School Attendance Strategy Booklet




Everyday Counts!                            NEWB –

Legal Framwork / Role

What Parents can do                                 Seven Useful Tips

What Teachers can do                              A six step plan for encouraging  Improved attendance

What Schools can do                                Eight steps to bring your school Attendance strategy to life

When is a child too Sick for School?      Guidelines for common illnesses Symptoms and signs, what to do.

Attendance Matters

Most pupils go to school every day and enjoy it. Some children do experience difficulties in attending school for a variety of reasons. Sometimes parents are aware of this. Sometimes they aren’t. The National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) was established under the Education Welfare Act 2000 to ensure children between the ages of 6 & 16 attend school on a regular basis or are otherwise in receipt of a minimum standard of Education. It also is responsible for the maintenance of the national register of children who are being “home educated” and the assessment of the education provided.

The Law

The Education Welfare Act 2000 allows the NEWB to bring prosecutions against parents who are “failing or neglecting” to cause their children to attend a recognised school. Upon conviction parents may be fined up to €635 each or face up to one month imprisonment.

School Leaving Age

Section 2 of the Education Welfare Act requires children resident in the state to attend school when they reach 6 years of age. Children may NOT leave school until they are 16 years old and have completed 3 years post primary education whichever occurs later.

Our Work

The NEWB aims to reduce unnecessary absences from school by offering support and help to parents, pupils and schools. The key to achieving this is good communication between the school, home and NEWB so that any problems can be resolved quickly.

School Principals are legally obliged to maintain a register of pupils attending his or her school. High levels of school absenteeism must be reported by the Principal to their EWO. Upon receipt of this referral the EWO begins a process of intervention aimed a finding a resolution to the issues preventing the child from attending school.

The EWO will work with a range of local and national services to assist the child, family and school. These include the HSE social work department, National Educational Psychological Service, National Council for Special Education, School Completion Programme, Home School & Community Liaison Officers, Family Support Services, VEC’s, ISPCC, Child and Mental Health Services, Child Psychology etc.

The NEWB not only work with children who present with school attendance issues but also work with students whose behaviour in school has lead to extended periods of suspension or permanent exclusion from school. We also assist families whose children have not been able to secure a place in a school for their children to attend.

Local Contact Details


Unit 19,Sandyfort Business Centre, Grealishtown, Bohermore, Galway.

091 385302

What can Parents do to improve School Attendance?*

After school every day:

Make sure that the homework is done as early as possible

Keep the school uniform for school wear only

The night before:

Try and have ready

School bag



Get your child to bed at a reasonable hour every night

Set the alarm on your mobile phone or the alarm clock for the morning

Before school every day :

Get up on time in the morning so that you will not be rushing

Don’t allow your child to watch television in the morning

Get your child to eat some breakfast every morning

Talk positively about school

If possible don’t allow your child go to the shop in the morning as this delays them and they could be late for school

Let your child know that you will be there to collect him / her in the afternoon or that you will be waiting at home when they come in

You know your child best. Only keep your child at home if he / she is really sick.

(see pages of this booklet for guidelines When is a child too sick for school)

Ready for School Routine” – Easy steps to get to school today

1. Get up on time

2. Breakfast

3. Uniform

4. Books

5. Journal

6. Bag

7. Leave home on time

What can Teachersdo to improve School Attendance?

Welcome students every morning

Praise each student for their effort

Give students a reasonable amount of homework

All teachers should give homework each night

No homework at weekends (at primary school)

Reward students for good attendance

What can Schoolsdo to improve School Attendance?**

Give efforts to promote attendance and attendance successes

a high profile within the school

Establish an Attendance Care Team in the school

Keep up to date attendance records that are reviewed regularly by the

Attendance Care Team in order to respond to patterns of non-attendance

as well as patterns of good or improved attendance

Create positive systems of reward for good and improved attendance

Develop a greater awareness amongst students and their parents of the

long-term benefits to be gained from a good attendance record

Ensure a consistent approach to attendance promotion throughout the school

Involve all stakeholders in supporting high expectations for school attendance and attainment

Monitor that stakeholder involvement from the perspective of students,

parents, teaching and other staff, school management and the community at large.

When is a child Too Sick For School?

There are three key reasons to keep a child home from school

  1. Fever over 100.4 degrees F or 3

  2. The child may have a contagious illness or rash.

  3. The child is not well enough to participate in class.

3. The child is not well enough to participate in class

The average child has 6 to 12 illnesses per year, so sickness is a part of normal childhood. It can be difficult to balance the child’s school attendance with the risk of spreading the illness to others in school.

Fever is a symptom which usually indicates that the body is fighting an infection. A child with fever over 100.4 degrees F (38°C) needs to stay home until the fever is gone for 24 hours.

Rashes that are itchy or scaly may be contagious and need to be checked by the nurse or doctor. If a child with a rash is ill looking, is having trouble swallowing or breathing, they need to be seen by the doctor.

A cough need not keep a child from school unless it is interfering with sleep or ability to take part in activities.

Coughs and runny noses can persist for up to two weeks after a cold.

Children can return to school once they no longer have a fever.

Children can attend school with a mild sore throat unless they have other

symptoms as well, such as fever, vomiting or abdominal pain.

Children with a vomiting illness (repeated vomiting) need to stay home until

the vomiting stops and they are eating normally.

Children with diarrhoea also need to stay home until stools have been normal for at least 24 hours.

Frequent hand washing with soap and water is the most important and effective way of preventing the spread of contagious diseases.

Guidelines for commonchildhood illnesses

Illness Symptoms and Signs What to do


Symptoms and Signs

What to do


100.4°F or38°C

Stay home, must be fever free for 24 hours before returning


If the child can’t do normal activities

Stay home


More than twice in 24 hours or if diarrhoea also

Stay home until 24 hours after last vomit


More than 3 stools in 24 hours

Home until 24 hours after last bout

Sore Throat

If not eating or fever

Return as soon as well or 24 hours after starting antibiotic if prescribed

Cold Symptoms

Stuffed or runny nose, sneezing, mild cough

No need to stay home


If the cough disrupts normal activity

Return to school after the doctor has cleared child of serious illness e.g. shopping cough


If the child can’t do normal activities. If coughing a lot.

Needs to see the doctor or asthma nurse to review treatment.


(Red Eyes)

With yellow or green pus

May return 24 hours after treatment started

Chicken Pox

Some children have a fever, abdominal pain, sore throat, headache, or a vague sick feeling a day or two before the rash appears

Return when the blisters are all dry and crusted over

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Not infectious once rash appears

No need to stay home unless drooling


Patch of red, itchy skin. Blisters develop on this area, soon forming crusty, yellow-brown sores

May return 24 hours after starting antibiotic medicine, 48 hours after starting antibiotic cream. Sores must be covered with dressing.


Ring Shaped or oval patch of scaly red skin

Return once started on treatment. Keep area covered.

Head Lice

Spread directly from head to head so short and tidy hair may help

They are a nuisance, not a reason to stay home.

Doctor or dentist visit

Back to school afterward unless the dentist or doctor says stay at home.

Produced by Dr Tara Conlon, Ballymun Family Practice, first floor Civic Centre September 2009


SCHOOL YEAR 201-/201-

Please keep this for future reference should your child’s attendance be called into question at a later date.

CHILD NAME: _____________________ CLASS: ______________


No. of



Reason for absence

Medical cert or note given to school?


Mon & Tues

8th & 9th Nov


High Temp

Note given to class teacher 10th Nov 2010

Continued over leaf


No. of



Reason for absence

Medical cert or note given to school?

To date ______________, your child has missed __________

days from school.