New guidelines have been published on the use of reduced timetables in schools.
Minister for Education Norma Foley says they are aimed at ensuring they are limited solely to those circumstances where it is absolutely necessary.
From January, schools will be required to notify Tusla Education Support Service when a reduced school day is being put in place.
Tanya Ward from the Children's Rights Alliance says the monitoring mechanism included in the guidelines is a key development.
"Now someone will be monitoring whether children will be put on reduced days or hours. We haven't had official data indicating that, and now TUSLA will have that role, and I think that's very significant.
"And now parental consent will have to be sought as well if a child is to be put on reduced hours."