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Cross Country History Is Made

Last Friday saw our boys and girls Cross Country team visit Delamont Country Park for the annual SEELB Primary Cross Country Competition.  It was a wet and windy day as the children set off but the poor weather didn't dampen their spirits. 

As the children lined up at the starting line it was clear that the competition was fierce, with teams from schools all over the area. Our boys and girls put everything they had into the event and when the final positions were collected and teams scores calculated there were great celebrations from our girls' team as they qualified for the South East Regional Finals for the first time.

Well done to both of our teams and good luck to the girls as they proceed on to the finals.

Technology Challenge

The Annual School Technology Challenge took place last Friday, 19th March in the school hall.  Teams made up of P5, P6 and P7 pupils battled it out to design and construct an object for carrying a water bottle using only paper, cardboard and cellotape. Many very creative inventions were made and the hall was a hive of activity as the teams worked together to come up with a unique design.

The competition was very close and the staff  had great difficulty in deciding who would be the winner.  After much deliberation Jessica Manley, Caitlin Stewart and Hayley Magowan where chosen to represent our school in the SEELB Technology Challenge.

This competition took place yesterday with primary schools from all over the Downpatrick area involved.  Their task was to design a working windmill that could swivel if the wind direction changed.  Only the set materials could be used and a strict time limit was applied.  Our team worked tirelessly and produced a fantastic windwill that met all of the criteria, gaining full marks for their construction.  Unfortunately, two other teams produced slightly more detailed plans which menat that we were placed a very credible third.

Well done to the three girls who represented our school and congratulations on achieving third place.

Thanks are extended to Miss Johnson, who coordinated the school event.

Trocaire Lenten Appeal 2010

Trocaire 2010

It is wonderful to see the efforts that children are making to raise money for Trocaire's Lenten Appeal.  The playground is a hive of industry with raffles, guess the name of the cuddly toy, guess how many in the jar, bun and cake sales and even a stall for buying fruit.  The Trocaire jar is steadily rising and children look with interest each day to see how much has been added. 

It is very evident that everyone wants to help others who are less well off than themselves and the caring attitude that the children show is a credit to them.  Thanks are extended to all of those parents who are supporting their child in the fundraising. Without your help our Lenten Appeal would not be the success that it is.

The Jumble Sale for Trocaire is one of the major events of the school year and from Monday, 22nd March 2010 children may bring in items which they feel they no longer need but might be wanted by others.  Whilst all donations are welcome please make sure that the everything is safe, in good condition and in full working order.

The Jumble Sale will take place on 31st March 2010.


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!