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A Chairde

We are approaching the end of the first half term of the year and things are getting very spooky around school and we hope to see loads of people dressed up for next Friday.
We have also been working on our school policies recently and have amended our Code of Behaviour and Discipline and our Provision for Special Education Needs.
A copy of the Code of Behaviour is attached to this newsletter and I would ask all parent/guardians to go through the four simple rules of the school with their children and what they mean (Appendix A).
Likewise the Special Education Policy has been amended to take into account changes from the Department of Education and it now means that the children with the greatest needs in the school will receive the largest amount of support.
Next month brings with it the parent teacher meetings and preparations for the Christmas concert will begin.

Le gach dea-ghuí  
John Britton

Important Dates
October 26th Halloween Dress Up Day and school closes for mid-term
November 5th School Re-Opens
November 14th – School Photographer
November 20th and 22nd – Parent Teacher Meetings (school closes at 2pm)
December 20th – Christmas Concert
December 21st – School Closes for Christmas at 12:30

SEN Policy
The staff of the Four Masters have worked together to formulate and revise our Provision for Special Education Policy taking into consideration the revised model for allocating special education teaching supports. The key principle of this revised model is that special education teaching resources are utilised in the optimum manner to improve learning experiences and educational outcomes for pupils with special education needs.
This means that the children with the highest level of need will receive the highest level of support. This support consists of classroom based support (differentiated programme/in class support), withdrawal of small groups or one to one support. These supports are allocated by the principal and the Special Education Team in consultation with classroom teachers.  Unlike before if a new child receives a diagnosis of a special educational need the school will not get extra hours, we will have to work with our present allocation.  Therefore a child with a diagnosis of need may not necessarily get support from the Special Education Team (SET), it will depend on the need of this pupil as the pupils with the greatest level of need will receive the greatest level of support from the SET.  However the pupil with the diagnosis will be catered for, through differentiated work by the class teacher and reviewed at regular intervals.  The policy has been published on our school website.

Parent Association
We are delighted with the responses we got for our new Parent Association. The new Parent Association is now as follows:
Edel Gallagher, Louise Mc Geever, Jackie Loughlin, Julie Tuttlebee, Eloise Mc Ginty, Brigid Birney, Denise Simpson and Stuart Regan.
During the year they plan to organise a Christmas Hamper Draw, Bag Pack, Jersey Day 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 Karen Gallagher, Liam Freeburn, Pat Gallagher and Siobhan Mc Gloin. 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.

Parent Teacher Meetings
The Parent-Teacher meetings will take place on two dates Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd November.   All parents will receive a letter 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 16th and 23rd 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.

Christmas Concerts
This year the school Christmas concerts will take place in the school hall on Thursday the 20th of December. A full timetable for the day will be announced next month. The last day of school this term will be December the 21st when school will close at 12:30 p.m.

Cake Sale
5th Class will be organising a cake sale on Thursday the 25th of October in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. Children are asked to bring in a small amount of cash on the day to support the occasion.  (no more than  

New Classroom
After lots of work and an appeal letter from the Board of Management the Department of Education has decided to grant permission to build a new classroom at Four Masters NS. The classroom will be built towards the rear of the school and it is up for planning permission at the moment. We are delighted to be granted a new classroom and it will give us more space in our school and a new modern classroom.

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 11th May at 12 noon and First Eucharist will be celebrated in Saint Aidan’s Church also on Saturday 18th May at 11.00 a.m.

Do This In Memory
The next “Do This In Memory” mass for Second Class will be celebrated in Saint Aidan’s Church, Kinlough on Sunday November 25th at 11a.m.

School Photographer
A photographer will visit the school on Wednesday 14th   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 €4,235 worth of books was sold and the school received €2,541 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 26th September 2017
• The Code of Behaviour and Special Education Needs
Policies were reviewed and ratified
• The Board would like to announce the department agreed to a new classroom for the school.
• The BOM approved of a donation to the pitch
development in Kinlough
• The Board would like to congratulate teacher Orla Dolan on the birth of her daughter Fiadh
• The Board would like to wish all pupils, teachers and parents a successful school year.

Recent and Upcoming Events
The school really enjoyed Wainfest with 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th class all involved in workshops and a trip to the cinema in Ballyshannon. The Girls Football team did really well in the mini Sevens finals in Carrick but were narrowly beaten into 3rd position (our best finish ever).
Next month brings a robotics workshop in 3rd Class with Brendan Joyce and an inter class chess competition. Also the Infant classes will be attending a Christmas musical called Elfie Saves Christmas in December.

Halloween Dress Up Day
On Friday the 26th of October, the Student Council have organised a Halloween Dress Up Day.  All money raised will go the Kinlough Community Development Project.

FAI Soccer Blitz
Third class got an opportunity last Thursday to take part in a FAI Soccer Blitz organised by Damon Kearney at the Astroturf Pitch. Many young Stephanie Roches and James Mc Cleans were unearthed.

Best Kept Classroom for October 2018
The winners in the “Best Kept Classrooms” competition for the month of October were –
Junior Award:  Second Class – Ms Fallon
Senior Award: Fifth Class – Ms Daly

Notes Regarding Infants
Infants should be escorted to the classroom door 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 classroom door for their infant children.  

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