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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019
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Kids of unemployed and depressed parents more likely to be absent from class

The research found that parents, who help out at home with schoolwork and attend parent–teacher meetings, are less likely to have children with bad attendance.

Image: Empty classroom via Shutterstock

CHILDREN WHOSE MOTHERS are not native English or Irish speakers are more likely to have a poor attendance record. However, children of immigrant mothers who speak English actually attended more days of school than some groups of Irish children, which shows that language barriers are associated with poor attendance patterns rather than immigrant status.

Researchers of a recent ESRI report, ‘Reasons for persistent absenteeism among Irish primary school pupils’, focused on persistent absenteeism of more than 20 days in the last year.

They found that parents, who help out at home with schoolwork and attend parent–teacher meetings, are less likely to have children with bad attendance.

Unemployed parents were more than three times more likely than those in the highest social group to have children with a poor school attendance record.

Depression

An important new finding was the effect of maternal depression. Children living with a mother who was depressed had an increased likelihood of having a poor attendance record.

In addition, children who witnessed parental conflict were almost twice as likely to be persistent absentees.

Bullied

In terms of the child’s own characteristics, having special needs or a chronic illness posed higher risks in terms of children’s school attendance, while victims of bullying were also significantly more likely to experience attendance problems than children who had not been bullied.

Girls vs. boys

While researchers did not compare girls against boys attendance, children attending single sex boys’ schools were twice as likely to have attendance issues compared to pupils attending all girls’ schools.

Persistent absenteeism was also more common among children attending schools where principals reported that the number of teachers was inadequate.

Read: Irish children less likely to feel they belong in primary schools>
More: 110,000 families to receive the back-to-school allowance automatically>

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About the author:

Amy Croffey

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