Upcoming Breaks and Staff Meetings
There will be an early dismissal on Wednesday, 16th March at 11.50 for Infants and 12.00 for older classes to facilitate staff training related to the Primary Language Curriculum. The school will be closed on Thursday, 17th and Friday, 18th March for
the St Patrick’s national holidays.
Looking ahead, the school will be closed for the Spring Break between the second and third terms from Monday, 11th April through Friday, 22nd April inclusive, as previously announced. There will be an early dismissal on Friday, 8th April.
As an additional bank holiday was announced for the 18th March, which had already been designated a school closure, an additional school closure will take place on Wednesday, 8th June. The school already had a planned closure for the June Bank
Holiday on the 6th and 7th June.
The school year will end, as previously announced, on Thursday, 30th June. The calendar can always be viewed by visiting the school website at
Changes to COVID-19 Response Plan
As you may already know, the Department of Education has announced the lifting of many of the current restrictions in schools. Of note, commencing tomorrow children will no longer be required to wear face coverings. Children may continue to wear
face coverings if they wish. Other mitigation steps related to physical distancing will be gradually removed over the coming weeks. Children with symptoms or who are a household close contact to someone should not attend school. Thanks for your
Many thanks to all the parents and children who are engaging with the maths-at-home games. It would be great if any families would be willing to take a photo of yourselves playing one of the games and sending it to Matt. Also, Matt would love to hear from any parents who are willing to talk briefly to a class about how you use maths in your personal or work life. Please reply to this email if you are willing
to participate or even just want to ask more questions about what would be involved.
Among many things that will resume in the final term as restrictions are lifted, all children from 1st Class to 5th Class will have swimming lessons during the
school day at Leisureland. These sessions will take place starting the last week in April. Each child will have 8 sessions. The cost of the sessions is going to be €55 which will cover the use of the pool, paying the specialist swimming teachers and transportation to and from school. More details, including the dates and times for the sessions, will be sent out at the end of March, and there is no need to make any
payments until April. As always, parents are welcome to speak to Matt or Claudia in confidence if the cost presents a burden for your family. Equally, parents are welcome to pay in instalments.
5th Class Debating
Fifth Class are participating in a debating project in conjunction with the Galway Education Centre. In the first debate, the team was opposing the motion,
‘Animals should not be kept as pets’. The adjudicator was blown away by the trojan effort of our team. The class is looking forward to the next motion already!
Several parents have expressed interest in a service that delivers lunches for pupils each day to the school. For more information, please visit www.thelunchbag.ie. The school is looking to gauge the level of interest among parents. The next possible time for the school to begin participation would be in March. Therefore, if you might be
interested in this service, please reply to this email.
Galway Cycling Campaign has given the school bike lights to distribute to children. They will be available tomorrow morning (Monday, 28th February) while supplies last.
As part of the removal of restrictions related to COVID-19, we are now in the position to offer more afterschool programs. These will be up and running after the St Patrick’s Day holiday, and more information will be available in the next newsletter. Of particular note, we also will be announcing some new projects in conjunction with Music Generation to provide small-group string lessons as well as a
whole-class experience in instrument playing for two classes. Full details will follow.
Parent-Teacher Association AGM
Many thanks to those parents who attended the online AGM. Claire King will remain the Chairperson. Among the topics discussed, there was a discussion
on the Homework Policy, the possibility of resurfacing the yard, the provision of covered bike racks and looking ahead to organising the Spring Fair.
6th Class Visit to City Centre
Before the mid-term, 6th Class visited the City Centre. They started out at the library, walked over to Lynch’s Castle and then had a guided tour of the medieval St Nicholas Church.
Senior Infants Celebration
Senior Infants had a fantastic jungle-themed celebration for learning all of their letter sounds. A special welcome to Marina, a visiting trainee teacher from Spain, who is working with the class as well as 4th Class.
Homework Policy Consultation
As part of the review of the Homework Policy, children from 1st to 6th Class held class discussions about their experiences. While there was a clear consensus and opinions differed within classes as especially between classes, some key ideas emerged. Below is some of the information gathered from this process.
