I can’t quite believe it but this is my final newsletter. I look back to this time last year when Rosemarie was getting ready to go on maternity leave and how little I knew about what the job of the principal entails. The leadership training I had completed wasn’t enough, the job of principal is one of those things that you just have to experience.
For those of you that know me better, you will know that I am not one to stress, however, last summer with the vague and sometimes impossible recommendations and guidelines coming from the department I was stressed. That stress started to lift once I held the first Board of Management meeting in early August. After our first staff meeting it lifted even more and once the children came back and as I was getting feedback from the wider parent body I started to feel a bit more normal. I feel lucky to have had such a wonderful team of people around me
We were then able to create a normal ish and safe school environment for the children which was our primary goal. We didn’t do everything perfectly but we made changes when we discovered things didn’t work and we continued that throughout the year. I can’t thank everyone enough for all the support.
I have been told regularly well done on having no positive cases and hopefully that will continue to be the case, but in truth I can’t claim any credit for that. That has been a community effort of following guidelines and keeping sick children and symptomatic children and teachers at home. There have been positive cases in families in the school and in our community but everyone did what I asked in one of my first emails. We kept the virus out of the building. Thank you to each and every one of you.
I want to say a particular thank you to the staff for making my job so much easier and I know that you join me in thanking each and every one of them for all that they have done. In particular, I want to mention our temporary staff, Annie Blayney, Áine Delaney, Jessica Minehane and Emily Mortell. There will be interviews for one post and two maternity leaves on the 1st of July. Each and every one would be deserving of a permanent contract in any school and may receive a better offer than we can give so I will take this opportunity to thank them for adding to the RMDS community in such a wonderful way. We also wish Colette Desmond well as she has made the move to Cork permanent and resigned her position in RMDS. I have been lucky to have been her colleague for over ten years, she will be missed by the school.
Tomorrow, I return the school back to the care of Rosemarie Stynes knowing that we have had a good year. As you read the children’s pieces you can see that our year of making things normal has for the most part been successful. I know that we will take the lessons we have learned from this year and carry them with us into the future and we will continue striving to be the best that we can be.
I feel lucky to have had the opportunity and honour to lead the school,
I apologise to those of you who have been keeping these Newsletters as mementoes. I wanted to include the school tour photos so I decided to go with our regular style newsletter as getting the content last week wouldn’t have allowed Brian enough time to work his magic.
A reminder to all new parents that we have a no nut policy in school.
We have two children in school who have a severe nut allergy. No peanut butter, nutella or actual nuts should be in the lunch boxes. A strict no sharing of lunches will also be promoted. If in doubt please leave it out.
Wednesday 1st September 2021 at 8.30 am
October Mid-term Break:
Monday 25th October 2021 to Friday 29th October (inclusive)
School closes Wednesday 22nd December at 12 midday and reopens on Thursday 6th January 2022 at 8.30 am
February Mid-Term Break: Monday 21st February to Friday 25th February (inclusive)
St Patrick’s Day Public Holiday: Closed Thursday 17th March
School Holiday: Closed Friday 18th March
Easter Holidays: School closes Friday 8th April at 12 midday and reopens Monday 25th April
May Public Holiday: School closed Monday 2nd May
June Public Holiday: School closed Monday 6th June
Summer Holidays: School closes on Thursday 30th June 2022 at 12 midday
Junior Infants – Aoileann Farley
Senior Infants – Therese Curran
Rang 1 – Emily Mortell
Rang 2 – Therese Coogan
Rang 3 – Anne Blayney
Rang 4 – Áine Delaney
Rang 5 – Alannah Nic A’Bhaird
Rang 6 – Áine Grennan
Special Education teachers:
Maria Dillon (JI/SI)
Mary Clare Pigott (R1/R2/R3)
Rita Brennan (R4/R5/R6)
Sara Reilly (Shared Teacher with Scoil Chaitríona & Scoil Francis)
Paul Fairbrother – Mainstream Inclusion Teacher and Deputy Principal
Special Needs Assistants:
Hello and welcome to our final newsletter. We have had a great year this year and a brilliant 8 years in RMDS but now it’s time for us to leave. We had an amazing last full week. On Monday morning we left the school at 7.30 to go to Delphi for three days. The trip to Delphi was a great way to finish the year.
We took part in lots of fun activities.
