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September Newsletter


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


September 2017


Welcome Back

We welcome all of our pupils back after the Summer break, especially the boys and girls in Primary 1 who have joined St Patrick’s. We wish you all every success in this new school year.

Attendance and Punctuality

Most parents recognise the benefits of regular and punctual school attendance but there are those who do not. This year attendance will be monitored on a monthly basis and parents of children falling below the required levels will be contacted. Parents of children with irregular and poor attendance will be held accountable to the school and to the Education Authority – SE Region Education Welfare Service. Please help us to help your child by making sure your child is in school daily. Find out more about school attendance on:

Administration of Medication

All medication should have been collected at the end of the last school year. Should you require the school to administer medication or authorise self-administration of medication please call to the office to complete the appropriate forms and leave of the medication for the new school year clearly labelled.

Foundation Stage Entrance

Parents are reminded that if their child is late arriving at school they should gain access through the main school entrance. Please do not send your child up to the infant area if the playground has cleared and all of the children are in class.

Drop-Off Point

Please do not park in the drop-off point or block the gates of the school. Access to the main building must be kept clear at all times.


June Newsletter


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


June 2017


First Communion

Congratulations to the P4 boys and girls who received the body and blood of Jesus for the first time in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist on the 28th May. It was lovely to see the children so involved in the Mass with such beautiful singing and reading. Thank you to the staff involved in preparing the children for the sacrament and Fr Brown for the beautiful Mass.

A word of thanks must also be extended to our Parent Support Group who provided refreshments after the First Communion Mass. Thank you PSG!!!

Biodiversity Day

Our Eco-garden and school grounds were a hive of activity on 25th May as everyone got involved in Biodiversity day. Planters and decorations were made, the garden was spruced up and a wonderful ‘Bug Hotel’ was built. Thank you to Miss McCrickard, our Eco-Schools Coordinator, the Eco-committee and all of the boys and girls for all of their hard work!

Maths Day – 1st June 2017

To raise the profile of Maths in our school we have arranged a Maths day for 1st June. The focus will be ’30 days ‘til Summer’ with the children doing lots of different maths activities based on this theme. Parents and members of our local community will also be coming into school to talk to the children about how they use Maths in their everyday lives.


School and Nursery are closed for a School Development Day on Monday, 12thJune.

Technology Week

Our Technology Week will take place over the week beginning 5th June. Children will be encouraged to work together to plan, design and construct a technology challenge. We look forward to seeing their wonderful work

Health Promotion Week

Over the week of 19th June we will have various activities and learning opportunities for the children to promote the importance of keeping fit and looking after your health. You can help by talking to your child about how they can keep healthy and encouraging them to be more active! Perhaps for this week you could walk with your child to school rather than take the car!


Sports Day

Sports Day takes place on Thursday 22nd June on the Assumption Grammar School 3G pitch from 9.30am to 11.45am. We are always trying to improve events such as Sports Day so this year we have made a few changes. All children will then return to school for their lunch at 11.45am. At 1pm there will be a medal ceremony for the P1-3 children in school and the P4-7 children will return to Assumption to play a Gaelic football blitz.

Children should be collected from school at the normal collection times. After-school Clubs will operate as normal.

Instead of a hot meal the school meals kitchen will be providing a packed lunch which can be eaten on the sports field.

A lot of effort is put into organising the various events. Therefore, parents are asked to show their support to the staff by ensuring that their child stays with their class during events and does not leave to sit along with mum or dad.

Please refrain from smoking on the grounds of Assumption Grammar School and show respect for the facilities that we have been allowed to use.

P1 Parent Meeting and Induction

An induction session for P1 children starting school in September 2017 will take place on Friday, 23rd June from 12.45pm to 2.00pm. After dropping the children off with the P1 teacher parents are invited to attend an induction meeting to learn about Safeguarding and other school policies. More details will be sent by post to parents.

