2nd September 2015
As we commence the new school year I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone – staff, pupils and parents. I would especially welcome our new pupils. We hope they will be happy in Antrim Primary School. I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know you all in the coming weeks and months.
In order to ensure we have the most up to date information re contacts etc. for each child we would ask you please to complete the yellow data capture form and return it to the class teacher as soon as possible. It is vital that we have contact numbers and up to date health information. Please inform us immediately of any changes during the School Year.
Morning Set Down
You may wish to accompany your child into school for the first few days until they are comfortable and familiar with their new classroom. From Monday 7th September we would ask you to drop your child off at the school gate/door and allow them to come into school unaccompanied.
As part of a general safety audit, we asked Health and Safety Officers from the Education Authority to review parking in the school grounds. In the interest of children’s safety, they recommended that NO PARKING be allowed within the school grounds at set down and pick up. Whilst I am aware that this may cause inconvenience, I’m sure you will agree that children’s safety must take precedence. Thank you in anticipation of your support.
The cost of School Meals is £2.50 per day. Forms for free school meals are available in the School Office. If you feel you may be entitled please make application as soon as possible. The funding which the school receives is directly affected by the number of pupils registered to receive free school meals. The more pupils registered, the more funding the school receives. If your child is eligible for free school meals, even if they do not intend to take them, please ensure that you register them as such.
This will commence on Monday 14th September (note home this week). Payment can be made for the year or per month.
Child Protection Procedures
Our prospectus and information letters to parents give details re many aspects of our school’s approaches to child protection. Detailed policies are in place for Child Protection, Positive Behaviour, The Internet, Anti-Bullying, Pastoral Care, Health Education etc. and are available to parents on request. Some Policies can also be found on our website.
If a parent should have a concern about the safety of any child this can be brought to the attention of the Class Teacher and to the Principal, Mr Gourley, who is the designated teacher for Child Protection. Alternatively an approach may be made to the deputy designated teacher, Mrs McGlaughlin. If parents are still concerned they can talk/write to the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Ven. Dr S McBride. At any time parents can talk to Social Services or the Police. Should we in school have any concerns about a child we have an obligation by law to speak with Social Services.
Photographs of Pupils (still and video)
From time to time our pupils have photographs taken for local newspapers and/or our web site e.g. concerts, fairs, achievements, sports. We respect the right of parents for children not to be photographed. If this is your wish please write this on the attached information sheet. Please note that we cannot be responsible for photographs taken by other parents at special school events e.g. sports days, concerts etc.
Attendance at School
Many parents ring school or call at the Office to inform us of children’s absences. Please continue to alert us on the first day of absence. Our phone is ‘manned’ from 8.30 am each morning (02894 428226). Class teachers will be informed accordingly.
The attendance target set for schools by NEELB is 96%. Please continue to ensure your child attends school unless when ill or in exceptional circumstances.
This School year we will again issue certificates to all pupils whose attendance is on or above 96% at the end of June. This will credit pupils who have had full attendance and also those who have missed only short periods. In line with new DENI Guidelines we will be recording unauthorised family holidays, lateness in mornings and afternoon absences. If families take holidays during term time, not only do pupils miss important learning time but these unauthorised absences also reduce our overall attendance percentage. Please help by taking holidays during school closures and ensuring pupils arrive in school promptly in the mornings. We have to record attendance for both morning and afternoon as separate sessions.
We again remind drivers and pedestrians of the need for extreme caution at the front of the school at home times. Please drive very slowly and cross with care. Please use our Patrolman at all times.
PE Kit/Musical Instruments
Office staff will only be phoning home in exceptional circumstances when children have forgotten PE kit, instruments etc. Many children arrive at the office with this request, so we ask that you help your child to remember the days when these items are required – thank you.
We are aiming to reduce the amount of paper used in school. As well as being kinder to the environment this would enable us to direct our financial resources to the benefit of educational attainment. As soon as they are available, school letters and circulars will be uploaded to the ‘Parents’ page on our school website -
We are also considering using an emailing service this year.
We will continue to relay urgent and important information via text message, so please ensure that we have an up to date mobile number for this purpose. In the coming months we are hoping to also offer email communication.
Any personal and confidential letters will still be printed and hand delivered, or posted as appropriate.
Mr I Gourley