Parents have a legal duty to ensure that their child receives full time education. Parents therefore must ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time. Irregular attendance may have a serious impact on a child’s academic progress if it goes unchecked.
Evidence shows that children who arrive at school on time, well organised and well equipped achieve higher academic grades. Irregular attendance may have a serious impact on a child’s academic progress. Good attendance at school is vital for pupils to achieve their full educational potential. Children with good attendance records benefit in the following ways:
- Have continuity in their learning, making progress and retention easier.
- Attain enhanced performance in academic exams and tests.
- Have long lasting relationships and friendships.
- Learn good habits for later life.
- Have high self-esteem.
- Have the best possible start in life.
Children who miss school, or who are late for school, miss lessons. Lessons are not repeated, therefore children will have gaps in their learning. Additionally, each day’s lessons often build upon those of the previous day – if a child misses a lesson they can miss the foundation to subsequent lessons.
Good attendance, which is over 185 days or 370 sessions (morning and afternoon marks), offers a child the best chance of success and gets them off to a flying start.
Punctuality is crucial. Lateness into school causes disruption not only to that child’s learning but to that of others in the class. The best learning time is at the start of the school day – that’s why every minute counts. If a pupil is late by 10 minutes each day they are missing out on almost 2 weeks of learning each year. Pupils must arrive in good time, doors open at 8.45am with the school day starting at 8.55am.
Attendance tips for parents
- Attendance is a parent and student responsibility. Let your child know that you think attending school daily is important. Show them you are interested in their school activities and tell them that you want them to do well in school.
- Good attendance habits start at an early age. Make sure your child goes to school regularly and on time. This helps them develop a positive view of school and the importance of attendance.
- Become involved in your child’s school life and school activities.
- Take an interest in your child’s school work. Check homework for accuracy and completeness.
- Read the school newsletter. Post the school calendar and notes on the fridge, or other prominent location to highlight school activities and important student information.
- Do not provide inappropriate excuses for your child to miss school. Do not let them take time off from school for minor ailments – particularly those which would not prevent you from going to work or completing your day to day activities.
- Don’t expect or let older children stay home from school to babysit younger siblings.
- Set good examples and enforce rules. Speak well of the school and support school staff.
- Make a contract with your child to improve his/her attendance. Reward positive improvements.
- Give your children enough time to get ready. No TV on school mornings!
- Provide pupils with their own alarm clock. Teach kids to set and use their own alarm clock or clock radio.
- Set alarm clock 30 minutes earlier for students who need more time to get ready for school.
- “Plan ahead the night before, have children prepare clothes and shoes the night before, and pack their schoolbag with completed homework and reading books.
- Set a regular bedtime schedule. Age should be a factor. 3-6 year olds need 11 to 13 hours sleep, 7-12 year olds need 10-11 hours sleep.
- Have your child go to bed 10 minutes earlier and get up 10 minutes earlier.
- Have children bathe or shower in the evening.
- Help your child relax before bedtime with a story, instead of the stimulation of TV, phone, tablet or other device.
- Have schoolwork and lunch ready and laid out, ready to go. Create a special folder for completed assignments.
- Have your child walk to school or the bus stop with another child who is always on time.
- Have a back-up plan for cold weather – cars not starting, bus delays or longer journey times when walking etc.
Show Interest in Student’s Activities
- Attend Parent/Teacher Meetings.
- Make education a family priority.
- Encourage your child to get more involved with their school. Sign them up for extra-curricular activities they like or an after school program. Studies show the more involved a child and their parents are with their school, the better their attendance and success is.
Keep Open Lines of Communication with your Children, Teacher and School Attendance Office
- Let the school know in advance if your child is going to be absent or if you have concerns about your child’s attendance or school performance.
- Report all absences on the day the student will miss school by calling the office, then each day thereafter to keep school updated.
- Get to know your children’s friends and their families and make connections with other families that value school attendance.
- Contact your child’s school for help if it is needed to support your child or family.
- Keep a school year calendar. This is an excellent way to track all of the important dates, holidays, and events at your child’s school. It is also a convenient place to document absences (who was absent, why and how you cleared it/date cleared), phone calls/meetings with school staff, and all of your other important school related information.
- Do not let your child persuade you into making an excuse for him/her. Don’t give up. Reward good behavior and take it one day at a time.