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September Newsletter

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St Patrick’s Primary School, Ballynahinch


September 2018



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.

Goodbye Mrs Brown!

Over the Summer holidays Mrs Brown, our Foundation Stage Classroom Assistant for over twenty years, made the decision to retire. For many years, Mrs Brown was based in the P1 class and played an instrumental role in ensuring that the little ones starting school settled in well, were happy and were getting the support they needed to make a good start in their learning. We are sorry to have Mrs Brown leave us and sincerely wish her many happy and healthy years in her retirement.

Attendance and Punctuality

Please help us to help your child make the most of their learning opportunities by making sure he/she is in school daily. Most parents recognise the benefits of regular and punctual school attendance but there are some who do not. Our Attendance Policy requires monitoring of pupil attendance on a monthly basis with parents of children falling below the required levels contacted. We need parents to work in partnership with the school to maintain excellent attendance. Should this not be the case a referral to the Education Authority – SE Region Education Welfare Service will be made. Find out more about school attendance on:



Childcare Vouchers

We are delighted to announce that we have registered with the Employers for Childcare Scheme. This allows us to accept Childcare Vouchers for payment towards our Breakfast, 2-3 and Stay All Day Club. Find out more information 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 off 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.



Collecting Children at the End of the School Day

If there is a change to the person collecting your child please inform the class teacher, in writing if possible, so that they know your consent has been given. This new person should make him/herself known to the teacher by giving their name and the name of the child they are collecting.

Curriculum Meetings

Curriculum Information Meetings take place on Thursday, 20th September 2018.

The P1, P2 and P3 class meetings will run from 2.10pm– 3.10pm and the P3/4, P4/5, P5/6 P6 and P7 class meetings will run from 3.10pm – 4.10pm. Supervision will be provided for pupils to allow parents to attend. Parents are encouraged to make every effort to attend.

Start of Year Mass

Our Mass to celebrate the Start of the School Year has been pencilled in for 9.30am. on Friday, 21st September in St. Patrick’s Church. This date will be confirmed on Fr Brown’s.

All pupils are asked to leave their school bags in school the night before and go directly to the church on the morning of the mass. Alternatively, pupils may come into school as normal and staff will escort them to the church.

Looking after books

As you are aware schoolbooks are very expensive and so we ask everyone to please look after them. Try to keep them in a safe place so that they can be returned to the school in good condition. Parents will be asked to pay for damaged or lost books.

Book Bags

Book bags are available from the school at a cost of £3.50 and parents are encouraged to purchase one as they help to have the children better organised, keep books safe and mean that bulky school bags are not needed in the classroom.

After-schools Programme
Transfer Club for P7 pupils begins on Tuesday 4th September 2018 from 3.00pm to 4.00pm and on Thursdays from 3.00pm to 4.10pm. Should you wish your child to attend Transfer Club please complete the reply slip on the letter sent home and return before 4th September.

2-3 Club has started again at a cost of £2 per day. Please remember to book your slot by Friday at the latest so that we can ensure adequate staffing.


Stay All Day Club runs from 3-5pm Monday to Thursday and 2-4pm on Fridays at a cost of £3 per hour. Again, please remember to book your slot by Friday at the latest so that we can ensure adequate staffing.

Other clubs will be arranged and details provided when they have been confirmed.


Cash for Clobber

Please feel free to use the clothing recycle bin in the school playground to deposit old and unwanted cloths. As well as helping our environment by recycling you are also making a donation as every bin bag deposited means the school receives £4.50.

Emotional Intelligence

The P3/4 class will be performing their Emotional Intelligence assembly on Friday, 5th October 2018 at 9.30am. Parents of the P3/4 class are very welcome to come along. Refreshments will be available from 9am in our dining hall. We’d love to see you then!


Parent/Grandparent Volunteers

We always welcome extra help in our school. Should anyone feel they have time and would like to help out in any way, please contact Mr Coulter.



By now the PE timetable will have been arranged and your son or daughter will know when they have PE. Remember to have the proper PE gear in school. Details can be found in the ‘General Information’ booklet which was given to all families at the start of the new school year.

Mobile Phones

It is preferred that children do not bring mobile phones to school or school related activities. However, should a parent feel that it is necessary for their child to carry a mobile phone they should inform the Principal. On entering school, the phone should be switched off and handed over to a member of staff for safe-keeping.


