Parent Newsletter Monday September 8th
1 School Lunches: As parents are aware, we are unable for budget reasons to provide school lunches for the full year, with lunches generally ending some date in April. We have negotiated with Glanmore Foods to drop the ‘drink’ aspect of the lunch, so that we can afford to extend the lunches for a few extra weeks ( though, unfortunately, this will still not bring us to the end of the school-year.) To that end we ask that parents supply their children each day with a bottle of water in a simple screw top plastic bottle that can be refilled during the day if need be also. Many thanks for your co-operation.
2 Attendance and Punctuality: We ask that all children are in the school grounds each morning before 8.40 ( but not earlier than 8.30). After 8.40, being fractionally late can make it unsafe for the children in their lines as they make their way to their classroom if they have to be disrupted by children and parents/buggies coming in the opposite direction. Parents are reminded that if your child is absent from school, on his/her return there must be a written and signed note explaining the child’s absence. Sick children should be kept at home for the sake of every other child’s public health. Parents should inform the school at the ealriest possible opportunity of any infectious or contagious disease. Children who are absent for over twenty days are reported to the NEWB as a statutory requirement.
3 Parent Association: All parents are welcome to join the Parent Association; and in an Educate Together we are particularly anxious that all parents should play their part in the excellent work of this group. Parent Volunteers are sought for a bag-packing session in Tesco this weekend; if you can spare an hour to help with this work please contact Liz Wall (086 311 2477). Furthermore, the Parent Association are hosting a coffee morning for all parents, and especially for new parents to our school, in the school staffroom at 8.45am on Wednesday 17th September; why not come along and meet the current members of the PA and find out more about their plans for 2014/15 and how you might help. Please remember that the work and fundraising done by the PA supports all of the children in the school.. ….. including yours!
4 New babies wanted!!!! We are looking for any mother who has a 3-6 month old baby who might be willing to participate in our excellent Roots of Empathy programme. This programme, provided to one lucky class in the school each year, learn about developing empathy in relationships through working with a highly skilled teaching team and a parent/child volunteer. Last year Niamh Saleh ( mother) and her baby Zara took part with John’s 5th class. The educational and soical benefits of the programme were immense for all involved. If interested please contact Fintan (Principal) or Cathal ( teacher) or call Lorraine ( secretary) on 01 6904635.
5 English Language Classes. Cathal is ready to roll out another programme of English classes for any parents for whom English is not their first language. Please contact Cathal straightaway if you are interested. These classes are also great fun, seem to have lots of nice things to eat, and are a great way of making new friends.
6 Yoga for parents. Sreevidhya Menon ( mother) is willing to run Yoga classes for parents in our school on Mondays and Thursdays ( 9.45am to 10.30am) until the mid-term holiday ( six weeks) at 3euro@session including a contribution to the Parent Association. If you would like to take part please give your name to Lorraince ( secretary) on 01 6904635, or leave a voicemail (24hr)
7 Human Rights Month: Our first big Teaching and Learning Event event of the school year takes place over the month of October. Would you like to join in with the teacher/children Planning team to design and implement this year’s work? If so , please contact Fintan ( Principal) straightaway, in person, or through 01 6904635.
8 … and finally School Self Evaluation. As a school we have undertaken some reflection/analysis of our standards of work and the academic achievement of our children over the 2013/14 school year. Please see overleaf a ‘Summary’ of this Report and you will also see that you can read in more detail about this topic in the Full Report available in the school Foyer.
Summary of Balbriggan School Self Evaluation Report for the 2013/14 School Year
What is School Self Evaluation? Our school was founded in September 2005 and every year since then we have undertaken an Evaluation and Reflection on our work. From 2005 to 2010 this was done in the context of the school’s First Five Year Plan. In 2010, in collaboration with the whole school community ( parents, teachers, BOM, PA, children), we undertook a mammoth Evalaution/Reflection on our progress as a school and, as a consequence of this , devised a 2nd Five Year Plan: Balbriggan Educate Together 2010-2015. Recently the Department of Education have required from all schools to undetake a very specific process called School Self Evaluation. In keeping with this our 2nd Five Year Plan has had a Literacy and Numeracy component added to it and is now called our School Improvement Plan. Furthermore, schools are now obliged to report to parents , on an annual basis, a summary of this School Self Evaluation. This document is this ‘summary report’ of the School Self Evaluation for the 2013/14 school year, completed last June. This report comprises of the analysis of parent-interviews, test-result data, teacher discussion and children’s discussion conducted over the 2013/14 year.
What is our School Improvement Plan? Our School Improvement Plan identifies ‘strengths’ and ‘areas for development’ in our school up to and including 2015. A full copy of this Balbriggan Educate Together: School Improvement Plan 2010-2015 is available in the school foyer all the time. The plans sets out for the optimal achievement and attainment of the children across the eleven subjects of the Primary Curriculum and identifies six flagship areas in which we are anxious to achieve excellence: Citizenship and Human Rights Education, Sports and Health Education, Arts Education, Digital Learning, Children’s Welfare and Special Needs Education. Specific targets have also been added in the fields of Literacy and Numeracy.
What is of specific note for the 2013/14 school year? Specifically over the 2013/14 school year, targets of attainment for the children in Literacy and Numeracy were set out. In Literacy, using the MicraT tests undertaken by the children in May 2014, we aimed for an increase in the number of children scoring above the 50th percentile from 43% in May 2012 to 47% by May 2014; this was achieved. In Numeracy, using the SigmaT Tests undertaken by the children in May 2014 we aimed for an increase in the number of children scoring above the 50th percentile from 53% in May 2012 to 55% in May 2014; this was achieved. Furthermore the teachers have undertaken to focus on an improvement in our teaching of children’s reading in English and problem-solving in Mathematics. A full and more detailed report titled ‘Balbriggan Educate Together: School Self Evaluation Report 2013/14’ is available in the school foyer for your perusal.
What does all this mean for the future? Each year you will receive an Annual Report summary similar to this. Our areas of focus in Numeracy and Literacy will continue to strive for greater attainment by all of the children on the annual standardised test programme. Other curricular areas will come into focus as the process develops. In Spring term 2016 the parents will again be invited to collaborate on the development of our third five-year plan : School Improvement Plan 2016 to 2021.