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Information Note September 2019

Muff N.S. 2019/2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

We hope that you all had a very enjoyable break as we look forward to the beginning of a new school year. It has been a busy time for the school with the completion of our new classroom and substantial work done on the new school play area. We hope that pupils will benefit from these works for many years to come.

Over the coming days, we would ask you to ensure that the children get to bed at a reasonable hour as they get back into the routine of the school year. We especially welcome our new pupils in Junior Infants.  They will finish at 12:30 each day this week. From next Monday September 9th they will go home at 2:00 as normal.

As per usual in September we have laid out what we feel are important pieces of information with regard to the school and your child for the coming year. If there is any issue that you have a concern with, we would ask that you make an appointment to see the teacher by contacting the office. Each month your child will receive a newsletter which we would ask that you read to keep yourself informed with events in the school. These are also published on our school website www.laraghmuffns.com.

We would like to welcome to the staff Ms. Swinburne who will be teaching 3rd and 4th class and Ms. McLoughlin who will be working alongside Ms. McEneaney in support teaching. Ms. Campbell is on leave for September and we are delighted to have Ms. Farrelly back to teach 2nd class for the month.

Building/Play Area: The new classroom has been completed. Ms. Quinn’s class will be its first occupants. The play area has its surface put in place but there are still a number of items to be installed. Children, though, will be using it from today. There will be an official opening of both later in the term. We would remind you that children should not be in school grounds after school unless they are part of Caroline’s After School Club.

Start of School Day:  School begins at 9:20 and children should be on the premises at this time. It is important that students develop the habit of being punctual for school. Arriving 5-10 minutes late regularly is very disruptive for the class and in particular for the pupil who is late. Equally, we would ask parents not to drop off their children at an inappropriately early time. Supervision is provided from 9:10 or when the school bus arrives-whichever is earlier. When the building was going on, this system worked very well and we are looking to receive the same cooperation in this matter for the coming year. For infant children we would encourage parents to drop them at the school gate to encourage independence. When picking up infants, the teacher will walk them down to the church doors where they can be collected. Junior Infants will go home at 12:30 for the first week.

Attendance:   Full attendance at school is of great educational benefit to the children. Last year we had 11 pupils who went through the school year and did not miss a day. We also had another 10 who only missed one day. This was an outstanding achievement.  In the case of an absence, a written note must be given to the school explaining the reason for the absence so the school has a written record. The roll is taken first thing each morning.  If a child has a dental appointment etc., and will miss the roll call, the teacher needs to be notified the day before.  The school is obliged to report to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, any pupil who we have concerns about, regarding attendance or their explanations of absences. It is standard to report pupils who miss 20 days or more.  Regular absences of a day here and a day there have a significant impact on a pupil’s progress.  It is also important to stress that when a child is clearly sick, they should not be sent to school for obvious reasons.

Holidays during School Year: In recent years, last year in particular, there has been a marked increase in pupils being taken out of school to go on family holidays. The school, while completely understanding the financial reasons for doing so, cannot condone this practice. In particular there were a significant number of pupils who were missing in the last week of May and the first week of June. This is the time that the school is required to conduct standardised tests. When pupils miss these dates there is significant organisational and teaching impact on staff and pupils in trying to accommodate these pupils completing their tests on their return. We will no longer be in a position to guarantee that pupils who miss these tests while on holiday will be able to take them at a later date. All schools are required by the Department to promote and ensure good attendance and we appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Safety at the School Gate:  Safety is of paramount importance when it comes to our pupils, parents and staff. We would ask all to continue to adhere to the school car park policy. No vehicles other than those of staff members and the school bus should enter the grounds of the school at any time from 9:00 – 3:10. No vehicle should ever try to access the new play area. Vehicles should not block or park at the school gate when dropping off/picking up pupils. It is important to discuss with your child how to walk to and from the school. I would ask parents to drive with extreme caution and at a crawling speed when in or around the school gate and car park. We discuss with the pupils how to arrive/leave the school. We would ask you to do the same. At all times, we would ask drivers to be patient and aware of pupils. It is important that this matter is discussed with any persons responsible for picking up your child. We are hoping to hear this term from the Department about improving car park facilities for the school.

