Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Crowe repeats call to curb school absenteeism

6 July, 2006

Speaking today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Seán Crowe has repeated his call for the government to adequately fund the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB). Deputy Crowe was speaking today after the NEWB reported that there was still a strong link between poverty and poor school attendance.

Deputy Crowe said, "The NEWB today reported that non attendance at school is a major cause for concern and that there is still a strong link between poverty and poor school attendance.

The purpose of the NEWB is to keep track of school attendance and combat absenteeism, which is a concern in my own constituency area of Dublin South West. However, the Board remain under resourced, with the average case load of Education Welfare Officers currently standing at 138 per officer. Therefore the board is stretched and cannot fulfil its statutory obligations.

"The average primary school student missed 11 days last year while the average post-primary student missed 14 days and it is estimated that 1 in 5 students from areas of high disadvantage miss more than 20 days in primary and secondary school per year. With a well resourced and adequately funded National Education Welfare Board, this problem could be tackled.

"Chronic school absenteeism is closely linked with early school leaving; it should be tackled as a matter of urgency and to do this effectively proper funding for the National Education Welfare Board needs to be made available." ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin