Principal's Address to the Parents' Association AGM- February 2022
Firstly, thank you inviting me and for then changing the date due to my being unwell.
The last 2 and half years have been full of big changes and big challenges. Initially I was barely in the door before Covid struck. It brought with it complete unknowns and unprecedented challenges. We all delt with the first school closure as best as we could. Like everywhere were caught unawares with little or no guidance and we did the best we could at the time. Most importantly, we learned from our failings so that when we faced a second closure after Christmas last year, we were much better prepared on all fronts. Long established daily school routines needed to be changed and adapted in line with department of education and public health guidelines and thanks to the pupils, parents and staff we managed. This would have been a difficult experience in and of itself but throw in the retirement of two very long serving, experienced and dedicated teachers in Mr. Kirwan and Ms. O’ Connor and it certainly added to the challenges. Just as the Covid closures hit, the executive of the Parents’ Association also changed. Having to take on the role at this time was far from ideal but thanks to the parents’ association we still provided a lot for the pupils of the school and their families. I want to pay tribute to the outgoing chairperson, Niamh. Thanks to your efforts we now have 25 ipads that are used daily by all pupils, 15 new laptops taking the number of laptops available to pupils to over 25. We have fantastic nets at the back of our goals which have made a big difference to the pupils at break times and lunchtimes. We have had speakers into the pupils on internet safety and cyber bullying as well as workshops on resilience. Probably the biggest success, thanks to the parents’ association, came from the Accelerated Reading programme which was funded by them and has led to an overall improvement in pupils not only reading standards but, more importantly, their love of and enthusiasm for reading. To achieve all these things during such tumultuous times is a credit to you all and on behalf of the pupils and staff of the school I thank you.
With all the challenges we had during this time we also found some adaptations that worked very well. Our digital learning opportunities for pupils has improved massively. Phone call parent teacher meetings had 100% attendance and meant that parents didn’t have to take time off work to attend or give up their evening while follow up meetings for those who wanted them could be accommodated. Aladdin Connect has streamlined and simplified communication and payments. Our weekly school assembly videos have proved to be very popular with the pupils and have been a fantastic way to let everyone know what has been happening in the school each week. Finally, we established our Special Class for pupils with ASD which has meant that pupils with these additional needs from our community do not need to travel for their primary education and instead can have their primary school experience with their peers.
Continuing on from our ASD class, we have been sanctioned a second ASD class to open in September 2023. The school have secured funding on €1.7m for a two class, specifically designed extension which is to include all an weather playing area to compensate for the playing area that will be used for the build. Further updates will be given regularly to the school community as the project develops. In the shorter term, school life is slowly beginning to get back to normal. Cuman na mBunscol is due to start back as will some training after school. Club Spraoi will be welcomed back and plans for after school Irish music lessons are in place. School tours are booked for June and by this time next month 6th class will have had their confirmation and 2nd class will be in full swing preparing for their 1st Communion and Reconciliation. Currently, 3rd to 6th classes have ukulele lessons with the younger classes having different music lessons and after Easter all pupils from 3rd to 6th will be getting Spanish lessons at no cost after we acquired a place on a pilot project for modern languages in primary school.
Going forward with the parents’ association I believe I need to provide better communication. I intend to have monthly meetings with the executive of the PA and for termly meetings to take place between the PA executive and the BOM executive. A member of the school’s leadership team will attend regular PA meetings and an annual end of school year meeting to determine priorities for the following school year will be held. I will be looking for some members of the PA to interact with me directly on draft policies and policy reviews. Currently draft policies and ratified policies are on the school website for input but more interaction can be achieved. Finally I would encourage a possible monthly coffee morning for all parents to take place in the school halla to possibly increase the number of people who actively engage with the PA. These are just some ideas and I am open to hearing more and better ideas.
Challenges bring opportunities and we have a real opportunity to drive things on together. With the proposed building of new houses in the locality, new facilities and constructions in the school we have a real chance to make the school even more of a focal point for the community and to go from strength to strength together.
Please Click on the Link Below for the Latest Newsletter from the Parents’ Association
Congratulations to the winners of our Christmas raffle and many thanks to everyone who supported so generously!
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CHRISTMAS RAFFLE. GREAT PRIZES TO BE WON AND ALL PROCEEDS ARE GOING TOWARDS IMPROVING THE SPORTING EQUIPMENT OF THE SCHOOL FOR THE PUPILS!
The Parents Association in Scoil Íde Naofa is the structure through which parents/guardians in our school work together for the best possible education outcome for their children. The Education Act 1998 sets down the role of the Parents Association.
The Parents Association works with the principal, staff and the Board of Management to build effective partnership of home and school. Educational research on the involvement of parents in school, shows that children achieve higher levels, when home and school work together.
The Parents Association can advise the principal and the B.O.M of any matter relevant to the pupils in the school.
It is important to note that the Parents Association is not a forum for complaints against teachers or fellow parents.
We are lucky to have an active Parents association in Scoil Íde Naofa. Our Parents association are now affiliated to the National Parents Council, and supports the work of the school in a number of practical ways.
- Policy formulation and review
- Health and safety
- Fund raising
- Support for school occasions such as Sacraments
- Providing guest speakers
- Involvement in induction meetings
- Provision of teaching aids and resources
The committee meets in the school on 5-6 occasions during the year. The A.G.M is held in October each year. It is important to note that all parents are members of the Parents Association and the officers are elected at the AGM.
The current officers of our Parents Association are as follows
Niamh Lawlor (Chairperson)
Catherine O’ Driscoll (Secretary)
Maria Flynn (Treasurer)