Category Archives: Newsletters

Newsletter, May 2021

Newsletter, May 2021

Dear Parents,

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

Sacrament of Confirmation

We have been informed by the Parish Office that the Sacrament of Confirmation will be celebrated for 6th class on Monday 16th & Tuesday 17th August.  You will be informed of exact day and time when this information is available to us.

First Holy Communion

The Sacrament of First Holy Communion has been postponed until autumn when children return to school.  2nd class pupils will however celebrate First Confession in the school on Wednesday, May 26th.

Junior Infant Enrolment Evening

Our traditional Junior Infant Evening will not go ahead again this year. Instead 1 parent will be invited to bring their child to the school for a 15 minute session in small groups week beginning June 14th.  An information video will be emailed in advance of this meeting with all relevant school information.     Parents will be informed of the exact day/time in advance.

RSE Programme

4th/5th/6th classes attended a “Growing Up” presentation by Laura Kiely on Thursday 6th May.  The talk dealt with the sensitive areas of the RSE Programme. Class teachers will have covered the relevant sections of the RSE Programme dealing with body names/changes/ growing up etc. by the end of May. Parents are always notified in advance of these classes so that you have an opportunity to address those issues at home with your child.

School Self Evaluation

Our School Improvement Plan for literacy (2018-2021) concludes this term.  This plan focussed mainly on the Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st Class), Reading Recovery Programme (Senior Infants & 1st) and Guided Reading throughout the school.  We aim to develop reading skills with particular emphasis on comprehension.  It is our experience that while often pupils can be fluent readers they do not always comprehend the content.  Standardised Tests in English and Maths will be administered week beginning May 31st and June 9th.  We will analyse our Standardised Test Results in June but will be very mindful that these results are not fully reflective of our efforts as a result of prolonged closures.  These results will be used in conjunction with teacher observations, teacher assigned tests, tasks and feedback from the SEN team to inform curriculum planning for 2021/22.

Teaching and Learning

Due to school closures we have had to prioritise certain curricular areas in order to ensure that all children could proceed with learning in a meaningful way.  Irish, English, Maths, P.E., and S.P.H.E. were the subjects we have prioritised since our return to school.  Other subject areas have been integrated where possible.  We fully acknowledge the importance of exercise, mindfulness, activities, movement breaks etc. in promoting good mental health in our students and staff.

STEAM Education

This year our two 6th classes are participating in the STEAM Engineering-in-a-Box programme via Zoom.  The lessons are delivered by two engineers from Teleflex, Katy and Cathal.  Every week they present the pupils with interesting lessons and set various challenges and tasks for the children to solve.  The programme introduces the children to the various disciplines of engineering and the engineering design process.


As part of our History Curriculum 1st and 2nd classes will visit Derryglad Museum, Brideswell this week.  Here they will have an opportunity to enjoy many artefacts from the past giving them a glimpse of what life was like long ago.  In June, all classes will engage in Geography fieldtrips through the Green Schools Outdoor Learning Initiative. 

Sport:  Sports Day

A Sports Day will be held for the following class groupings on separate days:

1. Junior & Senior Infants

2. 1st & 2nd classes

3. 3rd & 4th classes

4. 5th & 6th classes

Each class will remain within their class bubble and there will be no mixing between classes.  You will be informed of the exact dates when the weather improves.

Active Schools Week

Our school reinforces the message that children require 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. We, have just completed Active School’s Week May 10th-15th. There were activities scheduled each day. A hoop challenge, a skipathon, yoga & mindfulness, running and a penalty shootout were in this year’s line-up. All children participated with finals taking place in the afternoons for various events. To coincide with this, all pupils tracked their daily efforts.  Active style homework was assigned. This was monitored and recorded by each child to emphasise their daily activity during the week. Children who return their forms will be entered in a lucky dip for their efforts.

A special word of thanks to Emmet Mullally, Mark Hollmann, Jackie Moran, Edel Conway & Johnny Dunning who all volunteered their services to share their expertise in various sporting disciplines.