98% of children reported that their homework takes the amount of time specified in the current policy or less to complete. All reported having a consistent routine for completing homework, with 55% completing it immediately after school, 39% after having some downtime but before dinner, and the rest completing homework later in the evening.
Children gave various opinions as to what part of homework is most important, with reading being the top response followed by spellings and litriú. When asked which type of homework they like best, reading was extremely popular, and in older classes children mentioned they enjoyed doing projects. The classes from 1st to 3rd Class mentioned they enjoyed playing the new maths games.
When given the opportunity to make suggestions about how to improve their homework experiences, there was a wide range of ideas. In general, the attitude towards having homework is positive among the younger classes.
It becomes less so at the senior classes, though notably the children in 6th Class all felt that homework was important to help them prepare for secondary school.
Below are some of the suggestions made by the children, noting that these were opinions of some of the children from the classes indicated rather than a class consensus opinion.
- Keep the reading and the games
- Maybe get a chance to start more of your homework at school
- Writing sentences with spelling words can be difficult.
- 2nd Class
- A little less reading
- A little bit harder homework
- More active homework
- Give us 4th or 5th class Maths Challenge because it is way too easy
- Tables Champion – can we have multiplication/division?
- 3rd Class
- Dictionary work is sometimes difficult.
- In English, do more parsing for dictionary work and less ABC order.
- More history for homework
- More geography and learning about the world, cultures and fossils
- Learn about countries that begin the letter of the month we are in
- Spellings up (orally on Seesaw)
- Learn more about animals, oceans
- More Maths Challenge
- 7 children wanted Less projects (they can be difficult) whereas 10 children wanted more projects – maybe some
fun challenges and more make-and-do projects, arts and crafts and not just writing.
- More active homework
- More Irish
- The majority of the class like the routine.
- 4th Class
- No written homework – but keep the spellings, reading, tables
- A few would like to have no homework while the majority would like less homework – all the same stuff, but less
- Some want harder maths
- More projects, creative writing and free writing such as write a story with all your spellings in it
- No more written spellings
- Homework should be different for different people
- Some don’t want Jolly Grammar and Spellings, just Maths Challenge and Tables Champions; others don’t want
- Homework set up at the beginning of the week – you can choose when you do it over the course of the week.
- Everyone in the class agreed they like to have a routine pattern for the homework.
- 5th Class
- Less maths and no more work in Irish and English
- Less spellings to learn
- No Irish – instead more reading
- Less written work, more reading
- Less maths
- The majority of the class would like less homework, but some want more challenging homework
- Some project work
- In general, a feeling of less homework
- Some want more challenging homework
- Homework in the other subjects – history, geography, science
- It’s the same thing every day – more varied, less repetitive
- Opinionated homework – research and then give our opinions
- More creative writing
- Challenge homework
- Homework set up at the beginning of the week – you can choose when you do it
- 6th Class
- More long multiplication
- No spelling tests – we’ve been doing them for so long – I forget how to spell them a week later. Is it benefitting
- Less Irish homework – we find it difficult.
- Less of Irish and English (but not remove them) – more projects, history, long-term projects
- The majority felt some homework is needed to help us get ready for secondary
- Maths games online for homework instead
- Less Irish sentences – maybe 5
- Provide more choice related to homework
At the Parent-Teacher Association AGM, parents shared their viewpoints on homework. Like the children,
there were differeing viewpoints. A summary of the main points raised are below:
- Parents liked the use of Seesaw and Google Classroom, noting it was helpful for communication but also
acknowledging they didn’t want to burden teachers.
- A query was raised whether homework is a requirement. It was explained that the school’s policy would
apply, but the key cornerstone is that parents should contact teachers if hoemwork becomes burdensome
in any way.
- For some parents, the homework seems quite static and lacking in variety.
- Some parents noted that homework was taking longer than the time specified in the policy. It would be
important to stress parents can reach out to teachers so that the homework can be adjusted, stressing that
teachers welcome feedback from parents.
- For maths, even trying to help children can be a challenge as the methods may be different. This will be
addressed through the creation of some videos on our website to demonstrate the computation methods
taught in the school.
Based on all this feedback, the staff has proposed a revised Homework Policy, which is attached to this email.
Any feedback is welcome prior to the consideration of the policy by the Board of Management later this