Newsletter May 2023

Dear Parents,

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

Sacraments of Confirmation & First Holy Communion

We congratulate our 6th class pupils who received the Sacrament of Confirmation on March 30th. A special word of thanks to the pupils from 4th& 5th classes who sang so beautifully on the day!

2nd class will celebrate the Sacrament of First Holy Communion on May 13th in Ss Peter & Paul’s Church, Athlone @11am.  

It is very important that all children are in their seats by 10.45am.  Each family will have a seat that will be labelled with their name.  First Communion Child must be seated at the edge of the seat at the middle aisle. 

Please do not take any photos during the Mass as there will be an opportunity to do this when the Mass has ended.   You are then free to photograph.  4th – 6th classes will provide the choir on the day.

The Parents Association invite you to the school after Mass for refreshments in the school hall. 

School Tours

School tours have been organized as follows:

Junior Infants: Glendeer Pet Farm & Jump for Joy on Tuesday 20th June

Senior Infants: Glendeer Pet Farm & Jump for Joy on Wednesday 21st June

1st Class: Turoe Pet Farm on Friday, 16th June

2nd & 3rd Classes: Let’s Go, TUS, Athlone on Tuesday, 13th June

4th Class: Let’s Go, TUS, Athlone on Wednesday, 14th June

5th & 6th Classes: Portlick Adventure Centre, Friday, 9th June

Class teachers will provide you with exact details closer to the time.  Children with medical needs will be accompanied by a staff member who is responsible for the administration of medicines.

Dates for your Diary

First Communion: Saturday, May 13th at 11.00am

School Tours as above

May 19th: In-service training.  School closes at 12.30 pm

June Bank Holiday: School closed Friday June 2nd to Tuesday 6th.  Re-opens on Wednesday 7th.

Summer holidays: School closes on Tuesday 27th at 12 noon

Teaching & Learning

At present we are in the process of administering standardised spelling, reading and maths tests. Test results will be analysed by the Special Education Needs (S.E.N.) team in conjunction with class teachers and myself to inform curriculum planning and our new School Improvement Plan for 2023-2026.  In preparation for this plan, teachers will attend an In-Service Planning session on Friday, May 19th.  School will close at 12.30pm for all pupils on that day. A new spelling programme will be introduced for 2nd – 6th classes in September. This programme “Spellings for Me” has already been trialled in 2nd and 5th classes.  Following feedback from teachers and pupils we will now implement this programme in the above classes.

School Reports will be issued on June 15th  via Aladdin Connect.  If you require a hard copy of the report please contact the school office.

Summer Programme 2023

We are offering a school based Summer Provision Programme commencing June 28th – 11th July for students with

complex and special educational needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage.  Mr Ō’ hŌgain has been appointed as Organiser.  A letter pertaining to this programme has been sent to eligible students.  It is important that parents who have received this letter respond whether their children are available to take part or not as places in the programme are limited.  The theme of the programme is “Building Confidence and Connections” and will build upon the children’s work with their school support teachers during the school year.


Sports Day

Sports Day will be held over 2 days in the next few weeks when the weather is suitable. You will be informed of an exact date nearer the time.

Gaelic Football

5th / 6th class boys and girls represented Cloonakilla NS in a Gaelic football blitz which took place in Clann na nGael pitch on April 25th. Both teams played against Summerhill NS, Ballybay NS & Cornafulla NS. It was an excellent day out with our teams marginally losing out on a place in the county finals. Both teams displayed terrific skills, team work and stamina. They should be very proud of themselves and should continue their training with Clann na nGael during the summer months.

Alan Fitzpatrick (Clann na nGael) continues Gaelic training on Wednesdays with a new block beginning at the end of May. He is focussing on fundamental movement skills this term.

Cycle Safely

6th classes engaged in a very worthwhile 5 week programme organised by Roscommon Sports Partnership.  Under the guidance of the coaches they learned lots of new skills regarding cycling and bicycle care.  They had an opportunity to practise their new skills in the school environment.  All agreed it was a very valuable workshop and it is great to see some of our 6th class students cycling to and from school each day.  Please remind them to wear their helmets at all times as their safety is our primary concern.

Tag Rugby

Buccaneers Rugby club have provided coaching in tag rugby throughout the year. 3rd class attended a tag rugby blitz in the club recently. They played games against other local schools and had an opportunity to showcase their skills on the day.  It was a great day out and all students look forward to continuing tag rugby with Conor next year.