Kayaking - It was great fun but also very cold. We played games like bulldog, rock paper scissors and relay racing. We went pier jumping afterwards. We went kayaking in Killary Fjord. The Water was a mix of fresh water from the lake and sea water. Parts of the water were saltier than others. This is the only fjord in Ireland.
Bog Challenge - It was cold and there were obstacles in the bog. We saw some frogs hanging around. At the end there was a pool with more obstacles. It was really hard to pull ourselves up and over. There was a narrow bridge that we had to run across without falling in, we needed great balance. We were covered in bog when we got back, thank God for the hot showers!
Aerial Trekking/Abseiling - This was an obstacle course up high in the trees link of like Zipit. If you were scared of height it would have been a challenge. It was really scary and thrilling. We loved the zipline part. We also did a free fall which was around 20ft high. Some people jumped forwards while others jumped off backwards. We landed on a mattress sort of thing.
The abseiling was so much fun. You had to climb up a really high wall with a harness. Some people were really quick at getting to the top. We loved springing down at the end.
Bushcrafting/Campfire - One the second evening we had a campfire with two of the instructors. We set up the fire and sang songs and told jokes up in the forest. We roasted marshmallows. There were so many midgets up there!
Bushcrafting was fun too. We were really good at it because of Forest Schools. We pitched tents and tarps and started our own mini fires.
Fun in the dorms - We stayed in bunk beds in the dorms. There were 6 rooms used altogether. We were split into rooms of either 3, 4 or 5 with our friends. We stayed up quite late chatting and woke up early at 7.30 each morning. We had lots of treats down in the dorms because there was a tuck shop there for us. The food was really nice in the Grub Hub. The people working there were really nice. We had curry with rice, chips, goujons, stir fry veg, soup, rolls, sausages, bread, toast, beans and cereals. For supper we had cookies and muffins. We were also given a packed lunch for the bus journey home. The bus driver Alex was so lovely.
We are grateful to the teachers for organising the trip. We had a brilliant time and hope you enjoy the pictures.
As we are nearing the end of the school year, Rang a Cúig are remembering some of the many fun and interesting activities we have taken part in. We were very lucky to get to go on an amazing School tour to Baltinglass Education and Training Centre. We got a lovely day for it as the sun was shining. We had a great time but we were all exhausted afterwards as it was a long day. On the tour we did kayaking, archery, orienteering, rock climbing and abseiling. We loved all of these activities. Everyone in our class reached the top of the climbing wall which was challenging and a great achievement. We really enjoyed our day and the instructors were fantastic, they were really funny and friendly.
Unfortunately, as you know we spent the first 3 months of 2021 learning from home. We would have rathered been in school together but it was more important that we kept everyone safe. Although learning from home was not ideal and had its challenges, it did have its upsides as well; spending more time at home with our families, getting to play outside more, taking breaks at a time that suited us, planning our own time, waking up a bit later than usual, wearing our pyjamas and sitting whatever way was comfortable while we worked. We played loads of games on our class zoom calls such as toilet roll keepy uppy, scavenger hunt and what's missing. These calls were really nice as we got to see our friends and teachers. We planned our own time more and we think this will be great preparation for secondary school.
Our write-a-book was a bit different this year as we had a new prize system. This new system gave prizes for good aspects of story writing such as character development and setting. 6 people in our classes received a prize in a really nice outdoor assembly. It was great to see other classes and hear extracts from different books. We all enjoyed writing our books and were very happy with the finished products. Near the end of the year we wrote debates on whether or not zoos are ethical. We loved researching our debates and stating our arguments trying to convince the rest of the class that our viewpoint was correct (even if we didn’t agree with it ourselves as we were given our side). This year we read two class novels which we really enjoyed: ‘The Bread Winner’ which was set in Taliban ruled Afghanistan and ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ set during the Great Famine. We also learned loads about the famine in History and created Famine art.
We did a lot of work this year on social education. Gender Equality Matter (GEM), Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Stay Safe were all programmes we covered in Rang a Cúig. We learned about LGBTQ+ history and rights, the rights of children, bullying, friends, feelings, gender equality and online safety. These are all very important topics and we are glad we got to learn about them.
