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