Rathmichael Parish National School – September 2019Newsletter
The staff and I would like to welcome you all back after the Summer holidays. Thank you all so much for the vouchers and presents you gave us all at the end of the Summer term. They were very much appreciated. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Junior Infants and their parents and the families who are new to the school in other classes. Thank you to the PTA Committee and to all those parents who baked, brought in items to sell and who helped out both during the week before and at the Fete itself. The day was a great success and raised much needed funds for the parish and school.
New Staffing Arrangements
I am pleased to welcome Ms. Gemma Walshe, Special Needs Assistant, to the staff and to welcome back Mrs Susan Crammond to teach in 5th Class. As advised in the June Newsletter, Ms. Johnson joins us as a permanent staff member, teaching in 1st Class and Ms. Alison Gallagher is replacing Mrs Rosemary Allison in Learning Support until Christmas. We also welcome Ms. Antoinette Uhlar who is teaching Spanish in 5th and 6th Classes on Wednesdays.
This first Newsletter of the year is always a very full one so please take the time to go through it. Please read all monthly Newsletters carefully for important information. I would also ask you to check your emails on a daily basis as, in order to reduce our impact on the environment and to be more cost effective, the majority of correspondence is being sent via email only, including Newsletters (a hard copy of the Newsletter is on the Noticeboard and a copy is on the website also). Any circulars that require parental signatures will still be issued, with email copies as back up and for urgent correspondence, texts will also be sent. Anyone who has updated their email address recently or who is not receiving the emails, should contact the Office email address – email@example.com.
All new Junior Infant parents and other new parents should have received Vetting invitation forms. Please complete and return these to Trish as soon as possible, if you have not already done so. This will enable us to commence the vetting process so that you can help in the classroom, at the Pool and on school trips. If you have not received a form, please contact Trish. Parents whose vetting is out of date will shortly receive forms so that their vetting status may be updated.
As advised in a separate email, we are very concerned about the number of days pupils missed last year. As a result we will be initiating a reward scheme, on a pilot basis. Allowances will be made for days missed through unavoidable appointments and sickness. Particularly towards the end of the school year, in May and June, there were huge numbers taking holidays last year. These months are traditionally standardised and class testing months, months when school tours take place and also when important topics in the Stay Safe Programme are discussed, particularly in the Infant Classes. I would request that holidays be taken during the actual holiday periods. Children missing class tests will not be able to sit them on their return to school (this does not apply to standardised tests) nor will work be given to them to do while they are away.
Whole Class Meetings
These will take place for parents only on Wednesday 18th September (Junior and Senior Infants), Monday 23rd September (1st to 5th Classes inclusive) and Wednesday 25th September (6th Class). A separate note has gone home via email. Individual Parent Teacher meetings will be held in November/December on dates to be advised.
This year we have decided to hold a Grandparents’ Day, later this term. The names of all available grandparents will be put into a hat and 4/6 grandparents per class will be invited to come in for refreshments and to visit their grandchildren’s classrooms to chat to them. Children may be asked to draw pictures of their grandparents and will have a number of questions to ask them. Grandparents are such an important part of a child’s life and we felt that it was important to recognise this. It should be a day of fun for all the children and grandparents alike. More information will follow at a later date.
Games began this week with Southside School Sports and I would ask you to contact Jill Aston in the SSS Office directly if you have any queries. This is our second year with Southside and we look forward to the year ahead.
Swimming returns today, Friday 13th September for 3rd and 6thClasses. A separate note has gone home. If you can help please fill in the rota on the noticeboard. A parent is also needed on the bus each week (excluding today and next Friday). You must be Garda Vetted to help at the Pool. If you are ensure of your vetting status, please contact Trish. Please note that 2nd and 5th Classes will also have swimming this term, beginning on 29th November.
Gaelic Football will return on Tuesday 8th October for Junior Infants to 2nd Class inclusive, on Steve’s return from holidays.
We are delighted to welcome Naomi back for another year to teach Music to 1st to 6th Classes. This year Music will take place on Mondays.
We are very proud of Annie Gaffney in 5th Class who has been selected to represent her club, Supersonic, at an international trampolining championship in October in Portugal. All the very best of luck Annie.
We will have students in a number of classes over this term and the next two terms.
A note of these was sent via email and a copy is available on the website. Please note that there will be an additional day off on 16th January 2020 when we will be closed for an Inservice Day for New English Language Curriculum training. There will be further training days during Terms 2 and 3 in connection with this aspect of the Curriculum and we will do our utmost to attach these to Bank Holidays. However we will not be in a position to confirm these dates until after the 16th January training day.