Members of An Garda Síochana came in to us twice this year to speak to us about safety at Halloween (especially around bonfires and fireworks) and internet safety. Though we got to ask them loads more questions about what it is like to be a guard in our area. We always enjoyed their visits and had lots of fun. 12 people from our class were picked to go to the Dublin City Council’s Fire Safety Campaign Launch with the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu. Two people in our class were also picked to take part in a video that was shown at the Lord Mayor’s Awards ceremony related to children's experiences during the covid-19 pandemic. We were very lucky to be chosen for all of these visits and events.
This year we really enjoyed creating our Christmas play although it was a very different experience to other years. We pre recorded our play which was based on two new year's traditions in other countries. We also recorded a performance of ‘Let It Snow’ on the Boomwhackers. We made Art to keep the backgrounds colourful and exciting. Rang a Cúig hosted a Core Curriculum assembly based on the Hindu festival of Diwali for the whole school via zoom including a small play, songs and artwork. We helped out with the Rang a Sé Musical and you made have heard our lovely voices singing in the background. We have loved all our performances this year and we're very excited for our own musical next year!
Thank you for reading our end of year news. This is just a small snippet of what we have gotten up to this year and we have enjoyed every second of it! Have a great summer break!
This year our class (4th class) went to Clara Lara, for our school trip! Clara Lara is a small outdoor waterpark.
There is a tuck shop for sweets and clothes and a restaurant for chicken tenders and slushies.
In the park there are different things to do: You can use the water slides by going on an orange board holding on tight and going down fast! You can kayak, mini-golf, log balance, rope swing and zipline!
Everyone enjoyed it a lot and had fun!
By Sadie, Milly, Isabelle, Rebecca
Write-a-book is a place where you can let your imagination run wild!
Every year we write a book and celebrate each other's stories.
Usually write a book takes place in March and we have a big assembly where they announce the winners!
Write a book helps us with grammar,reading and writing.
Write a book is a great experience which we enjoyed a lot.
By Daniel, Jazmin, Owen, Isabel, Sally, Nell
ESB Sc!ence blast
Delivered by the RDS
This year for science blast we made rockets out of bottles.
It all started in lockdown when we made rockets out of drinking straws. Most people did not have to did not have the stuff in lockdown but most tried to improvise with household items. We all had great fun blasting bottle rockets. The first time we tried it. It was a failure. Then we tried hard to get it to work. We had a BLAST LIKE A BLAST OFF. :D ye
Written by Tom C, Senan, Oscar, Julia, Rowen and Zoey. (A.K.A Pod 3)
The Christmas play was about rosh hashanah,the Jewish new year.
During Rosh hashanah some people fast. People would commit to their sins. Some people would go to the synagogue to pray.
On the day of rosh hashanah they would have a big feast.
Watch our play here: https://youtu.be/O6LQMy-Z_VQ
By Charley, Alec, Cormac, Nicholas, Lois, Amaya
Covid-19 cancelled some of our school year so we had to do online learning from our homes.
Some people thought it was worse than normal school because we didn’t get to see our friends and we were on a screen all day.
We used Google Classroom so we could share,show and receive assignments and creations.
The good things about online learning were you could wake up and go to sleep later, have a relaxing day and go outside more in the sun.
We are glad to be back in school for the end of fourth class.
By Leo, Julian, Noah and Oisín
Our first project was about the Ancient Greeks. When we were learning about the ancient Greeks, our pods competed in mini Olympic games.
We did another project called 5 in my 5km. We had to write about 5 famous places in a 5 kilometer radius of our homes, for example Bushy park and the statue of Patrick Kavanagh by the Grand Canal.
Some of the other projects we did this year were the counties of Ireland, the Normans, famous Irish people, buddhism and a project of any topic with a partner or trio.
Rang a Trí
Rang a 3 have had a brilliant year. We have written as a class about our favourite and most memorable parts.
First up is Clara Lara!! Without doubt the best part of the whole year. We absolutely loved it and had the best time. We all ran straight into the water, no fear! We loved the Tarzan ropes where you had to swing and try not fall into the water and get to the other side. We also loved the one where you swing and drop straight down into the water. The boats in the lake were lots of fun. Many of us were not going very far so we jumped into the water and pushed the boat instead! Some of us were very brave (including the teachers) and went on the big, really high, water slide. The go-karts were also really fun and we raced round the track , trying not to crash. Crazy golf was also a favourite when we were sick of getting wet! We all tucked into the tuck shop and then we were so exhausted by the end of the day that some of us fell asleep on the bus!
