Written answers

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Department of Education and Skills

School Attendance

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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574. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her Department maintains a record of school online engagement; if school absenteeism is being reported to Tusla; and the steps being taken to follow-up on children who are not engaging with online schooling. [16549/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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During school closures, schools are not required to record attendance in the usual manner. However, in line with the guidance provided by my Department, it is important that schools regularly engage with pupils/students who may not be engaging or have disengaged with remote learning at this time. Any records kept in relation to engagement during school closure periods are retained at school level and my Department does not collect this data.

Notwithstanding the best efforts made by schools to contact pupils/students and their parents, in instances where there is no engagement with learning, or where pupils/students have disengaged, it is good practice to notify Tusla Education Support Service (TESS). It is important that TESS is made aware of such instances so that they can engage with families to provide appropriate advice and support.

TESS has a statutory responsibility to intervene when a parent/guardian is failing or neglecting his/her child’s attendance at school. TESS views all school attendance referrals from a child welfare perspective with the intention of finding solutions that will enable and support pupils/students to attend, participate and be retained in education. The role of TESS is to ensure that all pupils/students have access to education and the service is available to work with any student or family in need of support.


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