Booklet for Parents

Holy Family National School
Rathcoole
Co. Dublin

Phone: 4580570
Fax: 4580570
Email: hfrathcoole@eircom.net
Website: www.holyfamilyns.ie

Chairperson B.O.M.: Mr James Walsh
Principal: Mr Martin Hoban
Deputy Principal: Mrs Mary McKeon

School Times
Junior & Senior Infants: 9.00 a.m.-1.45 p.m.
1st Class to 6th Class: 9.00 a.m.-2.45 p.m.

 

Introduction

This booklet is produced to give parents a brief summary of the day-to-day work that is carried on in Holy Family N.S. Although it is brief we hope you find it informative but further information about the school and its policies and procedures is available on our website – www.holyfamilyns.ie

Ethos

Holy Family N.S. is a Catholic school under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin where religious instruction, in accordance with the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church is part of the education given to children who belong to that Church. The pupils are prepared for the reception of the sacraments of First Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation, in accordance with arrangements in the diocese. The school aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the pupil, including his / her relationship with God, with other people and with the environment. The Principal and teaching staff aim at maintaining high professional standards and creating a safe and happy environment. A spirit of mutual respect is promoted within the school community. Pupils are drawn by example and teaching to appreciate and respect people of different religious affiliations and of different nationalities. Close contact is maintained between school and home.

We in Holy Family N.S. believe that a positive school ethos is based on the quality of relationships between teachers and the ways in which pupils and teachers treat each other. We believe that respect in our school is defined by the following examples: Good manners and courtesy; listening; politeness and showing respect for difference.

Pupils are expected to be well behaved; show respect for school property; attend school on a regular basis; show respect for teachers and for each other; obey staff instructions and generally have a positive attitude to school.

In our school we treat all children with respect and dignity. There is a strong sense of community and co-operation among staff, pupils, and parents and all are agreed that their focus is primarily on the promotion and recognition of positive behaviour.

Curriculum

The curriculum taught is presented in six curricular areas, some of which are further subdivided into subjects. These are:

• Language-Gaeilge and English
• Mathematics
• Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE)-History, Geography and Science
• Arts Education-Visual arts, Music and Drama
• Physical Education
• Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

Extra Curricular Activities include Gaelic Football, Soccer, Hurling, Camogie, Basketball, Athletics, Hockey, Choir and Speech & Drama.

Pupils with Special Education Needs

Since 2005 the Department of Education and Skills has put in place a system to cater for pupils with learning difficulties and mild general learning disabilities. Each school receives a teaching allocation, based on enrolment figures, to cater for those children.

As well as this, schools can get extra teaching resources and Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for individual pupils with more serious learning disabilities.

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides an educational psychologist for our school who works with parents and teachers, among other things, by carrying out an educational assessment of children with severe learning disabilities.

Parents of pupils with special education needs should discuss the level of support available with the class teacher and Principal.

 

Home-School Communication

Good communication between home and school is very important. Parents are the prime educators of their children and their co-operation and support are essential ingredients in the progress of their child in school.

The following are the main forms of communication in our school:

• Each child’s journal is used to communicate between parent and teacher. It is important to inform the teacher of any particular problem your child is experiencing such as illness, a family bereavement, family separation, etc.

• Notes and newsletters for general information are sent home on a regular basis-please check your child’s schoolbag regularly for notes.

• Parent/Teacher meetings are organised once a year outside school time to give parents a formal report on the child’s progress in school.

• Meetings between parents and teachers outside the formal Parent/Teacher meeting must be organised by appointment through the Principal. Teachers are not in a position to speak with parents during class time nor are they able to engage with parents in the morning when they go to collect their class.

• A written report is sent home at the end of each school year.

• The school website www.holyfamilyns.ie is used to inform parents of school policies, publish children’s work and photographs etc. All notes and newsletters are published there also.

• In emergency situations parents will be communicated with by a text messaging service.

 

School Attendance

Under The Education Welfare Act 2000 Act a parent is obliged to send his/her child to a recognised school and a National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is established to ensure that this is done. If a child is absent from school, a parent is obliged to inform the child’s teacher in writing giving a reason for the absence. If a child exceeds 19 absences in a school year, the Principal is obliged to inform the NEWB and to provide them with all notes received concerning the absences. It will then be the duty of the Educational Welfare Officer to contact the parents/guardians of the child in question. Please do not phone the school in the event of a child’s absence-send in a note with the child when he/she returns.

A variety of measures are in place to promote good attendance.

School doors will open each morning at 9.00 a.m. and school work starts immediately. The Board of Management or staff are not responsible for children on the school premises before 9.00 a.m. We encourage and actively promote punctuality in the morning and also in the evening when parents are collecting children.

In the interests of safety, the staff car park is for staff only and no child should enter the school through the car park, whether or not they are accompanied by an adult.

Mobile Phones: Children are encouraged not to bring mobile phones to school but if they have one they must be switched off and kept in their bags at all times while on the school premises or on school related activities off the school premises.