Some of our favourite projects this year were:
- Ancient Egypt. We researched and created a lapbook full of interesting information about the lives of people in Ancient Egypt and the evidence left over today. We turned ourselves into pharaohs which you can see in the pictures.
- During online learning we kept busy with projects such as Tom Crean, 5 in my 5km and during Mental Health Week we created a Mental health toolkit which we still use today.
-European countries. More recently we researched a European country - one that is playing in the UEFA Cup and presented it using google slides.
-Write a book. We really enjoyed creating characters and settings and creating our plots this year in our books. We all did a great job and the judges found it very hard to pick.
In Maths we learnt a lot in Maths this year and made lots of progress. The things that we remember the most were learning how to multiply and divide. Learning our times tables and playing lots of games. We also learnt about decimals.
In English we enjoyed using Spellings for Me the first time and wrote lots of different pieces of writing. Some highlights were writing a Newspaper and becoming investigative journalists for the crash outside the school. We also wrote about Mummification and How to trap dragons!
In Gaeilge we became much more confident when using our verbs and the past tense and played games to write sentences in the past tense.
Science Week was another highlight where we did lots of experiments including - the egg drop, making a circuit to light up a bulb, making ice cream, making rockets, baking, and making soap.
Last but not least is Forest School. How could we forget! We loved it when it rained and we put up the tarp and ate lunch in a circle. We loved our sit spot, fighting with sticks, the zip line, making special knots to move logs, and all the fun games like crows and swallows.
We all agree that we have had the best time this year and all deserve a well earned break!
There are no words to describe how happy I have been teaching this happy, creative, intelligent, active and hilarious class again this year.
There have been two new additions since I taught them in Junior Infants and I have loved getting to know Anna and Robin.
There have been so many highlights but among my favourite moments we knitted, went to Forest School, sang lots of great songs, played rounders, met Miss Fitzgerald and I think my favourite thing every week was sharing our news from the weekend and having a good old chat.
I will miss Rang 2 next year and will always say hi in the corridors of R.M.D.S.
Miss Pigott was fantastic and she loved doing knitting, loom bands and skipping with the whole class. She also loved her small maths groups when learning about regrouping. Miss Piggott also loved meeting all the doggies every morning. They put a smile on her face.
Here is what the children had to say.
Robin: I loved playing rounders, the sensory room and Causey Farm.
Paul: I loved going on the school trip and the Sensory room.
Wolfie: I loved the sensory room.
Aron: I loved the sensory room.
Anna: I liked the school trip.
Lorna: I liked the art that we did, especially the castles.
Isabel: I liked the Christmas play and meeting the horses at Causey Farm.
Lucie: I just enjoyed having the craic with my friends, The Christmas play and Loom bands, and Miss Coogan is the best teacher ever.
Mabel: I loved the pop-corn party.
Hal: I loved the sensory room, rounders and Causey Farm.
Ben: I liked Causey Farm , Christmas play and rounders .
Lucy: I liked Forest School.
Estelle: I loved rounders.
Ethan: I loved rounders, and I also loved Causey Farm.
Arlo: I loved the Titanic project.
Jake: I liked Write a Book
Toby : I liked everything but especially swimming.
Freddie: I loved the Boomwhackers and the Bog in Causey Farm.
Shay : I just liked everything .
Francesca: I liked playing rounders and The Boomwhackers.
Elise: I loved jumping in the bog.
Finn: I liked Write a Book and The Bog at Causey Farm.
Matthias: I liked rounders and The Sensory Room.
Iris: I liked the Sensory room, Loom Bands and The Bog.
Rachel: I liked jumping in the bog, the Sensory Room and castles.
Rang a hAon
We can’t believe it is our very last newsletter! It has been another strange year but we are so happy to be finishing it in school.
A couple of weeks ago, we had our school trip to the Zoo. We had a brilliant time and were really lucky to get a lovely day with the weather. We got to see all kinds of animals and some of the ones we had learned about in school too. It had been a long time since a lot of us had gotten to visit the Zoo so it was nice to go back and see how the animals were.
