Newsletter Wednesday 24 June 2020
Dear School Community
We have been through extraordinary times since we saw each other last on Thursday 12 March. It has been a steep learning curve for all of the staff. We have all learned new skills, and adopted fresh approaches and methodologies in order to reach out to all of our pupils. Pupil engagement has been very strong and we have been delighted to stay in touch with all of our pupils and families.
You will be aware that there remains uncertainty around the government’s plans to reopen schools, and we all welcome any progress that can be made so that we can all begin to plan for term one. It is likely that all pupils will return from the beginning of the term, this is very positive, but does require careful planning and thought. Our first day back to school is planned for September 1st, the full school calendar is included in this newsletter. Please be aware that in light of current circumstances this may be subject to change.
All pupil boxes are now being prepared and these will be ready for each child on their return. These contain everything that they will need in school, all books, copy books and stationery. All your child will need is their lunch and reusable drinks container. In order to ‘bed down’ this system of storing pupil materials we will reintroduce homework on a phased basis so that transporting books etc will not be a requirement in the first weeks.
We are preparing to maximise space in classrooms. We are relocating one of the Additional Needs classes to the library, for that reason. This will mean that the library will not be in use for the coming year.
We have made the very difficult decision to postpone the start of our aftercare programme to later in the year. Our main focus for the next few months will be opening the school safely for all of the 428 pupils and 50 staff. Once we have settled in and adopted any new requirements and measures, we can begin to plan for the phased reopening of our aftercare facility.
We are very keen to welcome the children back to the calm, relaxed school environment that they are used to. We are mindful of the excitement the return to school will bring but also that children may be worried or anxious about their return to school. Please contact us if you have any specific concerns regarding your child, as soon as possible, this will help us to prepare in the best way for your child.
We will have added responsibilities with regard to hygiene and cleaning. Department of Education and Skills (DES) has already indicated that funding will be available to schools for hand sanitisers in each classroom and for enhanced cleaning regimes. DES has also confirmed that there will be an increase to capitation for each child and enhanced grants for children with additional needs. This is all positive news.
Our 6th class continued to work really diligently since school closure began. They have had great practise at independent work skills this term and have interacted admirably with home-based learning. Well done all! We are incredibly proud of this year’s group, they were fantastic leaders within the school and great ambassadors of the school on many occasions. They and their teachers Louise Laura Eoghan and Maeve have busily been preparing for their virtual graduation this evening and they have prepared a beautiful year book. We cannot wait to welcome them back to the school next term for a final farewell with their families. They will now progress to Educate Together Secondary School Wicklow, Coláiste Chill Mhaintáin, Dominican College, Avondale Community College, St Augustine’s and St Gerard’s. Congratulations to Joe, Fionn, Oscar, Maebh, Ella, Callum, Calum, Matthew, Ava, Niamh, Sofia, Michael O’C, Filip, Elliott, Michal P.L, Skaiva, Jodie, Róisín, Luke, Stephen, Harry, Conlan, Amelia, Eduord, Theo, Sophie, Dita, Ralfs, Sarah, James, Neil, Daniel D, Daniel M, Tommy Lee, Deirdre, Cadhla, Anya and Zofia. We will miss you all and we share your excitement as you move to the next stage of your education.
I have had the great privilege of leading a fantastic staff and I am so proud of them all. They have, as always, gone over and beyond in their various roles to create and offer the very best to all of our children. The office staff Lisa and Alma have worked tirelessly throughout these last terms, they are always efficient, kind and deeply committed -thank you both. Our new caretaker Garry has really been thrown in at the deep end but is a very welcome addition to the WETNS staff team with his hard work and experience. The after-care staff Malgorzata, Kate, Eoghan, Bláithín, Diane and Callum (with us for just 2 days) deserve special mention for all of their work with the children fostering a ‘home from home’ environment each afternoon-thank you all. We will be saying a fond farewell to Eoghan as he progresses his studies abroad-thank you Eoghan you have proven yourself to be versatile to say the least in all of the roles you have taken on in the school.
There is a very strong leadership team of teachers at the school I would like to acknowledge and thank them for all for their work and commend them for their deep commitment to the ethos of our school. Special thanks to Adéle and Eileen for your wonderful inputs and hard work over the years. Thank you, Alison, for your commitment this year in the role.
Niamh Byrne who has been teacher of Senior Infants this year and has been a valued staff member and we wish her well as she embarks on new adventures.
We would like to send our best wishes to SNA Alice Hannigan on her retirement from Wicklow Educate Together N.S. Alice joined the school as an SNA in the early years of the school when we were based in Marine House. From the very beginning, she became enthusiastically involved in school life, even managing to negotiate the loan of a real sleigh and queen’s throne for the school’s first musical production, “The Snow Queen”. No mean feat indeed!
During her time in the school, Alice has worked with many different groups of children in such a caring manner and has always been very dedicated to her work. She has always been there to lend a helping hand when needed to both staff and children. Her contribution to the school is highly valued by staff, children and parents alike. Alice will be greatly missed.
“Retirement is a blank sheet of paper. It is a chance to redesign your life into something new and different.” Congratulations and thank you for everything, Alice. We wish you well. Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat!
Zinta has been a cleaner at Wicklow Educate Together since the early days in Marine House. Due to family commitments Zinta will be leaving us. Thank you Zinta for all your hard work and commitment to the school over the years.
I hope everyone is enjoying our virtual sports day and finding lots of ways to keep active this week. The teachers have been very impressed with the active videos the children are sharing on Seesaw. Just a reminder that we will be holding our active week raffle tomorrow, Thursday. Every child in the school has a ticket in the draw to win some sports equipment to help keep themselves fit over the Summer holidays. There will be two winning tickets for each class. Good luck everyone!
Please find attached the staff listing for September, please note that your child’s class will be the same colour as they were last year i.e. blue, green, unless you have had contact with the school. The listing of staff here is subject to change, and the Board is currently recruiting teachers and an SNA where you see TBC listed.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer, we literally cannot wait to see you all when we return to school. With every best wish. Sinead
Wicklow Town asked aspiring authors to put their storytelling skills to the test. Story writers were asked to show their creativity when writing a story using the title ‘Why I Love Wicklow’ or ‘My Favourite Place in Wicklow’. We want to wish Kidist Puig-Lynch from Third Class Blue a big congratulations on being named one of Wicklow Town’s short story winners.