Attendance Strategy

St Fergal’s College_Statement_of_Strategy_for_School_Attendance

St Fergal’s College expects and promotes regular school attendance. Regular attendance is essential for students to achieve their full academic potential. A school day has nine class periods (six on Friday) during which much new material will be covered by teachers and with long syllabi in all subjects this material may not be taught again in class. Any absence will, therefore, hamper a student’s progress.
The goal should be 100% attendance and, as far as possible, medical or dental appointments should be scheduled outside school time.
Attendance is monitored using VS Ware administration programme.  Year Heads follow up on unexplained absences, see below
The following procedures apply to all students:

  1. Roll call is taken by the teachers at the beginning of every class.
  2. Any student who arrives late must sign in at the office where the time and reason are noted. The journal is stamped “Late” and this counts towards the four notes which will result in a detention.(see Code of Behaviour)
  3. An exception is made for medical /dental /physiotherapy appointments, notified in advance to the relevant tutor/Year Head.
  4. Parents are notified of absences by text by 10.30am and asked to contact the school to explain.
  5. No student is allowed to leave the school during class times without permission of the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head.  The student should have a note signed by parent/guardian and this must be counter signed by one of the above or parent/ guardian must speak to one of the above.  Supplies of these notes are in the student journal.  Spot checks on signatures will be carried out to authenticate the note. The student must be “signed out” at the office.
  6. If a student needs to leave school during school hours they must present a “to leave at” note to their Year Head during the morning for signing. This note must be shown at the office when signing out at the required time.
  7. Students presenting to go home due to illness must contact their tutor/ Year Head who will phone parent/guardian.  Students are encouraged to wait in class if possible. Students may not contact parent/guardian using their mobile phone; they must ring from office phone.
  8. The secretary will record details of students leaving early on VS ware as soon as practicable.
  9. All absences from school must be explained, in writing on the day the student returns to school.  Supplies of these notes are in the student journal.If a student fails to submit an explanation for their absence the tutor or Year Head will contact a parent/guardian by phone or in writing.
  10. Awards are presented to every student with 100% attendance at the School Awards day at the end of the school year. A Certificate is presented to students who have been absent on only one or two days.
  11. Parents’/ Guardians’  are notified  in writing when a student has been absent for 10 days, irrespective of explanation, with a reminder that absences in excess of 20 days will be notified to the NEWB
  12. Another letter is sent after 20 days absence notifying the Parent/Guardian that the information will be returned to the NEWB.
  13. Should the Year Head/ Deputy/Principal have concerns about the reason for extended absence every effort will be made to clarify the situation. Continuing concern, in line with the Guidelines supplied by TUSLA will result in a formal notification to TUSLA/ NEWB welfare officer.
  14. Individual absences are discussed at Year Head meetings, Care Team meetings and staff meetings.
  15. Principal always states the importance of full attendance at all school community fora.
  16. An excellent attendance record is a criteria for acceptance into Transition Year.
•                     St Fergal’s College actively encourages every student to participate in school life. Participation helps to develop friendships and enhances the experience of school

•                     Students are expected to attend all classes and to participate to the best of their ability.

•                     A variety of school programmes are provided to cater for the needs of all students e.g. LCA, LCVP and Transition Year.

•                     Approaches to teaching and learning ( e.g. AFL) are designed to encourage student participation during classes.

•                     A wide range of extra-curricular activities are undertaken which take place during lunch time as well as after school.

•                     Emphasis is placed on participation instead of winning.

•                     SNA’s help to integrate students with special needs during lunch time.

•                     Participation is recognised, praised, publicised and rewarded.

As stated above Parents’/ Guardians’  are notified  in writing when a student has been absent for 10 days, irrespective of explanation, with a reminder that absences in excess of 20 days will be notified to the NEWB. Another letter is sent after 20 days absence notifying the Parent/Guardian that the information will be returned to the NEWB.

Parents are invited to meet the Year head to discuss the concerns re absenteeism and to formulate a plan to rectify the situation.

Continuing concern, in line with the Guidelines supplied by TUSLA will result in a formal notification to TUSLA/ NEWB welfare officer.

This strategy will be monitored on an on-going annual basis and it will be deemed successful if it promotes good attendance, identifies attendance problems and encourages students to participate in school activities
 
March 13th 2018