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St Mary's National School

General Information for Parents

This section provides general information about the day-to-day running of the school, for the benefit of parents. Parents receive all this information in The Parents Booklet when their children start at St Mary's N.S.

For more detailed information about the school's approved policies and guidelines, click the button.

About Our School

School Rules       Punctuality       Closures       Absences       Health & Safety

Accident Procedures         Lunches         Dress Code         School Books

Home/School Communication         Attendance         Code of Behaviour

School Assemblies        Religious Instruction        Homework        Reading

How can you help the school?

Our school aims to provide a caring, learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full, educational potential. The achievement of this aim informs all of the planning processes and activities which occur in our school.

We believe that teachers and parents are partners in the children’s education and that co-operation and communication between home and school is vital in the educational process. We share the same aim – the well-being of the children in our care. This article outlines information about St. Mary’s N.S. concerning school policies, rules and routines. Our school rules are kept to a minimum. We ask for your co-operation with these rules. They are designed for the effective, efficient running of the school and the safety of the children.

School Rules

School rules are kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community to enable pupils to develop into mature and responsible individuals.

If a school is to function efficiently, it is necessary that rules and regulations are clearly stated and enforced consistently and fairly. School rules are discussed regularly in classrooms and at whole school assembly.

Our School Rules are as follows:


Co-operate with students and staff


Act safely and responsibly


Respect yourself, others and property


Encourage and help others

Our golden rule is

Treat others as you would like them to treat you.


School begins at 9.20 a.m. It is important that children develop the habit of being punctual for school. Pupils must go immediately to designated classrooms, where they will be supervised until the bell rings at 9:20 a.m.

There is a short break at 11:00 a.m. Lunch break is from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Junior and Senior Infant Classes finish at 2.00 p.m. Infants must be collected promptly, to allow the Infant teacher undertake other duties. Parents/guardians who are collecting children from the Infant Classes should arrive a few minutes before dismissal time so the children don’t experience unnecessary anxiety.

As from school year 2012/13, the school has an arrangement with the Bagenalstown Family Resource Centre whereby, for a small charge, Infant pupils will be collected from the school at 2.00, taken to an after-schools club and delivered back to the school in time for the 3.00pm collection by buses or parents.

All other classes are dismissed at 3.00p.m. Children are expected to leave the school grounds in an orderly, safe fashion. Pupils travelling by bus form ‘bus lines’ and those being collected by car, walk via the marked pathway to the area where cars are parked. Parents are requested to enter/exit the parking area with care.


The list of school closures for the year is issued in September and term diaries are included in newsletters which are issued regularly during each term. Please keep this information safely for your reference during the year.


If a child has been absent through illness or for any other reason, the class teacher should be informed in writing on the child’s return to school. Absence notes are available from the office. When it is necessary for a child to leave school early, a note should be sent to the class teacher. Parents/guardians are asked to call personally to the classroom to collect the child.

All persons collecting children during school hours must sign the ‘Sign Out’ Sheet (available in the office).

Health & Safety

Children who are ill should not be sent to school. Parents are asked that teachers be made aware of any physical disability or allergies which their child might have. Please inform us if your child has an infectious illness (e.g. German Measles) as other parents may need to be alerted.

Please do not send your child to school if he/she has been sick during the night. Children who have lost sleep need rest and infectious illnesses spread quickly.

Please check your child’s hair regularly. If there is an outbreak of head lice in the school, all families are informed by note, and asked to take appropriate action.

Requests to remain indoors at break times should only be made in exceptional circumstances. Such requests should be made by parents.

In the interests of safety, parents’ cars are not permitted past the boundary line, into the school playground area, during the school day.

Accident Procedures

Accidents occur despite supervision. Minor accidents are treated at school. Slight cuts and grazes are normally treated by cleaning with cold water. Parents are requested to inspect all wounds when the child arrives home from school.

In the event of an accident/child becoming ill, every possible effort will be made to contact the child’s parents or persons delegated to take responsibility for the child. Please ensure you have completed the form giving details of home/mobile/work phone numbers. The school should be notified immediately of any changes to these contact numbers. Non co-operation in this matter could result in a delay in having your child attended to medically, should the need arise.


