INFO FOR PARENTS

Introduction

St Catherine’s is a small Church of Ireland national school which has been in existence for over 110 years. We see ourselves as a friendly school with a family atmosphere based on respectful and kind behaviour, and mutual trust between parents, children and staff. Currently the school has 8 full-time class teachers, 3 learning support teachers and 5 special needs assistants. The Principal is Ms April Cronin.

Timetable

School starts at 8:40 a.m. and finishes at 2:20 p.m. for all pupils except Junior and Senior Infants, who go home at 1:20 p.m. (12:20 for the first week in September for Junior Infants).

Uniform

There is no school uniform, but the children are expected to be suitably dressed for work and play, e. g. no high heels, extremes of fashion or inappropriate clothing. Runners must be worn for P. E.

Fees

A Book Rental Scheme is in operation. All books are supplied by the school and are expected to be returned in good condition at the end of the year. The book rental fee is currently €80 for Infants and €100 for all other classes. As part of our Active Learning Policy, we take the children on several field trips every year and parents are asked to pay €30 towards the cost of these.

Donations

We also ask all parents to make a voluntary donation on a sliding scale of €100 per year for the first child, €150 for two children and €200 for 3 or more children, to help cover the cost of educational materials, heating, lighting etc. Children doing an orchestral instrument (everyone from 1st Class up) are asked to pay a suggested contribution (again voluntary) of €90, and those doing swimming (1st, 2nd 5th and 6th Classes) are asked to pay €20 towards the costs of these activities.

Code of Behaviour

A copy of the school Code of Behaviour is issued to all parents at the start of each year. We expect full parental support and co-operation in this area; however parents are welcome to contact their child’s teacher if any behaviour incident causes them concern. There is a formal complaints policy which is also issued to all parents when their children start at the school.

Parent-Teacher Communication

A formal parent-teacher meeting is held once a year. At other times, parents are welcome to arrange an appointment if they would like to discuss a child’s progress, or any difficulties they may have. Teachers are normally available at 8:40 a. m. for brief messages. School reports are issued at the end of each academic year. Most parents now receive letters from the school by email – let us know if you need a paper copy.

Extra Classes and Special Projects

The school has an active Green Committee and we have recently been awarded our 4th Green Flag by An Taisce. Children all take an active part in “green” duties e.g. litter duty, energy monitoring (turning off lights!), etc. At some stage during the year all students in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th Classes attend swimming lessons as part of their PE programme. These lessons take place during the school day. We also have an orchestral studies programme and all children from 1st Class up learn either recorder or violin; flute and clarinet have recently been introduced, and we are hoping to introduce other instruments soon. We have a connection with St Kevin’s GAA Club and basic hurling skills are taught by coaches from the club to all classes for a couple of months each year. A volunteer parent teaches French to 6th Class. From time other extra teachers may be employed on a short-term basis, e.g. a gymnastics expert, a cookery teacher etc. We also take part in the National Children’s Choir (4th, 5th and 6th Classes, every second year) and occasionally in other musical events. From time to time the school is involved in charitable fund-raising activities. We also organise occasional “special days”, e.g., Intercultural Day, Maths Day, etc., in which parents are invited to become involved.

Extra-Curricular Activities

These vary from time to time according to demand and are organised by the Parents’ Association. Currently on offer are football, drama, swimming, chess, arts and crafts, yoga and hurling. These activities are organised by the Parents’ Association and take place after school. A charge to cover running costs is applied; however parents on low incomes can apply to the Principal in confidence for a grant to cover the expense. We also have a chess club which meets within school hours on Friday afternoons (all children learn chess in 1st Class), and the school chess team takes part in national competitions.

Lunches

An important school rule is that “treats” are banned, except for Friday when one treat only is allowed. Treats are such items as crisps, sweets, cakes, chocolate bars, fizzy drinks etc. Chewing gum, even sugar-free) is also banned as it tends to cause a mess. Sandwiches, fruit and milk are provided free in school.

Fund-raising

A number of fund-raising events are held during the year which we ask parents to support. The main events are a Christmas Fair, usually around the start of December, and a school concert in June.

Religious Services

A carol service is held at Christmastime in the local Church of Ireland Church and we also hold short services once a week during Lent. Other services may be held from time to time. All children are expected to take part in these unless their parents object on religious grounds; such an objection must be discussed beforehand with the school principal. Parents and friends are most welcome to attend in these services. We teach the “Follow Me” religion programme; children whose parents do not wish them to attend religious education are normally assigned other work by the class teacher during the religion lesson, but it is not possible to have them removed from the classroom.

Absences

Children should not be absent from school for any reason other than illness. Under the terms of the Educational Welfare Law, all children who are absent from school for 20 days or more in any one academic year, or whose attendance record gives any cause for concern, must be reported to the Educational Welfare Officer who will contact the parents to discuss the matter. A written explanation for any absence is required and we expect a medical certificate if the absence has been longer than three days.

Tours and Visits

Class teachers take their classes on trips from time to time, to such places of interest as museums, art galleries, the Ark, the concert hall, theatres etc. We also invite music, theatre and other educational groups to bring performances and workshops to the school occasionally. We have recently instituted a whole-school picnic in the summer term, and we also hold a Sports Day in the summer term.

Parents' Association

The school has an excellent Parents’ Association which organises many worthwhile activities. These include extra-curricular classes, fund-raising, social events for both parents and children, road safety campaigns etc. All parents and guardians are welcome to become involved. Parents are also very welcome to volunteer to help with hearing reading and other classroom activities, but they must apply for (and get!) garda vetting.

CONTACT US

Donore Avenue, Dublin 8

Phone: 01 4542679

E-mail: info@stcatherinesns.net

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