Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Schools Data

Photo of Gary GannonGary Gannon (Dublin Central, Social Democrats)
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91. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide the most up-to-date and verified data on school absences; if there has been an increase in early school leavers since March 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23603/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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Schools are required to submit to Tusla Education Support Service (TESS) a student absence report, twice annually, indicating learners who have been absent for more than 20 days. The latest published data in relation to the Analysis of School Attendance Data is for the academic year 2017/2018 and can be found at the following link . The analysis to the school attendance data for the academic year 2018/2019 will be published in early summer 2021.

Where schools have a real concern about a child’s attendance they are required to make a referral to TESS Education Welfare Service (EWS) in line with the provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act. In a typical year the EWS receive in the region of 6,000 referrals and have an open caseload of between 2,500 and 3,000 learners at any given time.

Between September 2020 and February 2021 TESS EWS received 2,946 referrals from schools relating to attendance concerns in relation to learners aged between 6 and 16 years of age. This is equivalent to the same period to February 2019 (2,961 referrals) and 10% less than the referral rate to February 2020 (3,225 referrals).

The number of early school leavers is calculated officially in the Department of Education retention report published annually. The next retention report for the 2014 entry cohort (i.e. those pupils who commenced post primary education in 2014) will be published in due course.


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