School Attendance Policy

Holy Cross Mercy School


There is a very strong tradition of good attendance in Holy Cross Mercy School. 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 on Aladdin
  • 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.
  • 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 class teacher will contact the parents requesting a letter of explanation through Seesaw.

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 15 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.
  • Túsla 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.
  • A letter will be sent to parents when pupils have missed 20 days or more.
  • All attendance is reported in the end of year school reports to parents.

Promoting Attendance:

  • We promote attendance through ongoing praise to attendance.
  • Class teacher will highlight good attendance in the classroom.
  • Principal will highlight good attendance at an assembly at October Mid Term, at the end of Term One. February Mid Term, at the end of Term two. At the end of Term 3.
  • 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.
  • 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 Holy Cross Mercy 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 class teacher through Seesaw. Failing this, the absence will be reported ‘unexplained’.
  • When a child reaches 15 days absence, a letter will be automatically sent to parents informing them of this and the responsibility of the school to report to Túsla should the child reach 20 days absence.
  • A report is sent to the Túsla as required.
  • A letter will be sent to parents when pupils have missed 20 days or more.
  • All attendance is reported in the end of year school reports to parents.

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.


  • 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 to the class teacher.

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 and the child will be signed out in the sign out book.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 office sign out book.

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.

  • Arriving late to school due to medical appointment or emergency

Our school day begins at 9.05am. If a child has a medical, dental or unavoidable morning appointment, a letter should be sent in beforehand from his/her parents. The school rolla is taken daily at 9.50am. If a child arrives after 10am they will be marked absent on the rolla. All late arrivals are recorded as late on Aladdin.

  • 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 child will be signed out in the sign out book.

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 9.05am. For security reasons, all doors will be locked at 9.40am. Rollas will be called at 9.50am. If a child arrives to school after 9.50am, they must be brought to the Office through the Reception Entrance. Pupils will be recorded in the Late Arrivals/ Punctuality Record Book. . 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 and will be available on our website.

Ratified: ______________________                                 Date:_______________

Chairperson of the Board of Management

The original policy was drawn up in 2009, reviewed in 2011, 2014 and again in 2017

Next review: October 2020 or as necessary

Appendix 1

Letter template for Pupils missing 15 and 20 days

15 Days Absence

Dear Parents,

Under the terms of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the school is obliged to notify Túsla if a child is absent for 20 days or more, or where a child’s absence gives rise to concern.

It is the school’s policy to inform parents by letter of children’s absences. You will have already received a letter when your child reached 15 days or more. While we understand that children may be absent due to illness or bereavement, we are legally obliged to report all absences of 20 days or more to Túsla. Following your notes, the categories of absence have also been recorded and Túsla may examine this data further.

This letter is to inform you that our records show that ________________

has been absent from school on __     days.

One of the factors ensuring success in education is regular school attendance and habits of attendance are set in the early years of schooling. Hence it is a policy of Holy Cross Mercy School to encourage children to attend school every day. Parents can help to develop a positive attitude to school attendance by encouraging children to come to school every day and also by ensuring that all absences are explained in writing. Our Attendance policy is available to view on our website

We thank you for your cooperation in this.

Yours sincerely,


Ursula Coffey