Ollie Lennon from Clann na nGael continues Gaelic training on Wednesdays with a new block beginning on May 19th. He is focussing on fundamental movement skills this term and his sessions are always most enjoyable.

The children ran a collective 3,983km to Lapland in December of 2020.

In February of this year the children of Cloonakilla NS walked/ran an astonishing 10,516km around Europe. This was as part of our “Every Step Counts” campaign whilst on lockdown. We the ASF committee, are so proud of the enthusiasm shown during initiatives. It shows what a super group of pupils we have to reach such milestones over short periods of time.

Ms Cunniffe is in the process of submitting our application for our Active Flag. A Powerpoint of our ASF endeavours will be posted later this week on our school website. Please take a look to see our journey over the last few years.

Amber Flag

The children from the Amber Flag Committee have been very busy since Christmas! The members of this year’s committee are Kyle Behan, Katelyn Dolan, Emma Byrne, Orla O’Donoghue, Adam Rafferty, Grace Meares, Isabelle O’Toole and Margarita Zubgova. 

During school closures we held our Amber Flag meetings on Zoom with Mrs Cronolly.  We met on Fridays and discussed our plans for promoting mental health and wellbeing at Cloonakilla NS and each week we finished off with a Guided Mindfulness activity.   

We held a whole-school wellbeing “Change Your Perspective” photography competition on SeeSaw. The winners were Ava Cooney (3rd Class) Conor and Holly Burke (1st & 4th classes), Davy Ward (3rd class), Mary Kate and Aoife Kinneavy (2nd & 6th classes). Well done to all who entered and congratulations to the winners. 

The Board of Management has bought us a new Buddy Bench so we now have two fabulous Buddy Benches in the junior yards. The Amber Flag Committee recorded a video to show children from Junior Infants to 2nd class how to use the Buddy Benches appropriately. We have put a poster in each junior classroom about the Buddy Benches.  

We took part in the Walk in My Shoes Awards organised by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and progressed to the final round.  

We received our Amber Flag Completion Certificate this week, along with our 3rd Amber Flag which will be raised along with the Active Flag when Covid-19 Restrictions allow for a joint celebratory event.  

Green Schools

Litter Picking has commenced three mornings a week to ensure our schools grounds are kept litter free. A big thank you to the Green Schools Committee (4th Class), for their tremendous work.

3rd, 4th and 5th classes took part in An Taisce`s National Spring Clean on the week of the 26th of April. Normally, this is a whole school event. Due to current restrictions, this year’s Spring Clean had to be limited to a small number of classes. Well done and a big thank you, to all the teachers and all the pupils who were involved.

For the remainder of the term, all classes will take part in the Green Schools Outdoor Learning Initiative. This involves Nature Trails and Nature Activities which revises our past theme; Biodiversity.

The Green Schools Outdoor Nature Initiative promotes learning about all different types of nature in our school environment in a fun and safe way. Outdoor education not only is COVID-friendly (respecting social distancing), it is also proven to be of vital importance in the promotion of health and well-being in children – both mental and physical.

6th Class Graduation

6th Class Graduation will be held in the school on Wednesday, June 23rd.  Unfortunately we are unable to invite parents to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions.  I realise that it is most regrettable. I acknowledge that they have missed out on many traditional milestones enjoyed in 6th class.  As a Special concession to our 6th class pupils a tour to Baysports has been arranged for Tuesday, June 22nd.  I would like to thank 6th class for being the best they could possibly be during the year and throughout their time in Cloonakilla NS.  

Non-Uniform Day

Non-uniform day was held on Friday, April 30th for Temple Street Children’s Hospital in memory of Laura Carroll R.I.P. Total raised was €1360.  The Carroll family really appreciate your generosity.

Book Rental Scheme

The Book Rental Scheme will continue for 3rd to 6th classes.  The Book Rental Scheme represents a saving for parents.  You have received an email outlining the scheme. If you wish to be included in the scheme please enclose money in an envelope with your child’s name clearly marked on the outside.  This should be forwarded to the class teacher by June 11th.  No late application will be accepted this year.


