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

Who is responsible for my child attending school?
Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school.


When must my child start school? / At what age can my child leave school? / How long must my child stay in school for?
The law says that every child aged from the age of 6 must receive an education. The minimum school leaving age is 16, or the completion of three years of post-primary education, whichever is the later.


What is the National Educational Welfare Board?
The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) was set up under the Education (Welfare), Act 2000. Our job is to support parents, guardians and children and make sure that every child attends school regularly or receives a good standard of education elsewhere.


What must I do if my child cannot be in school?
You must tell the school that your child cannot attend and say why. It is best to do this in writing, so give the school a note to explain why your child was out.

Very often, there will be good reasons for a child not being in school and these will be taken into account if they are explained to the school.


What must my child’s school do if my child misses a lot of school?
The school must tell us, the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), if your child has missed 20 days or more in the school year or if it is concerned that your child is missing too much school.


What must the NEWB do if your child misses a lot of school?
If we hear from a school about your child, an NEWB Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) may visit you to see how we can help you to make sure that your child starts attending school again.


Will I be brought to court if my child misses school?
We will help you in whatever way we can to ensure your child gets an education. However, you can be taken to court if you do not co-operate with the Board to make sure that your child gets the education they need.

We will work with you to help you. Legal action is the very last option. It will be taken in exceptional cases if it is the only way a child's right to an education can be safeguarded.


What can I do if the school is preventing my child from attending?
If a school has refused to enrol or has suspended or expelled your child, and you are not happy with that decision, you can appeal it. You can do this by filling in an Appeals Form which should be available on request from the school (or VEC) or can be downloaded from the Department of Education and Science web-site www.education.gov.ie. You can seek advice on the appeals process by contacting the Department of Education and Science at the following address:

Department of Education and Science:
Appeals Administration Unit

c/o Department of Education and Science
Portlaoise Road,
Co. Offaly
Tel: (057) 9324 377


How can I help my child to attend school?

  • Make education important in your home and let your child know it is not okay to miss school.
  • Show that you think education is important. Look at your child’s school books. As about what they are doing. Be interested in their news.
  • Help your child to be proud of a good attendance record.
  • Build your child’s confidence. Praise them when they do well.
  • Read letters and reports from the school and know the school rules.
  • Go to school meetings and get to know the teacher, staff and your child’s friends. 
  • Don’t take family holidays during school term. 
  • Be alert for reasons why your child may not want to go to school. If your child finds school work hard talk to the school right away.
  • Do not encourage your child to take on a part-time job during school term.

Top Tips from parents!

Get your child to bed in good time on school days and Sunday nights. Plenty of sleep and rest will help a child stay alert

Set the alarm clock in good time and get your child to school on time

Help your child pack his or her schoolbag the night before

Prepare your child’s lunch the night before so you and your child have more time to get ready in the morning

Keep school clothes and books neat and ready for use.


Can I educate my child at home?
Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, you have a right to educate your child outside of a recognised school, for example, in your home. If you decide to do this you must register your child with the NEWB. We will then check that the education being provided is of a good standard. For more information contact us by ringing (01) 873 8700


Can I take my child on holidays during term time?
Taking a holiday during term time means that children miss important school time - both educationally and for other school activities. It will be difficult for them to catch up on work later on. As a result they may fall behind with school work and lose confidence in their abilities. The NEWB believes that every day counts in a child's education and strongly advises parents against taking their children out of school for holidays during term time for this reason.


Where can I get information on school transport?
Contact the Department of Education & Skills on 01 8896400


If my child has special needs who do I contact?
The local service is provided through a nationwide network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs). These SENOs are the point of contact for parents/guardians and schools. For a list of regional SENOs in your area contact your local school or visit www.ncse.ie

Alternatively you can contact an Educational Welfare Officer on 1890 36 36 66 who will listen to your particular set of circumstances and advise you who to contact.


What should I do if my child is being bullied?
You first need to inform the Principal or Board of Management of the school that your child is attending.

You can also contact the Department of Education and Skills on 0906 484 264

What to do if you need support
You can contact an Educational Welfare Officer on Lo-call number 1890 36 66 66. Check out our website on www.newb.ie, email us at info@newb.ie or write to us at 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7.

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