Procedure and Policy Reminders
September is a good time to remind families of some of our very important procedures and policies that help us to ensure that our day runs smoothly and safely for all. Please read the following reminders and adhere to our whole school decisions as they are in your child’s best interests and are in place for best practice within our school community.
Timekeeping Procedures: School begins at 9.20am. Children should wait on their yard and line up with class when bell rings. Teacher will come out to the yard to collect class. The yard is supervised from 9am each morning should any parent need to leave their child on yard from that time. There is no supervision before 9am or after 3pm therefore the school cannot accept responsibility for children arriving before the official opening times for the school and remaining on the grounds after school.
Schools finishes at 2pm for Junior and Senior infants and 3pm for all other classes 1st – 6th. Infant parents should wait on Junior yard and classes will be walked outside with their teacher. Please do not come into hall to collect infant children as it is disruptive for other lessons (PE) that are being held at that time. Pupils on senior side of road will be walked out to the school gates by class teacher. Parents please collect your child at the school gates.
***NB*** If any parent needs to collect their child before normal closing time of either 2pm/3pm, they will need to visit the office to explain their early leaving and collect a release slip from the principal, which then needs to be presented to the class teacher.
Attendance: St. Mary’s promotes a policy of full attendance. All absences must be explained with a parental note/doctor’s certificate upon arrival back to school. We would like to remind you of your obligations under the Education Welfare Act to ensure that your child attends school every day. If a child reaches 15 days absence in any school year, parents will be notified via letter from school. At 20 days absence, children’s names and details are forwarded to E.W.O (Education Welfare Officer). Rolls are now tabulated using a computerised system and any child that is not in class before 10.20am will be marked absent unless a written note has been given to the class teacher the previous day (eg. An upcoming dental appointment can be explained in writing to teacher the day before the appointment if the child is returning to school that day)
Car Parking: Morning drop off & Afternoon collections: Please avoid parking/double parking outside the junior school in the mornings as this area became quite congested last year and many teachers experienced difficulty getting through this traffic congestion and into the teachers’ car park each morning. The car park in John Paul Park (directly opposite school) offers a grace period for parents who wish to drop and collect children from our school every morning and afternoon after 9am, 2pm and 3pm.
Please also avoid driving cars onto the senior school car park to drop children in the morning and at collection time as this is a health and safety issue. The senior yard has car parking facilities for teachers only and the gate will be closed before 3pm daily.
Appointments: Please contact the office/Paula if any parent wishes to make an appointment to speak with the Principal or if you wish to speak with your child’s class teacher. Class teachers will not be available to speak with parents during teaching time as this is disruptive to the daily routine.
Attending Mass/ Morning procedures: Our children will attend mass with their teacher and their class on occasion (Junior & Senior Infants do not attend school masses) If you do not wish for your child to attend mass, you will need to arrange to bring your child to school for 10.20am on these mornings. (Children in 2nd & 6th Classes will attend mass every first Friday of the month in preparation for sacraments – children who are not making First Communion or Confirmation should still come to school at normal time 9.20am and they will remain in the school)
Home School Liaison Teacher: Noelle Lee continues as our HSCL and will be available throughout the year to meet with parents. Noelle will arrange various classes for parents and will inform families soon. Please keep an eye on Parent Noticeboards/Windows for any news or information. Noelle’s Number is: 086 8354567 should you need it at any stage.
Healthy Eating: As a healthy eating school, it is important that we encourage healthy lunches as a means of promoting positive and responsible attitudes to eating. A typical healthy lunchbox may include: sandwich, fruit, yoghurt, cheese, raisins or vegetable sticks. A small treat eg. a small chocolate bar is allowed on a Friday only if parents wish. Sweets are not permitted as lunches. Crisps, fizzy drinks and chewing gum are not allowed at school.
Morning Munch: Our school provides a morning snack, lunch and a drink for children if parents wish to sign up for this. A letter has already been sent out with each child.
***NB*** Our school is a NUT FREE zone – please remember that nuts are not permitted as lunch/snacks in our school as it may pose a threat to children with allergies.