5th and 6th class boys travelled to Creggs Astro turf facilities to compete in the FAI Primary School 5’s competition. They played four challenging games against St Paul’s NS, St Patrick’s BNS, Whitehall NS and Rooskey NS. Although they were unsuccessful in qualifying for the next round, they played some great soccer and did us all proud. Well done boys!  Our girls soccer team will take part in a local 1 day blitz in June.

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 April 24-28th. There were activities scheduled each day. A skipathon, yoga & mindfulness, running, basketball and penalty shootouts 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 with their class teacher.

Active style homework was assigned to all pupils. This was monitored and recorded by each child to emphasise their daily activity during the week. Children who returned their forms were entered into a raffle to win a homework pass and medal. Well done to all who participated and also to our lucky winners from each class.

A special word of thanks to Martin Ward from Na Fianna Martial Arts School, Ashling Fennell from Attitude Dance and Stage School and Charlene from Roscommon Sports Partnership who gave up their time to share their expertise with the students of Cloonakilla. They all really enjoyed their time with the coaches.

Junior Entrepreneur Programme – J.E.P Showcase Day

This term, our 5th and 6th class students have been working hard as entrepreneurs, preparing, marketing and advertising their products.  The products on offer were:  Ooblies – stress balls made with oobleck,  Chance the Hanz – a lucky dip with an array of fidgets and stationary,  Active snap – a simple card game designed to promote physical activity and Crystal Clear – a beautiful range of handmade crystal bracelets.

On Thursday May 4th we held our Showcase Day where our junior entrepreneurs sold their products to pupils, staff and parents.  

Each group were very successful and made significant profits after all of their loans had been repaid to the Dragons. The children will spend their hard earned profits on class trips and will make donations to charities. Thank you to all who supported our Showcase Day. 

STEAM Education

5th Class pupils in Ms Cunniffe’s and Ms Dowling’s classes are participating in a 10 week programme with Teleflex, Athlone in association with STEAM.

STEAM aims to develop creative and critical thinking, using hands-on, fun and challenging activities. The pupils have been learning about infrastructure, process engineering, simple machines, transport, environmental and electronic engineering. They are also partaking in experiments and activities to consolidate their learning throughout the highly enjoyable and engaging programme.

Green Schools

Well done to the Green Schools Committee who continue to work hard and remind all the classes about our themes and activities ensuring our school is a green space.

Energy: We are continuing to save energy and promote awareness about saving energy in our school. Each class have “power savers”, these children remind teachers to turn off all appliances and lights when leaving the classroom. Please check out the following website for home energy saving tips.

     Designed by Georgia Harney and Edie Mullally (5th Class)

Litter & Waste/Water: Litter picking has commenced in 2nd class. They are doing a fantastic job keeping our yard litter free every lunch time! 2nd and 3rd classes took part in An Taisce`s National Spring Clean in April. This is Ireland’s nationwide anti-litter campaign. Well done to all involved.

Travel: Our WOW days (Walk to school on Wednesdays) started last week May 3rd. Well done to everyone who took part. The WOW days will run every Wednesday for the month of May. We will meet at The Mill car park at 8:50am. Juniors – 2nd Class children need to be accompanied by parent/guardian. Please remember to wear your hi-vis jacket. By walking to school we reduce the amount of cars on the roads which reduces emissions and this helps our environment which is all part of our Green Schools Programme.

Biodiversity: Our school “Bug Hotel” has now been completed and is situated in our bee garden/biodiversity area at the front of our school. Well done to our caretaker, the Green Schools Committee and 2nd Classes who helped complete this biodiversity project. This will provide a home forlots of different types of mini beasts and insects. Mini beasts can then use the bug hotel as a safe space to shelter, lay their eggs, raise their young, and seek refuge from predators. All classes will watch a video about the importance of bug hotels and will visit the biodiversity area with their teachers this month. Our biodiversity area will also be entered into a sustainability project competition in the coming weeks.

Global Citizenship and Marine Environment: Surveys relating to marine environment have been conducted in 4th and 5th classes.

