A Guide For Parents And Guardians


Dear Parents/Guardians, 

Welcome to Sacred Heart Primary School.

This guide is intended to provide you with an outline of the structures, aims and philosophy of our school and the practical aspects of its day-to-day operation.

We are very proud of the success of Presentation Primary, which is due largely to our pride in ourselves and our environment and the co-operation and healthy relationship between the Board of Management, Teaching Staff, The Parents’ Association, our auxiliary staff, general parent body and the girls and boys in the school.  As part of this school community I encourage your involvement during these very important years of your child’s life. 

Patrick Sayers 

Principal

A Brief History 

The Presentation Sisters have been in Killarney since 1793. Their arrival in Tralee was facilitated by Dr. Séan Lawlor, a native of Tralee,  who saw the positive impact the order were having in Killarney and hoped for a similar impact in Tralee.

In 1809 Sr. Joseph Curtayne and Sr. John Sheehy, accompanied by the Very Reverend Cornelius Egan, made the first Presentation foundation in Tralee, in an area known as Blackpool.  If you go down Milk Market Lane, off the Mall, and turn right, you will see the house where this foundation was made.  On the outer wall of the building is a plaque commemorating this great occasion, the beginning of the Presentation Order in Tralee. Here the Presentation Sisters started their first school, in a small and flagstoned room.  This room served as a classroom, refectory, and recreation area.  Care for the poor was their greatest concern.  At that time there was no school for the poor in Tralee.

In 1812 a convent was built near St John’s Church.  In the beginning the sisters taught the children in the church.  The floor was covered with flagstones and the place was very cold, as there was no heating.  Providence intervened, however, when a kind lady, Ms. Twomey, donated money to build a school.  From that small beginning grew our Primary School and Secondary School.

The Presentation Order foundress was Nano Nagle, who wished the congregation to be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  However, there was already an order dedicated to the Sacred Heart and the Pope at that time gave the order the name of the Presentation of Our Blessed Lady.

Our school here in Tralee, however, was named and is known as Sacred Heart School.

School Structure

Sacred Heart Primary School operates under the Rules for National Schools, The Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act (2000), enacted sections of The Education of Persons with Special Education Needs Act (2004), all relevant equality legislation and Department of Education and Skills (DES) Circulars.

The school is a Catholic Primary School, which caters for girls and boys from Junior Infants to First Class and for girls only from Second Class to Sixth Class. There is also a Special Class for the Hearing Impaired which caters for boys and girls up to sixth class. The school operates under the Patronage of the Bishop of Kerry and under the Trusteeship of the Presentation Order.  The school aims to provide the best possible environment to cater for the cultural, educational, moral, physical, religious, social, linguistic and spiritual values of all its students with the resources available to us.

Finance

The financial resources of the school are provided by a combination of  Department of Education and Skills Grants, Voluntary Contributions and Fundraising.

Board of Management

The Board of Management, which is appointed for a four year term, manages the school on behalf of the patron.  The composition of the Board is as follows: 

  • Two direct nominees of the Patron.
  • Two parents of children enrolled in the school (one being a mother and the other being a father), elected by the general body of parents of children enrolled in the school.
  • The Principal Teacher (or Acting Principal Teacher) of the school.
  • One other teacher elected by the teaching staff of the school.
  • Two members nominated by the other six Board Members to represent the wider community.

School Details

School Name:  Sacred Heart Primary School  (Presentation Primary)

Address:  Castle Street, Tralee, Co. Kerry

Contact Details:  Phone/Fax : 066 7123314   email : prestralee.ias@eircom.net

Principal:  Patrick Sayers

Deputy Principal :  Celine O Callaghan

Chairperson of Board of Management:  Fionnuala Murphy

School Chaplin:  Fr. Bernard Healy

Secretary:  Bernie Lehane

Caretaker:  John Lehane

School Uniform

Girls : Junior Infants to Sixth Class

Navy gymslip, light blue blouse, deep blue cardigan with interwoven school crest, navy tie with blue and gold diagonal stripes.

Boys : Junior Infants to First Class

Navy trousers, light blue shirt, deep blue jumper with interwoven school crest, navy tie with blue and gold diagonal stripes.

