Return to school Newsletter 19/20

Welcome Back to School

Welcome back to everyone – to all our students, parents and teachers. I hope you all had a lovely summer and are ready for the year ahead. A special welcome to all our new students and parents in 1st year and other year groups and also to our new staff members. The key ingredients for getting on well in our school – good preparation at home and in school re classwork, homework and study – respect for the school and all in it – will always be at the heart of all we do and guide us along the road to continued success. Getting started now, with a good routine re school and revision work is a sure and certain way to be confident about success throughout the school year. Ambition and hard work throughout the year will ensure that good results can be achieved by all. It is essential that students with the help and support of teachers and families get organised in a good routine – time lost now will not be recovered and this is especially important for those facing big exams this year.

Meitheal Group

The school’s 1st year mentoring programme called Meitheal began the day our new cohort arrived to school. Ten of our L1 boys spent a week of their summer holidays at a training programme for youth leadership organised by the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin. This group work with and assist the present 1st year boys as they settle into secondary school life. They met with the boys for a large portion of the day last Monday, playing games with them and ensuring all had a pleasant day and hopefully made some new friends. They are available to all the boys at different times throughout the year and will organise a number of events. A big thanks to all the team members.

Sean Tuomey (Chairperson), Dáire Brophy, Shane Buggy, Ben Crotty, John Farrell, Bill Fitzgerald, Bryan McMahon, Brian O’ Sullivan and Henry Roberts

Leaving & Junior Cert Results

Congratulations to all our Leaving Cert students of last year who received results in August. Results as always were excellent with many doing much better than might have been expected. As you will be aware, there has been a significant change this year with the results being available earlier, viewing of scripts and the appeals process taking place much earlier to facilitate CAO offers of places to all concerned. This is a positive change which we are delighted to embrace. The students are now well used to the new grading system and seem comfortable with it. As usual the results achieved by our students were well above the National average which happens as a result of the hard work done by our students, the excellent tuition offered by our teachers and the fantastic support offered by their families. We wish them all success in future careers ahead as they head off to college, new jobs, apprenticeships and training programmes. We wish our boys who sat the Junior Certificate exams every success when they receive their results. Friday October 4th is the expected day for the results to be delivered. We will distribute the results to the students on the day at 12-30 and they will then be free to go home with parents/guardians. We would ask parents to monitor celebrations and perhaps have a family gathering to acknowledge the occasion.

Evening Study Arrangements

The evening study programme has begun. This runs Mon – Thurs with the early session lasting 1hr 30mins, and an extra hour for the late session. Application forms and cost details are available from Mr. Conway. We believe that the habits formed during study time from an early age make a significant contribution to the excellent results achieved in State Examinations by our students. Food will be available from the ref before entering study. Orders need to be placed with Sandra during lunch break.

Friday Afternoon Supervised Study

The Board of Management has once again decided to offer a free supervised study opportunity for all groups from 3-20 to 4-50 each Friday during school term. This is a great opportunity to get some homework, study, project work, etc. done on Friday afternoons before the weekend begins. Students who wish to avail of this should bring in some lunch or order food in the ref.

Junior Cycle Class Based Assessments (CBA’s)

All second and third year students will have to complete a number of assignments which will form part of the Junior Cert results which they will receive from the Department of Education & Skills. These will take place in most subjects throughout the year. A general rule of thumb is that most Third  Year CBA’s will take place in the window from the October mid-term break until Christmas with the second Year CBA’s spread across the period from the February mid-term break to the end of the school year. To reduce the exam stress on students with these extra assessments, the Third Year students will use the normal exam time in November to prepare for their CBA’s in some subjects. Subject teachers will advise the students nearer to exam time. We will follow a similar arrangement in Ferruary with our Second Year students.  This is in line with Department of Education & Skills recommendations.                                 

Higher Options Seminar

The annual Higher Options seminar takes place on September 18th,19th & 20th in Dublin. Mr. Hoyne, our Guidance Counsellor, has made travel arrangements for our Leaving 11 students. This is a great opportunity to meet representatives of all colleges and I strongly recommend that all would attend on the day. Mr Hoyne will be meeting all the Leaving 11 cohort individually and in groups over the coming weeks to discuss their future career plans and how to progress these thoughts into reality. It would be great if all parents could begin discussions about all the possibilities available next year as decisions will need to be made in the coming months

Healthy Eating Policy

The Board of Management in conjunction with the Parents’ Association are entering the fifth year of our Healthy Eating Policy here in Knockbeg College. Students can buy a wide range of Healthy food and snacks in the ref at morning break, lunchtime and after school. Here is the link to the parent/student website Parents can also opt to send lunch to school. We would ask parents if at all possible not to send junk-food to school, in particular fizzy drinks as they have a negative effect on the boy’s ability to concentrate and behave as research has shown. Students are not permitted to bring food or drinks to school to sell.

Parents Association AGM

The Knockbeg College Parents Association will hold their AGM on Tuesday September 24th in the school canteen. All parents are encouraged to attend and become part of the Parents Association to see for yourselves the fantastic work that is taking place. New members from all years and especially those among our incoming First Year students will be welcome. Parents contribute to policy discussion on many matters within the school and we value your opinion in all matters related to the smooth running of the school. Please attend this meeting to help elect people to represent the views of all parents and perhaps become involved in other areas of school life.

