CBS Primary Information Booklet
Chairperson Board of Management: Martin Kelly
Principal: Bernard O'Connell
Deputy Principal: Nigel Griffin
Assistant Principal 1: John Weir
In- School Management Team: C. O’Shea, M. Clifford-Considine,
H.S.C.L.: (089) 4589457 Gillian Kearney
(Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator)
Kathleen Cott: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Patricia Dwane: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday
Welcome to C.B.S. Primary!
This booklet serves as an introduction to our school and a quick overview of how we operate. If you require clarification on any topic, please contact us. Your feedback will prove vital, when this booklet is being reviewed/revised.
The success of our school is founded on the cultivation of excellent interpersonal relationships. We are fortunate that communication systems between all the partners, who contribute to our school life, are of the highest calibre.
The boys are the ultimate benefactors.
2. Our Vision:
That through positive learning experiences, each child will be stimulated to achieve his full potential, face life confidently and respectfully, mindful of his responsibility to the wider community.
3. Our Mission:
As members of C.B.S. Primary Community we endeavour to;
- Be kind and show respect.
- Be good team players.
- Promote an inclusive atmosphere.
- Accommodate individuality, celebrating difference.
- Develop and share our gifts and talents.
4. Aims of our school:
- To endeavour that each pupil develops to his full potential – socially, academically, physically, spiritually, morally and emotionally.
- That time in school will be spent in a stimulating, fulfilled, happy way.
- To respectfully cater for individual needs and diversity of cultures.
- To promote positive health behaviour.
- To cultivate the highest calibre communications systems with all partners in education.
- To promote a sense of responsibility to and co-operation with, the wider community.
- Déanfaimid iarracht Gaeilge a labhairt.
5. Brief History:
The Christian Brothers initially arrived in Mitchelstown on 29th January 1857, at the invitation of the Parish Priest. The people of Mitchelstown were more than willing to support the Brothers and in a matter of weeks, the total number of students had reached three hundred. At that time, both Primary and Secondary were accommodated in the same building. In June 1866, the first public examinations took place in the school. With the advent of Independence in 1922, the Brothers found that more and more boys were enrolling. The Primary School wasn’t adequate to cater for the number of students. A separate Primary School was built on the same campus and completed in 1948. Our school today has been greatly extended and modernised.
Over the years, many eminent Brothers and lay teaching staff, have worked diligently for the education of boys in Mitchelstown. In 1998, for the last time, the Christian Brothers Community left Mitchelstown. In September 1998, Mary O’Callaghan was appointed first lay Principal, of the Primary School. The current Principal Bernard O'Connell was appointed in October 2020. There continues to be great co-operation between both Primary and Secondary schools, here at Brigown.
6. In School Community:
The Primary School caters for boys from 1st to 6th classes inclusive, with infant pupils transferring from Bunscoil na Toirbhirte. We have an excellent team of support teachers and ASD Unit. All class groupings benefit from a structured system of team teaching. Our involvement with the DEIS initiative, has seen the welcome arrival of staff such as School Completion Project Worker and a Home School Liaison Co-ordinator. We also have Special Needs Assistants, catering for the care needs of individual children / groups and in the context of our special classes. In addition, our excellent ancillary staff – Secretaries, Caretaker and Cleaners, allow us to operate effectively.
7. School Ethos/Characteristic Spirit:
In keeping with the spirit of Edmund Ignatius Rice, we endeavour to create an atmosphere of inclusiveness. Our school places great importance on a strong sense of team-work and co-operation among teachers, pupils, ancillary staff, Parents and Board of Management. We emphasise the need to give children every opportunity to develop patterns of good behaviour. Our aim is to accommodate individuality, while acknowledging the right of each pupil to education, in a disruption-free environment. We actively promote a sense of responsibility towards the wider community.
8. Board of Management:
The Board of Management of C.B.S. Primary consists of 8 persons. The current members are, Martin Kelly, Chairperson, Canon Michael Leamy P.P. (Bishop’s Nominee), Ryan Quirke (Teachers' Nominee), Bernard O'Connell (Principal), Marie Sheehan and Vinod Bernard (Parent Nominees), Kay Dawson and Marvyn Hodgins(Community Representatives). A new B.O.M. will be elected Autumn 2023 (four year term of office).
The Board of Management issues an Agreed Report after each meeting for the partners in education and publishes its Annual Report on the School Website.
In the recent past, our B.O.M. has overseen many projects, including – new roof on the original part of the school building, electrical renovations, new flooring, replacement of old desks, new windows, resurfacing of school yard, security lighting and fire alarm system. With the co-operation of the Secondary School and both Parent Councils, we succeeded in finishing a car parking/turning facility, for both schools.
Our B.O.M. has improvised, to the best of its ability and used all available space, to incorporate Resource Rooms and a Parent / Family Room. More recent work has included installation of natural gas heating. During summer 2006, a public announcement system was installed. In summer 2007, works included replacement of external windows and doors, on the ‘new wing’ of the school. All internal doors were also replaced. Again, in co-operation with our friends at CBS Secondary and with the fundraising efforts of both Parent Councils, we widened and resurfaced the entrance avenue.
Summer 2008 - with the deferral of the Summer Works Scheme by Department of Education, our Board of Management, with local support, managed to upgrade main toilet area and convert cloakroom area, to a useable room. Thankfully, Summer 2009, we were successful in our application for grant aid towards structural improvements. We improved all guttering around the school. A huge fundraising effort in school year 2009/2010, enabled the demolition of the “old lunchroom” and building of full new classroom and access corridor. “Seomra Naomh Fhionnchua”, was officially opened, by Fr. Michael Fitzgerald P.P., in October 2009. It has been a great asset to our school. Summer works 2010 enabled us to provide new toilet facilities for staff and pupils, as well as universal access, at the main front door and a new lobby area. Over the year 2010/20111, there continued to be great strides in improvements to the physical fabric of the school. Through the generosity of the local community and Parent Council, we extended the office spaces of Secretaries and Principal.
