School Note, 22nd March 2017

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Dear Parent/Guardian,

Lots of information below and also dates that are coming up!
Safety and driving-serious issue
As you may be aware a child was unfortunately knocked down today. A parent emailed me today after this accident very concerned. She gave me an insight, highlighting her concerns as a parent who walks her child to school-
Parents who are walking to school/have children cycling, are experiencing danger daily from parents who are driving and not paying attention to children on their way to school…examples included manner in which parents drop off, park and don’t stop at the lines to let children entry to the school grounds.
• Inside the school I see parents regularly parking in the drop off zone (which is not allowed and unfair on other parents) and also each morning stopping and dropping off on the roundabout although we have asked and even put up a sign asking parents not to do this.
• We all have a responsibility to ensure the children are safe. We really need parents to come together and support safety. At the AGM there will be a discussion group –we need parents to come up with ideas and work together.
• We asked the PC to look at ideas at their last meeting. It is very challenging for our parents if they are following rules and another school isn’t and vice vearsa-eg we could use a walking bus/have a lollipop person etc
• From the school’s perspective we cannot monitor adults outside the school grounds. We can work on the inside and perhaps look at not permitting parents entry to the grounds who are not supporting health and safety. None of us wants a child to be hurt- please be extra aware.
School Walk– Friday leaving school at 10.45 weather permitting. The forecast for Friday is good. Children will be walking towards Father Collins Park where children will bring their lunch and have a picnic. Children are permitted a treat if parents wish .The funds are going directly to the school hall fund. Parents are welcome to meet us at the school and walk down or meet us in Father Collins’ Park.
GAA-Games tomorrow-Junior and Senior Boys and also Junior Girls (including 5th class). Please bring gear
• Ronan’s class- I was in visiting them today-they are a very funny, articulate and engaging class. The discussion around helping Mammies this weekend and untidy bedrooms came up! I am hoping that some of the children are going to make an extra effort this weekend so keep an eye out! I cannot say that all were as enthusiastic as I hoped!

• Hats/clothing-please send in appropriate clothing with your child to school-children are coming in with light tops for yard time and are freezing. Belmayne is very open and particularly cold at yard time. Also the weather is so changeable at the moment.

Events
• Rugby-6th class blitz-29th of March @10Am Suttonians RFC-Parents welcome .
• Assembly-Friday-Sarah’s class –will take place in her class
• Cake Sale-Thanks to everyone-the amount raised was 1300-fantasic amount !!
• May 8th-Please remember that the school is closed-staff are on training in St Pats regarding the new English Curriculum- the afterschool will operate all day.
• Swimming-6th class have their last swimming class tomorrow. Fourth class start next Thursday-Please ensure you have paid the 20e for the four weeks either online/through the office
• AGM-March 30th-8pm. Very important to have as many any parents as possible attending.We will have inputs on finance, new school, Learn Together, Principal input, stats in English and Maths against the national average, new Chair input, voting for the PC, launch of messaging app and new website.We will also have an opportunity for parents to input and give their views in groups at the end of the presentation on a variety of issues ranging from homework to the new school to parenting etc. Parents found this useful last year and asked for it to occur again. It is also very informative for me, the staff and the Board.
• Texts- After the AGM we will no longer be texting you from the Aladdin programme-each text costs us in the region of 30e -45e per text to the whole school.
You must download the app ‘Message Cue’ and follow the ‘Belmayne ETNS – Whole School Community Group’. It is free for both the school and parents. 50% of parents have downloaded it so far. The service can be downloaded as an App from the Apple App Store or Google Play. It works on both Android and iOS phones. Any issues contact Gearoid.
• 4th Class-please wear wellies and bring rain gear tomorrow
• Spelling Bee-Good luck to Chloe Hansen who is representing the school in the Dublin final next Wednesday.

Esafety
As you know we had ESafety talks for children recently and also offered an info session for parents in 4th to 6th. All classes had input from staff on esaftey also.
The Internet is part of our children’s lives. The Internet has many benefits and we should not be afraid of it.
• However, there are safety concerns regarding children using the internet. What we have learned is that children do not fully understand what language to use and the seriousness of what they write up/what sites they explore/games they play etc.
• Some issues recently came to our attention from these inputs. We wanted to give you feedback about this so as parents we are all fully informed and we can keep our children safe. This is also informative to parents in lower classes
• We do not want to frighten parents. Generally feedback was very positive and in most cases children are very aware and know the dangers. Examples given showed that children did report to adults/teachers etc.
• Also from comments we saw children were vocal when they saw comments written that they felt were unfair/unkind. However, our understanding is that they seem to forget at times that what they write is there forever and also that others can view it.

Issues that arose-
• A serious issue arose regarding children having youtube accounts without the knowledge of their parents. The content discussed on these youtube videos was not appropriate.
School, class teachers and some students were also discussed, breaking the school rules regarding behaviour. Parents have been contacted where we were made aware of such content.
• Children are giving personal information about themselves and others on these youtube videos, making it so easy to identify the school they attend, where they live, their names etc .Again all done in innocence by the children.
• Whatsapp/Snapchat- children are making comments about other children that are not nice and inappropriate language has being used. Children forget that screenshots can be taken on snapchat.
• Gaming-we were concerned that adult games were being played by children and are unsure if parents are aware of it e.g. Grandtheft Auto should not be played by children under 18 due to the content.
I was personally shocked at the adult themes that were present in some of these games as gaming is not something that I have any knowledge of. Perhaps I am naive but I am unsure if parents are aware of this content. Age ratings for games can be found on the internet.
We tell the children not to write anything they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. They often are braver in what they write rather than what they say.
To reinforce what we have covered we would like if you could please discuss the following with your child-
• What accounts they have and to look at these.
• Are the games your child plays appropriate? Do they borrow games from friends/older siblings?
• Ensure you have passwords for all your children’s accounts
• Discussion regarding respect for peers/parents/staff and what should and should not be discussed on the internet /in forums/on whatsapp/snapchat etc
• Use of snapchat and how conversations can be screenshot
• What is appropriate /inappropriate language and discussions to be involved in?
• What a child should do if they see comments or discussions that are inappropriate -direct them to discuss these with an adult.
• Sharing of information by one child to other children-when should they share other people’s comments/pictures and why they would share.

Dates
23RD of March
Debating Belmayne ETNS versus St Francis
4th Class-visiting Bull Island-Brent Geese Project
Fiona and Amnesty International Human Rights Workshop for staff –afterschool
GAA-boys/ girls games.
24th Sarah’s’ Class-assembly
29th-6th Class Rugby Blitz
30th AGM-Hilton-8pm
Confirmation
31st-Ronan’s Class Assembly
April 6th-School disco-Hilton Hotel-4th-6th class
6.30-7.45 pm-all children must be brought and collected by an adult .
April 7th last day of school-school closed for two weeks

Thanks
Sinéad

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