We operate a Healthy Lunch Policy in our school. Please do not give your child sweets, chocolate, crisps or fizzy drinks for lunch. Lunch should provide one third of your child’s food requirements for the day. The most effective way to plan a healthy lunch is to include one food from each of the food groups. We encourage all children to eat rolls, sandwiches, crackers, fruit and yoghurt. Drinks permitted include fruit juices, milk and water. Chewing gum is not permitted in the school.

To promote recycling, and involve all children in our Green Schools project, we ask everyone to have re-usable lunch boxes and drink containers.

Dress Code

St. Mary’s N.S. does not have a uniform. All children are asked to dress neatly, with care being given to hygiene. Footwear should be appropriate for outdoor play at breaktime. There is a PE uniform – school track suit and t-shirt. Runners and the school track suit must be worn for P.E. sessions.

School Books

We are very conscious of the cost of school books. For this reason, and to recycle as many books as possible, the school is setting up a Book Rental Scheme. Parents are notified of the cost in advance, and can opt to pay for the rental, or obtain a book list and purchase the required books themselves. Books on the Rental Scheme should be returned in good condition at the end of each school year. Any books mislaid or damaged should be replaced by the parent.

Home/School Communication

Frequent communication is of vital importance in developing and nurturing co-operation between home and school. In our school, communication between parents and teachers may take one of the following forms:

Individual consultation: This occurs where a parent has asked for a meeting with a teacher, or has been invited to visit the school to exchange information or to discuss matters of concern. A note to the class teacher or a call to the office requesting such an appointment is essential. It is also necessary that the purpose of the visit be stated, so that teachers may undertake whatever preparation is necessary with regard to information and records.

Appointment with the Principal: Parents should contact the Principal in advance to make an appointment.

Parent/Teacher meetings for pupils are generally held during the first term. (November)

A meeting is held in May/June each year with parents of the new Junior Infants.

In addition to these forms of home/school links, the following means of communication are also used:

• Notes in the child’s homework notebook.

• School reports.

• Details of school holidays and other closures are always communicated in writing.

• Newsletters are sent at regular intervals via the school bags

It is important that parents check their child’s school bag regularly to ensure that they receive these notes.


Each pupil, to whom the School Attendance Act applies (that is, those between the ages of 6 and 15) is obliged by law to attend school every day on which the school is in operation unless there is a reasonable excuse for not attending.

In line with current legislation, the school authorities are obliged to notify the National Education Welfare Board when a pupil is absent regularly, for more than 20 days in each school year, or if a reasonable excuse has not been provided for an absence by the pupil’s parents.

Code of Behaviour

Our Code of Behaviour aims to achieve the efficient operation of the school and the structuring of in-class discipline so that there exists an efficient and stimulating learning environment. This policy can be accessed on this website.

Most pupils are very well behaved, and rewarding good behaviour is an important part of our Code of Behaviour. The school’s Anti-Bullying Code is discussed regularly in each class, and explained to the pupils. We will not tolerate any unkind actions or remarks, even if these were not meant to hurt.

School Assemblies/ Religious Instruction

We are a Church of Ireland School, linked with St. Mary’s Parish Church. We organise and attend services in the church during the school year. There is a whole school assembly each Monday and Friday morning. We take a collection at the Friday assembly and the money is sent to a designated charity at the end of each term/year. The Friday assembly is often taken by the Rector.


Homework provides a valuable link between home and school and is an important reinforcement of the work being covered in school. As a general rule, pupils are given homework each night from Monday to Thursday. Parents are asked to ensure the homework is completed each night and to sign the homework diary. In the event of the homework not being attempted / completed, teachers may insist that it is completed during part of break time or at the weekend. Where exceptional circumstances prevent the completion of homework, please forward an explanatory note to the teacher. Please do not do the pupil’s homework for him / her. Work set has been prepared in class. Please check homework for neatness and point out errors.

Oral work is as important as written work. Please listen to your child read, and examine spellings and tables. As a general rule, homework is not set at weekends.

You can have a look at our Homework Policy here.


It is primarily in the home that the habit of reading is fostered. Encourage reading in free time and during holidays, and help your child appreciate that reading can be fun and not a chore which is confined to school or homework. Reading to your child and with your child will help him/her to develop a life-long love of reading.

How can you help the school?

We are very appreciative of the support given by the Parents’ Association. You could take an active part in the Association.

“When you give time to the school, you help your child! When you give time to your child, you help the school!”