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

What does the law state in relation to schools and the reporting of school attendance? / Why do schools need to report to the NEWB?
Schools are obliged by law to report on school attendance since the inception of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000. This obligation exists to protect children's educational welfare. Poor school attendance needs to be responded to early; otherwise, as research has shown, it can lead to poorer exam results, early school leaving (some children do not transfer from primary to post primary school each year), and poorer opportunities in life for children.

The timely reporting of student absences impacts directly upon the National Educational Welfare Board's [NEWB] ability to meet the educational welfare needs of individual students.


How often does a school need to submit reports ?
There are four student absence reports and one annual attendance report due each year and these can be submitted online on www.schoolreturn.ie or in writing.


What are the criteria for submitting a return?
You need to submit a return on those students with serious attendance issues that have been identified during the current academic year i.e. students falling within the following criteria:

  • a student has been absent from school for a cumulative total of twenty days or more
  • a student’s name is to be removed from the school register for any reason
  • a student has been suspended for a cumulative total of six or more days
  • a principal is concerned about a student’s attendance
  • the school has expelled a student.

Occasionally, schools have thought it necessary to submit a return on all pupils. This is not so; we only need to know about pupils within the strict reporting criteria i.e students absent over 20 days
Download Guidelines on Reporting of Student Absences and Expulsions


How do I submit a return?
Reports can be submitted online on www.schoolreturn.ie or on paper.

Download Guidelines on Reporting of Student Absences and Expulsions

See http://www.newb.ie/new/schools/schoolreturn.asp for straight forward steps on how to use Schoolreturn.ie or call 1890 36 36 66 for assistance.


Can a school report a concern between reporting periods?
Yes. You can report a concern in a number of ways:

What happens when I report a concern?
The Regional Manager and Educational Welfare Officer responsible for your school will be notified. They will review the concern with you and decide on an appropriate course of action.


What happens if I don’t report?
The NEWB will contact you and remind you to submit a report.


What support does an Educational Welfare Officer offer?
Educational Welfare Officers work in communities throughout the country acting as advocates or supports to parents, guardians and children experiencing difficulty with school attendance or educational welfare.

Instead of admonishing children and parents for non-attendance Educational Welfare Officers works hard to get to the root of problems behind non-attendance. For example there might be financial issues in the home; a child might be upset by something happening at home or in the family, or in school or a child may not want to go to school because he or she is being bullied. Issues such as these need to be addressed if a child's attendance problems are to be addressed.


How do I find out who the Educational Welfare Officer responsible for my school?
Call us on 1890 36 36 66


What is a Section 29 appeal?
Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 allows parents, and students who have reached the age of 18, the right to appeal certain decisions made by a school's Board of Management. Appeals may be made in respect of a decision to

  • permanently exclude a student
  • suspend a student from the school for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days in any one school year or
  • refuse to enrol a student.

Where can I find guidelines on Section 29 Appeals?
On the Department of Education Website www.education.ie. Look for Circular M48/01 - Appeal Procedures Under Section 29 of the Education Act,1998.

You can also contact Appeals Administration Unit in the Department of Education and Science:

Appeals Administration Unit
c/o Department of Education and Science
Portlaoise Road,
Co. Offaly
Tel: (01) 873 4700

* Note that the rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers

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