Uniform: Wearing of school uniform is compulsory. The complete uniform must be worn at all times. The uniform consists of:

Grey Slacks or Skirt or Pinafore
Sky-Blue Shirt or Polo Shirt
Navy Sweater with Crest

Uniform and tracksuit can be purchased from Clothiers Menswear, 7Castle Cres., Monastery Road, Clondalkin Ph.4641151

In the interest of safety as little jewellery as possible should be worn. If earrings are worn they must be studs – no hanging earrings allowed.

Facial piercing is not allowed.

The distribution of Christmas Cards, birthday invitations and/or birthday party packs is not allowed by children during school time.

 

Homework

Homework is an essential part of school life and has many merits. Pupils must do all homework prescribed by the teacher. Failure to do so requires a written explanation from parent or guardian.

Parents are expected to check that homework is done and that written work is presentable. Homework notebooks are a valuable communication link between parents and teachers and should be treated so. The following is an estimate of the maximum time which your child should spend on his/her homework:

Junior & Senior Infants 10 minutes
Rang 1&2 20 to 30 minutes
Rang 3 &4 c.45 minutes
Rang 5 & 6 c.1 hour

Generally there is no homework at weekends but it may be given at the teacher’s discretion should he/she considers there is a specific reason for so doing.

Lunches: Lunch to be eaten in the classroom only. Good food-value lunches are recommended such as sandwiches, fruit, water or milk. Bars, biscuits, sugary snacks and drinks should be avoided as they do not provide children with the sustained energy needed for the school day. Crisps of any description and chewing gum are not allowed as they create a mess in the classroom. Peanuts are not permitted as they can be potentially hazardous to children. Cans and glass bottles are also forbidden.

 

School Warden

The duty times of the school warden are:
8.40 a.m. – 9.20 a.m.
2.40 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.

Illness

Children that are ill should not be sent to school.

Teachers act “in loco parentis” and will do what any prudent parent would do to ensure the safety of children in their care.

If a child becomes ill in school the parents/guardians will be contacted and asked to take the child home.

In general, no tablets or medicine will be administered to any pupil by a member of staff. If a child is on medication, the class teacher and Principal should be notified in writing so that other children will not be endangered.

Minor accidents will be treated in school. Slight cuts and grazes will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe and a plaster will be applied if necessary. The school should be informed if the child is allergic to any of the above.

Parents will be informed of any serious accident which occurs in school.

For more serious accidents such as head injuries, dental injuries, etc. parents will be contacted immediately by phone. If the parent cannot be contacted, a backup contact number from the enrolment form will be called. In the event that either the parent or backup emergency number cannot be contacted, the child may be taken to a doctor or hospital as is deemed necessary in which case parents/guardians will have to pay any costs involved.

In the event of an emergency, an ambulance will be called.

The sick bay may be used by children only at the written request of parents or at the discretion of the school.

It is very important that parents inform the school immediately if phone numbers are changed. It is up to parents to ensure that the school has an up to date phone number(s) at all times.

 

Behaviour of Pupils

Classroom: In class each pupil is expected to co-operate with the teacher and all other classmates by being kind, courteous, obedient and willing to accept correction. Each pupil will be expected to do their best by making a reasonable effort. Disrupting class by constant chatter or other methods, or by deliberately preventing the teacher or classmates from working, will be deemed very serious misbehaviour.

Pupils are expected to co-operate in keeping the classroom tidy and litter free.

 

School Yard

Children should not be in the schoolyard before 9.00 a.m. Parents should time their children’s departure from home so that they arrive at the school not earlier than 9.00 a.m. Children on the premises before official opening time are not covered by insurance. In the interest of safety of smaller children, playing of football is not allowed in yard before school begins.

Playing in the schoolyard after school hours is forbidden.

During break time, the school yard is supervised by school staff. All pupils must obey the teachers on duty.

Pupils must play in such a way which show respect and care for all other pupils. Games should be played in such a manner that they will not contribute to an injury of self or others.

 

Misbehaviour

We define misbehaviour as a lack of respect for school staff, other children and school property. This includes:

Minor Misbehaviours:
No homework; Not following instructions; Interruptions; Out of seat during break time on wet days; Breaking class rules; Not wearing proper uniform.

Serious Misbehaviour:
Using bad language; Cheekiness & answering back; Continuous disruptive behaviour; Vandalism; Name calling; Showing disrespect to teachers or pupils; Continuous repetition of minor misbehaviours.

Major Misbehaviours:
Bullying; Intentional vandalism; Blatant disobedience; Stealing; Verbal abuse; Persistent rule breaking; Leaving school without permission: Violent behaviour towards other pupils; Continuous repetition of serious misbehaviours.

Strategies & Sanctions

The following strategies and sanctions will be used to handle misbehaviours, depending on the seriousness of the misbehaviour:

Reasoning with the pupil; Verbal warning; Time out within class; Removal to another classroom; Loss of privileges; Note home; Extra Homework; Removal from play in yard; Recording of behaviour after several verbal warnings; Discussion with parent; No external outings; Referral to Principal; Sent to another class for a longer period in school.

