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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.


January Newsletter


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


January 2017

Happy New Year

As we begin 2017 we would like to wish the children, parents and wider school community a very happy and peaceful New Year.


Applications for Nursery and Primary 1

Applications for places in St Patrick’s P.S. and Magheradroll Nursery Unit

Applications can be obtained from the main office. The closing date for completed applications is Wednesday, 11th January 2017. It is important that applications are returned on time to the office of the Primary School.



Regular and punctual school attendance is crucial to children. Parents and guardians are encouraged to take time to read about the importance of school attendance in the Department of Education leaflet ‘Miss School=Miss Out’ which has been circulated along with this month’s newsletter.


December Newsletter

St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


December 2016

The Nativity and Gnome Alone

This year we are really looking forward to the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 performances.  It is great to see all of the children so keen to be involved and working so hard to prepare for their performance.  As there is a large number of children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 performances will take place on two separate evenings.  The P1 and 2 Nativity performance takes place on Wednesday, 14th December 2016 at 7pm and the P3 and 4 performance takes place on Thursday, 15th December at 7pm.

Tickets are priced at £4.00 per adult and £3.00 for Senior Citizens and Children Under 14. All proceeds go towards School Funds.

To ensure that all parents get the opportunity to see their child perform they will have the option of initially purchasing two tickets between Monday, 5th December and Friday, 9th December. After this date all tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis and parents can buy as many as they wish.  Tickets are priced at £4.00 per adult and £3.00 for Senior Citizens and Children Under 14. All proceeds go towards School Funds.

Advent Mass

P5-7 classes will provide the processions, hymns and readings for our Advent Mass, which takes place on Tuesday, 20th  December 2016 at 10.00am in St Patrick’s Church, Ballynahinch.  All parents are welcome to come to the service and join in with our singing.  Children may go directly to the Church on the morning of the mass or can come into school as normal.

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner for the P4-P7 classes will take place on Thursday, 15th December.  The school dinner for P1-P3 children on this day will be a packed lunch.

The P1-P3 classes will have their Christmas Dinner on Friday, 16th December 2016. Again, a packed lunch will be available for the P4-P7 children as a school dinner.

The cost of the school Christmas dinner is £2.50 for those children not eligible for free school meals.

It is always a special occasion so we hope as many children as possible will take a Christmas dinner.

Christmas Hamper Appeal

We feel that the children of our school should be reminded of the importance of giving as well as receiving and so we plan to continue to work alongside the Ballynahinch Society of St Vincent de Paul to collect food for hampers which will be given to families in the area who are in need.

We know that finances are stretched at this time of year but hope that parents will be able to send in non-perishable food items to be put into hampers e.g. tinned fruit, beans, tuna, vegetables, spaghetti; jars of jam, marmalade, cranberry sauce; soft drinks, fruit juice, tea, coffee, biscuits, sweets, crisps, mints, crackers, rice, custard etc. All donations will be greatly appreciated.  Please send in whatever you can with your son/daughter by 16th December 2016.

Shared Education Cross Community Carol Service

Our Shared Education Joint Choir will take part in the Cross Community Carol Service in Ballynahinch Community Centre at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 6th December 2016.

Santa Visit

It is hoped that there will be a surprise visit to the school from Santa Claus some time in December and that ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’, the Parent Support Group, will bring along some presents for the children.

Staff Presents at Christmas

The staff of our school are very aware of tightened budgets in everyone’s household and, whilst we have always been very appreciative of presents from children at Christmas, we feel that it is an unnecessary demand on parents’ time and money.  Therefore, we ask that parents refrain from buying staff presents.  If a parent feels strongly that he/she would like to show his/her gratitude to a teacher perhaps this could be done through a simple thank you and inclusion of the teacher in their prayers.


Following discussion with the Parent Support Group it was felt that the annual trip to the pantomime placed increased financial demands on parents over the Christmas period. It was decided that it would be better to go on a whole school trip to the pantomime every two years and so our next panto trip will be in Christmas 2017.

Magheradroll Nursery Open Day

The Nursery Open Day will be on Wednesday, 7th December 2016.  Parents interested in enrolling their child in the nursery in September 2017 are welcome to drop in anytime between 2pm and 3pm.  Nursery applications for places must be returned to the main school by 11th January 2017.

St Patrick’s Primary School Open Day

St Patrick’s Primary School will hold their Open Day on Tuesday, 6th December 2016, beginning 2.00pm.  All parents interested in enrolling their child into P1 in September 2017 are welcome to come along.  Applications for P1 places must be returned to the school by 11th January 2017.

Applications can be obtained from the school secretary at the Open Days or by calling the main office after 2nd December 2016.

Information on School Closures

As we approach winter it is important that the school has an up-to-date mobile number for all parents.  Please let the school secretary know if your number changes for any reason.

Should the school be closed due to bad weather or any other reason parents will be notified by text message.  Details will also be provided on the school website, Facebook page and on the BBC Ceefax pages.

Handball and Gaelic football

Well done to our P6 Olympic Handball teams who participated in the first round of the SE league last week. A special mention must go to the boys’ team who were undefeated!

Well done to our school Gaelic football team who took part in the Down GAA indoor competition in Downpatrick on 23rd November. They put in fantastic effort and their ‘never-say-die’ attitude was great to see.

Non-Uniform Day

Friday, 16h December will be a Christmas Jumper day.  Children are asked for £1 donation on the day for Save the Children.

Christmas Decoration Competition!

For the chance to get your decoration on display and to WIN A PRIZE please bring your home-made decoration to school by Monday 5th December!

Christmas Holidays

School will end at 11.00am on Friday, 23rd December 2016 and re-open again on Monday, 9th January 2017.

Reminder – the School and Nursery are closed on Thursday, 8th December as it is a Holy Day of Obligation, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.


The Children and Staff


St Patrick’s Primary School

Wish you


Happy Christmas


Peaceful New Year

Annual Report of the Board of Governors 2015/16

The Board of Governors Report for 2015-2016 is now available.

November Newsletter


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


November 2016



School Development

It is important that parents are kept informed of our plans for development in the school and we value their involvement in Development Planning. Please see  our School Development Plan in the Information Section of the website.

Parents’ views and opinions on the development of our school are greatly valued. Should further information be required on the areas outlined or should a parent wish to make a suggestion on future areas of development please contact Mr Coulter.

Eco-Schools Committee

It is great to see how keen the children of St Patrick’s are to look after the environment. The children entrusted with promoting Eco-Schools this year are Jack Noade, Freddie Miskelly, Ollie McAllister, Sean McGowan, Leah Dornan, Orlaith Mulholland, Leo Madine, Grace Crawford, Harry Miskelly, Oliwia Sokolek. We wish them good luck as they begin their work to ensure that we retian our Green Flag.


Flu Vaccinations

Parents are reminded that the School Nurse will be visiting on Monday, 21st November to administer the Flu Vaccine. Please make every effort to ensure that your child is in school on this day.