Irish Sign Language Programme in 5th & 6th Classes

5th and 6th classes have commenced an Irish Sign Language Programme (I.S.L.) with tutor Louise Deane. These classes and accompanying resources have been funded by the Department of Education through the Primary Languages Sampler initiative. The classes take place every Friday and will continue right up to the summer break. The children learned French last year, and this year have chosen I.S.L. as their preferred language.

 I.S.L. is the first language of 5000 deaf people in Ireland and approximately 40,000 people in general will communicate using I.S.L. (family, friends, colleagues, etc.).  It is a visual and spatial language with its own distinct grammar and uses the hands, the face and body. Irish Sign Language is unique to Ireland. The children have really been enjoying these lessons and have learned so much already.


Ms Jessica Kilmartin has tendered her resignation from Cloonakilla NS to the Board of Management. Jessica is a past pupil of our school and has taught here for 4 years. She was a dedicated and much valued member of our staff. I would like to wish her every happiness for the future.

Book Rental Scheme

Under the new Free Primary Schoolbooks Scheme announced by Minister of Education Norma Foley, parents will no longer be required to make any contribution towards the cost of schoolbooks, including the cost of any workbooks and copies from September 2023. This package will relieve some of the financial burden facing parents with Back-To –School costs. A separate email will issue shortly outlining the details of the scheme.

6th Class Graduation

6th class graduation ceremony will be held in the school on Monday, June 26th @ 10.30am. Parents will be invited to attend. I am very aware that our time with 6th class is coming to an end and I hope that these last few weeks will be a happy and contented period for them. Transition is never easy and often we do not appreciate this. Please continue to support them as they navigate this next phase in their lives. I would like to commend our 6th class pupils for their excellent behaviour all year. They have proved worthy role models for the rest of our pupils.

Sensory Garden

Work on our school sensory garden is near completion.  Children in 5th class have painted tree trunks and we are assembling as “Kandinsky” butterflies and caterpillars.  Over the coming weeks we will plant our vegetable garden.  Children are enjoying the garden space and it’s proving to be a very useful addition to our outdoor area. 

New Junior Infant Enrolment

Our Junior Infant Enrolment afternoons will be held on June 7th& 8th. An information video detailing all relevant school information will be emailed in advance and parents will be informed of their exact day/time.  We look forward to welcoming them to our beautiful school.  


Mary O’Rourke,


February Newsletter 2023

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 23rd-27th. Ms Kelly and I opened with a prayer service for 3rd-6th classes and Ms Kelly introduced the programme each morning with a thought for the day. All classes partook in various activities which focused on the Catholic ethos which permeates our school. Children were afforded an opportunity to reflect on the theme for this week which was “Walking Together in Faith and Love”.  2nd & 6th classes 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.

Dates for your Diary

Non Uniform Day: Thursday, March 16th

First Confessions: Monday, March 13th

The Sacrament of Confirmation: Thursday, March 30th @ 11.00am

First Holy Communion: Saturday, May 13th @11am

School Closures

Midterm break: Thursday & Friday 16th & 17thFebruary

St Patricks Day: Friday 17th March

March, Monday 20th: Staff In-service Planning Day

Easter Holidays: Monday, 3rd April to Friday, 14th April

Sacramental Preparations

First Confession

First Confessions will be held in the school on Monday, March 13th during the school day.  Preparation for First Confessions will commence in school after the midterm break. We thank you for your support and participation.  All Cloonakilla NS candidates for First Holy Communion and their families are invited to join Mass on Saturday February 18th at 6.30pm in Ss. Peter and Paul’s Church.


In preparation for Confirmation 6th class pupils have completed a powerpoint presentation explaining the significance of their chosen name.

School Self Evaluation

School Self Evaluation for 2022/23 is a review year where we are required to:

  • Use the SSE Process to evaluate the impact of Covid 19 on our pupils
  • Put in place a Wellbeing Programme

Parent Questionnaires have been distributed for the above and we thank you for your responses which were insightful and meaningful. They will inform our planning going forward.

We continue to focus on improving fluency and comprehension in reading and on improving spelling attainment in the school. We have introduced 2 new spelling approaches in focus classes this year and their success will be evaluated at the end of this school year.

A new School Improvement Plan 2023-26 will be devised in Term 3.

Student Council

The Student Council have worked extremely hard organising our Christmas raffle. They sourced prizes and received donations from local businesses who were so supportive and generous with their contributions.  This was very much appreciated. They raised €1840 in total.