P.E. Girls and Boys

Navy Tracksuit with interwoven school crest and yellow/gold polo shirt.

School uniforms are available from Stuarts, Ashe Street, and should be worn every day except on P.E. days when the school tracksuit is worn.

It is very important that you put some identification mark on all your child’s belongings, particularly in the case of Junior Infants.  This avoids confusion and is very helpful in sourcing the owners of lost property items.

The school Day

Our school day begins at 8:50am.

The children have a 15 minute mid-morning break from 10:50am to 11:05am.

Lunch time is from 12:30pm to 12:55pm.

The Junior and Senior Infant classes are dismissed at 1:30pm

All other classes are dismissed at 2:30pm.

The children from Junior and Senior Infants, First and Second Class spend their breaks in the Junior Yard, while the children from Third Class to Sixth Class spend their breaks in the Senior Yard.  On wet days children remain in their classrooms.

Health

  • We encourage cleanliness and tidiness.
  • If your child is sick, please do not send him/her to school.
  • Please check your child’s hair regularly for head-lice.  When lice is discovered a message will be sent home to all parents/guardians of children  in that class.
  • The HSE provide a school screening programme and a school immunisation programme for children attending school.  Consent forms are sent home prior to screening.
  • Basic First Aid will be administered by school staff when required.  If necessary, parents/guardians will be informed either by phone or by a note home.
  • In the event of an emergency, it is school policy to contact parents/guardians, hence the need for having up-to-date contact numbers at all times.  Where a serious injury occurs an ambulance is called.

Healthy Eating

Lunch is a key meal each day and should provide your children with lots of energy.  We ask you to ensure that lunchboxes are filled with nutritious food - no sweets, crisps, chewing gum or fizzy drinks please. Guidelines and suggestions are given below:

A balanced lunch should contain at least one food item from each of the following food groups:

  • Sandwiches, pitta bread, crackers, scones, muffins, rice cakes, oatcakes, pizza.
  • Fruit/Vegetable  -  apples, orange segments, bananas, peaches, plums, mandarins,  grapes, celery, red pepper, coleslaw, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, raisins.
  • Dairy Products  -  milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Protein  -  ham, turkey, tuna, egg, peanut butter.
  • Drink  -  milk, water, fruit juice.

Some useful websites for information regarding healthy eating for children, recipes and food safety information are:

School Lunches

You can provide lunch for your child in school or avail of the lunches provided by the school under the School Meals Programme.

The School Meals Programme is a fully-funded scheme which currently benefits over 189,000 children in over 1,000 schools and organisations.  Each child is provided with a FREE Sandwich, Wrap, Roll or Pasta, together with a piece of Fruit and a Drink for every day of the school year.

CarambolaKidz is a well-established specialist company with many years of experience in the provision of school meals. They deliver the lunches from their production centre in Limerick. 

Each lunch is individually made, wrapped and labelled with the child’s name on the lunch pack for easy distribution.  There is an extensive menu to choose from.  Children with allergies are also catered for.

Parents are asked to complete the Menu Form when their child is enrolled.  These details are then forwarded to Carambola where they are uploaded to the company’s IT system.  You can change your child’s lunch order quite easily by logging on to www.carambola.ie or by phoning 1850 812300.  Any changes made before 3:00pm on a Friday will come into effect from the following Monday.

Please note that you should continue to provide your child with a snack for the mid-morning break each day, while the Carambola lunches should be sufficient for the remainder of the school day.

Partnership with Parents 

The school acknowledges the central role of the family and the natural right of parents as the first and foremost educators of their children.  However each child’s education is greatly enriched when there is mutual co-operation between the home and the school.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss a child’s work and general development with his/her parents whenever the need may arise.  The class teachers and the Principal are available to meet with parents by appointment and are always happy to discuss with them any concerns they may have.

We invite parents to the school each year for parent-teacher meetings and written reports on school progress are sent home at the end of the school year.

Regular communication between home and school takes place in a number of other ways. For general information, notes are sent home with the children or parents receive a text message. Useful information is posted on the notice board near the main entrance.  Parents will receive regular newsletters informing them about some of the activities taking place in school.  The Homework Journal is also a useful way of communicating with your child’s teacher.  Please also note that you can keep up to date with school activities by checking our website.