Following successful application, to the Department of Education, during Summer 2011, we added two new permanent classrooms, support room and attic storage space (part funded by Parent Council). This was officially opened by Junior Minister at the Department of Education and Skills, Seán Sherlock, T.D, in December 2011. Summer 2012, we embarked on, probably one of our most ambitious projects to date, when all temporary accommodation was replaced with permanent accommodation, through Government Grant Aid. This extension was formally opened on 31st May 2013, again by Minister Sherlock. The end result has been beyond our dreams, with 3 additional spacious classrooms, 2 support rooms, sensory room, staff toilet and cleaners’ room. We also upgraded the halla with funding from Alan Reidy, at Supervalu Mitchelstown. We are really grateful to all who helped us and continue to help us, achieve our goals. In school year 2016/2017 we made applications to D.E.S. to repair and recover floors of at least four classrooms. The B.O.M. is continually mindful of best maintenance and refurbishment practices. These works have made and continue to make, substantial, positive improvements, for the whole school community. Summer 2019 - we have attained approval to replace windows in the original section of the school. We are also currently working on substantial improvements to our already impressive Digital Technological.
In April 2017, following protracted efforts, we managed to purchase the adjacent "O'Callaghan's Field" from Tesco. This acquisition, while a huge project to take on, will allow our school improve the entrance / exit facilities and holds much opportunities for future development. We have formed Committees, who will guide the fundraising and development plans. Thus far, we have been hugely helped in our efforts by Liam Barry of B.H. Tree Services. We held large fundraising initiatives - a Tea Party at Mitchelstown Leisure Centre and Golf Classic at Mitchelstown Golf Club. We have now finally paid off the loan on the field and are confident it will prove a fantastic asset, for generations to come.
9. Child Protection Policy:
As part of the School's child Safeguarding Statement, Staff and Management of CBS Primary Mitchelstown has adopted, without modification the "Child Protection Procedures for Primary Schools 2017. This includes a written assessment of risk as required under the Children First Act 2015. This is reviewed annually.
All staff (Teachers, SNA’S, Ancillary staff, Secretarial, Caretaking etc) will follow the recommendations for reporting concerns or disclosures, as outlined in “Children First” and the Department of Education and Skills document, “Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures”. The Board of Management of this school has appointed Bernard O'Connell , as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and John Weir as the Deputy DLP. A copy of Child Protection, Guidelines and Procedures, may be accessed at the school. The Stay Safe Programme is in operation, in our school. Full copy of our Child Safeguarding Statement is available at the office, as part of our School Plan, or on our school website under Policies section.
10. Role of Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s):
Teachers and Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) need to work in harmony for the good of pupils. Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) are invited to keep in close contact with the school, regarding all aspects of their child’s progress. At C.B.S. Primary, we believe your child is the ultimate benefactor of close home/school liaison.
During school hours, you can understand, that the education of the boys has to be our priority. To avoid disruption of classes, it is important that casual calls are made via the office (just inside main entrance of school). It is school policy that all visitors should initially report either to Secretary or Principal, when visiting school. Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) who wish to meet teachers during school hours/outside of school hours, are requested to contact the school in advance. This way, you can be best facilitated and arrangements made. We truly value parental input. This team approach is essential to the effective running of our school. Remember, any worries or concerns, please let us know promptly.
Following feedback, we request that you do not circulate party invitations in school (unless you are inviting the entire class grouping!). This is in the interest of fairness. Boys not invited, can be sad and it may also put pressure on families.
11. Home/School links / Structures to Facilitate Open Communication and Consultation:
We endeavour to foster the best home/school links which, ultimately, will benefit our pupils. The following are procedures we employ to allow maximum feedback, from home to school and vice versa –
- C.B.S. Primary Homework Journal.
- Coffee Mornings/Afternoons in parent/family room, organised by Home School Community Liaison Officer.
- Well structured Parental Involvement Programme including, Reading Workshops, Science for Fun, Gardening, Cookery, Pampering Days, Yoga, Art/Craft.
- Introductory meetings with parents, as required.
- Regular school newsletters.
- Text A Parent service, deployed as necessary.
- Digital information display board at front door and front foyer.
- School Website.
- Bi-annual Grandparents Day.
- Parent/Teacher meeting held in classroom, by appointment, (October / November), choice of either daytime or night-time meeting.
- Meeting for Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) of incoming pupils (mid June)
- Written reports posted home mid-year (Feb).
- Written reports posted home, end of school year.
- Night meetings e.g. Parent Council AGM, Information Night for incoming parents, Information re Sacraments, Curricular and Extra Curricular information.
- Graduation Ceremony for 6th class pupils.
- Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) invited to attend ceremonies and celebrations throughout the year.
- Language lessons for our community whose first language is not English.
- Community Talent Bank.
12. Home School Community Liaison Scheme:
From September 2007, under our involvement with the DEIS initiative, we have had the services of a Home School Community Co-ordinator. Ms. Enda McCafferty was in the role from 2014 to June 2018. Ms. Gillian Kearney took over the role in September 2018. This is a shared position with Coláiste Fionnchua.
The Co-ordinator acts as liaison between school, parent and community, the significant adults in children’s lives. The co-ordinator advocates partnership and collaboration, as well as co-ordinating a range of activities, supported by the school. A Local Management Committee has been established, to ensure that there is a collaborative approach to initiatives, to identify problems and work on solutions. We are grateful to the voluntary and statutory agencies, who have agreed to be part of this Committee, ensuring integrated provision of service and encouraging active community participation.
