Email: info@stpatricksns.ie Phone: 01 824 9930 Fax: 01 824 9928

Address: Diswellstown Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

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Parents' Association - Newsletters

December Newsletter 2009

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Welcome to our 2009 Newsletter! We're coming straight from the wonderful Christmas Fair, which really helped to get the seasonal atmosphere going at St Patrick's for Christmas-time. We hope to keep you up to date with activities and news from the Parents' Association (PA). Hopefully, all of the parents have been able to attend at least one of the events that we have organised so far this year. We hope to offer more opportunities for parents and children to support St Patrick's and partake in some fun events in the coming school year. Thank you to everyone who has supported the PA so far this year; it is very much needed and appreciated.

It's a hard fact of life, these days, that most schools need on-going fund-raising to help offer the children the best equipped facilities and comfortable surroundings in which to learn. To date we have been very fortunate with the energy and commitment given to St Patrick's in the form of volunteers, donations, attendance, etc. Everyone has seen the benefit of the proceeds of the funds. Our main fund-raising events, over the years, have been the Annual Sponsored Walk and the Christmas Fair. We are very proud that these events have also turned out to be popular social and community outings.

Unfortunately, none of us is immune to the effects of the current economic climate, and we are aware that it may be much more difficult to maintain the momentum for fund-raising in coming years. In light of this, we would like to thank those who continue to support St Patrick's by volunteering their time and energy, or by attending, or donating.

Thanks to your support, the PA has been able to provide a record amount of funds over the past few years. As a result of all our fund raising efforts, St Patrick's is now a very well resourced school. All of the pupils continue to benefit from what the PA has been able to fund to date, across all areas of the curriculum.
The amounts that the PA has provided to St Patrick's were summarised at the recent AGM. Our two most recent years' Balance Sheets were also made available, as usual.

Our Sponsored Walk has been deferred until April 2010, partly because we felt parents had a lot of expenses at the beginning of the School year. Details will be sent out nearer the time.

We have decided to move the popular Golf Classic to a two-year cycle. At the moment, we plan to hold our next Golf Classic in 2010. This way, we hope, it should be able to draw the following it deserves, as it has traditionally been a very successful and enjoyable event for all participants. Further information will be advised via the school Newsletters.

Thankfully, it's not all about fund-raising! Everything we do is, ultimately, about the children. With this in mind, we recently held our second FAMILY FUN QUIZ at the school. This turned out to be a really enjoyable Sunday afternoon. Parents and kids alike were able to partake in great sport and fun. To encourage as many families as possible to attend, we kept the cost of this event down to only €10 per family. Well done to the Kearney family who won, retaining their crown from the first quiz!

A lot of the families who entered went home with fabulous spot prizes, and the verdict was that it was great fun all round. We would hope to be able to run this event again next year, so if you've missed this event so far, make sure you don't miss the next one!

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 29th September last. Many thanks to all the parents who attended on the evening.

It was great to welcome some new members onto the PA committee this year. We would like to ensure that the PA fairly represents the parent body. We are always open to new members from parents of children in all classes, but especially from parents of the new intake of pupils (Junior Infants). Some of the best energy and ideas come from new members, so it is great to keep the PA committee membership vibrant.

One of the main topics that was discussed at the AGM, this year, was the current traffic congestion that is experienced at St Patrick's NS, especially at 2.10pm. Many parents have serious concerns for the safety of children. This matter is very important and we, along with the School's Management, hope that a manageable solution can be found to increase safety for the children. If you have any suggestions or comments that you would like to share with us, we would welcome them. Please contact the PA by e-mail at stpatricksnspa@gmail.com or via the PA Postbox located in the School Reception.

The PA had a review of the school uniform earlier this year. A number of parents had raised concerns with us regarding elements of the uniform, particularly the quality of the track-suit. Following consultation with the suppliers, the track-suit fabric was re-sourced and we were assured by the suppliers that the quality is now improved. Quality, suitability, and value are strong issues for parents and this was taken on board when reviewing the uniform. A lot of time went into trying to resolve the issues raised, so we are requesting feedback from parents. If you have comments or concerns regarding any element of the school uniform, suppliers, retailer, etc, please contact a committee member, use our e-mail address (stpatricksnspa@gmail.com), or use the PA Postbox in the School Reception.

2009 was our first year to have pupils from St Patrick's taking the Sacrament of Confirmation (6th Classes). All of the Confirmation and First Holy Communion ceremonies were beautiful and went off really well.

Many thanks for all the help and support given by the Parish and School Teachers in preparation of the children for their special day.

The PA has traditionally volunteered to help with the receptions held after the First Holy Communion and the Confirmation Ceremonies at St Mochta's Church. It is a great opportunity to help the children enjoy a momentous day in their lives. The receptions held afterwards were a lovely opportunity for all to relax and enjoy the moment. We would sincerely like to thank those parents who volunteered their time to help at the most recent receptions.

Thanks also to those parents and children who, although not receiving the Sacrament, attended the Ceremonies and partook in the celebrations with their classmates on the special day.

One of our more popular courses, that we ran again this year, is the "Relationships and Sexuality Education" (RSE) course. This is particularly relevant to parents of children in 4th-6th Classes, but open to all parents. We hope to be able to run these courses every year.

In the New Year, the PA will be organizing courses for parents on Transition from Primary to Post-Primary School, and also on Internet Safety. Details will be in the School Newsletter and www.stpatricksns.ie.

We are always interested in sponsorship for St Patrick's. If you are a parent or business that is interested in supporting the school, we would love to hear from you. You could offer support by providing a professional service or product that would otherwise cost us money. In the current climate, it is harder to approach people looking for sponsorship, so if you think you might have something to offer, even on a small scale, we would sincerely welcome your help.

The PA has actively participated in the campaign for a new Post Primary School in Castleknock, to meet the increasing population demands. Last October, the VEC was given approval to set up a new school, called Luttrellstown Community College (LCC), in response to local demand. The new school is now up and running in a temporary location, the former College of Horology in Blanchardstown, with plans for a permanent home next to Scoil Choilm in Porterstown.

We worked with other PAs to develop the proposal for this Community College. All of the ideas we proposed were taken on board. The three pillars of LCC will be the Student Council, the Parent Council, and the Staff Council.

The first intake of 58 students has started this year under the leadership of school Principal Fionnuala Ni Chaisil. Demand has increased again this year, but we are pleased to see all local children were offered places when LCC got approval to take 90 children in September 2010.

The school introduced student democracy & inclusiveness by giving the first year in-take a real say in the start-up of the school, with regard to selection of foreign languages (majority voted for French & Spanish), sport, and the optional subjects. Subject choice will increase as the school grows. The students also got to decide on the track-suit uniform. School uniform is red jumper, white shirt, black & white plaid skirt / black trousers.

We would like to thank all the parents who lobbied in support of this school.

An election was held on December 1st last for a new "Dad" representative for St Patrick's NS Board of Management (BoM). Congratulations to Paul Mason who was elected to the Board. Paul has been Secretary on the PA committee up to this. We also thank the out-going Robert Antal for all his work whilst he was a rep.

We send seasonal best wishes to all the School Staff, Teachers, Deputy Principal Mary Power, and Principal Pairic Clerkin. Many thanks for all the commitment and energy you give to St Patrick's on an on-going basis.

We also wish all the children of St Patrick's NS, and their families, a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. We look forward to your continued support in 2010. Slan go foill.

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