During the week, we talked about what we learned this year and our favourite parts of the year. On the Blue Pod, Joey loved doing his project about India and Australia and loved learning about History too. Juno’s favourite part of the year was our trip to the Zoo and all the different Art lessons we had. Sam liked learning about Maths and doing the Bread Experiment in Science. He also loved PE and GAA. Sophie loved practicing her skipping with her friends at yard and learning some Gaeilge too. Alicia enjoyed doing her Write A Book and drawing lots of pictures! It was Ben D’s first year in the school and his favourite parts were the Write A Book and learning about History and Science.
On the Red Pod, Darragh’s favourite part was using the climbing frame. He loved GAA, PE and Maths. Danielle loved planting strawberries on the Roof Garden and seeds for Science. She also enjoyed skipping on the yard. Brody loved everything about Rang a hAon and couldn’t pick a favourite! Maggie loved doing Art, PE and Maths.
Over on the Yellow Pod, Fay loved doing our “Let’s End the Year with a Bang” Activities, Art, SPHE and winning the Secret Student. Matilda’s favourite part of the year was Art, Maths and skipping with her friends. Edie enjoyed playing with her friends at yard, the Magic Box, Gaeilge, Maths, English and Art and everything else in between! Elliot liked all the different activities and subjects we did during the year! Alex liked PE, using the climbing frame and our Bread Experiment.
On the Green Pod, Hubert liked doing Maths, the Write a Book and playing rounders. June’s favourite parts were Art, learning new songs, playing in the yard, Write a Book and Secret Student. It was also Riad’s first year in RMDS and loved all the different treats and special activities we did during the year and our Teddy Bear Picnic. Aurora enjoyed Golden Time, Science, Art, seeing all the animals in Dublin Zoo and coming back to school after Lockdown. Patrick liked winning the raffle, doing the last week of school activities and PE.
Last but not least, on the Orange Pod Elsa loved everything about Rang a hAon but her favourite parts were the PJ Day, Art, skipping and Secret Student. Calin’s favourite parts were Art, the Bang activities, going to the Zoo and playing Boomba with the class. Eilí enjoyed everything but her favourites were going back to school to see all her friends, the Teddy Bear Picnic, creating our Garden of Greatness, skipping and learning about History. Izyan enjoyed playing sports, planting the strawberries, visiting the parks and our school trip to the Zoo. Rhea loved everything we did this year but her most favourite parts were the Teddy Bear Picnic, the PJ Day, visiting the Zoo, using clay in Art and playing with her friends.
Senior Infants have had an excellent year in RMDS this year. We are so lucky, we had two teachers. First, we had Ms.Shackleton and then when she left to have her baby we had Ms.Minehane. We have had an action pack year, filled with lots of fun activities. We have been working especially hard on our handwriting and reading, we wrote our very first book. We learned lots of new topics in maths, we learned about money, capacity, weight and how to tell time. We are so proud of all of our achievements. Some of our favourite moments from the year are, our school tour, teddies bear picnic, pom pom jar, writing our own books, aistear, forest school, learning how to read, baking cookies, pyjama day, going to the cinema and meeting Ms.Shackleton’s new baby Edie. Have a look at some of our highlights from Senior Infants.
One of our highlights of the year was going to Airfield farm for our school tour. We got a bus to the farm with all of our friends. We saw lots of different animals on the farm, cows, pigs, donkeys, sheep, lambs, goats, hens and calves. We learned all about different bugs and went on a bug hunt, we caught lots of snails, worms, insects and frogs.
We loved every minute of Forest School this year, our leader Caroline was amazing. She taught us all about nature, bugs, animals, fairy houses and fire. We got to make a tight rope and swing using a rope, stick people using twigs, birds’ nests, fairy mud houses and a fire to toast our marshmallows. We learned all about our environment, and how to use our imaginations to create games. We had a brilliant five weeks in the woods with Ms.Curran, Christina and Caroline.
A year in Junior Infants
We learnt so much this year and we had so much fun! The best thing in Junior Infants was that we made so many new friends. We are so kind to each other and we look out for our classmates.
Every week we sang a new song. Some of our favourite songs are The Cat came Back, Good
morning, Na na na song and Big Green Frog. In music we played different games like Mrs/Mr Locket lost his pocket.
We are all able to read now! Reading is very hard and it takes a lot of time and practice to be good at it. We have worked so hard at our reading and we love the Jolly Phonics songs especially the song for /h/. Ms Curran read with us during stations every day. Our handwriting is so good now and we were writing labels for farm animals last week.