The co-ordinator is at CBS Primary on Wednesdays, Thursdays and alternate Fridays. She operates from the Parent / Family room – first left from the main front door. An integral part of the co-ordinator's work is home visits – identifying parents’ needs, that ultimately, children can get the best from the service we provide.
Already mentioned, we have a specific “Parent / Family Room” – while small, it is fit for purpose. You are more than welcome to drop in for a coffee. This service is to help you, help your children, - do use it! Indeed, the room is yours to avail of, anytime during the school day. We also encourage you to contact the co-ordinator on (089) 4589457, should you have issues you would like to discuss, or have ideas on any initiatives.
13. Notes from Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) are required:-
- To explain any absence of a pupil from school.
- When a pupil is late for school.
- When homework is not completed.
- If you wish your son to leave school before 2.40p.m.
14. Please remember:
- Any infectious illness should be notified to school immediately.
- As head-lice infestation can occasionally occur, please check child’s hair regularly for head lice.
- Please sign your son’s homework each evening, as outlined in our homework policy.
- Do take an active interest, if homework causes worry, contact your child’s teacher.
15. Complaints Procedure:
We are extremely fortunate that the calibre of communications between our school community here, is absolutely superb. These relationships are central to how we operate and have been cultivated and nurtured, over many, many, years.
It is our professional duty to let you know that, in line with Department Guidelines, our school has adopted the complaints procedure, agreed by all partners in education nationally. A copy of this procedure is included in the Policies Section, on our school website.
We actively promote good attendance. It is crucial to your child’s progress in school. Good and/or improved attendance is recognised and incentivised. Our School Completion Programme and Home School Liaison Service are central to these initiatives. We encourage you not to take children out of school, during term time, for family holidays. For further information please see our attendance policy included in Policy Booklet.
17. Education / Welfare Act:
Please note, under Education /Welfare Act, all schools are obliged to inform Túsla, where a child has been absent for 20 days, or more, in a school year. Notes explaining absence (full or part of day) should be on a separate letter or, alternatively, use specific section at back of homework journals. This is a statutory requirement. School is required to keep these notes for records. In line with CBS Policy on attendance, we also issue parents / legal guardians with written notice;
- When their child has missed 15 days.
- When their child has missed 20 days. (Túsla will also be notified at this point).
- Contact may also be made from our H.S.C.L. or S.C.P. Staff, to offer support to Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s), with regard to promoting good attendance, informing them of the number of days missed and offering support, if required.
18. Parent Council:
At C.B.S. Primary, we have an active, committed and hardworking Parent Council. The Committee is elected, annually, at the A.G.M., which takes place in October. From the general committee, the officers of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, et al, are elected. You will be informed of your Parent Council names and contact numbers, in the newsletter following election. The Parent Council meet in the school on a monthly basis. Principal and / or Deputy Principal and / or Staff Rep. attend these meetings, as invited guests. Members of our Parent Council are on hand to help out with many school activities, concerts, celebrations etc.
Over the years, elected Parent Representatives have been an invaluable asset and support to our school. Their fundraising events (traditionally Annual Christmas Draw and Fashion Show), have made it possible for us to facilitate many opportunities for the boys. Recently, the Parent Council have run Bag Packing ventures, Bingo, Table Quizzes, Cake Sales and Fun Run/Walk, to enhance their fundraising endeavours. They have helped furnish the school with laptops, interactive white boards, networking, sports equipment, books etc. and indeed, with the enhancement of all our school facilities.
In the recent school years – your Parent Council fundraising has enabled us, along with DES grant aid, to fully equip each classroom with a data projector, interactive whiteboard and laptop. Their current fundraising initiatives, which include online Bingo, aims to equip all classrooms with Interactive Touchscreens.. In addition, they have funded additional literacy / numeracy provisions, bus travel to numerous activities and speech and drama classes for the whole school, to name but a few initiatives.
Recently, monies from Parent Council ventures, provided new line markings on the playground, additional I-pads, sensor taps throughout the school, resources for Literacy Lift Off, amplification in halla, new Burco, Matific - (Maths online programme) and funding for numerous opportunities for the boys. In the past two years, as well as helping in all these initiatives, the Parent Council have contributed to the loan fund towards payment, for the field, adjacent to our school.
Most importantly, however, the Parent Council here at C.B.S. Primary, represents partnership in education, on the ground. The members’ opinions and feedback from their monthly meetings, are crucial to the effective operation of our school. Throughout the year, their contributions inform our practice. In partnership, we review our School Plan structures and daily procedures. Parent Representatives on the Council, have an invaluable liaising role. Their input into whole school development has been and continues to be, huge.
19. School Time Table:
- Supervision commences at 8.45a.m.
- No responsibility is accepted for pupils, prior to 8.45am.
- Official opening time is 9.00a.m.
- From 8.55am boys in classrooms for breakfast.
- Classes end at 2.40p.m.
We emphasise the necessity of your child being collected promptly and of making arrangements that your child/children go to and from school safely.
20. Visitors To Our School:
To ensure pupils’ safety, we operate a policy whereby all visitors to our school must, firstly, report to Secretary’s office, Principal’s office or Class Teacher, in Room 1 (just inside main door on right). In the interest of Health and Safety, adults who are collecting children, before official school closure, are required to sign release book, on main corridor. If your son is returning to C.B.S., adult again signs child in. If child is late for school, adult must sign child in. For Health and Safety reasons, all visitors to our school, who visit classrooms or ancillary rooms, are requested to sign the visitors’ book, and wear a C.B.S. Primary Visitors Badge.
21. School Facilities / Resources:
- A Happy Atmosphere - living the school motto "Have Courage and Be Kind".
- Centrally positioned in Mitchelstown.