The money raised went towards IT equipment for the school and a generous donation went towards supporting St Vincent De Paul as a recognition of the remarkable work that they do to support people in need. The cheque was presented to Bernie Stapleton who informed the Student Council about the outstanding work that St Vincent De Paul do on a daily basis and she assured the children that their donation would go a long way towards helping families at that difficult time of year.

The Student Council will continue to be the voice of all the students in the school, as they check in regularly with the classes and take on board suggestions placed in the suggestion boxes. They are conscientious students and continuously strive to make the school a place where every student feels safe and valued.

R.S.E. Programme

4th/5th/6th classes will attend a “Growing Up” Powerpoint Presentation presented by Ms. Kiely on week beginning March 20th. 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 Junior 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 in Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics)

6th Class pupils in Mrs Cronolly’s and Ms Connaughton’s classes have completed their 6 week programme with Esdras Passos (ARM Pharmaceuticals) who is a parent in the school. The pupils learned about Wellbeing, Health and Safety, Caring for the Environment, Green Energy, Light and Reflections and Carbon-Monoxide safety. They also partook in experiments and activities to consolidate their learning throughout the highly enjoyable and engaging programme. Mr Ō’hŌgáin’s class will participate in the programme this term.  5th Class pupils will also have the opportunity to engage in STEAM activities as part of the ‘Engineering in a Box’ programme presented by employees from Teleflex this term. We would like to thank Esdras, ARM and Teleflex for their generous contributions to learning at Cloonakilla NS.

World Book Day                                                                             

World Book Day will be celebrated on Thursday, March 2nd.  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.                                                                                                                

Credit Union Schools’ Quiz

The annual Credit Union Schools’ Quiz was held in T.U.S. on Sunday January 29th. Cloonakilla entered 6 teams, 3 in the U-11 category and 3 in the U-13 category. Well done to all those who took part on the day. Special congratulations to the U-11 team of Nicole Daly, Senan Moran, Ava Cooney and Edie Mullally who came 2nd in their age category and to the U-13 team of Ruth Waldron, Thomas Kinneavy, Evan Mimnagh O’Reilly and Niall O’Donohue who were beaten in a tie break by Ballybay NS in their category. Sincere thanks to the teachers who prepared them for the quiz and to Mr Ō’hŌgáin for accompanying them at the quiz.


We have recently formed a “Tech Team” at Cloonakilla. This team is comprised of two pupils from each class in the senior classes. They help with the management, distribution and charging of our laptops and ipads. This ensures that our “Spellings for Me” and “Lexia” programmes run smoothly in the relevant classes. The “Tech Team” meet regularly to discuss tips for computer etiquette within our school.

5th and 6th classes have been using their I.C.T. skills during the Junior Entrepreneur Programme. They have used Microsoft Word to create persuasive posters for their products as well as market research surveys and questionnaires. 6th class also compiled Powerpoints to assist them in their presentations to the Dragons’ Den.

A sincere thank you to Sandeep Artham (parent) who organised 10 refurbished laptops for our school from Computer Aid in London. We are so grateful to him for this kind gesture. These laptops will help us develop our skills further in the ever changing world of technology.



Our school has registered for the Spar FAI Primary School 5’s Programme. We will enter one boys and one girls team and will choose a panel from 4th – 6th classes in the coming weeks.


GAA coaching continues each Wednesday with Alan Fitzpatrick from Clann na nGael. He is currently coaching Junior & Senior Infants and 4th classes. Other classes will receive coaching in the coming months.

6th class girls represented Cloonakilla NS in a Gaelic football blitz which took place in Johnstown pitch on February 8th. The girls played three games in total against Cornafulla NS, Summerhill NS and Ardkeenan/ Clonown NS. The girls showed great skill and stamina and were winners in all 3 games. Well done to all involved!

Tag Rugby;

Buccaneers Rugby Club have been coaching tag rugby to 3rd, 5th and 6th classes for the last 4 weeks. They are coming back to complete a taster session for younger classes after the mid-term break.

Active Schools’ Flag

As part of our “Champions League Campaign” at Cloonakilla all classes recently participated in a competition to complete the maximum number of active breaks over a three week period. One junior class was teamed with a senior class. In total we completed over 400 active breaks. The children thoroughly enjoyed the campaign and increased levels of energy and enthusiasm were evident afterwards.

