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October 2021 Newsletter

Date: October 19, 2021 Author: Castlehackett NS Categories: News, Newsletter

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  1. New Enrolments and School Promotion

A huge welcome to our 7 new Junior Infants who have settled so well after our enrolment drive initiatives. Enrolment drives are important. I am available to meet prospective new families to the area any time. Please inform neighbouring families of this. We are a school with unrivalled facilities and resources that are a credit to our community. To name just a few; A new Astro Pitch, Running Track, GAA pitch, Sensory Garden, Basketball courts, indoor hall, a dedicated staff with an excellent pupil to teacher ratio, classroom libraries and we now have a class ratio of 1 iPad for every 2 pupils. Word of mouth is everything in my opinion and we are all trying to promote our school and what we do here. I can’t stress enough how important this is. If I could please ask Parents, Staff, Neighbours and most importantly our Pupils to let everyone know how great our school is and what we do here. Staffing retention and funding relies on this. Your support has enabled our school to progress to the stage where it is at. Let us not take this for granted and do everything in our power to continue this progress. Enrolments have been great for the last few years; this is just being proactive rather than reactionary.

Please do not hesitate in contacting the school if you feel there is anything else we can do in order to achieve these goals. This is a team effort! 

  1. Fundraising

Many thanks to our Castlehackett Parents Association and wider school community for organising and supporting the clothing drive held recently in the school. We raised €672. All funds raised will be given to the P.A and will be used to support educational projects in the school. We are so lucky to have such an active P.A in our school.

  • Homework Club and Pre-School

The Homework club (1:30pm to 2:30pm) is being organised by Tiny Tots once again this year. All queries should be made to Madeline Finnegan in Tiny Tots. We are very grateful to our operators for providing this service.

We are extremely proud of our Tiny Tots facility. Many thanks to Thelma O’Reilly, Linda Hession, Madeline Finnegan and Karen O Brien for providing such a fine, warm, colourful and well-resourced facility for the pre-schoolers in our community.

  • School Hours

School starts at 8:50a.m. and finishes at 2:30p.m. Junior and Senior Infants finish at 1:30 p.m. All meetings with teachers are made by appointment via our school’s email address info@castlehackettns.ie or by phone. Our insurance provider has advised we circulate the following note. The school will open to receive pupils at the hour of 8.40 a.m. No responsibility is accepted for pupils arriving before that time. Classes will commence each day at 8.50 a.m.

Classes will end each day at 2.30 p.m.  Parents who wish to have their children escorted home should make their own arrangements to have them met at the school door/line and the person to escort them should be at the school not later than 2.30 p.m. as the school cannot accept responsibility for looking after the children after that time.”

 In the case of children travelling by the School Bus, the school cannot accept responsibility for escorting them from the bus to the school or from the school to the bus. Parents who feel that their children may need to be escorted in these circumstances should make arrangements to ensure that some escort is provided.”

  • Creative Schools

We have some very exciting workshops organised for the school. These will be in the areas of performing arts and Coding in a way that the children would never have experienced before.

  • Collection of Children

On the rare occasion where a relative or friend, who normally does not collect your child, arrives to the school to pick up him/her, the school should be advised of this beforehand in the interest of safety.

  • Trading Cards/ Keychains/Keyrings

In the interest of hygiene and our Covid guidelines the swapping/sharing of trading cards is prohibited. Also, keychains and keyrings have seemingly become a big accessory for school bags. These can pose a distraction during the school day so please refrain from sending them into school so that they can be enjoyed at home.

  • Green-School Awards

Congratulations to all involved in the awarding of our latest Green-Schools flag on Biodiversity. This is a fantastic achievement. 

  • Education Welfare Act

We would appreciate a note explaining any absence should it arise throughout the year. Please note that if a pupil is absent for more than 20 days the principal is legally obliged to report the matter to the education welfare officer.

  • Personal Accident Insurance

All pupils are covered for 24-hour personal accident insurance.

  1. Medical Issues

It is very important for us all to remember that Castlehackett N.S. is a nut free zone. Please continue to make the school aware if your child has any medical issues. The information given in this regard will be treated with total confidentiality.