We love the stories in the Rang Gaeilge. They always make us laugh and we really like the monkey.
In Maths our favourite sorting toys are the bugs, pets and the buttons. We are very good at our sums and we like making patterns with our sorting toys.
We had so much fun in outdoor learning. We loved playing with the ropes, making potions and paint with the mortar and pestles, playing hungry bears and sausage factory!
In Aistear we did so many different things like making play dough, fossils and bread, pretending to be bees, opticians, life guards and dog groomers, playing with water, sand, blocks, lego, and the dolls house.
We have had a fantastic year in Junior Infants
LETTER FROM THE PATRON
As you can see there are different ways as parents to get involved and contribute to the school-Patron, BOM and PA. It is a wonderful way to get to know other parents.
In the case of RMDS, the patron of the school is a limited company, the Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School Association (RMDSA). The board of directors of RMDSA is called the Executive Committee. RMDSA holds an AGM in Sept/Oct each year and elects an Executive Committee to discharge its functions. We have 6 meetings a year.
The roles and responsibilities of a Patron of a primary school fall under three main headings:
To appoint and oversee the operation of the BOM.
To preserve the ethos of the school.
To provide and maintain the school premises.
We are looking for new members. If you have any interest or any questions, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The current members of the Executive Committee are Lorraine Grace (Chairperson), David Clerkin (Treasurer), Rachel Murray (Secretary), Andrew Howley (Premises & Facilities), Elaine Cassidy (BoM Liaison), Maria Dillon (Staff Representative) & Maeve Trehy.
A short update on the work of the school patron throughout the year:
Provision and maintenance of school facilities
We worked with Paul Fairbrother and the Board of Management on implementing the ongoing programme of repair and maintenance of the school premises. The Executive Committee recently funded the replacement of some emergency lighting and the repair and replacement of some windows. Further works are scheduled to take place, if possible, over the summer.
As patron, we have an oversight role in relation to the Board of Management. Thanks to Will Connor and all the team for their excellent work and commitment this year. Along with the PA we have joint committee meetings, and this is important to develop that sense of community and common purpose.
As Chairperson I represented RMDS at the recent Educate Together AGM. It was very uplifting to see that Educate Together now have a total of 95 primary and 19 secondary schools with more on the way in September 2021. The full annual report is available online at Annual-Report-2020-2.pdf (educatetogether.ie)
The Exec have been working with Paul on a booklet for Junior Infant parents and a video that will go up on the website explaining the role of the patron, BoM and PA for new and prospective parents.
Sincere thanks to all members of the Executive Committee for their work over the past year. Rachel and Maeve will be stepping down from the Exec later in the year so I would like to thank them both for their time, collective wisdom, and good humour over the last few years. Particular thanks to Rachel who took on the role of secretary this year and that’s not easy over Zoom!
I would also like to thank all members of the RMDS school community-the children, parents and guardians, all staff and in particular Paul, the Parents’ Association and the Board of Management. Throughout this pandemic everyone has learned to explore and value where we live and our place in our community. This is no different here in RMDS. We all work together to make this a vibrant school which is dedicated to our Educate Together ethos of being child centred, co-educational, democratically run and equality based. That child centred approach took centre stage in the last few weeks where every single staff member went over and above to ensure lots of the RMDS traditions could happen in 6th class and so that the children could complete Forest School and go on a bus on their school tour. These little things took on such a special significance over the last few weeks due to their absence in 2020. A huge go raibh míle maith agat to all staff that made these events possible.
You will be getting notice soon of our AGM in September/October, so please do come along to that if you can. More generally, please contact any of us on the committee if you have any questions for us, or if you would be interested in getting involved with the Executive Committee.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a lovely summer. I think this one is full of hope and optimism.
Lorraine Grace (Chairperson of the Executive Committee)
At the end of another challenging and difficult year I would like to thank everyone for their unstinting support and input as we all dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, its effect and restrictions on our school and our lives. It’s been a difficult time, but once again the RMDS school community pulled together to keep our children and school community connected, home schooled when necessary, ready for the academic year restart and most importantly mentally positive. An extraordinary effort by you all meant we kept the whole show on the road in all the ways that mattered.
We would like to thank every teacher and staff member for the exceptional lengths they have gone to continue the education of our children, particularly Paul Fairbrother for his complete and total commitment as Acting Principal. A huge thank you to him for being the complete principal, the go to person for all of us, thank you Paul.