Well done to Ms McDermott’s Junior Infants and Mrs Cronolly/ Ms Connaughton’s 6th classes who were the overall winners. They won a trophy for their classroom and a homework pass each.

A huge welcome to the two new members of our Active Schools Committee. Danny and Zoe from 1st class have recently joined the committee and have been very helpful with new ideas.

Amber Flag

The Amber Flag Committee’s most recent meeting focused on our school Wellbeing Survey. Pupils from the Amber Flag committee in 4th to 6th classes formed the focus group for the student survey and shared their views and suggestions about wellbeing through the lens of the pupil in Cloonakilla NS. Parents and staff were asked to complete questionnaires about their views and experiences of wellbeing at our school. The results of all surveys and focus group discussions are being collated and your suggestions and comments are being taken on board. We value and appreciate the feedback provided by all stakeholders in our school community and thank you most sincerely for taking the time to contribute to our School Self-Evaluation of Wellbeing process. The results and recommendations will be communicated to the school community shortly. The wellbeing of our pupils and staff is a top priority at Cloonakilla and we were delighted with the feedback received. Thank you.

Green Schools’ Committee

Well done to the Green Schools’ Committee who continue to work hard and remind all the classes about our themes and activities ensuring our school is a green space.

Green Schools Committee

 Energy: We are continuing to save energy and promote awareness about saving energy in our school. Each class has “power savers”, these children remind teachers to turn off all appliances and lights when leaving the classroom. Well done to our saving energy competition winners in 6th class: Mya O’ Toole, Maja Wasilek, Odhran Doherty, John Duignan, Tadgh Rohan, Kenny Perkin, Niall O Donohue and Cody Berry. The winning poem and rap will be seen by all classes this month.

Litter & Waste/Water: Litter picking has commenced in 2nd class. They are doing a fantastic job keeping our yard litter free every lunch time! The Green Schools’ Committee encourage and remind all pupils to bring rubbish home from their lunches to minimise waste in our school.  All classes are encouraged to be mindful about recycling, reducing waste and saving water by turning off taps not only in school but at home too.

Travel: In January Nicola Walsh, from the Road Safety Authority Ireland visited our school and carried out road safety workshops with every class. The workshops revised road safety in general, taking care walking and cycling to school, crossing the road at our school and the importance of wearing safety gear. All children walking or cycling to school should please wear a hi-vis jacket.

                                                                                                                                                                               The Green Schools Committee are currently planning for our WOW days (Walk to school on  Wednesdays). The WOW days will take place in May. Information will be sent out via text in April.

Biodiversity: Please keep an eye out on our school grounds over the next few weeks for “Cloonakilla’s Bug Hotel”! 2nd Classes and the Green Schools Committee will fill the inside of the hotel with moss, stones, wood and grass. This will provide a home forlots of different types of mini beasts and insects such as ladybirds, bees, spiders and woodlice. Mini beasts can then use the bug hotel as a safe space to shelter, lay their eggs, raise their young, and seek refuge from predators.

Global Citizenship and Marine Environment: All classes will watch an introductory video on our new theme Marine Environment this month to inform everyone about the importance of protecting marine environment.

Grandparents Day

On the 25th January 2023, 5th Class celebrated Grandparents Day as part of Catholic Schools’  Week. Grandparents were invited to attend an in-class event in both Ms Dowling’s and Ms Cunniffe’s classrooms. Here, grandparents and students engaged in a prayer service to mark Catholic Schools Week. This was followed by a question and answer session where pupils had an opportunity to ask questions about what school and childhood was like for their grandparents. They were fascinated by the responses! Grandparents listened to a recitation and watch 5th class perform the ‘La Vinca’ dance. Some grandparents even joined in! Afterwards, they enjoyed refreshments and a chat down in the hall. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and it was wonderful to see all the students beaming from ear to ear when their grandparents walked into the classroom.

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.  Additional work on our outdoor classroom/sensory garden area has commenced.

Non-Uniform Day

A non-uniform day will be held on Thursday, March 16th.  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 purchase of new laptops for the senior classes.

Cycle Right Programme

6th class pupils will participate in a cycling safety programme this term which will be organised by Roscommon Sports Partnership. They will learn essential safety and competency skills such as bike handling, correct use of helmets, bike safety checks and how to navigate in various road environments. They will get the opportunity to practise their new skills in the school environment.