School photographs have been distributed and we request that you please order online as per information on the proof.  If you are not in a position to order on line, return order to the school. Late orders are subject to a late order fee and postage costs.  Closing date for all orders is Friday, 21st May.  

Outdoor classroom/ Sensory area

We have recently installed an outdoor environmentally friendly classroom which is made from recycled plastic.  It will be used as part of every child’s learning at school.  It is about getting the children outside and providing them with a

different learning experience.  Over the next few weeks we will install a flower fence beside the outdoor classroom as part of our efforts to build a sensory garden area.  Continuing on our biodiversity theme, our wild flower garden area

has been planted and we hope to see some flowers in bloom attracting bees and insects before our summer holidays.

We have already installed an indoor sensory path upstairs.  It will be used for movement breaks.  The path provides time for children to engage with their senses in a focused way and it has been proven to improve learning, memory and concentration, while helping children to manage stress, hyperactivity and anxiety.


We are all only too well aware of the impact Covid-19 restrictions have had on our lives.  We hope there are brighter days ahead.  For now we will continue to implement and observe our Covid-19 response plan.  It is very important for us all to remain vigilant as the virus is still very transmissible in our communities.  On behalf of the Board of Management I would like to express my thanks to our entire school community for your adherence to our plan.  Through your efforts we managed to stay safe so far so please keep up the good work.


Mary O’Rourke, Principal

February Newsletter 2020

February Newsletter 2020

Dear Parents,

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

Catholic Schools Week

We celebrated Catholic Schools Week from Jan 27th-31st. Mrs Cronolly introduced the programme each morning with a thought for the day and all classes partook in various activities which focussed on the Catholic ethos which permeates our school. During assembly 2nd-6th class children were afforded an opportunity to reflect on the theme for this week which was “Living in harmony with God’s creation”. A prayer service was also held during assembly. Fr John visited 2nd and 6th classes. They are preparing to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation so we remember them in a special way in our thoughts and prayers this year. 4th class made St Brigid’s crosses to mark St Brigid’s Day on Feb 1st.

Dates for your Diary

Non Uniform Day: March 13th

Do This in Memory Masses: Wednesday, 12th February @ 7.30pm & Wednesday, March 11th @7.30pm, Wednesday 1st April @ 7.30pm & Saturday 13th June @ 6.30pm.

Enrolment Ceremony for Confirmation: Tuesday 18th February at 7.30pm,

First Confessions: Wednesday, 25th March @ 6pm in Ss Peter & Pauls Church

The Sacrament of Confirmation: Thursday, April 23rd @ 11am

New Infants Induction Evening: Thursday, April 2nd @ 6 -7.30 pm

First Holy Communion: Saturday, May 9th @11am

School Closures

Midterm break: Thursday & Friday 20th & 21st   February

St Patricks: Monday & Tuesday 16th & 17th March

Easter Holidays: Monday, 6th April to Friday, 17th April

N.B.  Cloonakilla N.S. will close at @ 12.30 on Friday, 28th February for teachers’ in-service training in the New Primary Language Curriculum.

Sacramental Preparations

First Holy Communion

The children have been attending Mass as part of the “Do This in Memory Programme”. This is a very important part of your child’s preparation for the sacraments and attendance is required. Preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion will commence in school after the midterm break. We thank you for your support and participation.


6th class have been invited to attend the Confirmation Programme “Exploring our Faith” in Ss Peter & Paul’s Church on Tuesday, 18th February @7.30pm.  The programme will continue on Thursday February 27th, Thursday March 5th, Thursday March 12th at 7.00pm to 8pm.

School Self Evaluation

Year 2 of Our School Improvement Plan (2018-2020) is being implemented throughout the school. As already outlined we hope to increase our literacy levels with particular emphasis on Guided Reading and Comprehension Strategies. Please continue to read with your children at home and try to establish it as part of your daily routine. While improving your children’s reading skills it also helps instil a love of reading which is something your children can take with them into their adult lives.

Mrs McCabe is currently being trained as a Reading Recovery teacher. Mrs McCullagh presently implements the Reading Recovery Programme in our school. This programme is a literacy programme designed for children aged approx. 6 years who are struggling with reading. It involves a 20 week programme of daily one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes. It aims to reach age appropriate levels at the end of this 20 week period. We are fortunate to have 2 Reading Recovery teachers in our school as early intervention increases a child’s success in reading.