Pupils are not permitted to bring portable electronic devices into school as we can have no control over content stored on them. Parents are asked to support this policy.



Healthy Break Reminder

We continue to be a ‘healthy eating at break-time school’ and at break-time all children eat fruit and/or vegetables or a bread-based snack.

Please note the recommendations of the Public Health Agency:

…white or wholemeal bread, rolls or baguettes, toast, plain bagels, wheaten, soda, potato or pitta bread, spread thinly with a little margarine, low-fat spread or butter; plain bread sticks or plain crackers, a small sandwich with a sugar free filling such as tomato, tuna, chicken or cheese.


Not suitable:

Sugary spreads, including jam, honey, marmalade, chocolate spread or peanut butter.

No cereal bars, or sweetened breads and pastries e.g. pancakes, scones (plain and fruit) fruit bread, malt loaf, brioche, croissants and Danish pastries as these contain lots of sugar and/or fat and salt.


School Meals

The Education Authority have increased the cost of a school meal to £2.60. Your child may be entitled to Free School Meals. If so, please collect the application for Free School Meals from the school reception, complete and return to EA urgently.

Water Bottles

All of the children will be provided with a water bottle, free of charge, when they return to school.  Parents are asked to fill them daily with water only so that each child can sip on water throughout the day. No other water bottles should be used as these are approved by the dental department.


School Milk

School Milk will again be available this year and can be ordered on a termly basis. The cost for Term 1 (63 days @22p per day from Monday, 17th September) is £13.86. Order forms will be circulated over the week of 3rd September. Payment for Term 1 must be received by Tuesday 11th September. Orders will not be accepted after this date.



Head lice

A reminder, that parents should regularly check their child for head lice and treat immediately. Find more information on



































1. Routine

This is such a simple concept, but it’s often hard to follow through with getting back into a normal schedule before the school year starts. But as parents, it’s our job to do it. Moving into a normal schedule prior to the start of the year will ease the kids back into bedtimes, breakfast times, school pick up times, and the basic management of the day. It also will help reduce your anxiety and stress as you are doing all you need to do to get them up and out the door on time.

2. Nutrition

Our kids need to start off each day with a healthy breakfastas fuel for the day. Their brains and bodies are going to be working hard for the next 6-8 hours that they are in school. They need a healthy break and lunch to re-fuel and get them through the second part of the day and the important afternoon hours when they may be doing homework or after school activities.

3. Uniform

Follow the uniform code of the school so that children don’t feel that they are different or stand out from everyone else. Encourage your child to change out of their school uniform at the end of the school day. It keeps it clean and saves you on your washing. Remember PE gear and encourage good personal hygiene by encouraging your child to bring it home at the end of the school day.

4. Talk to Your Kids About School

Talk to your kids about the start of school. Ask them how they are feeling. Support the positive feelings about it, and do what you can to ease the anxiety. Keep an open dialog with them and let them know you are there to support them.

5. Be Positive For Them

Your attitude will help support their attitude toward learning. Focus on the positives in the learning process and the start of the year. Look at the challenges as opportunities to grow and gain problem solving skills. They learn by our example.

6. Send Them Properly Prepared

Everyone gets anxious when they are unsure if they are not properly prepared for the day ahead. Your child is no different so help to avoid anxiety by having homework completed, schoolbag packed, PE gear ready and uniform ready the night before. Get into a homework routine so that your child knows when each day they are expected to do their homework and give them the necessary support so that they are confident that it is completed.

7. Meet the Teacher

Having a face to face meeting with the teacher can be a great way to ease anxiety for you and your child. It provides a sense of familiarity on the first day of school, helping with separation and insecurity. Our school has a Curriculum Evening when you can meet your child’s teacher and get familiar with the curriculum. Take advantage of this to bring a level of comfort for you and your child.

8. Trust the Teacher

It is hard for us to drop them off with a new person. However, trust the teacher. They are professionals and know how to deal with separation issues that your child may have. If it is beyond what they are able to comfort, they will call you. They want the best for your child.

9. Stay Involved

Stay involved in your child’s education. Check backpacks and homework, volunteer in or out of the classroom, and support your school in any way you can. Go to school activities and classroom events. Be an active teammate in your child’s school experience.