- Active and committed Board of Management.
- Active and committed Parent Council.
- Excellent In-School Management Team.
- An excellent team of teachers and ancillary staff.
- Proven excellence in academic attainment.
- Commitment to continual professional development.
- Well established home/school links programme.
- DEIS initiatives such as School Meals Programme, Home School Community Liaison, and School Completion Programme.
- Book Rental Scheme for all.
- Opportunities to avail of range of best practice teaching methodologies.
- Established team teaching structures.
- Multitude of resources for all subject areas.
- Implementation of programmes, Maths Recovery, First Steps, Writing and First Steps Speaking and Listening.
- General purpose room.
- Dedicated Parent / Family room.
- Fully equipped cookery area – courtesy of A.I.B. Better Ireland Award.
- Use of pitch/ hard core area directly at rear of school.
- Use of handball alley, adjacent to school.
- Use of large sports facility, at C.B.S. Secondary.
- Mitchelstown Leisure Centre adjacent to school.
- Links fostered with Secondary, on joint ventures.
- Set down/parking and turning facility.
- The school is well equipped with the most modern information technology resources.
- Sensory Room.
- Vast choice of extracurricular and afterschool activities.
- Community Talent Bank scheme in operation.
- Excellent established links with local organisations and the wider community.
- Commitment to continual evaluation, review and improvement.
- Recent purchase, by B.O.M., of adjacent field, opens huge opportunities for improvement and development.
22. Religious Education:
C.B.S. Primary is a school with a Catholic ethos. Prayer is an integral part of our school routine. Canon Leamy P.P., School Chaplain, Parish Pastoral Council, and other Religious Advisors, are regular visitors to our school. The boys are prepared for school based and parish based religious ceremonies. We aim to continue the religious formation already begun in Baptism. We introduce the pupils to God, through nature and human experience. We follow a formal Religious Education Programme (1st – 6th classes).
Throughout their time with us, pupils are helped become aware of God's love and presence in their lives and to develop their own personal prayer life. Parish Faith Programmes enable parents and indeed, the whole community, take a truly active role, in the preparation for Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
23. Other Faiths / Denominations:
Our school welcomes children who belong to other faiths/denominations. At time of enrolment, Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) are requested to liaise with Principal/Deputy Principal. Subsequently, Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) may meet with class teacher, as to preferences vis a vis religious instruction.
24. DEIS Initiative:
During school year 2004-2005, our school successfully applied for inclusion into the DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) Programme. This initiative has been co-ordinated by the Dept. of Education and Skills, to promote social inclusion. The scheme includes support services for curricular areas, home-school liaison services, additional grants etc. Some of the initiatives e.g. First Steps Writing, are already well underway. In school year 2009/2010, we began our involvement with the Maths Recovery Programme. Since, then many of our teachers have been fully trained in its implementation, In school year 2011/2012 we began First Steps Speaking and Listening. Our staff attended First Steps Reading In-service, Summer 2012. Our staff continue with training in the "Incredible Years" Class Management Programme and with the 'Meitheal' initiative. Further information on DEIS and the Action Plans, relating to DEIS, are available from Principal/Deputy Principal/School Office.
25. S.C.P. – School Completion Programme:
This is an initiative under our involvement with DEIS. The objectives of the programme include;
- Provision of direct support to young people.
- Promotion of good school attendance.
- Liaison with relevant agencies and ensure involvement.
Funding from the initiative allows us to provide opportunities, which might never be afforded to the boys. The Programme of work for School Completion is in the S.C.P. Retention Plan, available from the S.C.P. Co-ordinator David Feehan, C/o Coláiste Fionnchua.
26a. Curriculum Implementation:
C.B.S. Primary is committed to policy development, planning, evaluation and review, in all curricular areas. The Revised Curriculum for Primary schools is implemented, as per Department of Education and Skills guidelines.
For your information, the Revised Curriculum is presented in seven curricular areas, some of which are further subdivided into subjects. These are: Language; Gaeilge and English; Mathematics; Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE); History, Geography and Science; Arts Education; Music, Art, Drama; Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). That we can best manage change, all teaching staff, led by curriculum co-ordinators, are involved in regular development and review of curricular areas. Within this framework, it is important to emphasise that all aspects of a child’s development are inter-related.
Integral to our work, on school self evaluation, is attention to Literacy and Numeracy attainment. We think it important that you are aware of where we are at.
Literacy Analysis: In Standardised Testing, 25% of children nationally, achieve a standard score below 89. At our school, this figure was 14% in 2016/2017 and 10% in 2017/2018.
Nationally, 25% of children achieve a standard score above 110. At our school, this figure was 46% in 2016/2017 and 46% in 2017/2018.
These figures indicate that our pupils are performing way above national averages in Literacy.
Numeracy Analysis: In Standardised Testing nationally, 25% of children achieve a standard score below 89. At our school, this figure was 19% in 2016/2017 and 15% in 2017/2018.
Nationally, 25% of children achieve a standard score above 110. At our school, this figure was 43% in 2016/2017 and 47% in 2017/2018.
Again, these figures for numeracy attainment are way above national averages.
Overall, since we began our intensive concentration on particular aspects of teaching and learning, in literacy and numeracy (over 14 years ago now), we have made huge strides in the attainment levels of all our pupils. It is a testament to the work put in by a whole team of people. It is also gratifying for you, as parents and guardians, to know that your sons are availing of the best methodologies and systems for teaching and learning, that have proven positive outcomes for all.