  1. School Closings

A list of school closings for the year is available on the school website (www.castlehackettns.ie)

  1. Halloween

All the children are free to dress up in Halloween costumes on Friday 22nd of October. No masks please as these can scare the younger children.

  1. Shoebox Appeal

We are accepting shoeboxes for the shoebox appeal. Thanks to those that have sent them in so far. https://www.teamhope.ie/christmas-shoebox-appeal/how-to-fill-a-shoebox/

  1. Course Days

All the teachers have completed at least one professional development course during July and August. This entitles them to 3 “extra personal days”, which can be taken throughout the year. We thank our staff for constantly upskilling themselves.

  1. English Resources

To foster a love of reading the school has invested in levelled readers from Junior Infants to 6th class.

  1. Mobile Phones.

Mobile phones are not permitted in the school. No child in primary school should have ownership of a smart phone.

  1. Social Media.

Primary school children should not be given access in any form to any social media platforms. Primary school children should also not be given unsupervised access to the internet. Parents have to supervise this situation very closely outside of school hours. Should any misconduct in this regard (by an unsupervised child in Castlehackett N.S. outside of school hours) be brought to the attention of the school authority, the parent with the concern will be directed to An Garda Síochána, Tuam.

  1. Gaming

Please ensure that such boxes and consoles are out of bounds totally during the school week and used under strict time control measures at the weekends if your child has one. They also should be supervised if your console is linked to the internet as online gaming and having a Youtube channel is an area that can pose a serious risk to children.  

  1. Special Education Teaching (S.E.T.) provision.

Mr David Reilly and Ms Elizabeth Keady are once again looking forward to heading up the S.E.T. department in the school. Preparations, meetings and professional development have all taken place. The teachers are now intervening with their pupils.

  • School Transport

If Castlehackett school is the closest school to your house, you may be entitled to school bus transport upon satisfactorily meeting all the criteria as set out by Bus Éireann School Transport section (091 537530). This is still true even if other children in your vicinity take a bus to another school. The current bus route can be adjusted to accommodate any new pupils so please don’t assume that we don’t pass near your house. We can hopefully facilitate your requirements in this regard – just ask! https://www.buseireann.ie/inner.php?id=257

  • School Assemblies

Whole School assemblies (weather permitting) are continuing to prove hugely successful. We celebrate the pupils’ achievements and acknowledge their successes both inside and outside the school. We also use this forum to discuss other matters i.e., behaviour, work rate, attitude etc

  •  The School Website

Please check our fabulous school website from time to time for updates on the latest news in Castlehackett N.S. You will be alerted to new content being uploaded. Thank you to the parent that maintains this website.

  • G.A.A. Training.

The weekly lunch-time training sessions for senior pupils (4th, 5th and 6thclass) takes place every Wednesday with Mr Reilly. Lunch-time hurling/camogie lessons take place with the senior pupils every Thursday with Mr Farragher. All pupils are encouraged to participate and it’s understood that those participating pupils will make a commitment to these training sessions for the year.

  • Parking.

Parents are reminded to keep the roundabout clear at all times so that Lena (our school bus driver) can safely enter and exit the school grounds. When entering Castlehackett NS please enter with caution and the appropriate speed.

  • Reading Drives.

Having your child read a variety of texts at an appropriate difficulty level is the joint responsibility of class teacher and parent. Well done to all the parents who availed of the reading challenge organised by Tuam library during the summer.

  • Homework.

Homework is given on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night only. The staff are mindful of the N.P.C. guidelines below when setting homework daily. If you find your child is exceeding the allotted time after having applied himself/herself fully to the task at hand, please leave the unfinished homework and write an explanatory note to your child’s class teacher.

The following guidelines apply re homework as adapted from N.P.C. guidelines:

Junior/ Senior infants:

No formal homework but perhaps some drawing, preliminary reading, matching shapes and pictures orlistening to stories read by parents.

First/ Second class: 20-30 minutes Third/ Fourth class: 30-40 minutes Fifth/ Sixth class: 40-60 minutes

It must be stressed that these are suggested target times. In practice, the timetaken will depend on the individual child.