Junior Entrepreneur Programme – J.E.P

5th and 6th class students have been busy participating in the Junior Entrepreneur Programme. This initiative provides opportunities to experience real life business learning. Successful local entrepreneurs Des Hennelly (Savoury Fare) and Robbie Connaughton (Barber Bobs) visited our school to engage in a discussion with our students, which provided invaluable insights into the running of their businesses.

Recently our students pitched their own product/service ideas to a panel of dragons and one product was selected from each classroom. The chosen products are “Crystal Clear”, “Chance The Hanz”, “Active Snap” and “The Ooblie”. The next stage will be to commence the production of these products for sale at our J.E.P. showcase day which will take place after Easter.

Spelling Bee

The Eason’s Spelling Bee county final is due to take place on March 28th in the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon. Following an in-school competition, Evan Mimnagh-Reilly from Mrs Cronolly’s 6th class emerged as our school representative. We wish Evan the best of luck in the competition.

Local history tour/History

1st Class will visit Derryglad Museum, Brideswell on Wednesday, 8th of March as part of their history programme. Here they will have an opportunity to enjoy many artefacts from the past and get a glimpse of what life was like long ago.  Teachers will furnish you with details nearer the time.

From 20th-30th March we plan on organising an exhibition of artefacts from the past in our school hall. This will afford all pupils an opportunity to learn about life in the past. If you or any of your extended family have any objects that you would like to loan us for this exhibition we would be most grateful. Please contact Maria at the school office.

Junior Infant Enrolment

Our Junior Infant Enrolment for September 2023 is complete.

Chess Club

Ms Dowling has set up an after-school chess club. This club takes place every Tuesday  for 5th and 6th Class students. There are many benefits to learning chess – it improves and develops concentration, socialisation, brain growth, mathematical skills, creativity, problem-solving abilities, memory, can-do attitude and reading.  Chess club is open to beginners, intermediate and advanced chess players. Each week the students learn about the board, the pieces and how they move best on their own and as part of a team. They also compete in chess tournaments in a fun, sociable and relaxed environment. This club will be open to more classes later in the year.

Lego Club

Lego club is back this year and has been a great success. 1st and 2nd class pupils are currently working in groups to create intricate Lego buildings, vehicles and much more. They will also use their imagination and problem solving skills to complete Lego challenges. Another 6 week block will commence in 28th February for 1st and 2nd classes.

School Photographs

County Photos will visit the school on Wednesday Feb 15th.  The photographer will revisit the school on Friday 31st March for Confirmation photograph for 6th class. The sample cards will be distributed after the mid-term break and we request that you order online by Friday, 10th of March. Orders must be made by scanning the QR code on the back of proof card or by following the instructions.   LATE ORDERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

I would like to wish you all a very enjoyable midterm break.

Kind Regards,

Mary O’Rourke,


Newsletter November 2022

Dear Parents,

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


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. For pedestrians using the side gate opposite Bannon’s shop the path here has been extended so you do not need to cross in front of traffic in the loop. Instead you are asked to remain on the path all the way around the loop to the steps.  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 the 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.  The BOM and the Parents’ Association have made submissions to Roscommon County Council in relation to the proposed traffic management plan for the area. 

Dates for your Diary

Parent-Teacher Meetings

Parent – Teacher meetings will be held on the following dates:

Monday & Tuesday Nov 21st/22nd for Junior Infants – 2nd Class 

Wednesday & Thursday Nov 23rd/24th for 3rd– 6th class.

Class teachers will be in contact with you via Aladdin Connect.

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

First Communion/Confirmation

Sacrament of Confirmation: Thursday, 30th March 2023 @11am

First Holy Communion:  Saturday, 13th May 2023 @ 11am

Enrolment forms for both sacraments have been submitted to the parish office.

Maths Week

All classes took part in Maths Week which took place from 16th-24th October.  We all recognise that Maths promotes the ability to think rationally and to analyse and solve problems. 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”.

Science Week

This week we are taking part in Science Week.  The children have been exploring, experimenting and investigating the infinite possibilities science can offer.  Science is an important part of our future, helping us to explore and understand the world around us.  The children also had the opportunity to experiment at home and they were encouraged to use

the environment around them to broaden their minds and update their skills.  A science display was held in the hall on Friday where all classes had an opportunity to display their experiments and to view the experiments conducted by other classes.

