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A Chairde

We are at the end of the first half of the first term of the school year and it has flown. We are delighted to have 41 wonderful Junior Infants this year and all the other children who have joined our school have settled in well.
It has been extremely busy with GAA competitions, soccer blitzes, trips to the library, cinema trips, cross country races, retirement functions and much, much more and the teachers have worked so hard to prepare for all of these.
We now look forward to coming back in November, beginning our preparation for the Active Flag, the parent teacher meetings and preparing for our Christmas concerts.
Le gach dea-ghuí  
John Britton

Important Dates
November 13th – School Photographer
November 19th and 21st – Parent Teacher Meetings (school closes at 2pm)
December 5th - Confessions
December 19th – Christmas Concert
December 20th – School Closes for Christmas at 12:30
January 6th – School Re-opens

Parent Association
We are delighted with the responses we got for our new Parent Association. The new Parent Association is now as follows:
Eloise Mc Ginty, Brigid Birney, Denise Simpson, Stuart Regan and new members Martina Fergus, Onora Gill Fitch, Biddy Golden and Maureen MC Gowan.

They have organised a bag pack in Super Valu in Bundoran on the 16th of November.  They are looking for volunteers to give up some time (even a little) and help out on the day to raise some essential funds for the school to help finance school trips and extra- curricular activities.  If at all possible please contact Denise Simpson on 086 8507313.   Last years turnout of support was poor so it would be great to get as many volunteers as possible.

During the year they plan to organise a Christmas Hamper Draw, clothes collection day, Internet Safety talk and a table quiz and all volunteers for these events would be greatly appreciated. I would also like to profusely thank the outgoing members of the Parent Association who are Jackie Loughlin, Louise Mc Geever, Edel Gallagher and Jules Tuttlebee, they have helped raise a considerable amount of money for the school and have put in lots of hard work over the past two years.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh.

Board of Management Elections
I would like to thank all those parents who volunteered to be put forward for nomination for the Board of Management. It is a very important job and one that contributes greatly to our school.
We have finished receiving nominations for the Board of Management and on the 5th of November the official ballot papers for the election will be handed out. These must be filled in by every mother and father of a student of the school (two each: one each for the mother’s member and the father’s member of the Board) and returned in a sealed envelope to school.
The official counting of votes will take place in the school hall on Wednesday the 13th of November at 10am.

Parent Teacher Meetings
The Parent-Teacher meetings will take place on two dates Tuesday 19th and Thursday 21st November.   All parents will receive a letter this week which will tell the times of their meetings with the teachers.  We ask all parents to restrict themselves to the 10—minute appointment they have received in order to be fair to other parents, who will otherwise be left waiting in a queue.  If further discussion is needed an appointment to meet the teacher in question can be made for a mutually convenient time.  Any parent who wishes to speak to the Principal, Mr Britton, may do so on the 19th and 21st of November or indeed on any other school day by making an appointment beforehand.  School will close at 2 p.m. on the day of the meetings.  Please note staff may only meet with the legal guardians of their pupils, see note below for clarification regarding same.  Parents are reminded that children are not allowed to accompany their parents at the meetings.

Parental Status and Access to School Communication
Schools nowadays frequently receive queries regarding Family Law Issues.  The following information may be useful in answering some / all of your questions in this area.  The following three definitions are very important in the area of Family Law i.e.
1. Guardianship is having responsibility for the welfare of the child.  Welfare includes the religious, moral, intellectual and physical wellbeing of the child.  It involves all major decisions affecting the child’s upbringing e.g. choice of school, medical treatment etc.
2. Custody is the right of a parent to exercise physical care and control over a child on a day to day basis e.g. feeding, washing, schooling etc.
3. Access is the right to see and communicate with the child e.g. overnight stay, weekend stay, collect a child from school etc.
Who has guardianship of a child?
a) Married parents of a child are automatically joint guardians and have joint custody.  Both are entitled to attend formal parent teacher meetings, get copies of school reports, etc.
b) Married but now separated or divorced:  Both parents remain joint guardians and both are entitled to the same / equal information from the school.  Custody in this case may be subject of court order/agreement.
c) Married parents but now separated / divorced and in a new relationship:  The guardianship rights of natural parents do not change.  New partners have no statutory rights in relation to the child.  No information can issue from the school to the new partner unless it is agreed between the guardians or provided for by a court order.
d) Unmarried parents:  if parents are unmarried the natural mother only has automatic right of guardianship.  However the mother can grant the father guardianship by statutory declaration.  The father can also apply to court for guardianship, custody and / or access.  Should the natural mother and father subsequently marry each other, both then have equal guardianship rights.
e) Others, e.g. grandparents, extended family etc. may apply to the court seeking orders in regard to guardianship, custody and/or access.  Where such a person obtains a court order granting him/her guardianship then he/she is entitled to attend parent/teacher meetings and to receive school reports on the child in question.
N.B. Having custody and or Access may entitle a person to some information from the school e.g. opening and closing times, dates for Christmas concerts etc., but does not entitle a person to attend a parent Teacher meeting and / or receive a school report.

