November 20th, 2009

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Special Thanks! Alice and Eoghan have requested that the Board and, in particular, the Fundraising Committee be thanked for making it possible for us to have the Teagasc Mobile Farm with us for all of last Tuesday. The children absolutely loved the contact with the farm animals and watching their faces was priceless. I would also like to thank, Alice and Eoghan, not just for organising the mobile farm but also for organising a wonderful Science/Geography Week in the Assembly Hall, for all children to visit and learn from. Thanks to your wonderful support and the work of Fundraising Committees, past and present, we have a wonderful repository of Science equipment and resources. The challenge for all of us in the current economic climate is to maintain and hopefully build on our existing level of provision so that all children who attend the school can avail of the best possible Primary education.

Thanks also to Deirdre Moffat and Linda Quearney who came to the school yesterday to be interviewed for the RTE 1 Pat Kenny Show. The focus of their interviews was around deciding to send their children to a school with the Educate Together Ethos (thankfully, Swords Educate Together N.S.). Well done, folks. You do us proud J.

Diary Dates:

* Tomorrow (Saturday, November 21st): Universal Children’s Day

* Tuesday, November 24th: National Day of Action, resulting in the school being closed. The school will also be closed for all After-School Activities, including Religious Instruction Classes.

* Wednesday, November 25th and Thursday, November 26th: Book Fair in the Assembly Hall.

Important: The time allocation for the Book Fair this year is shorter than last year. To ensure maximum opportunity for all children to review the books and to buy books, Aoife has requested that pupils take their money with them on Wednesday so that they can peruse and purchase on Wednesday. Understandably, this is a Parental decision but given that we have nearly four hundred children, we are trying to ensure maximum opportunity for all. Our Book Fair is always a pre-Christmas highlight and I would like to thank Aoife for organising this event and members of the PTA/Parent body for their support and cooperation. NOTE: 1:10 p.m. to 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday has been reserved for Junior and Senior Infant Children and their Parents/Guardians. This will enable Parents/Guardians to accompany their ‘little’ ones to the Book Fair and make informed, good choices about the books they buy. Many thanks, folks!

* Thursday, November 26th: Staff Meeting. Home times: 11:30 a.m. for Infants and 11.45 a.m. for all other classes.

Athletics: Athletics will take place next Thursday, November 26th in Balheary. Coordinated by Siobhán, this is a wonderful opportunity for participating children. As this is our Staff Meeting day, children taking part in athletic will go home from Balheary at 12:30 p.m. Parents/Guardians need to make arrangements for their children to be picked up at 12:30 p.m. from Balheary. Participating staff will then make a quick return to the school for our Staff Meeting. Your support with punctuality is greatly appreciated, as always! Thank you!

Dressing Properly for our Winter: Given the drop in temperature recently and the fact that our school is on the windiest, most exposed knoll in Swords, I would ask all Parents/Guardians to ensure that children come to school suitably dressed to keep warm. Also, please impress upon the children the importance of taking responsibility for their own clothing and recognising it when temporarily lost. Many thanks!

Parent/Teacher Meetings: Parent/Teacher Meetings will take place on Thursday, December 3rd. We look forward to seeing you all on this day. Given class size and the number of children involved, I would emphasise the importance of punctuality on the day. Also, please knock on the classroom door at the appointed time. Teachers appreciate you doing this as it keeps everyone focused. If for any reason you are not in a position to attend your P/T Meeting at the scheduled time, please communicate this directly to the class teacher as soon as you know. Many thanks and I too look forward to December 3rd.

A Lovely Phone Call: During the week, I received a phone call from a Príomhoide down the country. She phoned to say that she had been reading our Whole School Evaluation Report on the Department website and that she was struck by the very positive language used by the Department Inspectors to describe our Pupils. Courteous, mannerly, polite are used quite explicitly to describe our pupils in the Department report. I include this in the Friday News to, once again, compliment our pupils. I know, having worked in a number of educational settings, how wonderful Swords ETNS Pupils are. They are everything the WSE Report states and more. It would be a mistake not to communicate this to you, their Parents/Guardians but more importantly, the Pupils themselves. You must be very proud indeed of your children!! We are too!!

Interactive Whiteboards for Mobile Phones: The children are just wonderful taking in old mobile phones/ink jets for the Jack and Gill Foundation/interactive whiteboards. The Student Council is currently coordinating a collection box in each mainstream classroom in the school. We are on our way to securing a second interactive whiteboard for recycled mobiles. Your continued support, harvesting old mobile phones, is greatly appreciated.

Once again, our Enrolment Policy is First-Come, First-Served with no special provision for siblings. The earliest possible pre-enrolment of children is advised, including pre-enrolment for 2014.

The Dept. of Education informed us today that a programme of vaccinations against Influenza A (H1N1) for all Primary School children will take place in the near future. The school will distribute a “vaccination pack” to every family. Included in this pack will be a consent form for parents/guardians to complete. This form must be completed by the parent/guardian for the vaccination to be administered. We will keep you informed of further developments.

Many thanks for all of your support. Keep well, enjoy your weekend and we will see you bright and early on Monday morning.

Sincerely,

Gerard, Príomhoide

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