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

STEAM Education’s Introduction to Engineering is a hands-on teacher led programme designed to introduce the children to engineering in a fun, relatable way and to inspire them to think about engineering in their lives, as well as future careers. This initiative is being incorporated into a select number of primary schools. Cloonakilla N.S. is delighted to have been nominated again to participate in this initiative Ms. Connaughton’s & Mrs. Cronolly’s 6th Classes have been taking part in the ‘Energise’ STEAM programme with expert engineer Esdras Alves-Passos. This programme will run for a further 2 weeks. Mr O’hÓgain’s 6th class will also have the opportunity to participate in the programme in the coming weeks.

Internet Safety workshops

ZEEKO (Internet Safety Education) based in University College Dublin will conduct a series of workshops in our school on Monday 28th November.  We are all aware of the growing challenges young people and their parents face around online gaming, inappropriate content, cyberbullying and fake news. Zeeko’s resources equip children, teachers and parents with the knowledge to ensure their online behaviours protect them from the negative impacts of the internet and technology, allowing them to benefit from the advantages. The workshops will be presented to 3rd-6th classes and will be age appropriate. There will be a workshop for teachers after school and one for parents online from 7pm-8.00pm.  Parents can access the talk through the following link  This is open to all parents and I would strongly urge you to attend as this is an area that poses a huge challenge to all parents at different stages of your child’s development.

Student Council

A new Student Council has been set up in our school comprising of elected representatives from the 6th class pupils. 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 organised nets for the goalposts and a Halloween Bake Sale which was a huge success and raised €1600.  The committee is currently organising a Christmas raffle.  They have also distributed suggestion boxes in all classes and are currently assessing some of the more viable suggestions made.

I look forward to working with the Student Council throughout the year.

Student Council Members: Mya O’Toole, Abbie Duignan, Chloe O’Callaghan, Carley Quain, Sean Collins, Evan Mimnagh-Reilly & Aoife Noone.

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.  Mrs McCabe is our Reading Recovery Teacher.  We appreciate the ongoing support of parents which adds to the success of all these initiatives.  Under The National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) 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. This year we are focussing on Spelling. A number of classes are using an alternative spelling programme and we continue to focus on spelling in all classes using

the learning outcomes of the New Primary Language Curriculum. In order to improve reading levels throughout the school we continue to use Literacy Lift Off Programme (Senior Infants & 1st class) and Guided Reading in all classes.

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 will also be working on the development of a Wellbeing Policy Statement for our school in term 2.

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.

1st & 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.

Buddy Programme

Cloonakilla operates a Buddy Programme for the first term each year.   A rota is formed so that 6th class children can assist our new junior infants in managing the playground.  They ensure that the younger children learn to play with their classmates and join in games.  Each 6th class volunteer follows the Buddy Guidelines which are outlined clearly at the start of the term.

Green Schools

The Green Schools Committee has been working very hard over the past two months, reminding all the classes about our themes and activities ensuring our school is a green space. Our Greens Schools Noticeboard displays activities and events for the coming month.

Litter & Waste/Water: Litter picking has commenced in 2nd class. They are doing a fantastic job keeping our yard litter free! We encourage all pupils to bring rubbish home from their lunches to keep our waste in our school at a minimum. All classes are encouraged to be mindful about recycling, reducing waste and saving water by turning off taps not only in school but at home too.

Biodiversity: Our “Bee Garden” was beautiful over the summer months. All the wildflowers bloomed and these flowers provided food for bees which helped them survive. In November, our caretaker and the Green Schools Committee will cut and spread the seeds of the wildflowers over the area before clearing up the garden in preparation for next year.

Travel: Our local community Garda visited our school in October and talked to all the children about road safety under our green school’s travel theme.

Energy: In October our focus for the month was on saving energy. This is a hot topic at present!  We had a “Switch it Off” month in our school. Children not only learned about saving energy in school but also saving energy at home! Classes learnt about energy and the importance of turning off appliances. Each class teacher picked power savers to turn off all power when leaving the classroom. The Green Schools Committee ran energy competitions in the senior classes to promote saving energy in our school. 5th classes entered the saving energy mascot competition and 6th classes entered the saving energy rap/poem competition. Ciaran Hussey from Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) visited 1st and 2nd classes and conducted energy workshops. Please see the Winter Ready table below to know the average cost of popular household appliances on your electricity bill. By reducing use you are not only lowering your utility bill but also protecting the environment.