The Sponsored Walk will take place on Sunday 6th October. Sponsorship Forms will be given out on 23rd September. The PTA AGM will take place on Wednesday 9th October. A separate note will follow nearer the date.
Birthday Day Off Homework
In order to accommodate all our pupils, especially those who have their birthdays during the holidays, it has been agreed that we will continue to issue birthday homework passes to all pupils – these passes may be used on the actual birthday or on a day of the child’s choosing.
Green School Flag/ Active Flag
This year we will be concentrating on attaining our 10th Green Flag. The theme of this is Marine Environment and the children will be producing art work in class in connection with this. We will be continuing with all our activities for our Active Flag, including our Active Homework night – please remember to sign off on this homework on a Thursday night. In connection with our Active Flag last year we introduced a number of playground games. I would request that Infants being collected at 1.25 p.m. do not use these items – Infants should be brought home promptly at 1.25 p.m. and not let run around in the playground areas as it is distracting for the older classes trying to work.
Anti-Bullying Policy/Attendance Policy
Please note that these are on the website.
A limited number of grants are available to the school to cover electricity, gas, some maintenance and ancillary staff. However in order for us to maintain the building and grounds to a good standard we have to supplement this. It is through your Voluntary Contribution and fund raising events that we achieve this. I want to thank you all for your continued support in this way.
M3 Money Club
This will commence again on Wednesday 2nd October and Core Credit Union will be in contact with members directly to remind children to bring money in. 1st to 6th Class pupils are entitled to become members and 1st Class children have all been given information booklets/forms as have pupils in other classes wishing to join. Forms should be completed and returned to Trish who will pass on to Core and pupils will be issued cards when they are set up.
Late Arrivers/Absences – REMEMBER THAT SCHOOL STARTS AT 8.40 A.M.
A sign-in system operates for children who are late into school and therefore miss roll call. Any children coming into school after 9.00 a.m. must call into the Office, accompanied by a parent/guardian, before going to their classroom, to be signed in by Trish. Otherwise they will not be covered by the school insurance on that day. If pupils are to be late, due to certain unavoidable appointments, it is essential that parents inform the school prior to the appointment so that they can be included on our roll. As last year, I will be taking note of regular latecomers and letters will ensue if lateness persists.
If your child is absent from school for any reason, the school should be telephoned early in the morning, preferably before 9.00 a.m. and Trish should be informed of the reason for his/her absence. This absence should be followed up with a note on the child’s return to school. This is essential to ensure that the school is aware of the whereabouts of all of the children in our care.
Parking in the school grounds is for Junior and Senior Infant Parents only in the morning and 1st and 2nd Class parents only at 2.25 p.m. Cars can only be parked in the spaces provided. No driving in to the school grounds during games or during outdoor activities in school hours. Gates are closed for these activities and at 2.35 p.m. for Games. You are also asked that you collect your children promptly at 1.25 p.m. (Junior and Senior Infants) and drive out immediately and also at 2.25 p.m. (1st to 6 Classes inclusive) so that Games may safely commence on time. The pedestrian crossing must be unobstructed at all times – children have priority when crossing. Please be aware of the crossing and do not stop on or near it to talk to other parents as this holds up traffic generally and obstructs the view of other drivers approaching the crossing. Please drive slowly in the grounds and do not overtake under any circumstances, particularly on the crossing.
Cars should not be left at the set down area for any reason as this again disrupts the smooth flow of traffic nor should cars be parked haphazardly in the grounds – please do not block other cars in or park on double yellow lines. Generally if you cannot find a space, please keep driving round until one is free. I will be patrolling the grounds at peak times to ensure that the rules of the carpark are respected.
The Gardaí have asked that you do not park on the Dublin Road (side of school grounds). Parking is available beside St. Anne’s School and in the grounds of St. Anne’s Church. However the latter is for set down and pick up only – please do not leave cars parked there. The management of Woodbank (the development behind the school), has also asked that you do not park on its grounds.
You will be encouraged by your children’s teachers (Snr Infants – 6th Class) to discontinue accompanying children into the classrooms each morning unless you have to meet the teacher.
Crossing with the School Wardens
Please encourage your children to cross with the Traffic Wardens as they have been put there for everyone’s safety. Lessons learnt in crossing the road safely will stay with the children when they leave us for secondary school. We would particularly ask parents and children not to cross on the diagional at the lights and to encourage children to cross with the warden on Stonebridge Road and then again with the warden at the lights rather than turning left at the school gates and crossing at the first set of lights. The former takes more time but is the safest route to take.