Nursery Induction

There will be an Induction Session on 27th June 2017 at 12.45pm in the main school for parents of children starting in the Nursery in September 2017. Please note – Parents Only. More details will be sent by post to parents.

Class Changeover Day

Class changeover day will be held on Friday 23rd June at 1.00 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to spend some time with the teacher and the class which they will go into in September. To facilitate this, the P7 children will finish at 1.00pm. Arrangements for next years’ classes are currently being made and parents will be informed as soon as they are finalised.


Emotional Intelligence

This month the children will focus on the theme of Thankfulness. Why not take a little time to talk to your child about what they are learning in school.

Miss McCrickard’s P1 class will perform their class assembly on Friday, 9th June 2017 at 9.30am. Parents are very welcome to attend.


Safety in the Sun

We have been blessed with some lovely weather in recent weeks so safety in the sun is very important. Apply sun creams before children come to school and provide a hat to keep the sun of your child’s face.

Labelling of Clothing

It would be much appreciated if parents could check their child’s clothing to ensure that they are clearly labelled. During the warm summer days children take off jumpers especially and labelling is a big help in finding the rightful owners of the clothing.

School Uniforms

Our school uniform will continue to be supplied by Rhoda Stewart for the new school year. They can also be bought from Embroidery NI and Tesco online. Simply follow the link at the top of our school website.

PE Uniform

Thank you to everyone who took part in our PE uniform survey. 79 replies were received with 81% of parents expressing their support of it being introduced. More details will follow.


Drinking Water

As you know, it is important that we keep ourselves hydrated. Encourage your child to bring their water bottle to school. Remember, look after your child’s teeth by not putting in sugary drinks e.g. diluted juice, flavoured water!

End of Year Trip

This year our school trip is to Eclipse Cinema, Downpatrick and Delamont park on Monday, 26th June. The cost of the trip is £7 and children should bring in a packed lunch on the day. Contributions for the trip should be brought in to the class teachers as soon as possible.

Thank you Parents Support Group

We wish to thank the Parent Support Group for their help and support throughout the year. As well as providing social occasions for our school community they raise much needed funded for our school.

Other Important Dates

  • P6 Shared Education,      Local Tour of Ballynahinch – 2nd June 2017
  • P7 Shared Education      trip to Castleward – 2nd June 2017
  • Camogie tournament in      Assumption Grammar School – 21st June.
  • The Leaver’s Mass      will take place on Wednesday, 28th June at 7.00pm in St      Patrick’s Church. Prize giving and      refreshments will take place after the ceremony in the Parish Centre.
  • End of Year Whole      School Trip– 26th June
  • The school year ends      on Friday, 30th June 2017 at 11.00am.


May Newsletter


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


May 2017


Summer Assessments

Summer tests have now starting and will continue to take place over the two weeks beginning 2nd May 2017. Please ensure that your child is in school over these two weeks to complete the assessments.



Congratulations to the P7 boys and girls who received the Sacrament of Confirmation on the 26th April. It was a pleasure to see the children approach their preparations with such maturity with their contribution on the day making the ceremony a wonderful celebration. We hope and pray that their faith will continue to develop in the coming years and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Olympic Handball Finals

Good Luck to our P6 Boys and Girls Olympic Handball teams who compete in the EA SE Region finals in Lisburn Leisureplex on Friday, 5th May, 2017


P1 Stay and Play

We look forward to seeing parents from Miss McCrickard’s P1 class and Miss Killen’s P1/2 class at our Stay and Play Parent Workshops. Miss Killen’s class workshop will be on Thursday, 11th May at 1.15pm with Miss McCrickard’ s workshop taking place on Thursday, 18th May at 1.15pm. Further information will be circulated.


April Newsletter


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


April 2017

Trocaire 2016 – Climate Change, Climate Justice!

It is great to see the children working so hard to raise much needed funds for Trocaire over Lent.   We thank our parents for supporting the children in their fundraising efforts and ask that you always encourage them to think of others who are less fortunate than us. Sincere thanks to everyone who is making our Lenten charity work such a huge success.

