Over 170 summonses issued by Tusla for school absences since start of 2022

Over 170 Summonses Issued By Tusla For School Absences Since Start Of 2022
Of the 52 summonses issued in the first half of 2023, the highest number was recorded in Co Longford. Photo: PA Images.
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Ken Foxe

The Child and Family Agency, Tusla, issued summonses to 177 different families because their children missed so many days in school since the beginning of last year.

The agency said 52 summonses had been sent to parents or guardians in the first six months of this year, 32 for students in primary school pupils and 20 for those in secondary school.


Of those cases, 11 involved families in Co Longford, 10 in Co Meath, and seven in Dublin.

There were also summonses for truancy in eight other counties, but Tusla said the individual figures were low and release of the exact numbers could risk identifying the individual children involved.

Last year, there were 125 separate summonses issued, with 76 of them for primary school children and 49 for students in secondary education.

Over a quarter of all those cases were in Galway, where there were 32 sets of proceedings commenced by Tusla.


There were also 22 cases in Limerick, 11 cases in Clare, nine each in Kerry and Roscommon, eight in Dublin, and six in Kildare.

Tusla said schools are required by legislation to report attendance, including any case where a child has missed more than 20 days.

However, they said absences did not always result in intervention, especially if explained by valid reasons like illnesses or other family emergencies.

When it comes to recording absences, schools are asked to distinguish between “explained and unexplained absence” and report this to Tusla.

The agency said: “If a school is satisfied with the reason provided for an absence, it will be recorded as 'explained'.

“However, if an absence is 'unexplained', the principal may make a referral to the Educational Welfare Service if they have concerns regarding the absence(s).”

Tusla said the Education Welfare Service had offices throughout Ireland to offer support and guidance to parents and schools over attendance issues.

The agency added: “The ultimate goal is to promote the engagement, attendance, and retention of children and young people in schools, ensuring their right to education is protected.”

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