Informal contact between parents and teachers occurs frequently through a variety of school activities and meetings which are a regular feature of the school calendar.

Parents Association

The Parents’ Association is organised by a group of enthusiastic, committed parents who make a valuable contribution to the life of the school.  It organises a range of activities for parents and children, including Swimming Lessons, Christmas & Easter Raffles, School Disco, Fundraising and Social Events, our annual Sports Day and talks on topics of interest to parents.

The association is affiliated to the National Parents Council—Primary Division (NPC-Primary), which is the umbrella organisation for all parents’ associations in the country.  The NPC-Primary gives access to parents/guardians to advice and information on national developments in education.  They also have a voice in the decision making process through consultation with the Department of Education and Skills, the Management bodies and teachers’ representatives.

You are encouraged to become involved in the work of the association by attending their regular meetings or by supporting and helping with various school activities organised by them.  The association can be contacted through the School Office.

School Year

A calendar of the school year will be given to parents in September.  It will list the dates of holidays for the new school year.  Families will be notified in advance if any changes are made to these diary dates.

Home School Community Liaison Coordinator 

The role of the HSCL coordinator attached to our school is to support and liaise with parents regarding issues or concerns they may have about their child’s education.  He can be contacted through the school office or at 086 8279230.

Particular Concerns

As parents and guardians it is important that you:

  1. Provide the secretary with details of any changes in home address or contact numbers.
  2. Provide an explanatory note for the teacher on your child’s return to school if your child has been absent. 
  3. Inform the school if there is a change in collection arrangements especially for children in junior classes.
  4. Inform the school if your child has a special medical condition requiring any additional attention.
  5. Follow a simple but definite line of communication if you have an issue to be dealt with  -  discuss the matter with the Class Teacher, first, then , if necessary, the Principal, the Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Board of Management.

Homework 

Why give homework?

  • It acts as a form of communication between home and school.
  • It helps to revise and reinforce work done in class
  • It helps the child to become an independent learner.

What will homework consist of?

  • It is based on concepts or ideas that have already been covered in class.
  • It will consist of a combination of oral, reading and written work.
  • If your child attends a Learning Support Teacher or Resource Teacher, that teacher may also mark work for him/her.

How much time should homework take?

  • Homework is generally given Monday to Thursday night inclusive, with the exception of special occasions and holidays.
  • Sufficient time will be allocated for pupils to write down their homework in a journal or notebook each day.
  • All homework is corrected and checked by the teacher.

The following are guidelines for time spent on homework.  Different children will complete the same homework 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.  It is important to remember that it is the quality and not the quantity of homework that matters.  The following are general guidelines only:

Junior and Senior Infants: Parents are encouraged to check their child’s books for work marked by the teacher.  It may be to complete an activity, colour a picture or tell a story: 20 minutes approximately.

First and Second Classes:  30 minutes approximately.

Third and Fourth Classes:  45 minutes approximately.

Fifth and Sixth Classes:  1 hour approximately.

Advice for Parents

  • Set aside a regular time for homework and choose a quiet place where a child can sit comfortably at a table.  Do not allow children to watch television while doing homework.
  • Children should be encouraged to complete the homework independently.  If they have difficulty, your help should generally take the form of prompting and guiding them towards completing the task that is set.
  • Oral work such as reading, tables, spellings, songs, poems and prayers should not be overlooked.
  • Discuss and monitor your child’s homework on a regular basis.
  • A parent /guardian should check that homework has been done and then sign the homework journal/notebook.  Add a note for the teacher if homework is incomplete, stating the reason.
  • If you have concerns about your child’s progress, or if there is a persistent problem for your child in doing certain homework, you should make an appointment to discuss it with the teacher.
  • Notes or letters to parents are placed in the current day of the homework journal.  Please check your child’s journal for such notes on a regular basis.

School Transport 

A list of private Bus Operators serving the school is available from the secretary’s office.