Sacramental Celebrations

Congratulations to the P7 class who had their Service of Light on 30th March as part of their preparations for Confirmation. They provided beautiful singing, excellent readings and, most importantly, a deep understanding of what the Service of Light is all about.

Preparations are now well underway for Confirmation which takes place on Wednesday, 26th April in St Patrick’s Church at 6.00pm.

School will close at 1.00pm to facilitate preparations for the ceremony.


February 2017 Newsletter



St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


February 2017


P1 applications

The closing date for application to P1 is now closed. However, late applications will still be accepted. Remember, you must still apply for a primary school place if your child currently attends the Nursery. Completed forms should be returned to reception.

Catholic Schools Week – Challenged by Pope Francis to Care for our Common Home!

As in all schools throughout Ireland, Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated in St Patrick’s during the week of 30th January. Details of our celebrations have been sent to parents already and we would ask that you take some time to talk to your child about what they have been learning during the week.



Parent/Teacher Meetings – Week of 6th February 2017

Our teachers are looking forward to meeting parents to share progress, discuss how they can support their child and inform them about the behaviour and attitudes to learning of their child. Parents are encouraged to make every effort to attend. It would be greatly appreciated if you can restrict your meeting to the 10 minute slot allocated. To help with the smooth running of the day the school bell will ring every 10 minutes to indicate that it is changeover time.

How safe is your child on the Internet?

With Safer Internet Day coming up on 7th February now is a good time to consider how safe your child is, whether it be on a computer, mobile phone, tablet or games console. An increasing worry is the amount of incidents being reported to school around inappropriate use of Facebook, text messages and games on games consoles.  

Parents, it is your responsibility to monitor what your child is saying and doing when using this technology. Please discuss the rules below with your child. Find our more on how to keep your child safe on


NSPCC Online Safety Workshop for Parents

We want to support our parents in ensuring that their child is safe when on-line and so we are delighted to have arranged an NSPCC On-line Safety Workshop for Parents on Tuesday, 7th February at 2pm in our school. Please make a big effort to come along.

‘In the Net’ Internet Safety Play

We are delighted to have the Safeguarding Board of Northern Ireland play ‘In the Net’ visit our school to perform to the P4-P6 pupils on Wednesday, 22nd February. The key message of their play is how children can keep safe on the internet.

Head lice

Our policy is to encourage parents/guardians to ‘Once A Week, Take A Peek’- checking your child for signs of head lice. Please be extra vigilant as we are aware that head lice cases are on the increase at present.

Emotional Intelligence

This month’s Emotional Intelligence focus is on the virtue of Love. Why not take a little time to talk to your child about what they are learning about the saints and virtues.

The P2 class will be performing their assembly based on the theme on Friday, 3rd March at 9.30am. Parents of children in the P2 class are very welcome to come along to see their child perform.

Trocaire 2017 – Climate Change, Climate Justice, Climate Action !

It has long been a tradition that the children make every effort to raise money during Lent for Trocaire. This year we focus on Climate Change, Climate Justice, Climate Action! and how it is affecting communities around the world. As Lent begins on 1st March there will be a collection bottle in the front hall of the school so that children can make donations. It is always wonderful to see the efforts that the children make to support Trocaire and we have no doubt that this year will be no different.


School Development Update:

School Development is a crucial part of our work and we are constantly trying to introduce new ideas and approaches to ensure that our provision is of the highest standard. Here is an overview of our progress to date:


Development of Using Maths – Mental Maths

Over the 2016/17 school year the staff of St Patrick’s are focusing on more effectively developing skills in Mental Maths throughout the school. Teachers have received training in developing Mental Maths skills in the classroom and are introducing new strategies and approaches to help the children in their mental calculations. A Parent Workshop has been arranged for parents of P1-4 parents at 7.00pm on 2nd March. We look forward to seeing our parents at this fantastic event.

