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February Newsletter

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                      St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


                  February 2016

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 to Proclaim God’s Mercy!

As in all schools throughout Ireland, Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated in St Patrick’s during the week of 1st February. 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. More details can be found on:

Shared Education Programme

We are delighted to announce that the Education Authority has approved a three year Shared Education programme of learning which will see our school and Ballynahinch Primary School working closely together to enhance the learning in our two schools and to help develop the long-standing relationship and partnership we enjoy. As the programme progresses into Year 2 more classes will be linked and in Year 3, we plan to link all the classes in both schools.

This year two classes from each school are linked, P.3/4 & P.7, and are working on joint World Around Us projects.

The P.3/4 Teachers are working on a World War II project, which will include a trip to Castleward and hopefully the Steam Railway in Downpatrick.

The P.7 Teachers are doing a project on Titanic, which will include trips to Titanic Belfast and a follow up with a professional artist. In addition, the classes will get together for the (Health Education) “Love for Life” programme.

Both projects will involve the children visiting each other’s schools to work on their projects.

The after-school Drama Project (facilitated by Ravara Productions) has completed auditions in both schools, and 12 children from each school have been selected to do ‘showcase performances’ of “Hairspray Junior” in:

  • St Patrick’s Primary School at 3.00pm      AND 7.00pm on Tuesday 15th March
  • Ballynahinch Primary School at 3.00pm      AND 7.00pm on Wednesday 16th March

On the 16th our own P.4-7 pupils will be invited to stay and watch the 3.00pm matinee performance (free). Tickets for Adults will go on sale (£3 each) closer to the time.


Peace Proms

The boys and girls in the Peace Proms choir are looking forward to joining the thousands of other children throughout Ireland in the Peace Proms concert taking place in the SSE Odyssey Arena on Sunday, 28th February. We wish them good luck!

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.

Parent/Teacher Meetings – Week of 8th February 2016

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 15 minute slot allocated.

Emotional Intelligence

This month’s Emotional Intelligence focus is on the virtue of kindness. 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, 26th February at 9.30am. Parents of P2 children are very welcome to come along to see their child.

Trocaire 2016 – Climate Change, Climate Justice!

It has long been a tradition that the children make every effort to raise money during Lent for Trocaire. This year we continue with the focus on Climate Change, Climate Justice and how it is affecting communities around the world. As Lent begins on 10th February 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:

Development of Using Maths - Shape and Space

Over the 2015/16 school year the staff of St Patrick’s are focusing on more effectively developing skills in the area of Shape and Space. Already each class has focused on 2D shape and are now focusing on 3D shape. Teachers are introducing new strategies and approaches and are providing a range of practical activities to help develop understanding.

Development of Comprehension in Non-fiction Texts

We have decided to continue our focus on non-fiction reading as an area for development for another year. In term 1 we focused on developing prediction skills and in this term we are developing questioning skills amongst the children. We would ask parents to encourage their child to read more non-fiction texts and take time to share these texts at home.

Development of ICT

ICT is now an integral part of learning and this year our teachers are striving to further develop the areas of explore, exchange, express, evaluate and exhibit. Through a range of termly ICT tasks, the children will develop their skills in these areas, linking their work to the topic they are working on, when possible. Already they have worked on Managing Data and this term they are working on Film and Animation.

Special Educational Needs

The input of our additional adult support is crucial to our children’s learning and so this year we aim to strengthen links between them and the SENCO of our school through more regular meetings and improved record keeping. By doing this we aim to have more relevant and realistic targets for SEN children and be more effectively monitoring progress on them.

Other Developments:

  • The new Grow in Love RE programme has been introduced into P1 and P2;
  • Review of our Positive Behaviour Policy and Procedures;
  • Introduction of our school Facebook page;
  • Introduction of the Lexia support programme;
  • Additional After-School Club – Tin Whistle, Choir, Lego, Jujitsu, Dance and Drama.

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.

Parking in the Drop-Off point

Thank you to all of those parents who show concern and respect for the children, staff and wider school community by not parking in the Drop-Off point. If you are one of the few who continue to do so please be more considerate and park somewhere that is appropriate!


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.

Important Dates

  • P6 and 7 Trip to      Parliament Building – 5th February 2016
  • Parent and P7      transfer meetings – 8th February 2016
  • First Confession – 11th      February 2016
  • Beesafe Programme for      P7 - 12th February in      Ballymote Centre, Downpatrick
  • PSG Valentine’s Disco      – 12th February 2016 from 7.00pm to 8.30pm
  • Mid-term Break – 15th      to 19th February 2016
  • P4 Do this in Memory      Mass – 5th March 2016
  • Confirmation –13th May 2016
  • First Communion – 4th June 2016

How safe is your child on the Internet?

With Safer Internet Day coming up on 9th 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


  • 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.