Since the inception of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 schools are obliged to report on school attendance.
Poor school attendance needs to be responded to early; otherwise, as research has shown, it can lead to poorer exam results, early school leaving (some children do not transfer from primary to post primary school each year), and poorer life chances for children.
Schools report individual student absences and expulsions by submitting Student Absence Reports twice each year. Schools also report the total number of days lost through absence by submitting an Annual Attendance Report (AAR) at the end of the academic year. Both Reports can be submitted online.
Student Absence Reports
Schools are required to submit Student Absence Reports twice each year on those students with serious attendance issues that have been identified during the current academic year i.e. students that have been absent from school for a cumulative total of twenty days or more falling within the following categories:
- Urgent Family Reason
Schools should not submit children with less than 20 days absence. Only children over the age of 6 years and children who have not reached the age of 16 years, or have not completed 3 years of post-primary education, whichever occurs later should be reported.
Annual Attendance Report (AAR)
Each recognised school in the State is obliged to submit a report to the Educational Welfare Services, Child and Family Agency, on the levels of attendance at the end of each academic year. Schools are required to provide the following data in the AAR:
- Total number of days lost through student absence in the entire school year.
- Total number of students who were absent for 20 days or more during the school year.
- Total number of students expelled in respect of whom all appeal processes have been exhausted or not availed of during the school year.
- Total number of students who were suspended for any number of days during the school year.
Full details including a user guide can be found when you log on to the portal. Please ensure you read all of the information available on the portal before proceeding with your return.
- All referrals from schools to the EWS related to a student’s attendance must be made via the Referral Form (available online at https://www.tusla.ie/services/educational-welfare-services/information-for-schools-inc-absence-reporting/download-reporting-documentation/). Please note that referrals are a separate process to the school absence report. Referral forms must be submitted by post.
- All students who miss twenty or more days cumulatively (including suspensions) must be included in the school student absence reports. These reports must be submitted twice annually in January and at the end of the school year.
- Each school should use its discretion in determining whether the student’s attendance warrants a referral to EWS as a student’s absence may be satisfactorily explained by certified illness, bereavement or other valid reasons.
- Due to the volume of referrals received each year our Educational Welfare Officers do not have the capacity to respond promptly to all referrals. All referrals received are screened and prioritised based on need. As such we request schools to ensure that all referrals are submitted at the very latest one month prior to the end of the academic year via the Tusla Portal.