27. Costs To Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s):
In light of the economic realities, following consultation with Parent Council Reps, we produced a comprehensive detailing of all costs which were required throughout the school year, as were feasible, at time of printing. We circulated same to all Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s). Feedback regarding this composite information has been really positive. It proved invaluable to have monies required, throughout the year, for reference, towards managing family budgets etc. Thus, we furnish all Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s),with this information annually. At C.B.S. Primary, we are, and always have been, extremely conscious of keeping costs to Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s), to the minimum, while still providing pupils, with as many opportunities as possible, to enhance their educational experiences. We will again circulate similar to all our school community, in the coming year. Previous copy available at office, if you wish to peruse.
28. Book Rental Scheme:
For school year 2008/2009, we launched into a mammoth undertaking – A Textbook Rental and Workbook Purchase Scheme. Initial cost of the scheme was €28,000. This was made possible by the generous time commitment of our staff, financing from Parent Council and through our involvement with the DEIS Initiative. The scheme is operational for all pupils, at all class levels. It has delivered considerable cost savings for parents and has also saved the hassle of collecting, covering, labelling and putting students’ names on books. Additional funding, per Department of Education and Skills is now also provided to keep the scheme in operation.
By purchasing books in bulk from suppliers, we are able to avail of sizeable discounts. The scheme will only continue to be viable if all opt in, pay the yearly contribution and most especially, if books are kept in a way that they can be reused the following year. Let’s hope it continues to work out. It is truly a scheme which is a huge asset.
29. Shared Reading / Literacy Lift Off:
With financial assistance from Ballyhoura Social Inclusion Programme, Mitchelstown Credit Union and the support of our Parent Council, in 2005, we piloted a Shared Reading Project with 1st class pupils. The evaluations of this have informed practice. The project was extended to 2nd and 3rd classes, with extra resources acquired. In school year 2009/2010 and once again, with the financial assistance of Ballyhoura Development, we have extended this scheme to 4th classes. From school year 2011 / 2012, Shared Reading has been operational in all classes, 1st to 5th.
29a. Literacy Lift Off:
In school year 2016/2017, with much investment from Parent Council and Deis monies, we purchased resources to enable us carry out the Literacy Lift Off Initiative with 1st classes. In school year 17'/18' we purchased additional books which enabled us extend this programme to 2nd classes.
Drop Everything And Read Programme is operated in each class grouping, with 2/3 adults working with the boys. Mitchelstown Public Library has been a huge asset to us in developing this programme. We have also acquired many class based library books through proceeds of our Book Fair, fundraising of our Parent Council, Deis Initiative and through parenting programmes (H.S.C.L.).
31. I.T. - Information Technology:
Here at C.B.S. Primary, we are very proud of our Digital Technology resources. Over the years, we have built up an enviable array of equipment, from departmental funding, (most recently the Digital Strategy Grant), parental donations and generous benefactors. However, the vast majority of our resources are sourced and maintained, by the trojan fundraising work of our Parent Council.
Currently, all classrooms from 1st to 6th, support rooms and G.P. room, are equipped with Interactive Whiteboards, networking and Wi - Fi Broadband. We are currently replacing the Whiteboards with Interactive Touchscreens. Each mainstream class also has its own Digital Camera and we also have four visualisers for use by all.
In 2010, we launched our school website / blog. The URL is www.cbspmitchelstown.com.
In school year 2015/2016, our Parent Council purchased a set of 10 I-Pads, complete with I-Caddy transporter for syncing and charging. This equipment, complimented by an Apple TV and Apple Airport Extreme, provides opportunity for all our pupils to utilise cutting edge educational technology, in a stimulating and creative environment. In 2016/2017, our I.T. provision extended to 20 I-pads. We received €5,000 from Microsoft towards I.T. equipment, when we won the All Ireland Mindrising 2016 Competition (check our entry out on YouTube cbsmindrising winners). We used this money to buy the additional I-pads, Microsoft surfaces and Android Tablets. In addition, Microsoft presented us with two state of the art Links Tablets. The central aim of our ICT policy is to equip all our pupils with computer skills, so essential in the modern era and to integrate I.C.T. into all areas of the curriculum. All parents/children are required to read and sign the Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP). This can be found on our school website (www.cbspmitchelstown.com), under Policies Section.
32. School Uniform:
The school uniform must be worn on each school day and for school functions outside of school hours.
It consists of:-
- A light blue shirt
- A navy round necked jumper
- A navy blue tailored pants
33. Personal Property:
Children should have their names on their coats, jumpers and other personal property, such as school books, copies etc.
No pupil may bring to school any article or item, which could be a source of moral or physical danger to himself, or others.
34. Mobile Phones:
Following consultation between pupils, staff, parents and Board of Management, it is School Policy, that no child brings a mobile phone to school, switched off or otherwise. This is in the interest of the Health and Safety of all. School phone is always available for use by pupils.
35. School Property and the School Environment:
We expect pupils to respect all school property and keep the school environment clean and litter free. In cases of deliberate damage, Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s), will be required to cover cost of repairs or replacement.
36. Green School Scheme:
We are involved in the ‘Green Schools’ international programme, which promotes responsible behaviour among school children and the wider community, towards the environment. The Programme is also a learning resource, raising awareness of environmental issues, through activities that link curricular subjects. To reduce waste, all boys bring a lunch box to school, which enables them to bring cartons, fruit skins and other wrappings, home. It is a source of huge pride for our school community that we were awarded the ‘Green Flag’, by An Taisce, in March 2007 – the first school in the area to be granted the accolade! In February 2010, this flag was renewed, following inspection, by Dr. Mary Stack.
