At the end of what has been an extremely difficult and stressful first half term of 2021 we hope you have all survived and are looking forward to better times ahead. I think we can all agree that online learning is difficult and sometimes challenging for children, teachers and especially parents.
We understand that everyone's household circumstances are completely different and would like to reiterate Mr Kinane's words, "it is vital that you only attempt the amount of work that you feel able and comfortable with in your own context. We ask, if possible, that you focus on the English and the Maths lessons if time is constrained in your home and even then, do of those what you can".
We would also like to remind parents when using class WhatsApp groups that it is a school platform for communication so please be mindful of current COVID guidelines. The school has also requested that we don't share Zoom meeting links via class WhatsApp groups. If you are not receiving them via email please contact your child's teacher.
We hope you all enjoy a very well deserved mid term break from online lessons.
Let's hope we will see each other again very soon at the school gates.
The PTP Committee
Thanks to everyone who so kindly donated money for the staff's Christmas gifts. Your generosity amassed €1,083. We purchased 23 gift vouchers or hampers from various local businesses spending €1,037. We had a small amount leftover to buy some refreshments for the staffroom.
The businesses that we supported were:
The PTP were delighted to purchase the following sports equipment for the school using money raised from our fundraising activities:
The kids, the staff and the parents have had so much fun for the past few weeks on Fun Fridays in the lead up to Christmas. We've had Odd Socks Day, Whacky Hair Day, Pyjama Day, Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas Hat and Hairband Day. And we think it's fair to say it has lifted everyone's spirits and given us all something fun to focus on each week. Thanks to all the fabulous kids and parents for making the effort and to our super teachers for joining in with the fun.
Check out some of the photos of our Fun Fridays sent in by our parents.
Thanks to everyone who logged onto our first PTP Zoom meeting of the school year recently. All PTP meetings will be now conducted over Zoom for the foreseeable future to keep us in line with COVID restrictions.
We wanted to share with you some of the outcomes/action points from the meeting.
1. The PTP 2020 Fundraising Raffle
You should have received an email/Aladdin message from Rory with the details of how you can purchase raffle tickets online. We encourage everyone to try to support this raffle. You can forward the link to your friends and family and encourage them to purchase tickets too. There are lots of prizes all generously donated by many local businesses and parents of GCNS pupils. If you have any questions regarding the raffle please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. School Video to Education Minister Foley
The school video that was made two weeks ago is almost finalised. The PTP would again like to give a huge thank you to Brian Durnin and Robin Murray for giving up their time to produce and shoot the video entitled "Dear Minister Foley". We would also like to thank Mr Kinane, Ms Sheekey, Mr Hughes and all the teachers for facilitating the PTP in making the video. And a special thanks to all the pupils who wrote the script and starred in the video. You are super stars. We have seen a draft of the video and it looks great.
Once this video is ready to go, we will circulate it to the parent body and ask you to post/tweet/tag it on all your social media platforms. We will include a list of the various Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts that you should tag it to.
To ensure that this video grabs the attention of Minister Foley, the Department of Education, Wicklow TDs and the media, we are putting a call out for anyone in the parent body who is involved in PR, has media connections or has a large social media following/influence. Please get in contact with the PTP committee (email@example.com) as soon as possible as we want this video to go viral so that the Minister and the DES can no longer ignore us.
3. Parent Volunteers
Rory has asked for volunteers to help supervise break times out on the yards. All volunteers must have completed the KWETB vetting process. Please note that vetting only lasts for two years. If you wish to volunteer or you need to be vetted/have your vetting updated, please contact Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. PTP AGM
The PTP AGM will take place on 10 November via Zoom. All officer rolls and general committee members are up for re-election. The officer roles are as follows:
2. Vice Chair
5. Communications Officer
There can be up to 11 General Committee Members.
We are inviting all parents/guardians to attend the AGM and encourage anyone who is thinking of joining to express your interest via email to email@example.com. We are also asking that there is at least one committee member from each class to ensure that the PTP Committee is serving the entire school population.
Finally, the gender balance on the previous committees has been very skewed towards females so we are encouraging all dads to consider coming onto the committee to rebalance it. The Committee always needs fresh faces with new/different ideas, so please do get in contact if you are even remotely interested. We welcome everyone.
5. Shoe Box Appeal for Peter McVerry Trust
We will be collecting donations to the Peter McVerry Christmas Shoe Box Appeal once again this year. It will be a little different this time but you might hold onto any shoe boxes that you have and we will be in touch after the midterm break to provide you with further information.
6. Clothing Donations
Due to Covid 19 we are unable to go ahead with the www.bag2school.ie clothing recycling drive at the moment.
7. Name Change of the Parent Teacher Partnership "PTP"
It was suggested at the last PTP meeting that we change our name to Parents Association (PA) or to Parent Teacher Association (PTA) given that either of those options are more universally used and recognised. We will do a poll to gauge whether you want to change it and if so, your preference for a new name. We will present the results at the AGM.
We are now facing into six weeks of level 5 but the PTP will continue to work with and support our wonderful school. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We hope you are all keeping safe and well during this difficult time. We are aware that some class groups are sharing information about different activities and websites which are both fun and educational for keeping kids entertained. So if come across anything interesting that works for you and your children it might be worth sharing on your class WhatsApp group.
Meeting with KWETB
At present we will not be able pursue a meeting with the KWETB due to social distancing and current advice around mass gatherings. However, the PTP does expect that the KWETB will address our concerns and provide us with further information in the coming weeks. We will continue to follow up with them and if we have any updates we will communicate them back to you.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, please do send our letter into the DES to ensure that the pressure is kept on them.
Annual Table Quiz Postponed
We also have to postpone this years’ Table Quiz. We will wait for things to start returning to normal before we confirm another date. The raffle will take place during the Table Quiz so please continue to sell the tickets. Don’t bin/loose them as they are very costly to print.
St Patrick's Day Parade Costumes
It was very disappointing but understandable that the St. Patrick’s Day parade was cancelled. A group of our parents had put a lot of work into making many costumes. The Arts Committee is not giving up on using these costumes and are currently putting their heads together to come up with another way to utilise all their hard work and get the kids involved.
Stay safe and we will hopefully see you back at the school gate very soon.
On behalf of the PTP Committee
The World Health Organisation has produced the following supportive documents for dealing with stress and helping children to cope with stress during the current outbreak of COVID-19.