school life, with follow-on benefits for school attendance. All students in Coláiste Oiriall are encouraged to engage with leadership structures in school and in the community. Students with attendance difficulties may feel disconnected from these structures but the Principal and teachers give them every encouragement to participate.

Responding to poor attendance

Coláiste Oiriall makes every effort to engage with parents when attendance problems emerge, and we work collaboratively with them to try to understand the in-school and out-of-school factors influencing attendance. Early dialogue with parents is critical to ensure that non-attendance does not persist.

The Year Head or Pastoral Mentor talks to the parent to ascertain the cause and to emphasise the impact of non-attendance on the child’s opportunities to learn. We invite parents to a meeting, where we discuss matters such as arriving late for school, non-attendance and the parents’ responsibility. We ask parents what support they need to ensure that their child can attend school. Sometimes we set attendance targets in collaboration with parents. Through contact with parents, we gain an understanding of home situations affecting attendance. We help students to re-engage with learning and to catch up on missed material.

School Responsibilities

The school informs the Education Welfare Officer when students are not attending school regularly or when students have missed more than 20 days. Where school absences are found to be linked to emotional, learning or other such difficulties, Coláiste Oiriall will endeavour to put measures in place to deal with those difficulties. Attendance records may form part of a student’s character reference.


Parents must send their child/children to school until they are 16 years of age or the completion of three years of post-primary education, whichever is the latter. A student should attend school every day. It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their son/daughter only miss school due to illness or an “unavoidable” circumstance. Medical/dental appointments should be made outside school hours whenever possible. Students should not be taken out of school during term time for family holidays.

If a student misses a day from school, it is the responsibility of the parent to notify Coláiste Oiriall of this absence. A message can be telephoned into the school office. Students returning to school following an absence must have a written note of explanation from their parent. A space is provided for these notes in the student’s journal.

Parents should ensure that their son/daughters arrive to school punctually. Students should arrive 5 minutes before both the beginning of the school day – at 8.40 a.m. at the latest. This allows them time to go to their locker and organise books and equipment they require for classes.

It is school policy that students, who are late on a number of occasions, receive detention.  Parents are informed of this detention via letter from the Year Head.  It is recognised that there may be unavoidable circumstances when a student may arrive late e.g. transport difficulties. The school adopts a flexible approach in these instances and works with the parents and student to support in any way possible.

Attendance Officer

The Attendance Officer is responsible for the effective implementation of the school’s Attendance and Punctuality Policy. He is responsible for making the appropriate attendance returns to the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB). He will be supported in this work by school management.

The Attendance Officer, in conjunction with the Year Heads, will monitor attendance and ensure quick and early intervention if a problem is identified. The Attendance Officer will use the school’s standard letters to communicate with parents/guardians of students who are frequently late for school or for class.

The Attendance Officer, supported by the Year Heads, are responsible for monitoring patterns of attendance and punctuality across their year group. The Attendance Officer will liaise with parents where a pattern of absence or lateness to school emerges. The Attendance Officer supports the Pastoral Mentors in ensuring that all absences are explained by a note from parents. In a minority of cases the Pastoral Mentor may have difficulty in accessing a note from home. If appropriate the Attendance Officer will intervene to ensure that these absences are explained.

Sanctions for lateness will be imposed by the Attendance Officer and/or school management team in accordance with the School’s Code of Conduct. The Attendance Officer will notify parents via letter when a student has in the region of fifteen absences, that a report will soon be issues to the National Educational Welfare Board, if the pattern continues. A further letter will be sent to parents, when/if a report is submitted to the National Education Welfare Board. The school is sensitive to the individual needs and circumstances of its students and is aware that some students need encouragement to attend school regularly.

Subject Teacher

The Subject Teacher is responsible for taking a roll call at the beginning of each class using the VSware software.  These records are available to Year Heads, Principal or Deputy Principal, should any issue regarding a student’s whereabouts at a given time arise.  The Subject Teacher should follow up on absences and collect notes from parents explaining these absences.

Subject Teachers should inform the Year Head if patterns of absence /lateness emerge for any student in their group. The Subject Teacher can communicate any such concerns to the parent through the student journal.

Strategies to Promote Student Participation

The school recognises that good attendance is achieved when students feel happy, secure and part of the school community. It is through encouraging the full participation of all students in all aspects of school life and in striving to promote their personal development, good citizenship and academic progress that we hope to maximise attendance patterns. We aim to do this in the following ways:

  • Curriculum

The school offers a wide range and variety of subjects and both Junior and Senior cycle. A comprehensive Transition Year programme is also offered. Students have the support of a Career Guidance Counsellor and resource teaching when/if appropriate.

  • Methodologies

In teaching the curriculum the teacher endeavours to use a variety of methodologies, which encourage and facilitate the participation of all students. The school management provides and supports professional development of teachers by facilitating their attendance on in-service courses and by offering staff training days.

  • Co-Curricular

Coláiste Oiriall’s programme of co-curricular/extra-curricular activities caters for a wide range of interests in order to maximize student participation. Activities range from sports, music groups, drama, visits, lunchtime activities, charity awareness and field trips.

  • Pastoral Mentor /Year Head

The caring atmosphere nurtured by the Pastoral Mentor also encourages full participation in school life. The Pastoral Mentor supported by the Year Head plays a role in instilling a good class spirit to promote friendship and learning.

  • Parents’ Participation

Parents’ contribution is welcomed through the various opening available to them e.g. Parents’ Association. Parent-Teacher meetings and relevant information meetings are held during the school year.

  • Initiatives

A number of initiatives have been put in place to encourage good attendance and punctuality. Prizes are awarded annually for an unbroken attendance record. Pastoral Mentors regularly remind students of the need to be in class and to be on time. The Student Diary is designed to assist parents and pupils to deal with absences and lateness easily and efficiently.


This policy was amended, reviewed and adopted by the Coláiste Oiriall Board of Management on 6th September 2022.


Signed: _________________________________      Date: 6th September 2022

(Chairperson of Board of Management) 


Signed: _________________________________      Date: 6th September 2022



Date of next review: 2024


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Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, H18 W897  +353-(0) 47 72344