Uniform: Pupils are expected to wear their full school uniform every day and the school tracksuit and runners on P.E. days and swimming days. P.E is on each Wednesday. It is essential that all pupils have their names on all items of their uniform. The amount of unclaimed clothes we have at the end of each school year with no names on them is staggering. Tracksuit order forms are enclosed should you wish to order same.  The policy on tracksuit bottoms is that they must be plain navy – there should be no markings/stripes etc. on them. Please return completed form to office by Friday September the 6th.

P.E: Swimming will commence for children from 1st to 6th class later in the year. There will be no swimming for the infant classes.

Football: Gaelic Football for 3rd – 6th class boys will commence tomorrow. This will be taking place in the school from 3:05 – 4:00 and take place each Tuesday until Halloween. Girls football will also start shortly.

After School Care:   Caroline will be running the After School Club in the old school. She will be available for anyone who is interested to sign up.  She provides care from 2:00 onwards. Please find the note attached.

Personal Property: Pupils should have their names printed on all their belongings; books, etc. Please ensure that pupils have the necessary equipment for class; pencils, rubbers etc. When students are missing these items, it can be frustrating for all concerned. These items were all laid out in the book lists.

Book Rental:  A reminder to parents that the book scheme cost for this coming year is €25.   Over the summer a large number of additional textbooks were bought for the expanded rental scheme. Thank you to all parents who have paid for this scheme so far. Our stock is increasing and we are able to fund replacement books also. We would ask pupils to take good care of these books.

Contacting School:  Gillian works in the office four days a week.  She is not in the office on Tuesdays.  Please be aware of this when contacting the school.

Homework:  Children are given homework each night from Monday to Thursday. It is very important that it is fully completed each night. Our Homework Policy on our website gives time guidelines for each class. We recommend that pupils do their homework in a comfortable quiet space as soon as possible.  Parents should check and sign it each night.  If there is a reason why homework is not complete, a short written note from a parent should be given to the teacher. If there is any difficulty with homework such as taking longer than the recommended time, please let the teacher know immediately.

Reading:   Reading is a hugely important aspect of school life.  We would strongly recommend that every child has their reading heard out loud at home each evening by an adult.  This helps, among other things, their fluency and comprehension.

In School Self Evaluation we will be looking at the area of handwriting for the coming term.

Lunches: Our school has a healthy lunch policy. We are all well aware of the obesity problem at present in this country. Healthy eating habits start young and children should not have sweets, bars, crisps, fizzy drinks etc. We would discourage yogurts as they can cause a considerable mess. We would like to commend the large majority of parents who adhere to this. We would also ask parents, as part of our Green Policy, to refrain from using tin-foil and to use lunch boxes instead. In terms of drinks, we would ask you to avoid single use plastic bottles.

Party Invitations:   We would like to remind parents that no invitations for parties are allowed to be given out on school premises before, during or after school.

Insurance: We are providing an opportunity for parents to avail of Pupil Personal Accident Insurance. We would highly recommend that you take this up as a number of families have found it beneficial over the years. The note attached explains what is involved. Price for the insurance is either €4.80 or €7.20 per pupil depending on the type of cover you want. Insurance is optional. If you require this insurance, please complete sign and date the enclosed note and return with payment to the office by Wednesday September 18th.

Religion:  Confirmation takes place on Sunday May 10th 2020 with First Holy Communion taking place on Saturday May 16th 2020.  There will be a Mass for sacramental pupils on Saturday September 28th at 7:30 in Muff Church.

School Photographer: Memory Lane photographers are coming to the school this Thursday September 5th.  Please ensure you children are in full school uniform. Copies of the photographs will be sent home along with a pricelist. You are under no obligation to purchase any of these photographs, and photographs that are not required should be just returned to the school.

School Website:   You can find a huge amount of information on the school on our website www.laraghmuffns.com. This page includes policies, upcoming events and samples of children’s work.

School Calendar:   Below you will find a provisional calendar for next year. Please note that some of these dates may be subject to change.

Staff In-Service day – Closed Thursday October 3rd.

Halloween Break – Closed Monday October 28th – Friday November 1st inclusive

Christmas Holidays – Finish Friday December 20th – Re-open Monday January 6th 2020

February Mid Term – Closed Thursday 20th and Friday February 21st

St. Patrick’s Day – Closed Monday March 16th & Tuesday March 17th

Easter Holidays – Closed Monday April 6th – Re-open Monday April 20th

May Bank Holiday – Closed Friday May 1st & Monday May 4th

June Bank Holiday –Monday June 1st

Summer Holidays – Finish Friday June 26th 2020.

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