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Newsletter March 2010


St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


March 2010

Vice Principal Appointment

The board of Governors wish to inform you that Mr Eamon Caughey has been appointed, subject to ratification by CCMS, to the post of Vice Principal of St Patrick’s following the retirement of Mrs McCauley.  Mr Caughey is a very experienced teacher who brings many skills and great expertise to our school. There is no doubt that he will be a valuable addition to our staff  


Topic Based Learning

You may already be aware that the Revised Curriculum has integrated the old areas of Science, History and Geography into one area, World Around Us.  It also promotes the use of a topic based approach to learning and connecting the children’s knowledge, skills and capabilities.  All classes in St Patrick’s have now introduced this approach and we are delighted by how this has been welcomed by the children. It is great to see their enthusiasm and the excellent learning that is taking place. 

P1 have been working on the theme of Winter.

P2 and P2/3 on Weather

P4 World War 2,

P5 Beings and Belonging,

P6 Sparks and Stuff

P7 Ireland

Whilst these topics have been developed the Areas of Language and Literacy and Numeracy have not changed and you can be assured that the children will continue to experience the same curriculum as in previous years.


Multi-cultural Week

As part of our Inclusion and Diversity programme a Multicultural week has been organised from 15th to 19th March 2010.  The week begins with a Cultural Workshop of all the classes.  ArtsEkta, a group that provides multicultural activities, will work with Foundation and Key Stage 1 classes in the morning and Key Stage 2 in the afternoon.


Tuesday, 16th March will be our Irish day.  Each of the classes will perform a short piece based on an Irish theme, there will be Irish dancing, class activities with an Irish theme and Irish songs.  Miss Grant’s P7 class will also be performing their Assembly at 9.15am that morning and parents of the children in this class are welcome to come along.


We also wish to recognise and celebrate the different cultures in our school and it is hoped that parents and children of foreign national children will take this opportunity bring a little piece of their culture to St Patrick’s.


The school will be closed on 17th and 18th March for St Patrick’s Day.


Friday, 19th March will end our celebrations with P to P7 children being given the opportunity to learn some familiar Polish phrases.


Promoting Positive Discipline

Over the coming weeks we plan to introduce the Assertive Discipline Programme to all of our classes.  Staff have already received training on the programme and are currently working on Rules, Rewards and Sanctions.  These will be discussed and agreed with the children and when finalised, forwarded on to you for your consultation.  It is hoped that this approach will add to and further support our efforts to promote and celebrate positive behaviour in our school.



We look forward to having a Trocaire Education Officer visit our school on 22nd March to provide a workshop for the children on how Trocaire uses funds to support people in need.


It has long been a tradition that the children make every effort to raise money during Lent for Trocaire.  Already the collection bottle in the front hall of the school is starting to fill and plans are underway for other fundraising events.  Further details will be provided later in the month.


Other News

World Book Day takes place on Thursday, 4th March and all classes with be doing various activities to celebrate this.


The Service of Light for P7 children takes place on 22nd March 2010 at 7.00pm in St. Patrick’s Church, Ballynahinch.  We look forward to this important part of Confirmation preparation and ask that everyone involved make every effort to attend.


The Waste Bus visits our school on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday, 4th March.  It is a great opportunity for children to learn about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling our waste. We thank Down District Council for providing this support.


There will be a technology challenge in our school for the Key Stage 2 children on 12th March to decide who will represent the school in the Sentinus Technology Challenge.  We look forward to seeing the children applying and developing their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills through the challenge.


The school will be entering the Primary Schools Cross Country competition which takes place on 26th March in Delamont Country Park.  Miss Grant will be working with the children over the coming weeks to decide who will be part of our school team.




Crazy Hair Day

It was great to see the effort that all of the children went to on Tuesday to create a crazy hairstyle for our Haiti fundraising day.  There were many weird and wonderful colours with the different styles making the children look very, very different from the norm. The cray hairstyles weren't restricted to the children as the staff did their bit to join in the fun.

The children thoroughly enjoyed the day and there were lots of energetic dancers on the floor for the disco that afternoon.

Whilst this was a fun occasion for everyone there was also a serious side as we tried to do their best to raise funds for the people of Haiti.  The final amount raised was £813.70.

Thanks are extended  to all of the staff who supported the day and especially to all of the parents who went to a lot of trouble to colour and style their child's hair.

Well done everyone!

Catholic Schools Week

Next week, 31st-6th February 2010, is Catholic Schools Week in schools throughout Ireland.  In our school, the staff and teachers will provide a special focus on our faith and celebrate all that is good about Catholic Schools.  Our celebrations begin with a mass which will be held in the gym of the school on Monday, 1st February, at 1.15pm.  Parents and members of the local community are very welcome to come along.

The programme for the week is as follows:

Monday, 1st February

Assembly to introduce Catholic Schools Week to the Children at 9.00am

Mass is school at 1.15pm (The St Brigid’s crosses made by P5, 6 and 7 classes will be blessed.)



P4 will focus on the Presentation of Our Lord as this is the feast day.


P2 and P3 will focus on Grandparents as this is Grandparents Day.



 P1 will focus on the importance of Priests.  Fr Loughran will visit the class.



 P2 Assembly on St Brigid and the virtue of Self-Worth. (Parents of P2 children are welcome to attend)

Close of Catholic Schools Week

Over the week we ask that you take some time to talk to your child about what they have learned in school, pray together with your child (perhaps you could include the Prayer for Parents) and encourage them to write their own prayer which they might like to bring in to school.

Choir Competition in Assumption Grammar School

Excitement is building amongst the members of the choir as the competition, annually held in Assumption Grammar School, fast approaches.  Preparations are going well thanks to the hard work of Miss Delaney who has worked wonders with the children.
We wish our choir every susccess in the competition which takes place on 5th February.
Keep up the good work boys and girls!

Monthly Awards

Congratulations to the boys and girls who received awards and certificates at our January assembly.

               Mother Theresa Cup  Winner                             Headteacher's Shield Winner

mother theresa cup winner

headteachers shield winner

Pupils of the Month 

Anthony Gains - for putting great effort into his work

Anna Pleasants - for great effort in all of her work

Emma Rudd - for great effort

Emma Noble - for superb work in class and a terrific performance in the Christmas Nativity Play

Shannon Daly - Terrific effort in her work

Peter John Meegan - for showing great enthusiasm and working hard.

Monthly Behaviour Awards

Congratulations also go to P3 and Mrs O'Connor's P7 class for winning the Behaviour awards.


The Top Attendance award for the month of December went to P2/3 with the Most Improved Attendance going to P6.

Reading Partnership

Well done to the boys and girls who successfully completed the Reading Partnership Programme.