Dear Parents,

I am writing to tell you a little about the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 and about some of the responsibilities we now share under the Act.

As you know, a good education gives your child the best possible start in life. A good education helps young people to obtain secure employment and develop into mature and responsible citizens. The purpose of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 is to encourage regular school attendance and participation in education and training for as long as possible. It is desirable that every child stays in school and completes the Leaving Certificate.

Under the Act, every child must attend school regularly up to sixteen years of age or complete at least three years education in a post-primary school, whichever comes later. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) was established to support school attendance and follow up on children who are not attending school regularly.

As a parent, you must let the school know if your child is absent and the reason why. It is school policy that reasons must be given in writing. The school will notify the National Educational Welfare Board if a child is absent for 20 days or more or where the absence gives rise to concern.

If your child is sick or is absent for other good reasons, no action will be taken by the NEWB. However, if there is concern about your child’s attendance at school or about the reasons given, you may be visited by an Educational Welfare Officer who will discuss your child’s education with you. The Officer will work with you and take full account of the circumstances of the child and the family before deciding what further action is necessary to ensure that the child receives his/her entitlement to an education.

Further information concerning the new service and about school attendance matters generally can be obtained from the national Lo-Call Education Helpline (Telephone 1890 36 36 66) which is staffed by an Educational Welfare Officer.

Yours sincerely,

Annraoi Cheevers