After School Club

The after school club runs from Monday to Thursday.  Junior and Senior Infants attend from 1:30pm to 2:30pm while children from other classes attend from 2:30pm to 3:30pm.  Children are given a light snack and drink and are supported in completing their homework.  There are also activities for children when they have finished their work.  Please contact the office if you wish to book a place for your child in the after school club.

 School Attendance

Under the Education Welfare Act  (2000) you must ensure that your child attends school regularly.  When your child is absent from school for any reason you must notify the school in writing of the reasons for the absence.  The National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) is responsible for promoting and monitoring school attendance.  The school must inform the NEWB when a pupil is absent for 20 days or more in the school year or when a pupil is not attending regularly. 

Safety

The health and safety of all within the school community is a primary concern.  Please observe the traffic and parking guidelines.  If driving to school please note the one way system in operation - traffic should enter by St John’s Church and exit by Green Lane.  The speed limit within the school/convent grounds is 5 m.p.h.

Children with Special Needs

For children with special needs it is particularly important that a good relationship is formed between the parent and teacher.  It is important, therefore, that you maintain close links with the school.  As parents you know your own child best.  Your contribution to planning learning programmes is very much valued and encouraged.  In order to develop a child’s potential to the full both the teacher and parent must be consistent in their approach. 

Especially for Junior Infants

The First Day 

It is important that you establish a good routine early.

Check that all items – uniform, bag, are ready for the morning.  Do this in a calm fashion – don’t have your child over-excited or anxious going to bed.  Give plenty of time in the morning for dressing, washing and eating a good breakfast.  It is important that your child arrives at school before class starts as children can find it very intimidating to walk into a class already in progress.

If you are feeling upset, don’t show it, leave your child with the teacher and tell him/her you will be back at the appropriate time to collect him/her.  If your child is upset, trust the teacher – the teacher is experienced and knows how to comfort an anxious child.  Sometimes a small toy from home can be a comfort.

It is important to arrive on time to collect your child from school.  Children will become upset if they see other children being collected and feel they are being left behind.

It takes time for children to adapt to school life and routine.  Don’t expect too much too soon.  Talk to them about what happened and allow them to respond in their own way.  If you ask “What did you learn today?” you will most likely be told “nothing”.  Most of the work at infant level is activity based and children are not conscious of “learning” as adults understand it.   If, however, you ask “What happened?”  “What did you do?”  “Did you sing?”  “Did you draw?” you will have more success.

Your child will be tired coming home from school, so it is important to set a routine of a quiet time together and early to bed.

If you feel that your child is worried about something school-related, talk to the teacher.

Making Life Manageable for the Junior Infant

Children cannot be independent if they cannot manage the equipment you provide.  Give some thought to the items your child needs to get through the school day, for example –

  • Choose a school bag that your child can open and close easily.
  • Choose a lunch box and drinks holder that he/she can open easily.  Make sure the school bag can hold these.
  • Give some thought to lunches.  Peeled oranges (wrapped in tinfoil) for example, will make your child less dependent on the teacher.  Set yogurts may help avoid unnecessary spills.

All the above, if given a little thought, can help your child feel capable of dealing with classroom routine.  It also helps the teacher enormously.  Valuable time can be saved if the teacher does not have to tie and untie 30 pairs of shoes or schoolbags each day!

General Guidelines for Positive Behaviour

  • Pupils are expected to treat all adults and fellow pupils with respect and courtesy at all times. Behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to feel safe is unacceptable.
  • Pupils are expected to show respect for all school property and to keep the school environment clean and litter free.
  • Pupils are expected to take pride in their appearance. They should wear their school uniform on ordinary school days and school tracksuit on PE days.  The only jewellery allowed in school is one stud on each ear and a wristwatch. For hygiene purposes hair should be tied back. Make-up is not worn in school.
  • Pupils are expected to obey a teacher’s/staff instructions, to work to the best of their ability and to present assignments neatly.
  • Pupils are expected to attend every day unless there is a genuine reason for absence, in which case the school must be informed in writing, stating the reason for absence.
  • Pupils are expected to obey their classroom rules.
  • Pupils are expected to comply with the Healthy Lunch Policy in the school.

 We discourage the bringing of mobile phones to school except in exceptional circumstances.  As mobile phones are not allowed in classrooms, all phones must be handed in to the secretary’s office before school and collected after school.

