Newsletter, November 2021

Newsletter, November 2021

Dear Parents,

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

Covid-19 Response Plan

As Covid-19 is still a very real threat in our communities we continue to abide by the restrictions as outlined in our revised Covid-19 Response Plan. Please continue to wear masks on school grounds and be aware of social distancing. Our Covid-19 Response Plan will be updated regularly and all changes will be placed on the school website. Our biggest challenge as we head into winter is to find the balance between sufficient ventilation and a level of comfort in our classrooms. School is quite cold so I would suggest we all wear an extra layer of clothing to combat the winter chills. The Department of Education has provided us with 9 CO2 monitors for the school. The BOM have purchased additional monitors so that each classroom is equipped with a monitor. These have proved to be very useful.  We must continue to be vigilant at all times and continue our efforts to suppress this virus both in school and at home. I would like to thank you for your continued co-operation in this regard.


Thank you for your co-operation with regard to implementation of carpark rules.  It is imperative that you continue to observe the rules ALL of the time in order to ensure the safety of all. Please do not walk through staff carpark when picking up children as this area must be kept free for school buses. Parents have a responsibility to ensure these rules are observed.  Pedestrians are requested to use the pedestrian gate at the front of the school and ramp from the carpark. Pedestrians should not use the main school entrance under any circumstances. As we approach the winter season it is important to be mindful of the carpark/front entrance yard and paths on frosty mornings.  The path will be salted but extreme care should be exercised.  I am aware that the traffic situation around the school is very dangerous at present.  The BOM and the Parents’ Association have both held meetings with representatives from Roscommon County Council with regard to alleviating the traffic congestion in the area. 

Parent-Teacher Meetings

Due to Covid-19 restrictions face-to-face Parent Teacher Meetings will not be held this year.   The following arrangements will apply to facilitate Parent-Teacher communication.

Junior & Senior Infants:

Junior/Senior Infant teachers will arrange phone calls for weeks beginning Nov 8th& 15th after 2.10pm

1st-6th classes:

Parents will have the following choice:

1. Phone call with class teacher week beginning 22nd & 29th November


2. A written report on Monday, November 22nd

Teachers will be in contact with all parents via Seesaw to establish your preference.

SEN Pupils:

SEN teachers will be in contact to arrange a suitable time for phone consultation.

Should you wish to speak with me at any time please ring the school office and Maria will arrange a suitable time.

Maths Week

All classes took part in Maths Week which took place from 14th-19th October.  We all recognise that Maths promotes the ability to think rationally and to analyse and solve problems. With this in mind throughout the week children were encouraged to solve a “Problem of the Day”.  All classes took part in Maths trails using the school environment as a Maths tool. During this week children were actively encouraged to use their “Maths Eyes” at home and in school. Support teachers conducted maths activities in all classes placing special emphasis on “Maths for fun”. Maths Week activities can be viewed on the school website.

Science Week

We celebrated Science Week from Nov 8th-12th. All classes enjoyed conducting experiments and participating in other science activities. All pupils used their science skills to enhance their learning. 6th class pupils completed a project on climate change. They also shared their learning with other classes. It is important that all children learn about climate change in a measured and responsible way as they are the adults of the future.  Ultimately it is their behaviour that will shape our planet. All pupils enjoyed taking part in Science Week.  We hope this will encourage them to develop a scientific interest in the world around them.

Student Council

A Student Council has been set up in our school comprising of elected representatives from both 6th classes. They meet to discuss ideas to improve school life and to give a voice to the student body. Meetings are held monthly with Ms Kelly and myself. So far the Student Council have conducted a bullying survey in all classes and arising from that they will monitor lunchtime break to ensure all children are happy in the playground. They have also distributed a suggestions box and we are currently assessing some of the more viable suggestions made. We have discussed the possibility of having a “treat day“ on Fridays so from this Friday onwards all children will be allowed bring a small treat to school. Nuts, fizzy drinks and large sharing bags will not be permitted.

I look forward to working with the Student Council throughout the year as they are a very enthusiastic and committed group who keep me on my toes!

Student Council Members: Abigail Cooney, Aoife Cummins, Grace Meares, Christina Waldron, Zac Mullally and Sean O’Hara

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The SEN team are working with class teachers and pupils to support literacy throughout the school through a number of initiatives.  Guided Reading is supported from 1st class to 6th class.  Literacy Lift Off is being delivered to 1st Class in

Term 1.  It will move to Senior Infants in Term 2 and 3.Ms McCullagh and  Mrs McCabe are now both trained as  Reading Recovery Teachers.  This means that more pupils in Senior Infants and First Class can be offered support with literacy through the Reading Recovery Programme.  We appreciate the ongoing support of parents which adds to the success of all these initiatives.

National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)

Under The National Educational Psychological Services Dr Cathal Duffy continues to work with us to support teaching and learning in our school.

