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St Mary'sPrimary School

Monthly Bulletin

Bulletin November 2020

I am delighted to welcome everyone back after the extended break. I hope that all our families continue to be well and to stay safe. I want to reassure you that we will continue to do all within our power to keep our school as safe as possible. Staff will continue to put in place all the possible precautions which, to date, have served us well. We are continually reviewing our procedures and updating risk assessments. We really appreciate all the support we have received from parents in helping us implement our new routines and procedures. The children have adapted so well to new systems and we are so proud of how every child has managed these changes to date.

Thank you to all the parents who have followed school guidance on wearing masks and social distancing when on the school grounds. This is deeply appreciated.


Lunch Boxes

At the beginning of the term I asked that either plastic wipeable lunch boxes or disposable paper bags be sent with all children. A few children have started bringing other types of bags to school. In order to minimise every possible risk, I would ask everyone to follow this simple rule. Children must bring a lunch box that can be wiped and cleaned every day.


School Dinners

The reintroduction of school dinners went very smoothly in October. In order for us to be able to continue to serve dinners safely I am asking for your cooperation once again. Having the numbers well in advance enables us to set up the dinner hall safely for each sitting. I do appreciate that it may be difficult for children to decide what they will eat a few weeks in advance but I would ask that you try and give a rough indication of the days on which your child will take dinners. Part of our hall is currently being used to store classroom furniture that we had to remove from classrooms to maximise space but numbers to date have been manageable and thanks to all staff involved in organising and setting up, the current system is working well. A child in school will never be refused a dinner but booking in advance is a great help. Thank you for your understanding.


Homework and Reading Books

We asked that all written homework be sent in this week. In line with guidance we will have to quarantine all books for three days before marking; this may result in your child having no homework booklets this week. Due to the extended unplanned holiday, dates for homework may also be out of sync. Teachers will keep you informed as to what is required.

Following consultation with relevant bodies, staff will now begin to send reading books home with children.

  • These will be sent in a plastic, wipeable folder and can be carried into school each day.
  • The folders will be stored in each child’s individual school box during school time and will only be accessed by them.
  • When reading books are returned to the teacher, they will be placed in quarantine for a minimum of 72 hours and then wiped before being reissued to another child.


Parent Teacher Meetings

We really value the opportunity to meet with all parents during our parent teacher meetings and regret that face to face meetings cannot take place this term. Due to the ongoing Covid 19 global pandemic our meetings will take the form of a phone call this year. You will receive an email before the end of this week with a date and a time slot. Your call will be made some time during this one hour slot.


Anti Bullying Week Monday 16th November

Anti Bullying Week begins on Monday 16th November. Anti-Bullying Week is aimed at sending a clear and positive message that bullying is never acceptable in our school or community. This year we plan to raise awareness by delivering a number of age appropriate lessons in each class.

The whole school will also work together on a butterfly display project to highlight this very important and difficult issue. The theme being: All different. All equal!

As part of Anti-Bullying Week 2020, NIABF is excited to be bringing Odd Socks Day to Northern Ireland for the first time!  Odd Socks Day is an opportunity to encourage people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality and what makes us all unique! We are excited to take part in this initiative this year. All you have to do is wear odd socks to school on Monday 16th November! It couldn’t be simpler! 


We are in the process of updating the school website and will post copies of all relevant policies in the coming weeks.

School Mass

The opening year Mass will now take place on Wednesday 18th November. All classes will join from school via the parish webcam. We invite as many of you as possible to join with us in the same way.



This is my seventh year as principal in Derrymore and it has undoubtedly been the most unusual, unexpected and unforeseen number of months. Despite the difficult days, I continue to love my job and this school. We continue to face into uncertain and difficult times; this can cause anxiety, worry and stress for us all. If anyone is struggling in any way, please feel free to contact the school. If we cannot help, we will try to put you in touch with someone who can. Our doors will always remain open.


Stay safe.


Mrs Caitriona McAtarsney



December Bulletin

November Bulletin