Newsletter, November 2018

Dear Parents,

Please find below details of forth coming events in our school and events we took part in:

New School

Unfortunately our back football pitch is still not fit for use due to drainage issues.  We hope it will be ready by Spring but this of course will be weather dependent.  We are currently working on installing a sensory room in our school.  This is a special room designed to develop a child’s senses, usually through special lighting, music and objects.  It will be used as a therapy for SEN pupils but also for those pupils experiencing anxiety who may need time out of the classroom or a quiet space.    We also hope to have a Sensory Garden completed by the end of this school year.  Plans are currently being drawn up and the P.A. will be fundraising for this throughout the year.  Please support them in their efforts.


Thank you for your co-operation with regard to implementation of carpark rules.  It is imperative that you continue to observe these rules ALL of the time in order to ensure the safety of all.    Parents have a responsibility to ensure these rules are observed.  Pedestrians are requested to use the pedestrian gate at the footpath/ramp.  Please be mindful of the carpark/front entrance yard on frosty mornings.  The path will be salted but extreme care should be exercised. Smoking is prohibited in the school grounds

Junior Infants

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our new entrants and their parents.  It is my wish for you all that your time here will be happy and memorable.  I would like to commend the Junior Infants for the manner in which they have settled into school life here in Cloonakilla. I would like to thank their parents for their sensible approach in parting with their children and for their co-operation in regard to dropping off their children in the mornings, thereby reducing some of the congestion in the carpark.  Please do not accompany your children to the school door and wait until the bell rings as it creates too many problems for other parents who wish to drop off their children.

 Dates for your diary:

Enrolment for First Communion: Wednesday 21st November @ 8pm

Triple P Parenting Talk: Wednesday 21st November at 7.30 – 9pm

5th & 6th Class Debate:   Tuesday 11th December at 7pm

First Holy Communion:  Saturday, 11th May 2019 @ 11am

Sacrament of Confirmation: Wednesday, 3rd April

 First Communion

Enrolment for First Communion will be held on Wednesday, Nov 21st. It is important that you attend the “Do this in Memory Masses” with your child as they form a very important part of your child’s preparation for First Holy Communion.  N.B. Please note that Mass times have been changed from Sundays to Wednesday evenings.

Do this in Memory dates:  

Wednesday 28th November @ 7.30pm

Wednesday 19th December @ 7.30pm

Wednesday 30th January 2019 @ 7.30pm

Wednesday 20th March @ 7.30pm

Wednesday 10th April @ 7.30pm

 School Choir

The school choir will sing at the “Do this in Memory Mass” on Wednesday 19th December in Ss Peter & Paul’s Church at 7.30pm.  The choir will comprise of 4th-6th class pupils. A full attendance would be greatly appreciated.

Non-Uniform Day

Thank you for your response to Non-Uniform Day which raised €688.  All funds raised will go towards funding of sensory room.

Art Exhibition

Children from all classes had their art work framed and displayed at a 2 day exhibition in our school hall.  It was an opportunity for children to showcase their artistic ability while at the same time raising funds for our school.  The Exhibition was a great success and I would like to thank you for your support.


Our school library is now fully stocked with a wide range of books to suit all readers.  Children from all classes visit our school library every week.  During library time they read and choose books independently.  Children from 2nd to 6th classes bring home these books to read at their leisure.  The children agree that it is a time they look forward to during the busy school week.  Please continue to encourage your children to read at home as a love of reading is something they will carry with them forever.

Debating at Cloonakilla

Children from 5th & 6th classes have been busy preparing speeches and auditioning for our upcoming debate.  The motion for this term’s debate is “We need better role models for our generation”.  Many of the children have put a lot of effort into researching this topic and writing their speeches.

Debating is a wonderful way to develop presentation and public speaking skills, and improve critical thinking skills and to learn the importance of evaluating evidence to create a reasoned argument.  It is an engaging, active learner centred activity, which also develops social consciousness in young people, and of course it instils self-esteem and confidence also.  We would like to welcome parents and children from 5th and 6th classes to our Christmas debate on Thursday 13th of December at 7pm in the school hall.  Please support the children who have worked so hard on their motions.


  1. Swimming

Session 2 of swimming lessons is in progress this term for 1st & 3rd classes. This session will end at Christmas and this will conclude our swimming lessons for this school year.

  1. Gaelic

Gaelic training has commenced with Marie Kelly (Clann na nGael) and all classes will have an 8 week block of lessons. Teachers will commence Gaelic training with   classes after Christmas. This will be in preparation for the Cumann na mBunscoil Competition later in the year.  Our 6th class girls attended a gaelic blitz in Ballyleague on 19th of October.  Roscommon Ladies Gaelic Football  Association organised it to encourage more girls to participate  in the sport within the county.  The team got an opportunity to play against many teams from around the county.  Well done to all the girls who participated.


  1. Basketball

Ms Connaughton and Ms Kiely have commenced training for 5th and 6th classes during lunchtime.