***NB*** Please remember to inform your child’s teacher ASAP if your child suffers from any allergies or medical conditions
Birthday Cakes/Invitations: From this September, we can no longer allow families to bring birthday cakes or treat bags to school to celebrate a child’s birthday as we need to ensure that our children with allergies don’t come into contact with nut/egg products. We kindly ask parents to distribute birthday party invitations themselves as teachers cannot help out in this regard.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation): Individuals have a number of rights in relation to their personal information – i.e. personal data – and these rights have been enhanced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our Data Protection Statement describes how we at St. Mary’s Primary School collect and process personal data, in accordance with GDPR and the school’s legal obligations generally in relation to the provision of education. Processing is the legal term used to describe various acts including – the collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, alteration, use of, retrieval, disclosure or transmission of information. Our Data Protection Policy is available to view on our school website.
Text-a- Parent: In recent years, the school began using the Text-a-Parent form of communication. It will be used once again this year to inform parents/guardians of eg: unforeseen or unexpected school closures, parent courses, non-uniform days and other events/notices. It is vital that we have an up-to-date contact number for all families. Please inform the office or your child’s teacher of any contact changes.
Parents Association (P.A) Group: As you may be aware, our school has a parents association that meet on behalf on the parent body of the school. The group meet approximately three/four times throughout the school year and have assisted greatly with Holy Communion Breakfast Celebration, 6th Class Graduation Party, School Sponsored Walk, Raffle Fundraisers and they also have had an input in whole school decision making such as recent changes in uniform for girls. Please keep an eye on noticeboards for our next meeting and we would love to extend a warm welcome to new members. If you have a little time to give and would like to be involved, please contact Noelle on 086 8354567
Your children can look forward to another busy year here in St. Mary’s with lots of learning and activities planned including Hip Hop, Swimming, Gymnastics, Hurling, GAA Football, Orchestra, Kodaly Singing Lessons, Knitting, Mandarin Classes, School Choir, Peace Proms Choir, Roots of Empathy and the school sports teams.
- Junior Infants pupils can look forward to meeting Yaz, our Hip Hop Instructor and Elisha, our Gymnastics coach and they will be busy dancing and rolling in the hall every Tuesday & Thursday morning.
- Senior Infants can get ready for more Hip Hop dance routines on Tuesdays and will start Gymnastics this year too on Thursdays.
- First class will resume Hip Hop with Yaz until Halloween and they can look forward to gymnastics sessions with Elisha after Halloween. They will start Hurling/GAA later in the year also.
- Second class will start the year out with Gymnastics until Halloween and they will have Hip Hop after Halloween. They will attend swimming in Term 3.
- Third class will continue with Hip Hop up to Halloween and they will take on Gymnastics after Halloween. The classes will also continue Kodaly Music lessons (Singing & Recorder) with Hilary, a coach from Music Generation throughout the year. The groups will also swim in Term 2.
- Fourth Class will start with Gymnastics sessions up until Halloween and they will have Hip Hop Dancing with Yaz after Halloween. They will also have the option of joining the school orchestra which will begin during month of September, tutored by Paul Hensey, a member of the Garda Band. They will also continue Kodaly Music lessons (Singing & Recorder) with Hilary, a coach from Music Generation. The 4th Class Group will have swimming sessions in Term 2.
- Fifth class will continue with Hip Hop up to Halloween and can look forward to swimming sessions and Gymnastics after Halloween. A number of pupils will also continue with the school orchestra which will begin during the month of September, tutored by Paul Hensey, a member of the Garda Band.
- Sixth class will begin their Wednesday swimming sessions early this month (€5 per week payable to teacher for session and bus – a doctor’s certificate will be required for any child not attending swimming sessions). They can also look forward to Gymnastics with Elisha up to Halloween and Hip Hop with Yaz after Halloween.
- We are delighted to also offer lessons in Mandarin to some of our pupils this year.
As an active school, we are delighted to have so many activities lined up for our pupils and will be promoting active healthy lifestyles on a daily basis with some form of exercise such as Drop Everything and Dance, Walk a Mile with a Smile or Gonoodle dance activities after indoor breaks.
Please try to encourage walking or cycling to school (if possible) and if weather permits. Please ensure that your child locks his/her bicycle at the bike stand on the senior school yard. Remember to walk with your bike when entering and leaving the school yard, on the zebra crossings and on the paths outside the school gate.
As a Green school, we will be expecting children to bring home all of their own packaging from lunches each day and will be encouraging our litter phrase “If it’s from home it goes home”. We will be starting out on new ideas relating to “Global Citizenship & Marine Environment” theme as we begin work on a two year programme to achieve our 8th flag with the Green Schools Initiative. Our team will also continue to work alongside Athlone Tidy Towns for local clean-ups and other environmental related events.