Labour Party Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called on the Department for Education to roll out a national initiative to improve school attendance.
This follows a successful pilot to improve school attendance by Túsla – CYPSC City North initiative through out the month of February.
Senator Ó Ríordáin said:
“This morning I attended the Túsla – CYPSC City North presentation of the better school attendance initiative which saw a 9% increase in attendance in schools in the North Inner City.
“Túsla were able to identify that schools in the North Inner City had a particular problem in the month of February and devised a scheme to incentivise attendance with students.
“The Department of Education working with Túsla should be able to roll out a scheme like this nationwide perhaps on a regional basis working with clusters of schools who are able to identify periods where attendance drops.
“Tackling school absenteeism, particularly infant absenteeism is particularly important. Currently, Túsla cannot protect the attendance rights of four and five year olds. Túsla can only intervene in a case of chronic absenteeism if a child is six years or older. This effectively means that young children with chronic absenteeism in our school system are being failed at the earliest stage of their education journey.
“I have brought legislation to the Seanad to protect the education rights of young school-goers and to encourage positive attendance patterns.
“International research has proven that positive school attendance at the earliest stage will last throughout a child’s school going life.”