School Timetable – Notice to parents
Please be aware that school doors open at 8.40 a.m. every morning and children are not supervised by teachers until this time. Accordingly, while of course the school grounds will be open to the pupils, the school cannot accept responsibility for children arriving before the official opening of the school or remaining in the school grounds after school. Parents must accept responsibility for each of their children who are in the school grounds before official opening time and for younger children not attending the school, while waiting to collect older siblings at going home time.
The Timetable is as follows:
The School will be open to receive pupils from 8.40 a.m.
Classes will commence at8.40 a.m.
Without good reason, no pupils should arrive later than8.40 a.m.
Lunch break is from 12.45 p.m. to 1.15 p.m.
Classes will end each day at 1.25 p.m. (Junior/Senior Infants)
Classes will end each day at 2.25 p.m. (1stClass to 6th Class inclusive)
Parents who wish to have their children escorted home before school closing time should arrange to have them met at the classroom by arrangement with the teacher (having first called in at the School Office) at the appointed time. All pupils should vacate the premises at 2.25 p.m. unless remaining behind for legitimate extra curricular activities. Pupils who are not collected at 2.25 p.m. owing to parental delay or misunderstanding should go to the Office.
Homework Journals and Contact Details
Pupils from 1st to 6th Classes inclusive have been issued with Homework Journals. These should be signed by a parent on a daily basis to confirm that homework has been completed and checked by the parent. Please ensure the Contact Details section of the Journal is fully completed. Should any of your contact details, or address, have changed since last year, please advise Trish so that we may update our system. It is vital that we are able to contact parents in case of an emergency.
School jumpers and white or navy polo shirts (all classes) and Hoodies (from 3rd class up) ARE TO BE WORN AT ALL TIMES. These may be ordered directly from the Office.
Please ensure that your child wears the polo shirt or required jumper at all times. I will be conducting spot checks on uniforms throughout the term. Please also name every item, including coats, particularly those belonging to the Junior and Senior Infants.
The Choir will recommence, next week on 18th September and auditions have taken place. Pupils have been advised of the outcome. Choir practice begins at 8.30 a.m. sharp each Wednesday. Please ensure that if your child is a member of the choir, he/she arrives promptly for practice each Wednesday as late comers cause a huge disruption and Mrs Lewis only has a short period of time to work with the group. Pupils are expected to remain in the Choir until they finish 6th class. Should there be a reason to leave the Choir, Mrs Lewis must be informed as a matter of courtesy, both personally and by letter.
For those families who may be unemployed, single parents or find themselves in difficult circumstances, please write to me to request help with school bills.
Teachers are available for brief queries each morning. Please do not detain teachers at lunchtime or after school unless by appointment.
As usual we are appealing for your old mobile phones which we collect for charity. Please ask friends and relations for theirs also. There is a box in the Crawford Concourse to put them in or they may be left in the Office.
Children who have mobile phones should have them switched off and in their school bags during the day. If seen they will be confiscated. The taking of photos in school with mobile phones is strictly forbidden and will be dealt with severely.
Croke Park Hours
We are instructed by the Department of Education and Skills to advise you of the breakdown of the 36 additional Croke Park Hours in the 2019/20 academic year. These hours will be allocated to staff meetings, school planning, curriculum development, policy development and school arranged in service.
Healthy Eating Policy
In line with the Department of Education and Skills guidelines, our school operates a healthy eating policy. We would appreciate if you would co-operate with this by ensuring your child brings a healthy lunch to school each day. Crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks are not permitted. However we have treat days on Fridays, when you may include a small bar of chocolate in your child’s lunch box.
50 cent Day
Please remember that the first Wednesday of every month is 50 cent day, when each pupil is asked to bring in that amount which goes to the Fields of Life Ministry to help support a child’s education in Uganda, Rebecca. We also support Caleb. Thanks to all your contributions, Yunuso has now finished his 3rd Level education.
Caroline Senior, Principal,
13th September 2019
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped prior to and during the Fete with the PTA stalls and games – the PTA Committee really appreciate all your efforts. Thanks also to all the children who took part in the Fancy Dress competition – your outfits were all fantastic.
Heidi, Kerry, Niall and Phil will be finishing their 2 year term with the PTA at the AGM and new parents will be voted in to work on the Committee with Natalie, Kate, Kevin and Colin. The PTA function is to support the school by organising fundraisers and other social events and it is a great opportunity to get involved in school life. It is a 2 year term, the first year is very much a hands-on learning experience and in the second year you take on a role of either chairperson, vice, treasurer or secretary. At the AGM, besides voting for the new committee members, attendees will be given a run though of events of the past year from Caroline Senior and the PTA Committee.
On behalf of the PTA Committee