The weeks are going past very quickly and it is hard to believe we are near the end of October already. Our new 1st year students have settled in very well over the past number of weeks and I hope they will be very happy in Adamstown Community College. A big welcome back to our students across the other year groups. Many of you were delighted to be back in school after the lockdown at the end of last year and the long summer holidays. I hope you can hold onto that feeling of delight. We have been joined by a number of new teaching staff and some new members joining the SNA team. All very, very welcome to Adamstown Community College.
As we approach the Halloween mid term break it is a good time to look back on our first nine weeks and to take stock of where we are. Covid-19 has forced us to make a lot of changes in the running of the school. Students no longer mix across year groups and remain in their own “Zone” within the building. Students have base classes and the teachers do all the moving. Classrooms have been stripped of all the extras in order to make them easier to keep clean. We all wear masks throughout the day and try to read people's mood by just looking at their eyes. We sanitise, sanitise, sanitise. In spite of all these changes teachers still do what they have always done, teach your son/daughter and try to get the best out of them. We still try to support and guide and on occasions inspire. It has been more difficult though and I would like to thank the students for their compliance with the new regulations and their cooperation with the new routines. I also wish to send out a big thank you to the staff who spent time in August moving furniture to get the school ready and are now delivering interesting and motivational lessons to the students.
The school contribution for 2020/21 may still be paid online through the school website or through the school office. Please contact the school if you have difficulty logging on to the payment site. The contribution is used to cover the cost of student journals, texts home, swipe cards, photocopying, subject resources, IT investment, student insurance as well as covering the cost of mock examinations and corrections. I know I have said this before but I feel that the contribution is reasonable and I can assure you that it is spent very carefully on your students. This small investment in your son’s/daughter’s second level education is money well spent. Please compare our contribution to what you will be asked for when your son/daughter goes to third level college. I request that all parents cooperate with payment.
Please note that the uniform and footwear requirements have not changed in any way due to Covid-19 and are set out in the uniform section of this website. In particular please note that a proper school jacket is part of the school uniform. We have also uploaded images of the correct footwear on the website in order to avoid any confusion.
One of the best ways to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in our classrooms is to keep the rooms well ventilated. Ventilation is fine during warm weather but as we head into the winter months it does mean that the classrooms are not as warm as we would like. Any heat that is put on in the building is quickly lost. We are allowing students to wear their school jackets during the day and encourage students to layer up with several layers of clothes. As long as the outer layers have a school crest, students can have multiple layers underneath. We have also investigated a school body warmer as an extra optional layer. Both the student Council and the Parent Council have looked at what is on offer and have decided that the best option is a body warmer at a cost of 36 euro. If you do opt to purchase the body warmer it must be sourced from our uniform suppliers and will have the school crest on the front. You may also pay the school for the body warmer through our website and we will order it for you.
It should be noted that gloves should not be worn in the building as gloves can not be sanitised.
VSware and Reports:
Our Autumn Assessment reports will be available to parents on VSware from mid-November. The Autumn Assessment report is generated from three pieces of student work worth 20% each and a test worth 40%. VSware contains a large amount of other useful information on your son’s/daughter’s progress, attendance and behaviour. I would encourage you to log in at least once a week.
In the present circumstances, with restrictions due to Covid-19, we will not be able to hold Parent/Teacher meetings in the normal way. The safety of all involved is paramount. We are awaiting guidance from the Department of Education and the teacher unions. When these recommendations are published we will inform parents and issue an updated schedule of meetings.
Enrolment September 2021:
Parents may not be aware that the Minister for Education signed a Commencement Order in respect of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act earlier this year. This new Act relates to all schools in the country and aims to ensure greater transparency, equity and consistency in the school enrolment process.
Every recognised school has had to produce a new school admission policy, in accordance with the Act’s requirements, following consultation with the patron, the staff of the school and parents of current pupils. Adamstown Community College’s new Admissions Policy is available on this website.
The Commencement Order provides for the new laws to come into effect in respect of the 2021/2022 school year and onwards. We may now only engage with students from 6th class in Primary school when enrolling for our new cohort of 1st year students.
An assumption has been made in the past that if you have a child in one of our named feeder schools or you already have a child in this school that you will get an automatic enrolment into Adamstown Community College. This is not the case and it is necessary that we get an application for each student wishing to attend our school. Obviously with all the new houses coming on stream in the Adamstown area there will be an increased pressure on places so it is important to get your application in on time.
Attendance and Punctuality:
I am aware that parents need to be particularly cautious when sending their son/daughter into school if they are displaying symptoms of illness. I thank you for being careful. Having said that, the attendance of some students is of concern. The school and the teaching staff is unable to provide face to face teaching as well as online teaching. At the moment the best option for your child’s education is to be in school receiving lessons. We put notes, presentations and homework up on Google Classroom but this is to supplement the day to day lessons delivered in school not to replace them.
It is proving particularly difficult, during Covid-19 restrictions, to manage students arriving late to school in the morning. We are currently using three exit and entry points to the school to facilitate the separation of year groups. Two of these entry/exit doors are closed when school begins. If a student is late, the only route into the building is via the front door. This necessitates the crossing of zones as they move up the building.
The responsibility to get students to school on time lies with parents and students themselves. Students who arrive late for school disrupt teaching time and miss out on valuable learning. We can now identify students who are consistently arriving late to school and ultimately these students may be sent home.
Restorative practice is based on the idea that the best way to help someone who has done wrong is to give them the opportunity to put things right. At its most basic, restorative practices improve the quality of relationships we have. Using this approach can both avoid and minimise conflict, and help us to manage conflict better when it does arise. Our Caire Aires will receive training in restorative practice before Christmas from Michelle Stowe. Our middle management team is currently engaging with Michelle and will continue to do so throughout this academic year.
Leaving Cert 2020:
This year’s Leaving Certificate seems to be rolling on and on with some students opting to sit the written papers over the next few weeks. I wish them the best of luck for these exams. I would like to congratulate the year group on coming through the Leaving Certificate, which this year was a test of learning and resilience, with flying colours. We are very proud of you all.
Principal, Adamstown Community College