R.S.E. Programme

4th/5th/6th classes will attend a “Growing Up” talk presented by Fiona Fallon on March 23rd and 24th. You will be furnished with details nearer to the time.  The talk will deal with the sensitive areas of the R.S.E. Programme. It is important that parents communicate openly with their children about these issues as it is a challenging time in their lives and we all need to support them as best we can.  Class teachers will cover the relevant sections of the RSE Programme dealing with body names/changes/growing up etc. Parents are notified in advance of these classes so it gives you an opportunity to address those issues with your child.

Stay Safe Programme

The Stay Safe Programme is currently being taught in Jun Infants, 1st, 3rd and 5th classes. This is a personal safety skills programme which seeks to enhance children’s self protective skills by participation in lessons on safe and unsafe situations, bullying, inappropriate touch, secrets, and the dangers of communicating with strangers. It is very important to encourage your child to discuss the content of these lessons at home. Parents can learn more about this programme at Our children’s safety both in the real and virtual world is a priority for us all. Please check your child’s online activity at regular intervals to ensure their safety.

STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics)

STEAM, from an educational perspective is concerned with the aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics in the school environment. This initiative is being incorporated into a select number of primary schools. Cloonakilla N.S is thrilled to have been nominated again to participate in this initiative alongside local company Teleflex. The focus once again will be on ‘Engineering-in-a-Box’. The aim of this programme is to create a fun and challenging environment for children to both enhance and develop a knowledge of engineering. Both 5th classes will participate in the programme commencing Tuesday, February  11th  for a ten week period.

Maths Games at Cloonakilla

Children from Ms Ryan’s 1st class and Ms Connaughton’s 6th class have been taking part in our school Maths Games initiative. Every Monday, for a six week block, the 6th class pupils teach the 1st class a simple fun maths game, based on the maths curriculum for 1st class. The 1st class pupils then take the new game home to play with their families instead of maths homework for two nights during that week. The pupils from 1st class and their families have shown great engagement and enjoyment during the project. The 6th class have shown their leadership qualities and have been very patient while teaching the younger pupils – they are a credit to their families! Thank you and well done to all involved. Pupils from Ms Kilmartin’s 1st class and Ms Kiely’s 6th class will take part in this initiative after the midterm break.

Debating at Cloonakilla NS:

This year, our 6th class pupils are taking part in the Athlone Primary Schools Debating Competition run by Cllr Aengus O’Rourke and Athlone Drama Festival.  Aengus visited our 6th classes in January to speak to the children about the importance of public speaking to develop their confidence and to help them in their day to day lives as well as when they progress to second level education.

There are 13 schools participating in the competition. Each school will hold its own internal debating trials, a team will be chosen and that team will then go on and compete against other schools in a knockout format.

Our internal knockout was held on 30th Jan and the successful team comprised of Jay Maloney, Craig Kilmartin, Matthew Keegan and Jacob Kilmartin – well done boys! They were competing against a very eloquent team comprised of Rachel Murphy, Roqibat Idris, Abi O’Meara Fox and Ruby Rose O’Leary. The girls provided stiff competition and it was a close result.

For the next phase of the competition, our school team will debate against Scoil na gCeithre Maistri, here in Cloonakilla NS, on Wednesday 19th of February at 10am. The winning team will go onto the next phase of the league.

Parents are welcome to attend and support the team. 

World Book Day

World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday, March 5th. Special activities will be held in all classes to mark this event and to promote further interest in reading. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedules at home to mark this occasion with your children. Book tokens will be distributed to all classes so this is an opportunity for the children to purchase a book of their own choosing.

Library Visit

3rd Classes will visit the Aidan Heavey public library on March 20th for a reading by illustrator / storyteller Alan Nolan.  Alan is the author of Death by Chocolate and other very amusing and illustrated titles.  Children will have the opportunity to join the library if they so wish.