This year we said goodbye to Ms Desmond who has returned to her native Cork. We will miss her, her enthusiasm and we wish her and her family every success and happiness in Cork.
The Board would like to thank you for your continued generous contributions and all your hard work & effort in raising funds to support our school. We finish this year in a position to continue with:
Funding of a classroom assistant focused on Junior, Senior and 1st class. To ensure that every new child gets focused attention and the best possible start to their formal education
Continuing to repair and maintain the school building.
All this wouldn’t happen without your generosity, a big thank you for your continued support, it is vital.
Many thanks to Caroline and her team Childcare continues to provide a much-needed local afterschool service.
The Board pay an extra premium that entitles each child enrolled in the school to 24hr insurance through arachas school insurance. If you need it the claim form is here.
We hope to have all of these key activities return in September.
Enjoy your summer, revel in our newfound freedom, relax and recharge your batteries after a tough year for everyone.
We look forward to seeing you all in September, take care and be safe.
On behalf of the Board of Management
Will Connor, Paul Fairbrother, Clodagh Keher, Mairead Flanagan, Lorraine Murphy, Alannah Nic A’Bhaird, Niall Byrne, Anne Fitzpatrick
First of all, thank you so much to all of the parents and guardians for their amazing support over the 2020/2021 school year.
The PA committee acts as a link between the school and parent body. We provide a forum for parents to discuss issues of common interest and a channel to communicate these issues to the Principal and Board of Management.
We also try to enrich the children’s experience of school life by organising a range of activities and events throughout the year.
The PA also provides a social forum for parents, and a way for them to contribute to the school community. We also support the Board of Management by helping to organise fundraising events for the school.
Our biggest challenge this year was adapting ‘real life’ events to be compliant with COVID restrictions. Some of our regular events like the pub quiz and sports day just couldn’t happen, but we were able to move others online, or re-work them to stay within restrictions, so we managed to achieve a lot. Here are some of the highlights.
In September we were delighted to be able to host a socially-distanced coffee morning in the yard to welcome Junior Infant parents to the school. Paul had a measuring stick at the ready to make sure nobody got too close! It was a lovely morning, made even better by delicious treats from Lolly & Cooks - thanks Lolly.
Many of the events we organise involve collecting stuff or selling tickets at the school gates. COVID meant that none of that was possible this year, so we needed to find alternative ways of doing things. Enter Daron Ward and Claire O’Doherty to save the day with rmdsevents.com, a dedicated website that makes it easy to buy tickets for events and raffles, order RMDS merchandise, book a slot to see Santa at the Christmas Fair and much more!
We sold tickets for the raffles at Halloween, Easter and Christmas through rmdsevents.com and they were more successful than ever in terms of fundraising for the school. Thanks to Catherine Crowe and Avril Whelan for making brilliant hampers and to Daron and Claire for all the time and talent invested in getting the site up and running so smoothly.
Hard to believe, but it seems that nobody misses standing at the gates flogging raffle tickets on a rainy Monday morning, so we may just stick with online sales forever!
In October we launched the 2020 Read-a-thon to raise funds to fit out the school’s sensory room, a calm space for children who may at times need a break from the busy classroom. The readathon was a great way to get the children off the devices and into their books. Once again, parents, grandparents, neighbours, aunties, uncles and friends were incredibly generous and together we raised over €3,500 for improvements and additions to the sensory room. To mark the end of the readathon, Lolly & Cooks donated mini brownies for the children to enjoy.
The biggest fundraiser for the school each year is the RMDS Christmas Fair and this time it was an all-outdoor affair, complete with outdoor dining, thanks to Katy Hanley and team at the soup kitchen, Laragh Strahan at the hot-dog stand and Brid Berkeley and team at the cafe. We also had Santa, along with some very enthusiastic elves led by chief elf Lorraine Hackett, an exhibition of Christmas decorations made by the children, RMDS merch, a pop-up book shop, and Christmas trees, wreaths and festive planters. We spread the event over two days, to keep numbers lower on each day, and everything worked out brilliantly.
Huge thanks to Avril Whelan and the Xmas Fair committee, who went above and beyond as always, and to everyone who managed stalls and volunteered on the day. We got great feedback from parents about having the event outdoors, so this is something else we might stick with for the future.
