Welcome back to school for the new academic year 19-20 starting on Monday 2nd September. What an exciting year ahead. We are months away from our purposebuilt new school. We look forward to getting to know our new students in Junior Infants and a few who have joined us in other classes. Our new school building is progressing well. Space is at a premium here so thank you in advance for your patience as we wait for the move.
We ask you all to be mindful of road safety outside the school. The Arches hotel, over the past few years has kindly given our parents permission to park in their carpark, behind the hotel, in order to walk with children over the bridge. An ideal way to start the school year and ensure everyone is active. It would greatly relieve congestion outside the school too. Staff are temporarily parking in the Abbey carpark with special permission from the diocese. Parents may park either side of the road outside the school but please leave space at the gates for buses to enter and leave the school. Both gates at the front of the school are in use at all times so please never block. Also bear in mind that double parking holds everyone up.
9.20am is our start time. Please do not drop off earlier than 9.10am as there is no guaranteed supervision until 9.10am. Please be mindful of our “bus only” box painted outside the low wall at the front of the school. Keep clear at all times. For our new parents- the turnaround is for buses only. It is safer for children to alight and board the buses when this area is “car free”.
Thanks to Eamon our caretaker who tidies the playground and gets the forecourt ready every year. Deirdre, Karen and Theresa joined me in August to ensure all administration is in place for our return. Teachers have been in and out setting up classrooms throughout the month.
Niamh is Acting Deputy Principal again this year as a result of Hilary continuing to Jobshare with Suzanne in a support post. Daniel will work with 6th class in the smaller room in the Main Building. Andrea will take 5th class in the pre-fab, downstairs. Laura will teach 3rd and 4th class in the upstairs classroom of the Pre-fab at the front of the school. Damien will take 2nd class in the bigger classroom in the Main Building. Siobhán will take 1st class in the Modular Building. Helen will take Senior Infants and will work with Siobhán and Eimear until we move school. Eimear will induct our new Junior Infants in the Modular Building. The Support Team will involve Hilary, Suzanne, Niamh and Maria (shared again this year with Tuam Educate Together).
Junior Infants will have two weeks of short days- going home at 12.30pm. This will ease them into their new routine. Do encourage more and more independence. Eimear will induct all the new Junior Infants with loving kindness and endless patience. Geraldine (SNA), Hilary, Suzanne, Maria, Karen, Theresa, Niamh and Terri are also in the wings for the new Infants and new students throughout the school. Full infant day to 2pm begins on Monday 16th September.
Office Messages can be left on the school phone every day. However we cannot guarantee that messages left late in the day will be acted on to your satisfaction so do leave urgent messages as early as possible. It really helps if your child knows how they are getting home when they leave your house in the morning. Deirdre our wonderful secretary, is in the office 9.30am to 12.30pm each day. Emails and voicemails can be sent outside these hours.
Webtexts Please let us know if you wish to receive texts on a different mobile or are not receiving webtexts. If you have changed your mobile number we need to update the lists. Ideally one webtext per family so Deirdre may be in touch to check your preferred mobile number. Let Terri or Deirdre know or send in a note with your child if there have been any changes.
ePayments Thanks to Deirdre and Damien who set this up in July. Big thank you to those of you already up and using. This new initiative will ensure accounting practices run more smoothly and in line with auditors advice of having less cash on the premises. Please make payments as soon as you can and if you have any difficulties please talk to Deirdre in the office.
Pupil Personal Accident Insurance (Allianz) As we do every year the school takes out group cover. €8 per child. This covers every student on a 24 hour basis. Cover begins as soon as payment is received. There is no need to fill in a consent form as all students will be insured as a group. I urge all to get this payment in as soon as possible. Please pay online as soon as possible. Over the years we have had several claims, mostly for accidents which took place outside school time, and this cover has proved to be invaluable. Claim forms, in the event of an accident, are available from the school office.
Website Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website for news www.claregalwayet.ie . Access to individual classes requires a password. Check with your child’s teacher for the current password.
Afterschool Activities We now have Art Club, Chess, Spanish, Tin Whistle, Homework Club, Hurling/ Camogie, Volleyball and Faith Formation-Catholic classes. The timetables for afterschool classes will issue shortly. Classes start the week beginning Monday the 16th of Sept.
Green Committee and Student Council Elections will be held for both committees this term so looking forward to hearing great speeches.
Carambola Lunches We are lucky enough to be part of the lunch scheme again this year. Thanks to Deirdre who made the application in June. If you have not received a menu please let Deirdre know immediately. All who are already part of it and received lunches last year can go online as normal at www.carambola.ie and make any changes that you might need to do. Junior Infants & New Students who wish to join the scheme will get a menu to bring home and complete on Monday 2nd. Please ensure this is returned promptly and lunches will commence for these pupils from Monday the 9th of September. Our policy of keeping once off plastics use to a minimum extends to drinks bottles. Well done to the Green Committee for initiating this. Carambola no longer supply bottles as we ask all to bring in their own bottle and refill it. Please ensure all children know and take care of their own bottle/container. Last year our grant covered until May and all reverted to their own lunches for June. If children opt out and you prefer to make their lunch at home please let us know as soon as you can.
Voluntary Contributions This contribution is vital to meet the shortfall between grants from the DES and what we need to run the school. The DES pay 95% of all rent but we have to come up with 5% locally. We ask for €100 per family. This can be paid in total now or sent in two €50 instalments this term and in the New Year. If it works better for you to send it in in instalments of €10/€20 this is fine too.
Feedback We welcome all feedback. Please refer to the Flow Chart which has gone out to all families over the years in their starter packs. (Further copies available in the office). It has been updated and now appears on the back of our reviewed Code of Behaviour. This chart is a great guide in terms of the steps to take and the order in which to take them. Remember if you are unhappy for any reason please always start with the teacher if possible (he/she knows your child best) and then please give time for changes to be implemented. Feel free to leave a message/ email or send in a note if you wish to meet a teacher or the Principal and a mutally agreeable time can be arranged. Our policy is that all emails go through the office and are passed on to the relevant teacher. firstname.lastname@example.org The reply is then sent through the office.
Communication from the school In line with our Green School policy we will continue to send all information by email or webtext. Please ensure that we have your correct email address and mobile number.
Do log on to www.welfare.ie or www.citizensinformation.ie to see if eligible for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA). It covers all clothing not just uniforms. Not too late-closing date is 30th Sept 2019. While applications are accepted up to the end of September you are advised not to delay.
Looking forward to another wonderful school year.