Poetry Competition

Children from 5th / 6th classes are busy writing poems to enter in this year’s Strokestown Poetry Festival.  The competition is open to all students attending a primary school in Roscommon.  We wish them well in their endeavours.

Spelling Bee

The annual Eason’s Spelling Bee county final took place on Monday February 10th in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.  Following a very competitive in- school competition Lauren O’Brien from Ms Kiely’s 6th class emerged as our school representative.  Lauren competed at the county final on Feb 10th     and came 4th.   Well done Lauren!

Art/Texaco Art Competition

Congratulations to all the winners of our in-school Art Competition.  We now have 24 new pieces of art work framed and on display brightening up our corridors.  So well done to all our artists!

4th classes have taken part in the Texaco Art Competition.  Their art works are currently on display in the school library.



Basketball training for 5th & 6th class boys and girls has been on-going with Ms Kiely and Ms Connaughton at lunch time. Well done to all who participated in basketball training. A panel of players has now been selected and we are training for upcoming games.  On Monday, 2nd March, our basketball panels will travel to The Hub in Castlerea to compete in the Roscommon Primary School blitz. Our group includes Cloontuskert N.S, Castlerea N.S, Creggs N.S. and Boyle N.S.  We are also entering the Athlone Basketball League. On a monthly basis we will play local Westmeath schools, including Coosan, Moate, Cornamaddy and the Gaelscoil.  Participation in these basketball competitions promises to be fun and enjoyable, as well as promoting social interaction and a healthy lifestyle through team sports.


The Spar 5 a-side will take place after the Easter holidays.  Training for the 5th and 6th class boys and girls has been ongoing since December.  Mr Kilbride is coaching the boys and Ms Martin and Ms Kilmartin have been training the girls.

Cumann na mBunscol

The training for the Cumann na mBunscol boys and girls will commence shortly with the competition taking place in May, initially against Ballybay, Summerhill and Cornafulla.  Mr Kilbride and Ms Fallon will be coaching the respective teams. The Cumann na mBunscol Sports Table Quiz will take place in March.  Also, a few lucky boys and girls will be selected to represent Cloonakilla in the mini 7’s in April, where they will be in with a chance of playing at half-time in a Roscommon Championship game in the summer.

Tag Rugby

Buccaneers RFC in conjunction with Connacht Rugby are holding a 10 a side tag rugby blitz on Thursday 26th March for 5th and 6th class boys and girls in Buccaneers RFC from 11 to 1pm.  There will be a training session in advance of the blitz.

Active Schools Flag

Our Active School Flag Committee are:

Brian Finneran and Szymon Sckozen (6th class)

Marianne Molloy and Rachel Akahomen (5th class)

Christina Waldron and Grace Meares (4nd class)

Isla Walsh and Chloe O’Callaghan (3rd class) and

Davy Warde and Alex O’Brien (2nd class).

  • Well done to Aoibhinn Feery (3rd class), Saoirse Dunne (3rd class) and Orla Donohue (5th class) as they represented our school in the All Ireland Schools Swimming competition on Sunday, February 9th.  It was held in the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin.  The girls all got PB’s and Aoibhinn came 6th in her category.  They thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such a huge competition.  We’re very proud of you all.
  • A special word of thanks to all of the teachers who are helping out with coaching at lunchtimes.  Due to recent inclement weather conditions the pitches are not playable at the moment but hopefully they’ll be back in action very soon.
  • Cube Initiative: To kickstart the new year and to promote our Active School Walkway we held a competition to see which class could “earn” the most cubes during break-times. 1st to 6th classes took on the challenge with great gusto and Ms Finnegan’s 3rd class emerged as winners.  It was super to see everyone doing their talking as they were walking.  A total of 2849 km was walked during the 10 days of monitoring.  Well done everyone!
  • In December all children who returned their “Active Month” activity chart were entered into a lucky dip for some surprises delivered by our hardworking Active Schools Committee.  The children were required to complete physical exercise as part of their homework.  It proved very popular.
  • Cycle Right: course took place with both 6th classes during December.  The course provided practical cycle safety and skills to promote competent and confident cyclists for the future.  A word of thanks to Noel Feely of Roscommon Partnership for facilitating this worthwhile workshop.
  • Tug of War – Development Officer Cathy Sherrin will visit our school on Monday, 24th February.  3rd to 6th classes will participate in a workshop on tug of war he skills and techniques.  The children are looking forward to using these news skills on Sports Day later on this year.
  • Volunteers needed – are you involved in a career based on exercise?  We are looking for volunteers to come and share their ideas with the children during National Active Schools Week which takes place in May.  Please contact the school if you are interested in helping us out.

