Minister Foley launches Campaign to encourage school attendance and additional funding for schools to support school attendance initiatives
Press Release 26 September 2023
Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today unveils €6 million in one off funding to support and promote attendance in primary, post-primary and special schools.
A campaign designed to promote the importance of attendance at class or school level will be rolled out by Tusla Education Support Services (TESS) and the Department of Education and will run throughout the 2023/24 school year.
Launching the campaign Minister Foley said, “As Minister for Education, I recognise the importance of inclusive education for all children and young people. It is my primary objective to promote and support actions that will ensure that the school setting is a welcoming, nurturing and safe environment for all. School attendance is important to support children and young people’s achievement, wellbeing, and wider development and regular engaged school attendance is a strong predictor of successful educational outcomes.
The Minister added: The attendance campaign is timely, now that we have emerged from the COVID period. More than ever before, we are aware of the importance of regular school attendance for our children and its impact on young people’s cognitive and social development and on their overall wellbeing, particularly in ensuring that they connect with their classmates and others in the school community. This campaign is in line with my Department’s vision for an education system where every child and young person feels valued and is actively supported and nurtured to reach their full potential.”
The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the dedicated state agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for students. Tusla Education Support Service (TESS) is a key service strand within Tusla, under the remit of the Department of Education. It continually works to underpin the importance of school attendance, participation and retention for all students.
Promotion of regular school attendance will be achieved through a positive messaging campaign, joint communications plan between the Department and TESS, a suite of webinars for school leader’s promotional materials, and a repository of information, resources and toolkits on attendance promotion. At all times the focus throughout the campaign will be on the promotion of improvements in attendance at class or school level.
To bring the best international perspective to bear on the campaign, TESS have invited Dr. Patricia Graczyk to provide her expertise in this area. Dr. Graczyk is a clinical and school psychologist and is currently Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her current research interests focus on the utilisation of a school-based tiered framework of evidence-based practices to promote school attendance, decrease problems associated with school attendance, to prevent and treat anxiety, depression, and trauma in children and youth people. Dr. Graczyk has collaborated internationally with researchers and school authorities in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. In relation to the campaign Dr Graczyk said;
"I am excited to participate in the TESS Attendance Campaign! The bottom line is this: If students aren't attending school, they cannot benefit from the academic, social, and language enrichment opportunities available in school that promote their well-being and success in life."
Minister Foley continued: ‘As part of Budget 2023, I secured once off funding of over €8m for measures to enhance school attendance, participation, and retention post COVID-19 with particular emphasis being given to supporting those children and young people at risk of educational disadvantage. I have already allocated a 5% increase to the School Completion Programme. I am announcing today that the balance of this funding will be allocated to all schools to support this campaign. I congratulate TESS on the work they have done so far in developing the campaign and I encourage all schools to take part in the informative webinars that will be rolled out over the course of this school year’.
Details of proposed webinars
The details on the proposed webinars is available at –https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/69a49-national-school-attendance-campaign-2023/
Notes to Editor:
This campaign will be supported at school level by the Department and the three strands of TESS namely the statutory Educational Welfare Service (EWS) along with the two school support services, the Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) and the School Completion Programme (SCP).