TUSLA Educational Welfare Services
NEWB, 16-22 Green St., Dublin 7.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

What are the main provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000?

What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about the Educational Welfare Board?

What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about schools?

What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about students?

What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about early school leavers?

What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about parents?

What are the main provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000?

  • The minimum school leaving age is raised from 15 to 16, or the completion of three years of post-primary education, whichever is the later.
  • A National Educational Welfare Board has been established to develop, co-ordinate and implement school attendance policy so as to ensure that every child in the State attends a recognised school or otherwise receives an appropriate education.
  • The Board will appoint education welfare officers to work in close co-operation with schools, teachers, parents and community/voluntary bodies with a view to encouraging regular school attendance and developing strategies to reduce absenteeism and early school leaving.
  • The Board will maintain a register of children receiving education outside the recognised school structure and will assess the adequacy of such education on an ongoing basis.
  • School registers, attendance records, codes of behaviour and attendance strategies will be used by school authorities to promote regular attendance and foster an appreciation of learning among the student population.
  • Parents are required to ensure that their children attend a recognised school or otherwise receive an appropriate minimum education.
  • Specific provision is made for the continuing education and training of young persons of 16 and 17 years of age who leave school early to take up employment.

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What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about the Educational Welfare Board?

The National Educational Welfare Board is given the lead role in implementing the provisions of the Act:

  • The principal function of the Board is to ensure that every child in the State attends a recognised school or otherwise receives an appropriate minimum education.
  • The Board also has an advisory and research role in the formulation of Government policy on school attendance and education provision.
  • The Board will deploy educational welfare officers at local level throughout the country. These officers will work in close co-operation with parents, teachers, school managers, community bodies and other relevant agencies to promote regular school attendance and prevent absenteeism and early school leaving.
  • The Educational Welfare Officers appointed by the Board will focus in particular on children at risk and those who are experiencing difficulties in school in order to resolve any impediments to their regular attendance at school. Alternative schooling will be sought for students who have been expelled, suspended or refused admittance to a school.
  • The Board will establish a register of young persons of 16 and 17 years of age who leave school early to take up employment and will make appropriate arrangements for their continuing education and training in consultation with providers and employers.

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What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about schools?

The Act provides that school managers will adopt a pro-active approach to school attendance by:

  • maintaining a register of students attending the school,
  • recording school attendance and notifying the relevant educational welfare officer of particular problems in relation to attendance,
  • supporting students with difficulties in attending school on a regular basis,
  • preparing and implementing a school attendance strategy to encourage, in a positive way, regular school attendance and an appreciation of learning within the school,
  • preparing and implementing a code of behaviour, setting standards of behaviour and disciplinary procedures for the school,
  • liaising with other schools and relevant bodies on school attendance issues.

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What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about students?

The Act safeguards every child's entitlement to an appropriate minimum education by:

  • developing a national framework to promote regular attendance at school,
  • promoting a positive appreciation among students of the benefits to be derived from education and attendance at school,
  • identifying the causes of absenteeism and early school leaving and developing measures for its prevention,
  • providing support to children at risk and those who experience difficulties in school in order to resolve any difficulties or impediments to their regular attendance at school.

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What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about early school leavers?

To address the concern that many young people enter the labour market without adequate or even basic qualifications, the Act:

  • makes specific provision for the continuing education and training of young persons aged 16 and 17 years who have left school early to take up employment,
  • provides for the registration of early school leavers with the National Educational Welfare Board and for the Board to assist them in availing of appropriate educational and training opportunities,
  • prevents employers from employing early school leavers who are not registered with the Board for this purpose,
  • obliges employers to notify the Board when they employ an early school leaver.

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What does the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 say about parents?

In recognition of the central role of parents in providing for their children's education, the Act provides that:

  • parents shall send their children to a recognised school on each school day or otherwise ensure that they are receiving an appropriate minimum education,
  • where a child is absent from school on a school day, the parents shall notify the principal of the school of the reasons for such absence,
  • where parents decide to educate their child in a place other than a recognised school, the parents shall apply to have their child registered with the National Educational Welfare Board and shall comply with such conditions as may be stipulated by the Board; parents may appeal a decision of the Board regarding the registration of their child,
  • parents will be consulted by school management on school attendance issues and on the school code of behaviour.

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