Yoga and Mindfulness

As part of staff wellbeing a four week yoga/ mindfulness course was organised for staff after school recently.  Avril Mullally conducted the course and it proved to be a very worthwhile exercise.

Ms Donnelly is currently running a series of yoga classes for 5th class girls.  Studies have found that this age girls tend to drop out of sports so we are encouraging them to keep as active as possible to reap the benefits in their future lives with increased confidence and self-esteem.

Green Schools

We are in the final stages of working towards our green flag, Global Citizenship and Energy.

The Green Schools committee have been very busy recently reinforcing all of our previous themes.  Litter picking has commenced daily on the yard, with all classes helping out to make our school a green space. The Green schools committee have reminded all classes to remain energy conscious and reduce their rubbish in their classrooms. Well done to the Green Schools Committee who continue to work very hard.  In March, we will have a Green School Awareness day. All classes will view an Energy PowerPoint, revising our theme. The Green Schools Committee will also show a PowerPoint to each class reminding everyone of all the hard work we have done over the past year and a half, working towards our green flag.   

We will have our An Taisce National Spring Clean Day on the 2nd of April in our school. This is a nationwide anti-litter campaign, which will take place during the month of April. Our whole school will get involved to clean up around our school and surrounding areas.

We will have a speaker visit our school in April from the SEAI (Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland) who will carry out a workshop with the Senior Classes. This workshop will revise our energy theme while looking at issues surrounding energy on a global scale. It will focus on Climate Change, the most serious environmental problem of our time and is intrinsically linked to our energy use.  Our WOW Days will commence at the start of the summer months.

Book Fair

Our school book fair was a huge success.  We sold €3,612 worth of books and as a result received 220 new books for the library.  We also have €500 credit for Tara Book Company which will go towards the purchasing of novels for Guided Reading.  Many thanks to all who supported the Book Fair.

Sensory Room/Garden

Our Sensory Room provides many of our children with a calming space away from their busy classrooms.  It provides the children with an opportunity to engage their senses in a safe and comfortable environment.  Visits to the Sensory Room are closely supervised by SNAs.  Work on our Sensory Garden will begin this summer.

Non-Uniform Day

A non-uniform day will be held on Friday, March 13th.  Children will be encouraged to wear green on this day as it marks Green Schools Awareness Day and it also coincides with the end of Seachtain na Gaeilge. All monies raised will go towards our new sensory garden.

Junior Infant Enrolment

Our Junior Infant Enrolment will be completed this week. All successful applicants have been notified pending return of required documents by Feb 14th.  Incomplete applications will render the application null and void.

School Photographs

County Photos visited the school on January 31st. Proofs have been distributed and all orders/monies should be returned to the class teacher by Monday 17th February. The photographer will revisit the school on Monday 27th of April for Confirmation photograph for 6th class. Communion photograph will NOT be taken of First Communicants in school this year due to lack of interest.


In keeping with Cloonakilla N.S tradition, our 6th class students have received their new personalised school hoodies which they can wear in lieu of their school uniform jumpers.

Delphi Adventure Centre School Tour

The 2nd instalment of monies for the school tour to Delphi is due by Wednesday, 19th February.  An alternative tour has been arranged for those not attending Delphi.

Parents Association

The Parents’ Association would like to thank all who attended and supported the Table Quiz on 7th February. Thank you also to all who helped on the night and helped to make it a success.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Parents Association for all their hard work in organising this event.  All monies raised enhance school life in Cloonakilla and for this we should all be very grateful.

Kind Regards,

Mary O’Rourke,