Teaching & Learning

As part of School Self Evaluation we are continuing to focus on literacy. As per last year we are focussing again on 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. Once more, I would urge you to please take the time to read with your child at home and discuss what you have just read in

 order to ensure your child understands what they have just read. It is our experience that often comprehension levels

are significantly below the actual reading level. We are also focussing on spelling this year and are in the process of

gathering evidence to see how we can improve spelling throughout the school. We will be conducting a Parental Survey on spelling later this year and would be grateful for your feedback.  As part of SSE the New Primary Language Curriculum is being implemented in all classes in English and Irish.

Local History

3rd-6th classes have been studying the history of our local area as part of the History Curriculum with heritage expert Martin Curley. Martin led them on historical trails of the local area which included fieldtrips to significant historical features such as Meehambee Dolmen, Cloonakilla Graveyard and St Ruth’s Castle.

2nd class completed a nature trail within their immediate school environment. Study of local history enables pupils to investigate and learn about the past and to form connections between past and present.

Green Schools

In the absence of Ms Gately, Ms O’Keeffe and Ms Shine have kindly taken over our Green Schools Committee which is made up of 5th class pupils as per last year’s committee. 

Our Green Schools Committee continues to focus on litter and waste in and around our school. To eliminate litter on our school grounds, a new litter picking rota is now in operation until Christmas. Children will monitor rubbish and litter on the yard during break and lunch times to ensure Cloonkilla N.S is a litter free zone. 

On the 7th October we celebrated National Tree Day at Cloonakilla N.S. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Trees are Good Neighbours” and it emphasises the fact that trees have an incredibly positive, good neighbourly effect on all biodiversity and that includes ourselves! As part of National Tree Day, SPAR sent out a native Wild Cherry sapling for us to plant. With the help of Gerry our school caretaker, Junior and Senior Infants planted the tree beside our outdoor classroom. One child from each of the Infant classes helped to water the tree. The Green School Committee members continue to water the tree each week.  Climate change has been a topic for discussion in many classes.  In the New Year the Green Schools Committee will examine ways in which we, in Cloonakilla, can make a positive contribution to climate change.


It appears that Christmas in school will be restricted again this year. However, please be assured that we will do our best to provide an alternative experience for our pupils within these confines. Further details will be provided closer to the time.

Non-Uniform Day

Thank you for your response to Non-Uniform Day which raised €665.  All funds raised will go towards purchase of new laptop for senior classes. All fundraising this year will focus on upgrading laptops for senior classes. If you are aware of any local companies who may be in a position to donate second hand laptops to our school we would be more than grateful to hear from them.


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.

Active Schools News

Last month saw us raise our first ever Active Schools Flag at Cloonakilla NS. We were delighted to do so after working on it since September 2018. It was a great occasion with Aoife O’Rourke, our Roscommon Olympian joining us to raise the flag. Every pupil had the opportunity to run with an Olympian on our Active Schools Walkway. Afterwards, children from the senior classes held a very interesting questions and answers session with Aoife. She is an inspirational role

model for us all. We thank her most sincerely for giving up her afternoon to be with us.  Ms Cunniffe will establish a new Active Schools Committee this month. All children from 1st-5th (inclusive) can put pen to paper to tell us why they deserve to be members of the next committee. The chosen children will be announced on Friday November 19th. If there are any parents interested in Active Flag activities in our school, please contact Ms Cunniffe by emailing

Gaelic Coaching

Gaelic coaching commenced in September with Ollie Lennon.  5th & 6th classes are taking part and learning lots of new skills.

Tennis Coaching

Josh Mc Dermott and his co-partner Jeremy have been sharing their tennis skills with us in the last few weeks. Each class grouping received 4 weeks coaching. A sincere word of thanks to both the Parents’ Association and the BOM for funding the project. It was a most enjoyable experience for all students.

Galway Hurler to Visit Cloonakilla

Cloonakilla will welcome renowned Galway hurler Joe Canning to our school later this term! We were lucky enough to win a coaching session with Joe through a competition. We look forward to this memorable event.

The Amber Flag

Last month also saw us raise our 2nd Amber flag. We were delighted to welcome Gerard Tiernan from Pieta House to help us raise this flag. The Amber Flag programme in the school promotes positive mental health and wellbeing. A new committee of senior pupils (5th and 6th classes) will be elected in November and the programme will run until April.  

Children will soon be asked to nominate classmates they feel would be suitable for this year’s committee. Mrs Cronolly will give the classes details on this in the coming weeks.  Last year’s Amber Flag activities can be viewed on the school website.

Lunch Bag Company

The Lunch Bag Company are interested in resuming their service to our school.  For those of you not familiar with service provided please click link While I have reservations about resuming this service during the current pandemic I feel parents should ultimately make this decision.  To that end you will be balloted by the class teacher via SeeSaw at the end of the month to determine your interest in the project.

Parents’ Association

Following this year’s AGM the PA committee is:

Chairperson: Clare Lennon, Vice Chairperson: Kevin Murray

Secretary: Jolene Cummins, Vice Secretary: Christina Melican

Treasurer: Laura Carroll, Vice Treasurer: Catherine Hogan

I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the wonderful work throughout the year.

Yours sincerely,

Mary O’Rourke,