The Green Schools Committee will be applying for our new Green Flag, Global Citizenship and Marine Environment in November.


At present it appears that we will be able to celebrate Christmas without too many Covid 19 restrictions this year.

Consequently, we plan to hold a Christmas concert for all classes. Each class year will combine for this event.

4th, 5th& & 6th classes will hold a Carol service. 6th class will have some input in this carol service but they will hold a separate performance at the end of the school year. All concerts will be held during the school day.

Concerts will be held on the following dates:

Wednesday Dec 14th: 3rd class @ 11.30am

Thursday Dec 15th: 1st class @ 11.30am and 2nd class @ 1.30pm

Friday Dec 16th: Senior Infants @ 10.00am and Junior Infants @ 11.30am

Monday Dec 19th: 4th, 5th & 6th classes Carol Service @ 11.30am

Christmas Show for Senior Infants

Senior Infants will attend a Christmas Show “Rudolph Saves Christmas” in Dean Crowe Theatre on Wednesday, December 7th.  Class teachers will furnish you with exact details.

Christmas Cards

As a fundraiser The Parents Association have organised for children to design their own Christmas cards.  The sample cards will be distributed early next week and we would request that you order online by Friday 25th November. Orders must be made by logging on to or by scanning the QR code on the back of sample card.  LATE ORDERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Musicals for 5th & 6th classes

6th class attended a fantastic production of “Grease” in the Dean Crowe Hall last week produced by Athlone Community College.  5th class will attend Colaiste Chiarain’s production of “The Pirates of Golden Island” next week.

Non-Uniform Day

Thank you for your response to Non-Uniform Day which raised €574. This money, combined with monies raised from the cake sale, will enable us to purchase 2 new laptops for the middle/senior classes. All fundraising this year will focus

on upgrading laptops.  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.  We would like to thank Alkermes, Sidero and a family donor for the donation of IT equipment.


In keeping with Cloonakilla N.S tradition, our 6th class students will receive their new personalised school hoodies in the next few weeks which they can wear in lieu of their school uniform jumpers.

Active Schools News

European Sports Day was held in September this year. We joined together as a whole school to participate in a “Take on the Teachers Challenge”. Various pupils from 6th class took on a group of teachers in a “Basketball Hoop Challenge”. The teachers were victorious on this occasion. However, the students, after a long battle, managed to redeem themselves during a “Penalty Shootout” to claim victory! It meant the whole school got a night off homework so there was great excitement!

3rd-6th classes have been busy training for cross country competitions. We were very successful in the local derby hosted by Summerhill NS. We then proceeded to Roscommon Racecourse for the county gathering to take home many medals. We were especially touched by the warm welcome and guard of honour provided by the whole school body on our arrival back to school. It was a moment to treasure for all athletes. A large group of children qualified for the Cross Country Connaught Final in Moyne, Longford. It was a challenging course but the pupils performed well and did their school proud. Following on from the athletic competitions we have now signed up to the daily mile challenge. We, as a school, have committed to run at least three times a week. We encourage all pupils to be active and to move as much as possible.

Gaelic Coaching with Clann na nGael has commenced on Wednesdays for 1st & 2nd classes until Christmas.

Senior classes enjoyed a taster session of tag rugby during October with Charlie and Conor from the Buccaneers Rugby Club.

Amber Flag at Cloonakilla NS

The Amber Flag is a nationwide programme that promotes awareness around mental health in educational institutions across the country. This is the 5th year that Cloonakilla N.S. will participate in the programme. It runs from November to April, and the Amber Flag will be awarded to successful schools in June. Children from 4th, 5th and 6th classes were

invited to submit applications if they would like to be on this year’s Amber Flag Committee to Mrs Cronolly at before Friday the 18th  November. The committee will be chosen the following week and the committee will meet regularly to plan this year’s Amber Flag events. 

Children’s Nasal Flu Vaccine

The Monksland Pharmacies have offered to come into our school and administer the Nasal Flu vaccine which is free for all children.  This is totally optional and is a service that has been made available to us.  You will be furnished with more details in the coming days.

Parents’ Association

Following this year’s AGM the PA committee is:

Chairperson: Clare Lennon, Vice Chairperson: Jenny Sherlock

Secretary: Lisa Byrne, 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, Principal