Transition Year

Our Transition Year students have returned and have begun a year which allows them many opportunities to reflect, sample a wide range of different activities, mature and begin preparing for Senior Cycle. There will be several educational trips throughout the year as well as learning about First Aid, Car Safety, Young Social Innovators, Junk Kouture and many more. A meeting for all Parents/Guardians will take place on Tuesday 10th of September at 7pm in the college ref. Please make every effort to attend so as to ensure the year is a success for your son.

Ploughing Championships

The Ploughing Championships will take place near the Fighting Cocks this year on September 17th, 18th & 19th. There will be some disruption on all days as we understand that it will be difficult for some people with traffic. School will take place as normal on the Tuesday and Wednesday. We have spoken several times with the organising committee and need to open at the normal time to facilitate some parents who need to drop their sons on the way to work. We will understand if some are late arriving to school. School will be shut for students on Thursday 19th, not on Wednesday as printed in the Nationalist this week. and we ask parents to try and use this opportunity if possible to allow your son to attend the event.

The Pavilion

Huge progress has been made on this project over the summer months, with the initial ground works completed, walls built with the roof being placed on the building at present. It is great to see this much needed facility coming to fruition with all groups making use of the facilities when they are completed in the coming weeks. This is a fantastic example of the community coming together successfully with the Past Pupils Union, Parents Association, Board of Management, staff and students undertaking a number of fund raising projects to ensure it is a success with the works being undertaken by Hollypark Construction Ltd., whose owner Bill Delaney has many connections to Knockbeg College.

Liturgical Events

Our First Year Welcome Mass will take place in Knockbeg College on Friday September 20th at 1-30pm with refreshments afterwards. This is always a lovely occasion with an opportunity for parents to meet and say hello to each other as well as some staff members. Please make every effort to attend with your son. You will be welcome regardless of your Religion or beliefs. Our opening year mass will be celebrated in the new school gymnasium this year.

Open Evening

The annual open evening for 5th & 6th class students will take place on Fri Oct 18th from 4.00 – 7pm. This is a good opportunity to look around the school, meet our teachers and students and learn about the transition from primary to secondary School. Enrolment will close on Friday Nov 16th. If you have another son in 6th class and wish for him to attend Knockbeg College, please send in a completed enrolment form as soon as possible to ensure he will receive a place.

New School Building

The Board of Management is delighted to advise that our Major Building Project funded by the Department of Education is progressing exceptionally well.  Most rooms were returned to the Board of Management in time for the beginning of term. Work on the front building is ongoing with progress also being made on the grounds. All offices will move to their final location shortly with the ASD building finally becoming available to meet the needs of the students enrolled in the classes. The new Gym and Fitness suite is the envy of many local schools. The Technology room has been completed, furnished and equipped with Technology being introduced to the curriculum as an option for our new First Year students. We now have state of the art facilities including two Computer rooms as well as a number of computers in several classrooms to facilitate project work, modern Science laboratories, Art room, Graphics room and much more. I want to ask parents to implore all our students to respect the New Building and appreciate how lucky we all are. Please ask your son to put the rubbish in the bins provided.

Climate Change

Climate change is becoming an exceptionally important consideration for us all. The evidence is becoming clearer by the day and we all need to do our bit to reduce the negative effects that take place. We have a very active Climate Change Committee in the school being guided by Ms. Hott. We will have a number of specific bins in place shortly with a number of compartments in an effort to increase recycling. These have been supported by the Board of Management, the Parents Association and the Department of Education. Please make every effort to encourage our students to use these bins responsibly. The school Food Company are phasing out the use of plastic bottles in support of this initiative. All students have a school email account with many teachers also making notes available to class groups through Microsoft Office 365 in an effort to reduce the use of paper.

Health & Safety during Construction

Health & Safety of the entire School Community is of paramount importance to the Board of Management, Parents Association and all staff at all times, but even more so during the construction phase. Mythen Construction have agreed to keep deliveries to the site to a minimum between 8-30 and 9-15am in the morning and from 3-30 to 4-30pm in the evenings to support parents and bus companies during drop-off and collection periods. All approach roads has signs erected to advise the entire community of the project taking place. All Construction Traffic will enter the site through the farmyard entrance. However the building site is potentially a very dangerous place so please discuss the development project at home with your son. Mythen Construction has erected fencing around the boundary of the site and is working with the Board of Management and the Design Team to minimise any risks for all involved. All our students have been advised of the dangers associated with being near a building site. It is paramount that they understand that they are not allowed enter the site at any time for any reason. Any questions or concerns in relation to the project must be addressed through the Principal. Students have been advised that if they enter the site for any reason unless accompanied by a member of staff following consultation with the principal, then they can expect to be sent home. The Board of Management regrets that this may be necessary. There is a lot of heavy traffic during construction which would put the safety of unauthorised visitors at risk which cannot be allowed to happen.

Traffic Congestion

Parents please take great care when dropping off and collecting students – The school has a huge amount of traffic coming in and out and we need to be very careful re parking not to obstruct school buses and students walking. The set down area is to the left hand side when you enter the car-parking area. The Board of Management and the Parents Association ask that you drive slowly and be vigilant at all times, being mindful of the presence of pedestrian and at times smaller children. We appreciate the concerns of all visitors but must emphasise that the safety of all is the most important consideration and ask everyone in the school community to have patience for a few minutes each evening and allow all to leave in a safe orderly manner. The new entrance has been widened which will make it much easier to enter and leave the College grounds safely.