Please refer to the school’s Code of Behaviour.

The Curriculum

The curriculum takes a particular view of the child and of education.  This view celebrates the uniqueness of the child and seeks to develop each child’s potential to the full.

The curriculum is laid out in seven curricular areas, as the following table shows.  There are twelve subjects in all.

Languages

English    Gaeilge

Mathematics

Social,  Environmental & Scientific Education

History    Geography    Science

Arts Education

Music     Visual Arts    Drama

Physical Education

Social, Personal & Health Education

Religious Education

School Facilities

  1. The school comprises three buildings:
    • The Junior School Building, where the children from Junior Infants to Second Class are taught. The Hearing Impaired Unit is also in this building.
    • The Senior School Building, where the children from Third Class to Sixth Class are taught.
    • The School Hall where all Physical Education classes are held.
  2. There are separate playground facilities for junior and senior school children.
  3. A school  library containing a wide range of books for all children.
  4. A school garden which provides many learning opportunities for the children.
  5. As well as having a dedicated computer room containing a networked computer system with high speed internet access, all classes have computer facilities and Interactive Whiteboards.
  6. There is a Montessori Pre-School located in the Senior School Building.  This is independently run by Ms. Elizabeth Coleman who can be contacted through the school office.
  7. The school’s location in town and beside the Town Park also generates many learning opportunities which classes regularly avail of.

Extra-Curricular Activities 

Although priority is given to the core subjects of the curriculum, we also offer extra-curricular subjects and activities including:

  • A wide variety of musical activities including choral work and concerts
  • Coaching in Basketball, Volleyball and Gaelic Football and Golf
  • Involvement in Basketball and Gaelic Football leagues.
  • Involvement in quizzes and other competitions.
  • Speech and Drama
  • Swimming lessons
  • Gymnastics
  • Dance Classes

We encourage children to become involved in the extra-curricular life of Presentation Primary, knowing that developing a new interest will benefit their creativity, communication skills, and self-confidence.

Spiritual Education

As a Roman Catholic school,  the tenets of Christian faith are central to life at Sacred Heart Primary. The Religion Programme followed in the school is the “Alive O” series.

Prayer is a regular feature of the school day and the pupils actively participate in Christian practices:  school masses and seasonal liturgical celebrations are all part of the rhythm of life in the school.

First Confession and First Holy Communion

In second class children are prepared to receive the sacraments of First Confession and First Holy Communion.

Preparation for these sacraments consists of:

  • Meetings to support parents/guardians in their role.
  • A Presentation Service held in St John’s Church in November.
  • First Confession which takes place in St John’s Church in Spring.
  • First Holy Communion Ceremony which takes place in May.

Confirmation

In sixth class the children are prepared to receive the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation

Preparation for this sacrament consists of:

  • Meeting for Parents/Guardians.
  • A Presentation Service held in St John’s Church in November.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation held in St John’s Church in February/March.
  • The Confirmation Ceremony which takes place in March/April. 

Sources of Information

  • The Essential Parents Guide to the Primary School Years.  Brian Gilsenan
  • Your Child in the Primary School.  Tips for Parents.  INTO
  • Primary School Curriculum.  Your Child’s Learning.  Guidelines for Parents.  NCCA
  • Ready for School.  A Parents Guide.  Margaret Horan & Geraldine O Brien.  Veritas
  • The What, Why and How of Children’s Learning in the Primary School.  Information for Parents.  NCCA
  • www.education.ie  Website of  the Department of Education & Skills.
  • www.scoilnet.ie  Official educational portal of the Department of Education & Skills.         Resources and support for teachers, parents and students.
  • www.npc.ie Website of the National Parents Council
  • www.ncca.  Website of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
  • www.healthpromotion.ie  Website of the Health Promotion Unit of the HSE.

Secondary Schools in Tralee

  • Presentation Secondary School - 066 7122737
  • CBS The Green - 066 7145824
  • Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí - 066 7121650
  • Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School - 066 7102550
  • St. Ita’s and St. Joseph’s School - 066 7125237
  • Coláiste Gleann Lí - 066 7121741