There is a reception period from 8.50 am to allow parents to drop their children in time for school. The school day begins at 9.00 am and finishes at 2.40 pm. Infants should be collected at 1.40 pm. As these are the official hours of school opening and closing, the Board of Management does not accept responsibility for children on the premises outside of these times.
As the school is situated on quite a narrow stretch of road, the school authorities and Parents’ Council ask parents to park at the church car park and walk their children to the school.
Many past pupils have fond memories of playtime in Powerstown National School. Monkey Land, Ant Hill, tiles and dens under the trees feature strongly in these memories. The school has attempted to keep these traditions of children playing and having fun.
The school has five separate play areas, including a soccer yard and basketball court. These have all been recently resurfaced and three yards are marked with playground games. We are fortunate to have a very large grassed area to the side of the school. Children are allowed onto the grass to play whenever possible.
There is a short break at 11.00 when children may have a light snack. Time is given to eat lunch between 12.30 and 12.40; thereafter children are expected to go outside to play when weather permits.
If a child has an accident during the break, they are examined by the supervising teacher and receive medical attention if necessary. When children complain of a bang to the head, an advisory phone call is automatically made to parents, even where the teacher has no major concern. This is for the parents’ information in case the child’s condition should deteriorate after he/she goes home.
Children require healthy, nutritious school lunches. A sandwich, a piece of fruit, perhaps a yoghurt and a non-fizzy drink are recommended as an appropriate lunch. Fizzy drinks, crisps and chewing gum are not allowed and chocolate should be kept to a minimum. Specific time is set aside for children to eat and they may go outside once finished. In general, children who have balanced, regular diets are more alert and responsive at school. Because some children in our school have suffered from nut allergies, all nuts and nut products are banned.
Powerstown N.S. has recently introduced a lunch delivery service to the school. This service is provided by ‘The Lunch Bag’ and allows children to order fresh food each day at a very reasonable cost. There is a wide variety of sandwiches, wraps, rolls, salads and snacks available which cater for all tastes. https://www.thelunchbag.ie/
The main holidays for each school year are determined by the Department of Education and can be researched at www.education.ie. The Halloween Break, Christmas Holidays and Easter Holidays are the same for all schools in Ireland. Minor differences may occur between schools for the start and end of the Summer Holidays, February mid-term and other discretionary days during the year. A calendar for that school year is distributed in September/October. In addition, there can be days when the school is used for election purposes and the school is closed to children. These days are notified to parents as the school learns of them. Sometimes, the school has to close for health and safety reasons, for example heavy snowfall or no water. This is advised to parents using web-texts, no later than 8.30am on the morning of closure.
Parents sometimes book holidays outside of the approved school holidays. While understanding their reasons for doing this in terms of cost and available holidays, the school officially discourages this practice. Not only do the children who have been on holiday return having missed school work, but they may also return with a “holiday mentality” and have missed standardised assessments. In addition, we advise that the responsibility for catching up on missed work lies with the parent.
The Principal is obliged to report in a case where a child is absent for 20 school days during the year, even if this absence is through illness. The Child and Family Agency may then make contact with the family to investigate if their help is needed in ensuring the children get to school regularly.
It is not necessary to phone the school if a child is sick. The absence will be recorded on the daily roll call. However, the school requires a written explanation for every absence when the child returns to school. The explanations for absences are passed on to the Child and Family Agency where a child misses more than 20 days in the school year or where the Principal has a concern over a child’s pattern of attendance.
All visitors to the school should enter by the main entrance and report immediately to the Secretary’s Office. As the teachers may not be familiar with all parents, under no circumstances should a child be approached directly at break-time without first reporting to the secretary. Children who are being collected before the official school finishing time must be signed out. A notebook for this purpose is maintained by the Secretary.
A previous survey carried out in Powerstown N.S. by the Parents’ Council showed that a majority of families were not in favour of introducing a school uniform. In recognition of this and the fact that there has never been a tradition of a uniform in the school, the Board of Management has opted not to introduce a uniform.
A reasonable standard of dress is expected and children should be neat and clean coming to school.
Transfer of Data
Relevant information relating to each child and their background is sought when completing an enrolment application for Powerstown N.S. It is on the basis of this initial Enrolment Application Form that places are allocated in the school.
End of year reports are distributed and a copy of these is kept on file.
The names of children, their dates of birth, addresses and the names of parents are shared with the Health Board and Clinic for the purposes of contacting parents in advance of vaccinations, eye tests etc
Exchange of information with psychologists and other health care workers will only be undertaken subject to parental consent. However, in exceptional circumstances, the school authorities may believe it would be in the best interests of the child to give information to social workers or gardaí and there may be a legal obligation on the school to do so, without seeking parental permission.
The school is obliged to report on a child’s attendance.
The names and addresses, contact number and e-mail provided by families are shared with the Parents’ Committee.
The Department of Education uses POD – Primary on-line Database. Schools have been asked to provide information to the Department through this portal.
The school uses Aladdin, an administrative software package, to maintain its records.
Transfer to Secondary
At the end of 6th class, pupils transfer to secondary schools. We facilitate this transfer by sharing the information that comes to the school regarding application dates, open days etc.
Towards the end of sixth class, opportunities are provided to the children to discuss any fears and concerns they may have in relation to secondary school and its operation. We are satisfied that children are well prepared to meet the challenges of secondary school at the end of sixth class in Powerstown N.S.
To help secondary schools to put in place necessary supports, information is shared on children’s academic and social progress via the School Passport.
The school receives an allocation of Special Education teaching hours and children who present with additional needs are due to receive additional support from the Special Education Teachers in the school. The purpose of this provision is to give more individualised attention and to support the work of the class teacher. For a support programme to be successful, it requires the encouragement and active cooperation of parents.
Parents must sign a consent form before their children can attend learning support.
Personal Safety & Bullying
Bullying is unwanted negative attention, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others over time. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour which should not be condoned, cannot be described as bullying. Bullying may be manifested in many forms such as physical aggression, damage to property, intimidation, isolation, name-calling and “slagging”. At the centre of our school’s response to bullying is the continued development of a positive school climate, which focuses on respect for the individual. It is an important part of our policy to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour.
All incidents of bullying are investigated and dealt with by the teachers. Serious cases of bullying behaviour by pupils are referred immediately to the Principal. Parents of victims and bullies are informed earlier rather than later of incidents. It is made clear to pupils when they report incidents of bullying that they are behaving responsibly. It is important to counteract a culture which may associate “telling” with “informing”.
Encouraging a child to hit back is mistaken because it does not address the reasons for the bullying behaviour and it could also result in a child being seriously hurt in further incidents.