Our Christmas tree fundraiser is going from strength to strength. We noticed lots of returning customers from previous years and we had super support from RMDS families! Thank you so much for supporting it, whether by volunteering to help out for a few hours, buying your tree from us, or by just popping in to say hello!
We had our first ever PA Christmas Play this year, Elves on Strike, produced and directed by our own very talented Andrea Scott. Luckily, Andrea was able to sign up some major talent to feature in the play, and it was a joy to watch and got the Christmas season off to a great start. Many thanks to Andrea, and to the amazing cast.
In April, we invited Fiona Jennings from the ISPCC and Ronan Munro, a Criminal Barrister, to a virtual Information Evening for parents. Fiona introduced the ISPCC’s Digital Ready Hub, which is designed to help children have positive experiences online; and Ronan shared his experience of introducing a “No smartphone voluntary code for parents” in his children’s school. Many RMDS parents had been asking if we could introduce a similar initiative to RMDS. In response, we proposed a ‘smartphone free' voluntary code - a collective, voluntary agreement by parents to delay giving their children a smartphone until they leave primary school. There has been a hugely positive response to this initiative so far, across all classes. Opting in is completely voluntary and we respect everyone’s choices and opinions. The policy doesn’t apply to non-smartphones or other tech that children use at home.
That’s a wrap
Before we finish, we’d like to give a big thank you to all of the committee members for everything you do. We appreciate it so much!
Special thanks also to so many parents who generously give time and expertise to help us, year after year in so many ways, including donating prizes to raffles, helping to run an event, donating goodies for events, designing posters and artwork and so much more.
We look forward to welcoming new members in September 2021. The PA Committee is a great way to contribute to school life. To find out more, e-mail email@example.com.
Wishing you all a great summer!
Rachel Sirr and Oscar Carolan, RMDS PA Co-Chairs
Cormac Ó Foghlú (Treasurer), Lorraine Hackett (Secretary), Caroline Chambers, Daron Ward, Avril Whelan, Dori Trent Kelly, Lisa Murphy, Roland Ramsden, Bronagh Hayden, Aoife Kelly, Matt Davey, Edel Murray, Catherine Crowe, Clodagh Moran, Shona Byrne, Andrea Scott, Jane Trenaman, Grainne Fahey, Clare Mc Cluskey, Claire O’Doherty
All classes enjoyed Making Christmas decorations from recycled goods and our 2 external judges were very impressed by the pupils' ideas and ingenuity.
All classes bring small hand towels or face cloths from home which has hugely reduced the use of hand paper towels throughout the school.
A whole school initiative to save water by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth has also been very successful.
We’ve been greening the outdoor area between JI and SI, huge thanks to Suzanne Quinn (Matthew JI) for supplying so many plants courtesy of Woodies and to other JI and SI parents who also donated plants Roly Ramsden (OliverR3) made trollies so the children can move the plants around.
R1 we’re busy planting herbs and strawberries and had an abundant crop thanks to their distractors keeping the birds away. JI also planted radishes, lettuce and mint on the roof terrace.
JI took charge of Linear Park and did a weekly clean up with their litter pickers, which Roly sourced. R5,R6 looked after the laneway at the side of the school. R5 made posters for Linear Park to remind people to pick up after their dogs . Andrea Scott(Joni SI) is liaising with former RMDS parent Ivana Bacik to secure a dog litter bin in Linear Park.
The staff has pledged to reduce the number of emails stored on the school email accounts.
The work of the Student council was hampered this year because of Covid but I was delighted that we were able to engage with the children and make sure that their voices were heard.
At the start of this year I was on the Student council committee. Usually the committee is made up of two people from third class to sixth class but this year because of covid there were only sixth classers. We had a meeting every Tuesday and while I was on student council we made suggestion boxes organised equipment for yard and discussed things like having lunch off school property. I really enjoyed my time in Student council.
Some of the things we discussed this term were what we should call the teachers, the Spellings for me programme and lots of other smaller issues. We also helped with the Write-A-Book awards ceremony which included us sorting all the classes books and certificates and then trying to make sure all the classes were spaced apart enough.
Fifth class were also involved on the student council and their initiative was to try out having the climbing frame up during yard time. It made some of the teachers nervous but I think the children benefited from being able to play with the equipment rather than only getting a few opportunities during the year.