  1. Soccer

Mr Kilbride has commenced soccer training during lunchtime for an upcoming FUTSAL tournament for 4th class.

The FAI are running the Primary Schools Futsal for 4th Class on Wednesday 28th November in Hodson Bay Celtic FC’s Astro pitch beside Ballybay School. The day will be ran in in accordance with the FAI

Player Development Plan so it will be non-competitive. There will be no medals for the winners but each child will receive a participation certificate on the day.

  1. Active School Flag

We are now registered for the Active School Flag (ASF).  This is an initiative by the Department of Education & Skills and supported by Healthy Ireland.  It’s aim is simple. “Get more schools, more active, more often”.  Interested candidates from 1st – 6th classes have written their letters of application for a coveted place on our brand new ASF Committee.  The candidates will be announced in the coming days and we are looking forward to putting both ours and the children’s ideas into action over the coming year.  Watch out on the school website for what’s happening as part of our ASF journey.

  1. Cross Country

Following numerous trials 12 finalists from each class were chosen to attend the County Roscommon Cross Country Competition held in St Brigid’s GAA Centre on Thursday 4th October.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable day for the 48 children who participated.  There were hundreds of competitors from all over the county representing their schools.  Shay McGuinness (4th class) came in 12th place in his section whilst Cathal O’Brien (6th class) came in 10th position in his age group.  They both received medals and we are very proud of them.  They went on to represent our school at Connacht Championships in Loughrea on Saturday 14th October.  In inclement weather they both ran superbly on a very hilly, wet course.  Well done to both of them.

  1. Orienteering

Padraig Higgins, a local orienteering expert, carried out a workshop with 5th class to share his expertise on this strand unit of our PE curriculum.  He gave a very detailed presentation on the topic and answered all questions before bringing the pupils into the playground to experience it for themselves.  It was so much fun and map reading skills were most definitely improved.  We hope to share our expertise with other classes during the year.

  1. Sporting Achievements

Our school would like to acknowledge physical activity and sports achievements achieved during and outside of school hours.  Please email us photos of the above for our Active Schools Display Board if your child is involved in noteworthy events.

Congratulations to Lauren Murphy (6th class) who competed in SouthView Equestrian Center in England where the top 4 Irish riders compete against the English, Scottish and Welsh.  Lauren was riding her pony The Bullseye.  Lauren had a great show where she brought home 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th wins over the week.  Each class had 120 children participating.   Congratulations also to Kailum Dunning who won a silver medal in the World Kick Boxing Tournament in Italy.  This is the biggest Martial Arts Event in the world so well done Kailum.


Local Cultural Tour

On Thursday November 8th, 5th class visited the Aidan Heavey Library.  There, they got to meet with award winning author Anna Carey.  It was an inspiring workshop and she gave the children plenty of food for thought on how to write a good story.  They were engrossed in the talk and afterwards the librarian very kindly let us borrow 15 copies of her



book to read “Mollie on the run”.  Afterwards fifth class proceeded to the Luan Gallery to view and interpret an

exhibition of “Neon Lights” by Kevin Killen and “Reseux” by Martin Coyle.  The geographical trail of the “Golden Mile” completed their trip to our local town of Athlone.


Green Schools

Our 6th Green Flag Global Citizenship, Litter and Waste was raised on Thursday the 25th of October. Sarah Geoghegan

in 6th Class and Conor Farrell in 1st Class raised our Green Flag. Well done to the Green Schools Committee for their presentation on the day and their diligence and enthusiasm over the last two years.  Our guest speaker Suzanne Dempsey from Roscommon County Council praised our Green School’s Committee and all the pupils in our school for all their hard work. Well done to everyone!

Litter picking has commenced with 4th classes making sure our grounds are litter free. The bin police will continue to patrol our rubbish bins. Children are encouraged to bring home all of their lunch wrappers to cut down on waste in our bins.  Our theme for our next Flag is Global Citizenship and Energy. This theme gives schools the chance to revise the Energy theme while looking at issues surrounding energy on a global scale. The global link to the energy theme is Climate Change.   A new Green Schools Committee will be established this month. We will then work on our environmental review and action plan for the next two years. A competition will be held among the pupils to design a new Green Code for our school as part of the Global Citizenship and Energy Flag over the coming weeks. We look forward to working towards our new Green Flag!


Amber Flag

We recently also celebrated the raising of our first Amber Flag – the first school in County Roscommon to raise an Amber Flag.  The Amber Flag initiative aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.  The committee will continue their work after Christmas by holding a mental health awareness event and continuing to inform the school community about strategies for minding our mental health.



Attendance for Sept/Oct was 96.7 %. Please note that daily attendance is recorded electronically before 10.30am. Any child not present at this time will be marked absent unless this absence is preceded by a note of explanation from parents. Again please note that all absences over 20 days are reported to the N.E.W.B. It is important that those with a poor attendance record for 2016/2017 improve their attendance for this school year.

