Although attendance at a Madrassah is voluntary, teachers and staff must ensure that attendance is recorded at the start of each session and at the end of the day, in order to keep a record of absentees, late comers and missing students.
Absence and lateness could be a result of various factors, some more serious than others. However, the end result is always significantly poor attainment and slow progression on the part of the child and disruption for the teacher and other learners.
More seriously -especially when the child is unaccompanied by a parent/guardian- regular absence and lateness could be signs of serious safety risks, such as:
- Bullying in the Madrassah or on the way to it
- Truancy- ‘unauthorised absence or lateness without parental or guardian consent’
- Accident or injury along the way to the Madrassah
According to a Youth Advice Agency, truants are more likely to ‘drink alcohol’, ‘take drugs’, ‘get involved in crime’, or take part in ‘antisocial behaviour’.
If a child is involved in the above when their parents think that they are at a Madrassah, the Madrassah management could very likely become liable to accountability from parents and local authorities, including social services and police.
Hence, measures must be taken to ensure that every single absence and lateness is recorded and accounted for.
If a child is absent from Madrassah due to bullying, the safeguarding actions outlined in the ‘Anti-bullying policy’ need to be acted upon immediately.
Below is a list of safety measures to help tackle unauthorised lateness or absence:
Policies and Procedures
- Create a ‘Home Madrassah Agreement Policy’, which parents or guardians are required to sign and which stipulates that parents or guardians must inform the Madrassah’s administrator of any lateness or absence as soon as possible.
- Create an ‘Anti-bullying policy’ and ensure that it is read and understood by all staff and volunteers.
- Nurture an anti-bullying environment at your Madrassah and encourage bullied children to speak out.
- Create an ‘Attendance Policy’, which highlights the disciplinary actions in case of unauthorised or regular lateness or absence.
All those policies may be obtained through Mizan accreditation. All staff and volunteers should be made aware of those policies and should be trained in relevant procedures.
Essential good practice
- At the start of each day and each session the attendance register must be taken.
- The register should be stored safely and Data protection must be adhered to. It is recommended that the Madrassah use a computerised record-keeping system to monitor attendance as it allows for greater flexibility in analysing patterns of attendance for individual students and across the Madrassah.
- Upon identifying an absentee or a late comer, a member of staff should telephone the child’s parents/guardians and request an explanation on the same day of the absence. Explanation should be recorded.
- If the child is unable to attend the Madrassah or ill parents/guardians should be reminded of their responsibility to report absence or lateness in advance or the same day as soon as possible.
Regular unauthorised or poorly justified absence and lateness
- Send letters of warning to parents/guardians
- Invite the parents/guardians to the Madrassah to explain the child’s absenteeism.
- Hold meeting with the parent or guardian and the student to discuss poor attendance and punctuality and attempt to find a solution.
- It is at the discretion of the executive committee to expel a child from the Madrassah.
To learn more about this topic and similar topics enrol on Madrassah management training programme.
A Handbook for Madrassah Management & Safeguarding by Shaukat Warraich and Dr Muhammed Ayub Rahim, 2012