2nd October 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
It’s “October” and I feel we’ve reached a mini-milestone!
St Francis’ Primary School has survived September without major incident linked to Covid, however as the weeks have passed, we are increasingly aware of the rising numbers of families who are isolating due to Covid in the family home or through contact tracing. We pray that all who get this virus get the mildest form and return to good health quickly. I continue to encourage all adults in the school grounds at drop off and pick up to continue to wear a mask for everyone’s health and safety and thank you all for doing so.
I thank all families for their open and honest communications and safe practices in keeping children at home when testing has been required in the household. Your transparency is key in keeping us all safe.
The general feedback regarding our new morning one-way walking system and the morning “drive and drop” has been positive. However, we are noticing later arrivals with an increasing number of families and this is having a negative impact on the efficiency of the drive and drop. I would encourage all families that need an earlier drop off time to use it, while those who are not constrained to times follow these indicated times on alternate weeks
Therefore, starting Monday 5th October family names that begin with:
A - Ma please arrive for 8:45
Mc - Z please arrive at 8:55
This arrangement will swap each week.
Please take note; the drop off time is narrowing from 8:45am to 9:10am. The gates will close promptly at 9:10am each morning. I would encourage more families to use the drive and drop system in school. I also apologise to families with younger children as we cannot assist with onsite. The nursery timings differ slightly and they have been communicated to those parents from our Nursery Unit. Those timings are 8:50am-1:20pm or 9:00am-1:30pm.
We had a bit of catch up to do in the final evenings of August celebrating Confirmation with our outgoing Primary 7 pupils. Then, each Sunday in September, we celebrated First Holy Communion with our new Primary 5 pupils. Each family graciously accepted the stringent rules, in the knowledge we were trying to keep them all safe, but it didn’t deter from the celebration of these beautiful sacraments. Many families commented positively on the experience. I want to formally thank Fr. Wright and Fr. Fitzpatrick for keeping the focus on our beautiful boys and girls, and to all the St. Paul’s Parish staff, especially Fionnuala the sacristan, and volunteers in assisting us on each of the special days and nights. Thank you.
Parental views on Changes/Additions to PE Kit
As the wearing of school uniform is currently relaxed for PE days, and to assist with afterschool activities outside of school, I will be sending out a link to all parents to ascertain your views on adding a “Training Kit” to the PE uniform which would potentially include a long sleeved sports top (¼ zip or hoodie) with track bottoms. A survey is currently being developed to allow you to have your say on this issue and on potential options for younger and older children. I am aware that this will be a new cost to families, but I don’t envisage Covid disappearing soon, so I see good use and potential in this initiative. I would encourage all families to complete the survey when we send out the link via text next week.
You can expect teachers to be in contact with you through SeeSaw over the next day or two with an explanation of how homework will “look” over the next month. Each year group team have developed a homework plan that will clearly indicate the nightly/weekly homework routine.
Parent Teacher Meetings
This year PT meetings will take place via telephone. This is the advised procedure in recent guidance from Department of Education. Over the next week or so you will be informed of a time slot. Most calls will take place on Friday 23rd October, as this is the day set aside for PT meetings, however there are some exceptions, and your child(ren)'s teacher will communicate their options to you. Each call will last no more than 10 minutes, so please be mindful of the planned appointments. If you require further discussion this will be noted and addressed after the mid-term break. Additional arrangements will be made for those parents needing the help of an interpreter
Congratulations (and goodbye)
Big congratulations to Mrs Lagan, who has been successful in a recent interview and will be moving on to be Principal of St. Finlough’s after the midterm break. She will be missed by us all in St. Francis’ Primary School. We wish her all the best in her new job and new role. Ms Camporese will be taking over the role of Primary 4 teacher in November.
Only three more full weeks until our first mid-term break of the year. The children’s last day of school will be Thursday 22nd October and they will return on Monday 2nd November.
Between now and then there’s still lots to do and learn.
Stay safe and healthy!