Development of Comprehension

We have been implementing prediction and questioning skills and approaches developed last year into learning using fiction books. Children are demonstrating good understanding of these approaches in their reading activities.

Other Developments:

  • The new Grow in      Love RE programme has been consolidated in the P1 and P2 classes and      introduced to the Key Stage 1 classes;
  • The Lexia      support programme has continued this year with evidence showing that      children using the activities regularly are making good progress
  • Buddies to      support the new P1 children we introduced in September. This had a very      positive impact on the children starting school and feedback from parents      showed that it made transition from Nursery to Primary 1 much easier.
  • An additional      member of staff has been trained in First Aid
  • The P4-7      spelling programme has been reviewed to ensure it provides challenge and      is pitched at the correct level.
  • Staff are      focusing on developing more of a link to the local community in their World      Around Us topics.
  • New GL      Assessment tests have been introduced and trialled to include a new Cognitive      Ability Test - CAT 4 and the new Progress      Test in English and Progress Test In Maths
  • Senior      leadership continue to participate in the ‘Inspect Yourself’ programme.
  • Staff training      has been provided in use of SIMS and staff are using it to improve record      keeping.
  • The Extended      Schools Programme has been reviewed, prioritising provision to be financed      following a reduced budget.
  • Development of      the role of the governor – governors linked to curricular areas the areas      of Communication and Using Mathematics have been put in place.
  • The Shared      Education Programme has been extended to now include five classes.
  • A parent      friendly SDP has been provided to parents.


Lexia Club

Does your child attend the Lexia Club? If so, do you know that the computer software can be accessed at home? Please encourage your child to log onto Lexia at home and spend some time working on the activities. It will really benefit their learning!

2-3 Club and Stay All Day Club

We are currently finding it difficult to manage these clubs as parents are booking their children into the various sessions and later changing their mind. This results in turning other children away, confusion in who is attending and overstaffing. For these reasons please give careful consideration before booking a place.

Belfast Giants

We are delighted to again be taking part in the Belfast Giants Healthy Lifestyle Programme. The Giants will visit our school on 21st February to do a fitness session with our P6 and 7 pupils and on 10th March the children will get the opportunity to go to watch an Ice Hockey game at the SSE Arena.

Keeping You Informed

Does the school have an up-to-date contact number for you? If not you will not receive important messages informing you of changes to clubs, school closures etc.

Changes to Snow Plan

There has been a slight change to our arrangements should there be snow of adverse weather. From 1st February staff will be permitted to use the staff car park. As a result the main gate to the school will be open. No vehicles are permitted through the main gate except those of staff. Access to the school and Nursery for children and parents will continue to be through the front pedestrian entrance only;

Important Dates

  • Parent and P7      transfer meetings – 6th February 2017
  • Beesafe      Programme for P7 - 7th February      in Ballymote Centre, Downpatrick
  • Mid-term Break –      13th to 17th February 2017
  • Maths Workshop      for Parents of P1-4 children at 7.00pm on 2nd March.
  • NSPCC Workshop      for all classes 2nd March 2017.
  • First Confession – 8th March 2017 in St Patrick’s Church, Ballynahinch at 7.00pm
  • Confirmation – 26th April 2017 in St Patrick’s Church, Ballynahinch at 6.00pm.
  • First Communion – Sunday, 28th May 2017 in St Patrick’s Church, Ballynahinch at 1.00pm



  • Don’t      post any personal information online – like your address, email address or      mobile number.
  • Think      carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself.  Once you’ve      put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be      able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
  • Keep      your privacy settings as high as possible
  • Never      give out your passwords
  • Don’t      befriend people you don’t know
  • Don’t      meet up with people you’ve met online.  Speak to your parent or carer      about people suggesting you do
  • Remember      that not everyone online is who they say they are
  • Think      carefully about what you say before you post something online
  • Respect      other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views      doesn’t mean you need to be rude
  • If      you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or      worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell      a trusted adult immediately.