If misbehaviour persists, parents/guardians will be called to the school for a meeting with the class teacher and/or Principal with a view to addressing the child’s misbehaviour.

If this fails parents/guardians will be invited to meet the Principal and class teacher, where more serious sanctions up to and including suspension will be discussed.

Suspension

• Major Misbehaviours may warrant suspension

• The Board of Management has authorised the Principal to exclude a pupil from the school for a maximum initial period of three school days.

• After the period of suspension the child must express an intention to improve whilst parents and teacher monitor the situation and keep in touch with each other.

• If the period of suspension is in excess of three days a special decision of the Board of Management is required. Parents may be given the opportunity to be heard by the Board before a decision is reached

• The Education Welfare Officer is notified for any periods of suspension.

 

Expulsion

Expulsion of a pupil is a very serious step and will only be taken by a Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour and fair procedures will be followed at all times.

 

Appeals

Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills against some decisions of the Board of Management, including (1) expulsion from a school and (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year.

 

Bullying

Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.
Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, which will not be condoned, cannot be described as bullying. When the behaviour is systematic and ongoing it is bullying.

Bullying can take many forms:

• Physical Aggression-Punching/ hitting other pupils; Kicking; Spitting; Pulling hair; Taking/ damaging other children’s property; Extortion.
• Verbal Aggression-Name calling; Ridicule; Sneering.
• Psychological Aggression-Intimidation; Isolation; Abusive telephone calls.

Possible signs that a child is being bullied:

• May be unwilling to go to school or walk to and from school
• May have unexplained bruises or scratches and may be evasive when questioned about them.
• May begin to do poorly in school.
• May begin to bully other children.
• May come home regularly with books or clothes torn.

This list is not exhaustive and any one of the above signs or combination of them is not proof positive that a child is being bullied.

Bullying in any form will not be tolerated in our school.

Children will be taught various strategies should they encounter bullying or find themselves in any danger in or out of school. This will be done through The Stay Safe Programme which will be taught to every class every year. Three main rules children will be taught will be:

1. Say No
2. Move Away
3.Tell a Trusted Adult

 

Action taken if bullying is suspected:

Reports of bullying will be treated very seriously by the school and every effort will be made to establish if bullying has taken place, both for the benefit of the victim and the alleged perpetrator.

If bullying is identified, help and support as appropriate will be given to both the victim and the bully.

Steps will be taken to ensure that the bullying stops and to prevent further bullying taking place.

• Parents will be informed and an assurance sought about the child’s future conduct.
• The bully will be warned officially by the Principal to stop offending.
• Parents may be asked to remove their child from the school yard during lunch time and/or escort him/her to and from school.
• If the bullying does not stop, the child may be suspended for a period of time by the Board of Management.


Rules of the School

1. Children should arrive for school no later than nine o’clock. A good rule should be: Be in line at five to nine. No football in the yard before 9.00 a.m.

2. The complete school uniform must be worn at all times. On days when children have P.E. the school tracksuit and runners must be worn.

3. Children returning to school after an absence must provide a written explanation signed by parent/guardian.

4. No child may leave the school premises during school hours unless he/she is collected by a parent/guardian.

5. On wet days children are to remain seated during break time and may leave their places only with the permission of the teacher on duty.

6. Courtesy and respect should also be shown to children in charge of class.

7. Children must walk to and from classrooms in silence and in an orderly fashion.

8. Courtesy and good manners are expected from children at all times, both in their dealings with staff and with each other.

9. When children are away from the school e.g. school tours, swimming, playing games, etc they are to behave in a manner which will reflect well on the school.

10. Mitching, vandalism of school property, the use of bad language, name calling and cheekiness are regarded as serious breaches of school discipline.

11. The children’s behaviour and attentiveness in class must be of such a standard as to allow the teacher conduct the class without undue disruption and to allow the other children learn to the best of their abilities.

12. If children are sick they should stay at home. The sick bay may be used by children only at the written request of parents or if in the opinion of the class teacher it is warranted.

13. Pupils must do all homework prescribed by the teacher. Failure to do so requires a written explanation from parent/guardian.

14. Crisps of any type or chewing gum are forbidden. Cans and glass bottles are also forbidden.

15. Children should be free to come to school, take part in the day’s activities and go home without being bullied. Bullying is regarded as one of the most serious breaches of school discipline and is dealt with accordingly.

16. Using mobile phones is forbidden. If children have mobile phones they

must be switched off and kept in their school bags while on the school premises or on school related activities off the school premises.

17. Children are asked to show courtesy to adults(staff and parents) by

standing to one side and allowing them in and out doors first. Children are also reminded that saying “Please” and “Thank You” is expected of them.

18. Chasing is not allowed in the school yard. Children must stand in their line after the second bell rings until they are collected by their teacher.

19. The distribution of Christmas Cards, birthday invitations and/or birthday party packs is not allowed by children during school time.

20. Stud earrings only allowed. No facial piercings or makeup allowed.