During School year 2010 / 2011, all members of our school community worked extremely hard towards attaining our first ‘Green Flag’ for Energy Efficiency. The efforts paid off. In May 2011, we received the award in Thomond Park! May 2012 saw us receive our 3rd Green Flag Award, for water conservation. In 2013/2014, in conjunction with Bunscoil na Toirbhirte, Bright Sparks and An Taisce, we began our quest for our fourth Green Flag for Transport. Introducing the concept of WOW (Walk On Wednesday) and weather permitting, Walk On Weekdays. Our fourth Green Flag was awarded May 2015! In March 2016, our entire committee and staff reps attended the first Green Schools Expo at the R.D.S., Dublin - a trip funded by our Parent Council. In 2017, we were awarded our 5th Green Flag for Biodiversity. Biodiversity plays a very important role in the environment. We created a beautiful school garden (well worth a visit), at the back of our school. We also planted trees and hedges out the front. Bird boxes, bee hotels were also put up.
Our School Mascots and Mottos for these themes are;
- Captain Clean (Bin It Don't Fling It)
- Eco Eric (Save Power Every Hour)
- Wally Water (Save Every Drop)
- Sgt. Strider (Don't Drive, Stride)
- Enviro Man (Ready Set Grow)
- Pádraig Plant (Fairtrade is Fairplay)
The work of our Green Schools Committee is an ongoing feature of daily life, for everybody at C.B.S. Primary. Currently, under the guidance of Co-ordinators Donal O'Regan, Lianne O'Callaghan and Johanna Keane, we are working towards our Sixth Green Flag for Global Citizenship. The Green Schools Committee is elected annually, by democratic election, with representatives from each class grouping. These boys keep our whole school community, on their toes, regarding all Green Schools activities.
37. Health Promoting School:
Since 2003, we have been a Health Promoting School - awarded full official status in May 2005. This is an initiative, which began in Europe in the 1980s, with the support of the World Health Organisation. A Health Promoting School is one in which the Board of Management, staff, pupils and relevant agencies work together, in a planned way, to promote the health of everyone in the school community. This is reflected in our school ethos, healthy eating policy in school, promotion of positive mental health, whole school initiatives, extracurricular activities, commitment to recycling and awareness of improving our environment. The project is ongoing, with registration required annually and a programme of activities followed. The area of Mental Health & Wellbeing is of particular focus this year. To increase the awareness of Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing in our school community, we introduced a weekly positive quotation, mindfulness techniques, gratitude journals and a variety of competitions based on Friendship, Kindness and Tips for a Healthy Mind. We supported the Hope Foundation Shoe Box Appeal in December and took part in the Secret Santa as a whole school. We learned the song "This Is Me", we explored the strong link between physical activity and mental wellbeing. We implement the Social Skills Programme Zippy's Friends with Second Class. We are greatly supported in this initiative, by the Health Service Executive, our current in-house co-ordinators, Pamela O'Regan, Karen Griffin, Lianne O'Callaghan, Máiréad Barry and democratically elected Pupil Committee, plus other statutory and non-statutory organisations.
38. Healthy Eating:
For the benefit of your children, in line with our status as a Health Promoting School and in accordance with the Revised Curriculum for Primary Schools, we implement a Healthy Eating Policy. Sweets, chocolate, crisps, cereal bars, fizzy drinks and general junk food, are not allowed. C.B.S. Primary lunchtime supervision, allows a specific time for your child to sit and eat his lunch. We hope you will support us in our efforts to promote healthy eating, throughout the boys’ lives. Following consultation with Parent Representatives, we request that uneaten food is brought home. In this way, you can be more certain of what your child has actually consumed. For health and safety reasons, chewing gum and glass bottles are never allowed at school, or on school related activities.
39. School Meals Programme:
Through our inclusion in DEIS, we now offer School Meals to all our pupils, funded wholly by the Dept. of Social and Family affairs. Thus, there is no financial contribution required from Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s).
Since September ’08, our School Meals Programme has been provided by the Carambolakidz Company. School Year 2015/2016, our Board of Management decided to change meals providers, thus, meals are provided by Glanmore Foods. All lunches supplied in individual bags, with child's name on.
Your child will have choice of 5 bread types plus gluten free, 8 different fillings, or option of crackers, pasta, veg pot or baps as an alternative, plus choice of 3 different fruits, along with water or milk, for big lunch. There are also 24 healthy snack combinations, for small lunch. The food provided is based on nutritionally balanced, age appropriate menu recommendations. Choices for school meals are distributed termly, that the boys can have a change. All pupils are required to bring an empty lunch box to school, to bring home lunch waste and that you can monitor what your son is actually consuming. From school year 2015/2016 Glanmore Foods have also provided breakfast for all pupils, with choice of cereal/yoghurt etc. Organisation of this is scheduled into our morning timetable.
Feedback on our school meals scheme has been hugely positive. We earnestly request your support in ensuring that the lunch bags are responsibly disposed of. In line with our Green School status, during the current school year, Glanmore Foods will install a filtration system on all school taps, that we can cease using single use plastic bottles. If you require further information on the actual lunches, visit www.glanmorefoods.ie .
40. Promoting A Sense Of Community:
We hold regular ‘assemblies’ or get-togethers in our halla – to promote a sense of belonging and responsibility to our school community. These sessions also allow an opportunity to celebrate successes and participation, that all our pupils will strive to become involved in school activities and local organisations. There is usually, at least, one guest, from the wider community, present at these assemblies. Pupils’ birth dates are displayed and recognised. There is a Weekly Activity Board to keep all informed of current ventures. Our public announcement system enables messages etc. to be communicated most effectively.
Newsletters are distributed regularly (approx every 2 / 3 weeks) to the whole school community. Our School Website contains all up-to-date information of our activities (www.cbspmitchelstown.com) We can also be followed on our Twitter account @cbsjuniors. Since 1998, our school has produced a school magazine. In school year 2010 / 2011, we went the complete technological route, where all class groupings contributed to our first ever, “E-Zine”. In school year 2012/2013, our Parent Council fully financed a digital display unit for front of our school and a touch screen information point in the main foyer. The local Avondhu Newspaper and Parish Newsletter publish matters relating to our school life, which would be of interest, to the wider community.