Active Flag
The Four Masters National School are now embarking on the Active School Flag (ASF) initiative, which is a Department of Education and Skills initiative.  The ASF aims to get more schools, more active, more often.  It is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physical active school community.  We here in the Four Masters are already busy at work.  We have our ASF committee established and we have an ASF slogan ‘move your feet to a healthy beat, less buns, more runs and of course less scrolling more strolling’.
ASF forms part of the National Physical Activity Plan and Healthy Ireland vision where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and well- being to their full potential and where well-being is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility.   So the work has begun, with lots more to do!  We will keep you informed of all our interesting physical activities taking place around our school!!
ASF co-ordinator Kathleen O’Reilly

Christmas Concerts
This year the school Christmas concerts will take place in the school hall on Thursday the 19th of December. A full timetable for the day will be announced next month. The last day of school this term will be December the 20th when school will close at 12:30 p.m.

New Classroom
Work is progressing well with the new classroom and we fully expect it to be ready for 1st Class after the Christmas holidays.

Fr Keogan’s Retirement
We had a wonderful assembly and prayer service in honour of Fr Keogan who retired after serving 23 years as Chairperson of the Board of Management. It was a lovely service led by Fr Phair, followed by music and poetry from all the classes with highlights being ‘Country Road’ by 3rd and 4th and Come Back Paddy Reilly by 5th and 6th classes.
Refreshments were made by the Parents Association and a wonderful cake made by Maureen McGowan. The Parents Association, Student Council, Board of Management and the staff all made presentations to him and members of his family were in attendance. They spoke and thanked the community and the school for making him feel so welcome. We all wish Fr Keogan well in his retirement.

Dates for the Sacraments
The following are the dates for the Sacrament of First Eucharist and Confirmation. Confirmation will take place in Saint Aidan’s Church, on Saturday 2nd May at 12 noon and First Eucharist will be celebrated in Saint Aidan’s Church also on Saturday 16th May at 11.00 a.m.  The next “Do This in Memory” mass for Second Class will be celebrated in Saint Aidan’s Church, Kinlough on Sunday November 24th at 11a.m.

School Photographer
A photographer will visit the school on Wednesday 13th  November If you do not wish your child’s photograph to be taken please inform his/her class teacher on or before that date.   Children are asked to wear full uniform.   We get group photographs of all classes taken for our own records.

Once again our annual Book fair was a tremendous success €3,970 worth of books was sold and the school received €2,382 of free books for our classroom libraries.  Many thanks to Ms. Rooney, Bernadette in the office and to all the teachers who organised the selling of books to the classes and the choosing of new ones for the libraries.

Agreed Statement by the Board of Management 1st October 2019
• The Anti Bullying and Enrolment Policies were reviewed and ratified
• The Board would like to extend their best wishes and congratulations to Fr Keogan on his retirement and wish him all the best in the future
• The Board would like to welcome Fr Phair to the parish and wish him all the best in his new role
• The Board would like to wish all pupils, teachers and parents a successful school year.

Cross Country
We had an extremely successful event at the Leitrim Cross Country Finals with all our teams finishing in the top 3 teams and therefore qualifying for the Connaught Cross Country Championships. The 3rd and 4th Class team won the team event with both girls’ teams finishing in 2nd place. Highest placed finisher was Keefe Dolan who came in 3rd place.
The Connaught Finals took place 3 weeks ago and the Parents Association paid for the cost of the bus and parents supervised the children as it took place on a Sunday. The teams all did well and represented our school and county with great pride. Well done to all and thanks to all the parents who accompanied the children on the bus.

Recent and Upcoming Events
The school really enjoyed Wainfest with 1st, 2nd and 5th class all involved in workshops and a trip to the cinema in Ballyshannon. Troy from Balor Arts Centre is continuing his music program with 3rd and 4th classes and they are thoroughly enjoying it.
Junior and Senior Infants will be taking a trip to the Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon to a Christmas themed musical in December.
4th class took part in a FAI organised Blitz in Manorhamilton two weeks ago.

Halloween Dress Up Day
The Student Council organised a Dress Up for Temple Street today and we had a fun theme filled assembly.   €455 was raised for Temple Street Hospital.

Notes Regarding Infants
Junior Infants should be escorted to the classroom door in the morning.  Senior Infants must walk to their classroom themselves in the morning. Parents should then leave as soon as possible so that the teachers can get on with settling the children.  All infants, both Junior and Senior if at all possible, should be collected from the school at 2.00 p.m.  Infants are escorted to the school gate at 2.00 p.m.  and should be collected by a parent.  Parents are asked to identify themselves to the teacher at the gate as it is very difficult for the teacher to match each child with the correct parent, especially at start of year.  If weather is very bad parents are asked to come to the front of the school to be collected there.  

Best Kept Classroom for October 2019
The winners in the “Best Kept Classrooms” competition for the month of October were –
Junior Award:  Junior Infants – Mrs Mc Gurrin
Senior Award: Third & Fourth Class – Ms Rooney

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