Importance Note

It has come to my attention that some parents persist in taking children out from school early on Fridays.  This is not acceptable on a regular basis and will be addressed via attendance days if it continues.  Also children will not be called to the front door until a parent presents for collection. Please do not ring ahead.

School Self Evaluation

As part of School Self Evaluation a School Improvement Plan has been drawn up for the period 2018 – 2020.  This will shortly be available on the school website. We will be focussing mainly on the Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants – 1st Class) and Guided Reading throughout the school.  Guided Reading is conducted in smaller reading groups where children read at their own instructional level.  Please take time to read with your children at home and discuss what you have just read in order to ensure children comprehend the material.  It is our experience that while often pupils can be fluent readers often they do not always comprehend what they have just read.  As part of the S.S.E. process this New Primary Literacy Curriculum will also be implemented in English and Irish (Jun Infants – 2nd Class).

Literacy Lift Off

During Term 1 the Special Educational Needs Team (SEN) have been supporting the development of literacy through in-class work with the Literacy Lift Off Programme in 1st Class.  We have just completed a six-week intervention in Ms Fallon’s class, where, on average the pupils made progress of 7 months in reading.  Many thanks to parents who

supported the children by reading with them every night.  Keep up the good work! The programme is continuing in Ms Kilmartin’s class for November and December.

 Maths Week

All classes took part in Maths Week which took place from the 14th-21st of October. The children enjoyed partaking in maths games, trails and activities throughout the week. They also tried to solve a “Maths Problem of the Day” and the 4th, 5th and 6th class children took part in the “Maths Eyes Competition”. The senior classes had fun making up games for the junior classes to enjoy and the support teachers conducted mathematical activities in all classes placing a special emphasis on “Maths for Fun”.   Maths trials were conducted in most classes, using our new school environment as a Maths tool.

 Science Week

Science week ran from the 11th -17th of November.  This year’s theme was “Game Changes and Change Makers”.   All classes focused on experimental Science for the week and the support teachers visited all the classrooms to conduct  interesting experiments with the children. The second class children made projects based on “The Solar System” which they displayed in the classroom. Photos can be viewed on the school website.  As part of Science Week 6th class (Ms Kiely) will attend a show in the AIT entitled ”Fantastic Physics”.

Library Quiz

5th Class are looking forward to taking part in the Roscommon County Library Quiz on Monday 27th November.  Preparations are underway and we are busy choosing our team to represent our school.

Parents Association

A new Parents Association Committee has been formed.   Officers are as follows:


Chairperson                       Christina Melican                             Vice Chairperson              Kevin Murray

Secretary                             Jolene Cummins                               Vice Secretary                   Leeanne Walsh

Treasurer                            Laura Devlin Carroll                         Vice Treasurer                   John Brennan

They will be issuing a newsletter next week to inform you of their plans for 2018/2019.  The PA have organised a Cash for Clobber Collection on Thursday 22nd November.  You have already been notified in this regard.  Bags can be left into old school hall from Monday, November 19th to Thursday 22nd as the hall will be open during school hours.  The Parents Association will also be running Tesco Tokens for the month of December.  Please support our Parents Association in their endeavours as their hard work and dedication benefits all children in the school.  I would like to thank them for giving willing of their time and support.

After school activities

Lego Club

Lego club commenced for 1st & 2nd classes in September.  Every Tuesday the children spend an hour working in teams on their lego creations.  Lego develops children’s problem solving and fine motor skills as well as enhancing creativity, communication and critical thinking.  Lego Club will be opened to 3rd and 4th class in the New Year.

Spanish lessons

Spanish Lessons continue on Tuesday evenings until Christmas with Begona Sammon

Homework Club

You have already received a letter from the Board of Management to ascertain if there is interest among parents in the setting up of a homework club in the school.  This would run for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3.10pm to 4.10pm for 2nd to 6th classes.  At present there is not much interest in this project.  If you feel this is something you may be interested in please return original form or ring Maria at the school office on 090 6492569.

Christmas Show for Senior Infants.

Senior Infants will attend a Christmas Show “Elfie saves Christmas” in Dean Crowe Theatre on December 4th.  Class teachers will furnish you with exact details.

Christmas Shoebox Appeal

Thanks to all those who supported our Christmas Shoebox Appeal which brings some joy into the lives of vulnerable children in Eastern Europe and Africa.  Altogether we donated 200 boxes from Cloonakilla so well done to all!

Christmas Annuals

The forms for the Christmas Annual will be circulated on Monday next.  Please return along with the money by Monday 26th November.

New Staff

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Mary Jo Henry (S.N.A.) and Senan Kilbride (teacher) on securing permanent contracts in Cloonakilla.


Congratulations to Ms O’Keefe who was recently married.  We wish her and her husband a long and happy life together.

Message of Sympathy

The Board of Management, staff and pupils would like to extend a message of sympathy to the Rafferty family on the death of Michael Rafferty (father of Adam and Mollie) and to the Lynch / Webb family on the death of Aidan Lynch (father of Hannah).  May they rest in peace.

Yours sincerely,

Mary O’Rourke


Mary O’Rourke