Attendance and Punctuality

Attendance Policy

Attendance is a condition of your student visa. If you do not attend your classes, you may lose your permission to study and work in Ireland.

All students are required to maintain a minimum attendance rate of 85%. If your attendance falls below this requirement, disciplinary action will be taken, which may result in your having your enrolment terminated.

  • If attendance falls below 85%, you will receive a verbal warning from the Director of Studies, followed by a confirmation letter.
  • If attendance falls below 80%, or fails to improve after the first warning, or falls below 85% a second time, you will receive a written warning.
  • If attendance falls below 70%, or fails to improve after the second warning, or falls below 85% a third time, you will receive a final written warning
  • If attendance does not improve following this final warning, you may be expelled unless you can show a valid reason for non-attendance.

We are required to inform GNIB of any student who misses 25% of their classes in the first 6 weeks of their course.

In case of expulsion, notification will be sent to the GNIB. This may affect your permission to live and study in Ireland.

Students may appeal an expulsion by contacting us within 5 days with any documentation justifying their absence or proving extenuating circumstances. Appeals will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the management.

Attendance Records Policy

For each class, we present an attendance register, which students are required to sign both before and after the break. These are filed at Reception, and are used to calculate students’ attendance on a weekly basis.

Any student arriving more than 15 minutes late for class is not permitted to enter until break time. Students leaving class early will have their attendance for the second half removed. In cases of emergency, students may apply to the Director of Studies for permission to leave up to 15 minutes early and still retain their attendance. This will be granted on a case-by-case basis at the Director of Studies’ discretionPlease note that work is not considered an emergency and cannot be given as a reason to leave early.

The attendance register is a legal document. Students are not permitted to tamper with the attendance register in any way, to attempt to sign for a class they have not attended or have lost attendance for, or to sign on behalf of another student. Anyone found doing so may face instant expulsion. This is a criminal offence and will be treated as such.

It is absolutely forbidden for any staff member to request or accept money or gifts in exchange for altering the attendance record, and any such requests should be reported immediately. Likewise, any student making an offer of money or gifts in exchange for attendance will be subject to disciplinary procedures as above and may be reported to the GNIB.

DCE continually checks students’ attendance records. Students not meeting the attendance criteria, as above, will receive up to three warnings reminding them that in order to comply with college and GNIB requirements, they are obliged to attend classes for 15 hours per week. Students are advised that lack of adherence to the attendance policy will result in them being reported to GNIB and expelled from the college without refund.

Lateness Policy

Please note: You must arrive on time for class. Students who arrive more than 15 minutes late for class cannot enter until after the break. It is disrespectful to the teacher and disruptive to other students to disturb a class by arriving even a few minutes late. Students should aim to be in class on time, and not use the 15-minute window regularly. It is only to be used in case of emergency.

Common queries or misunderstandings about the attendance policy:

The following are some queries that students often have in relation to the attendance and lateness policy. We hope that this helps you to understand the requirements in DCE. Please do your best to keep the rules, and come and talk to us if you are having a problem. We will help you as much as we can.

Why am I receiving a warning when I have enough time left in my course to make up 85%?

85% is the minimum attendance requirement mandated by GNIB/INIS. While 100% attendance would be preferable, we realise that students are human, and that sometimes things happen that we can’t control, causing students to miss classes. We have therefore matched our minimum requirement to that of GNIB.

We assume that all of our students are here to learn English, and if you miss a significant number of classes, resulting in your attendance falling below 85%, it is difficult for you to catch up with what the rest of the class has studied. The teacher cannot be expected to repeat the lesson for you, and the other students cannot be expected to wait while you catch up. Our policy is intended to prevent this and to ensure the smooth running of our classes, so that nobody is disadvantaged.

Our policy is contained in your contract with the school, and is legally binding.

GNIB doesn’t care if I don’t have 85%.

If you intend to renew your visa, GNIB uses the 85% rule to make a decision on that. That decision is for GNIB alone to make, and not us. We cannot influence their decision. Our attendance requirement stands regardless of any decision made by GNIB on an individual student.

If you don’t intend to renew your visa, you are still expected to keep the rules of your school. Our attendance requirement stands regardless of your intentions for the future.

I arrived at 1.16, so I was only one minute late. Why can’t I sign the list?

Class begins at 9.00 and at 1.00. If you arrive at 1.16, you are 16 minutes late. We allow students a margin of 15 minutes, and no more. This is intended as a courtesy and is not the time you should aim to arrive. If you use the 15-minute window too often, you will lose that privilege and will have to arrive exactly on time in future.

Arriving late is disrespectful and disruptive. Please try not to do it.

Why am I receiving a warning when I was sick?

If you are sick, you must contact the school on the day that you are going to miss class. You must let us know that you are sick. You must also provide a medical certificate. If we don’t hear from you before you miss class, we will send a warning. Medical certificates are used to justify low attendance to GNIB/INIS at the end of your course.

Why was I expelled? GNIB doesn’t oblige schools to expel students for low attendance.

This is true. However, schools are obliged to have an attendance policy and to enforce it. GNIB doesn’t say what that policy should be – all schools decide for themselves – but it does check that there is a policy, that students are informed of the policy, and that the policy is enforced.

Also, as above, our policy is intended to ensure the smooth running of our classes, and not solely to monitor immigration conditions.

The following is taken from the GNIB website:

It is the nature of a classroom that students are interdependent and should progress together. The progress of those attending regularly cannot be unduly disrupted to cater for bringing a student who has been missing classes up to speed with his or her classmates.

In the circumstances, it is legitimate for a college to operate an expulsion policy provided that the policy is fair to the student and is outlined clearly to that student before they enrol.


I can’t be expelled, because I have enough time left in the course to reach 85%.

Warnings can be sent at any time during the course due to low attendance. If your attendance does not improve, this may lead to expulsion, whether early in the course or late. In fact, GNIB stipulates that warnings must be sent in a timely manner – that is, as soon as the problem is identified, and not later.

If you are expelled, and you consider that your reason for missing class was legitimate, then you should submit an appeal explaining this and providing any documentation you have to prove it.

Can I be expelled without warning?

In most cases, you will receive three warnings before being expelled. However, in serious cases, you can be expelled without warning. “Serious cases” means when you have been violent towards other students or staff, or your behaviour poses a risk or threat to others, or you have done something illegal on school grounds.

What reasons are accepted for missing school?

We consider that the following reasons are legitimate and you can miss school for these reasons. However, please contact us and let us know. You won’t receive a warning if you have contacted the school.

  • You are sick (please provide a medical certificate)
  • You have been bereaved (if possible, please provide a death certificate before the end of your course)
  • You have a family emergency (please come and talk to us – we may be able to arrange a holiday period for you)

The following reasons are NOT accepted as reasons for missing class:

  • You had to work – please organise your work schedule around class.
  • You had to go to GNIB – please arrange your appointment for after class.
  • You had to travel for visa reasons – please come and talk to us and we may be able to arrange a holiday period for you.
  • You were travelling – please see the Holiday Policy.
  • You had to organise your bank/accommodation/PPS number etc – please do these things before or after class.

What does GNIB actually oblige colleges to do regarding attendance?

All colleges on the ILEP are required to:

  • Have an attendance and expulsion policy and enforce it
  • Inform students of the 85% minimum
  • Inform the GNIB of every student’s attendance each week
  • Inform the GNIB of any student who misses more than 25% of their classes in the first six weeks
  • Inform the GNIB of any student who cannot possibly reach 85% attendance by the end of the course
  • Allow students to appeal any expulsion

If you have any questions about this, please contact Carla Kerr at