Since 2011, we have used Aladdin, a computer based administration system, that simplifies and modernises everything we do at school. It includes information on all daily and weekly activities that can be accessed in each room. From 2016, we also use Google Drive for internal communication.
41. Student Council:
Sixteen years ago now!, we inaugurated a Student Council, based on the model followed at Secondary Level and modified to our needs. In September, students put themselves forward for nomination. By secret ballot, candidates are chosen. Eventual representatives are selected, by election – 2 per class grouping. The Council meets every two weeks, after school or at lunch break. Teacher Representative (currently Mr. Weir, Assistant Principal), also attends these meetings. This is an opportunity for pupils to bring feedback to a forum, where they can make a difference. Their deliberations are then brought to school assemblies, staff meetings, Parent Council and Board of Management. Our Student Council enables our pupils have a representative voice in how our school is operating. Since its inception, the Council have made some very positive contributions, through the in-class suggestion boxes, organisation of extracurricular activities and fundraising ventures.
Research shows, that if given a choice, most of you would opt for some sort of homework!
42. The Function Of Homework:
- To reinforce what the child learns during the day.
- To provide a link between teachers and Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s).
- To develop a child’s concentration skills.
43. When Is Homework Given?
- Homework is given from Monday to Thursday. In line with guidelines of Revised Curriculum – oral work is an integral part of homework.
- Normally, there is no homework at weekends, or on a school day before a holiday.
- Children in senior classes may sometimes be required to work on a project, or similar endeavour, at weekends.
- Extra homework may sometimes be given during the week or at the weekend, if a child has not completed homework, not made a suitable effort, or presented untidy work.
44. How Much Homework?
- Different children will complete same work, in different lengths of time.
- Time spent will vary from day to day and also from the beginning to the end of the school year.
- Sometimes, at the discretion of the class teacher, or the Principal/ Deputy Principal, children may be given ‘Homework off’, as an acknowledgement of some special occasion, or some special achievement.
First/second class - up to 40 minutes
Third/fourth class - 45/50 minutes
Fifth/sixth class - up to 1 hour
45. Helpful Tips For Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s):
Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) should try to help their children with homework by:
- Providing them with a suitable place and time to do their homework. In line with recognised best practice, we recommend that homework should be completed prior to 6 o’clock p.m.
- Preventing interruptions or distractions (like T.V. or "Gadgetry")!
46. How Often Should Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) Monitor Homework?
Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) should check and sign child’s homework journal every evening.
The pupil’s journal is an important record of child’s homework. It is also a valuable means of communication between parents and teachers.
47. When Should Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) Communicate With The Teachers About Homework?
- If time spent at homework is often longer than the recommended amount of time.
- If homework is cause for concern.
Every morning, our school supply shop is open. It is possible for your son to purchase basic items like copies, biros, toppers etc. No credit facilities provided!
At C.B.S. Primary, we actively promote the good habit of saving. Reminders for this are regularly included in our school newsletter and weekly on our school Activity Board and pupils homework journals. Mitchelstown Credit Union supports and liaises with our school throughout the year.
50. Extra Curricular Activities:
Here at C.B.S. Primary, we endeavour to facilitate opportunities for our pupils to experience as many and varied activities as possible. It is our belief that a chosen activity might spark, in perhaps even a couple of children, an interest, which will stay with them for life. Thus, while many of our extracurricular activities cater for mainstream interests, we also introduce minority pursuits, which might appeal to just some of our boys. Our extracurricular activity programme is structured throughout the year. The following are some of the extracurricular activities we engage in here:
- Gaelic Football and Hurling, - outdoor and indoor - impressive array of North Cork Championships A1 Grade. Since 2010, Coaching provided in-school, courtesy of the local club.
- Soccer – outdoor and indoor.
- Athletics – participation in North Cork Sports. Inter schools sports and Cork City Sports.
- Liaison with Golf Ireland – Senior classes.
- C.B.S. Primary ‘Fun for all Day’.
- Swimming – organised lessons for all classes. Participation in competitions.
- Water polo, in conjunction with Fermoy Leisure Centre.
- Aquathlon in conjunction with Fermoy Leisure Centre.
- I.T. Skills, including Coding, Fís Film Making, Khan Academy, Educational Minecraft, Learnstorm.
- On-line Maths Competitions - Mathletes, Matific.
- Chess (inter class, inter school).
- Cycling workshops (an S.C.P. initiative)
- June 2011 – Publication of “e-zine” our first on-line magazine. (Annual School Magazine published since 1998!)
- Handwriting competitions – internal / external.
- Creative writing and project work.
- Choir, drama and concert work.
- 2018/2019 - Participation in 'Peace Proms' All Ireland Choirs Initiative at U.L.
- 2018/2019 - Artist in Residence Programme.
- Each child gets the opportunity to participate in a large stage production, twice during his time at C.B.S. (Productions staged every 3 years).
- Participation in Scór and Réadóirí competitions.
- Gardening, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 awarded Best Small Garden (Muintir na Tíre!).
- Liaison with Mitchelstown Leisure Centre for Spikeball/Basketball etc.
- C.B.S. Primary bi - annual Pet Day.
- Numerous visitors to school facilitated.
- Liaison with Mitchelstown Public Library for Book Festival, World Book Week, and other activities.
- Coicíse na Gaeilge.
- Liaison with local agencies e.g. Vincent de Paul and Ballyhoura Development, Cope Foundation, Muintir na Tíre, H.S.E.
- Involvement with C.B.S. Secondary for Gaisce Awards.
- Involvement with Coláiste Fionnchua for soccer training.
- Co-operation with local organisations e.g. AROMA re. Green Schools Initiative, Clean Week.
