Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Education Welfare Service



When can I take a child off the register?

There are two occasions when you may remove a child from your school register: (a) If you as a school principal receive a confirmation letter from another recognised school indicating that a student who had attended your school has now been registered in another school then you may remove the student from your school register except where the child may be still receiving any portion of their education in your school. (b) if you receive notification in writing from Tusla Alternative Education and Registration Service indicating that a student has been placed on the Section 14 register and is being home schooled.

How do I contact my local Educational Welfare Officer (EWO)?

Contact details for EWOs can be found here

How do I report suspensions?

If a students is suspended for a period of not less than 6 consecutive school days then the school is obliged to report this to tess. If a student is suspended for a shorter period(s) then it must be counted in the aggregate number of absences and if the student exceeds 20 days absence (including any suspensions) then this should be reported through the normal referral and reporting processes.

How do I report an expulsion?

Once the BOM has agreed an expulsion a Notification of Intention to Expel should be completed and sent to tess, Tusla Head Office, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8. Insert Link to Notification of intention to expel form

How do I order certificates of achievement?

You can download Certificates of Achievement here.

How can I assist a parent get a place in an ASD unit where the resources here cannot meet the needs of a child?

This is a matter that has to be addressed with the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). tess has no role in relation to the provision of resources for ASD classes.

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Attendance Reporting:

What is my role as principal in relation to non-attendance?

Under Section 22 of the Education (Welfare), Act 2000 each school is obliged to have a statement of strategies to encourage regular attendance among students. The principal should ensure that the strategies outlined are followed ensuring that parents are informed at the earliest possible point of the school’s concern regarding attendance and that the school follows the graded steps outlined in the strategy to address non-attendance.

How do I report absences to Tusla?

School Absence Reports must now be submitted via the Tusla portal. This can be accessed at portal.tusla.ie.  There is a user guide on the site. If you have any further questions please contact the tess School Returns Helpline on 1890 36 36 66.

Who do I report through the School Absence Report (SAR)?

As per the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, any named student who is aged between 6 and 16 years of age and who has not yet completed 3 years of post-primary education, whichever comes later and who has reached a cumulative total of 20 or more days absence from school must be reported in the SAR.

When do I submit an SAR?

The Period 1 Report should include students who have reached 20 days absence or more from the beginning of term to the Christmas break.  This report should be completed and submitted as soon as possible thereafter.

The Period 2 Report should include students who have reached 20 days absence or more from Christmas to the end of the school year. This report should be completed and submitted as soon as possible after the school closes for the summer break.

Who do I report through the Annual Attendance Records (AAR)?

The AAR is a whole school report on the attendance of all students in the school including those aged under 6 and over 16. Those students attending PLC or adult education courses should not be included.

When do I submit the AAR?

As per the Education Welfare Act, 2000 the AAR should be completed and submitted to tess within 6 weeks of the end of the school year.

How do I upload my report?

The user guide can be found at portal@tusla.ie and outlines the steps to be taken to upload the reports

I’ve missed the reporting deadline, what now?

If you have missed the deadline please contact the tess school returns team on 1890 36 36 66

I need copies of my previous SAR and AAR for WSE, where do I get these?

Schools can access SAR and AAR returns submitted previously in the “My Submissions” section of the portal.

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What’s the difference between an SAR and a Referral?

A SAR is a legislative requirement which all schools must complete, a referral is a request for assistance by a school that is concerned about a student’s attendance and is seeking the intervention of an Educational Welfare Officer (EWO).

When should I make a referral?

Where a school principal has a concern in relation to a pupil’s school attendance and where the school has made all local efforts to resolve the problem and the school still remains concerned about the student’s attendance a referral can be made to EWS. The school will be asked to document interventions already made in line with their School Attendance Strategies. DEIS schools will also be asked to document the additional interventions made by HSCL and SCP.

How do I make a referral?

The referral forms can be found here.

I have sent a referral to tess and I have not heard back, what should I do?

When referrals are received by the tess team they are screened by a Senior Educational Welfare Officer. If a referral is incomplete the referral will be returned to the school seeking further information. All completed referrals are placed in priority order and are assigned to the EWO team accordingly. At any stage a principal can follow up with the EWS to ascertain the status of a referral.

What are the response times to referrals?

Priority referrals are responded to immediately. They are in respect of children who do not have a school place or when a student is being expelled. Referrals not deemed to have the same urgency will be allocated to an EWO as soon as possible. Response times will depend on the demand and resources available in any given area.

I’ve missed the primary/post-primary attendance referral deadline. Can I still submit an attendance referral?

In 2019 schools were asked to submit all referrals in advance of the end of the school year to allow time for a response if required. The deadlines for receipt of referrals are the 30th April for post-primary schools and 31st May for primary schools. If a school misses this deadline the school should retain the referral and should the attendance concern persist into the new school year make the referral in September.

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A parent has withdrawn their child from school due to an incident at school, who do I inform as Principal?

This should be a matter for the Principal and Board of Management to try to resolve in the first instance.  Where the child remains out of school a referral should be made to tess.

What do I do when a parent is not responding to any communications and I am concerned about the child’s attendance?

In a case where a school has tried contacting the parent through all existing means including a home visit then if the student has been absent for 20 or more days a referral to tess should be made clearly indicating that the parent has not responded to school communications.


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