- Quizzes, inter school and local table quizzes - hugely successful over many years, including All Ireland Credit Union finalists (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018).
- Table tennis, table soccer, magnetic darts.
- Annual Carol Singing for local charities.
- Annual Lenten Campaign – for local causes and Trócaire.
- Two worthy charities chosen each year for fundraising.
- Projects aimed at learning about different cultures.
- Educational school tours for every class group.
- Draughts / Board Games / unihoc / Gymnastics.
- Public speaking / Debating.
- Altar serving (parish and school) / preparation for Sacraments.
- Music and dance, including after school guitar lessons, for senior pupils and Zumba for all class groupings.
- School Band / Ballad Group – members selected by “X factor” type competition.
- Bi - Annual Book Fair.
- Shared Reading initiative, classes 1st – 5th.
- Literacy Lift Off - 1st class and 2nd classes.
- After-School Club. (an SCP Initiative) 3rd - 6th classes.
- Cookery facilities – financed through A.I.B. Better Ireland Award, (2010/2011) now available for all class groupings and parents.
- 2018/2019 - All Stars after school Cookery Programme, per SuperValu.
- Various trips organised e.g. shows, demonstrations, pantomime.
- Local Talent Bank Programme.
- Liaison with local organisations who work with Senior Citizens.
- Rugby Coaching in liaison with Munster Rugby and the Local Club.
- Tennis Coaching in liaison with Sports Partnership and the Local Club.
- Junior Entrepreneur Programme.
- Participation in local events and fundraising, e.g. Lighting of Christmas tree, Senior Citizens Party, Parish celebrations etc.
- Science Week and Scifest (in-house and in conjunction with Secondary).
- Engineers Week - STEM site visits to local industries.
- Annual retreat for 6th class pupils, in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
- Established Transition Programme from Primary to Secondary School.
- Graduation Ceremony for outgoing 6th class.
- Active Schools Week (last week of the school year), including a whole school 5K Walk/Run, 6th class climb of the Galtee's (weather permitting), culmination of our Soccer Leagues + much, much more!
This list is not exhaustive! These are only made possible or feasible, by the dedicated commitment of our staff, the respectful attitude of the boys and finance, which has been provided, in no small way, by parents, via fundraising of the Parent Council, and with the help of our local community.
51. School Excursions:
Throughout the school year, we provide pupils with opportunities to enrich their life experiences. Our policy applies to all excursions from visits to theatre, travelling to matches, visits to exhibitions, to school tours, etc. Full policy can be accessed, at office, if you wish.
You will be informed, in writing, of all school excursions. Your child will be required to return a signed permission slip and money (where required), by a specified date. Following consultation with parents, there is a limit set to the amount of money (if any), the boys may bring, on excursions. You will be informed regarding departure and return times, as well as pickup/drop-off points. The school mobile phone (number at front of this booklet) should prove useful, if there are any delays. Sometimes, it may be necessary, that a Parent/Legal Guardian accompany a child on school excursions, e.g. on medical/health and safety grounds. Consultation will precede this. In the case of a child needing medical attention during an excursion, one or more teachers/adults may bring him to a doctor/hospital. The other teacher/adults will remain with the group. If it is deemed necessary and where possible, teachers/adults will contact Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s) of the injured child. All school excursions have the prior approval of the Board of Management.
52. The Wider Community:
Essentially, our school community is an integral part of Mitchelstown life. Over the years, we have cultivated excellent relationships with various clubs and organisations in the town. The generosity of businesses and individuals to our school has to be acknowledged. In partnership, the boys are made aware of their responsibility to make our Wider Community a better place. This aim is furthered by our work helping local charitable organisations and highlights the excellent volunteer work, going on in our Community. It is one of our core beliefs that mutual support between ourselves and other organisations enhances all our lives. Our collaboration with the Wider Community is now on a more structured footing, with the formation of Local Committees for our School Completion Project and Home School Community Liaison Scheme. We make every effort to invite members of the Local Community to join us for school events.
In 2010/2011 – we established a Local Talent Bank, gathering a list of people in our community, who have interests / talents which would be of benefit to our boys. This has proved hugely successful and reviewed annually. We have had local people to speak on history topics, slide shows of old Mitchelstown, wildlife in our locality, mountaineering, sporting activities, the skill of the farrier, a stuffed animal demonstration, farm animals, cookery lessons, musical performances and workshops, talks on internet safety, local authors, artists and much, much more.
The Annual Fashion Show, organised by our Parent Council, and now running for 33 years!, provides opportunity for us to liaise with just about every business/organisation in the town and cultivate good relationships.
Since we purchased the adjacent field from Tesco, in 2017, the support from the wider community has been phenomenal. Our June Bank Holiday fundraisers - Golf Classic 2018/2019, Tea Party 2018 and Lip Sync Extravaganza 2019 have been hugely supported, for which we are most grateful.
53. Access to Information:
This booklet contains just some information about C.B.S. Primary. Other policy documents, particular to our school and routine circulars, from Department of Education and Skills, are kept centrally, at the school office. You are welcome to view any of these items. It would be helpful if we had prior notice, that we can make same readily available. Alternatively, check out our website (www.cbspmitchelstown.com) for newsletters, policies and happenings in our school.
To end, we trust your child’s time with us here at C.B.S. Primary will be happy and fulfilled. We look forward to working together over the coming years. Entry to any new school, can be a stressful experience for children and indeed, for Parent(s) / Legal Guardian(s). Our aim is to ensure that your son’s “settling in” and subsequent time with us, is as pleasant as possible.
All members of our school community play an important role in ensuring that each pupil develops to his full potential. We hope your child finds our school a happy, stimulating place, in which to learn and grow. We face the future with optimism and continue to respond creatively to the needs of all our children.