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Advice for new parents and incoming 1st years

The advice below is based on the experiences and questions of new parents over the last two years.  We hope you find it useful, please email parents@santasabina.ie if you have other questions not addressed here.

School bags

Your daughter will be assigned a locker in her first week in school.  Books and bags can be stored in these lockers however, as she is studying 10 subjects it is likely that a large number of books will have to be carried to and from school for homework and study.  We recommend that you purchase a strong light weight bag with good shoulder straps.  Best advice is that shoulder straps should be kept short so that the bag does not sit down too low on your daughter’s back.  The bag should be carried using both shoulder straps and not hanging from one shoulder as the bag is likely to be heavy.  PE bags should be soft sided so that they can be put into lockers easily.

Lockers

Your daughter will be assigned a locker in her first week of school.  There is a rental charge of €50 which covers her six years in school.  The lockers are a standard size and there are banks of lockers in corridors and open spaces throughout the school.  Each year group’s lockers will be located together. A lock is required for the locker. It can be a key or combination padlock with a shackle (U shaped bar that locks the padlock) width of approximately 6mm. Every summer the assigned locker must be emptied and a new locker is assigned at the beginning of the next school year.

School books and stationery

A school book list will be posted on the school website under the Student Supports section.  Books can be purchased at any of the school book suppliers’ shops or online. We recommend that all books be covered as most are required to last for a three year period to Junior Certificate exams. Copies should be bought for each subject and teachers will inform students of any extra requirements during the first week of school. Some teachers may require A4 size hardback copy books. The school journal is purchased directly from the school during the first week of school.  It costs €10 and all students must have their own school journal. (We recommend that you read the school journal general advice pages as there is information in there on most aspects of school life.)

If you think you may be entitled to avail of the Department of Education and Skills book grant please contact the school for an application form.

Stationery is your own choice.  Most work is completed in pen (black, blue and red pens are necessary), pencils are also used in certain subjects, as instructed by the teacher.  Maths sets are required.  Calculators are also required, the maths teachers will advise which models are preferred. Please note that liquid tippex is not allowed. Coloured pencils are suggested for Geography and CSPE.

Organising your day

Each day your daughter will have a large number of books, copies and possibly sports equipment, Home Economics equipment, Art equipment and PE gear to bring to school. To help your daughter manage the requirements for each day we would advise that your daughter packs her bags each evening with all requirements for the following day.

School uniform

Details of the school uniform are on the school website, (on page 12 of the Code of Behaviour), click here to see full listing.  The current uniform supplier is Pender’s Drapery on Vernon Avenue in Clontarf.  Please note that shirts, shoes, socks, and PE tops can be purchased elsewhere.

If you think you may have difficulty in purchasing the uniform, please contact the school directly.

School structure

Each year group is divided into four classes.  These are designated as Emerald, Opal, Pearl and Sapphire. (But you will just hear them called E, O, P and S.)  The “base” class is the class grouping in which the girls have certain subjects such as English, Religion, History, etc.. The classes mix for option subjects such as Art, Music, Science, Home Economics and Business.  So your daughter will have different class groupings throughout the day, depending on the subject. 

All classes are 40 minutes long.  The timetable sets 4 classes followed by a 15 minute break, then two more classes before a half hour lunch break at 1pm and three classes after lunch.  There is one less class on a Wednesday when school finishes at 2.50pm and the Friday class structure has five classes to an early lunch break at 11.25am and then three classes to end of day at 1.55pm.

Text messaging

If your daughter is absent from school you will receive a text message to inform you of this.  Upon her return to school your daughter should have a completed blue note from her journal to explain the absence, this note must include your signature.

The school also uses text messaging to remind parents of important dates during the school year or to inform parents about matters of interest.  Please ensure that the school secretary has your correct and current mobile number.

Parents are aske not to text message your daughters during school hours.  Students are not to use phones during school and therefore should not be waiting or expecting a text message in school hours.

Driving onto school grounds

Driving onto school grounds is not permitted in the 45 minutes either side of the school start or finish times. This rule is necessary to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff.  Please also park safely when dropping off or collecting your daughter, do not park in or near the school entrance or on the clear zones marked on the road. You may drive onto the school grounds outside of the restricted times above, if necessary. An exception to this rule is made for students that are injured and would have difficulty walking into school.

Lunchtime, and the school canteen

Lunch time is from 1pm to 1.30pm each day (except Friday when it is at 11.25am).  Girls may bring a packed lunch which is eaten in their base classroom.  The school canteen is situated in the canteen area of the school, just inside the main door.  The canteen provides hot meals and cold snacks every day.  Prices range from €0.50 for a snack up to €4.50 for a dinner. The canteen is required to provide healthy food and does not carry sweets, chocolate or sugary drinks.  It was subject to a review by Donna McSharry, Registered Dietitian in 2012 and was found to be offering good healthy choices. When students buy food from the canteen, they bring it back to their base rooms to eat. Boiling water is available from the canteen. The canteen is open during lunch time and break time each day.

Extra-Curricular Activities

There is a wide range of sporting and cultural activities available. Signing up for these activities takes place within the first two weeks of the school year. We encourage your daughter to review these activities and we recommend she participates in the activities of her choice. Practice for most activities takes place after school. Matches or events may take place outside of school hours.

Moving into secondary school – advice for parents

The transition to secondary school is a big change for all students and each will handle it in their own way.  First year is all about helping the student to settle in.  Each class is assigned a 6th year prefect who sits in with classes during their lunch break and keeps an eye on things and offers advice.  (First year students usually create a very special bond with this 6th year prefect.)

Each class has a teacher assigned as class tutor and there is a year head over each year.  These teachers know exactly what to watch out for in first year and help the students settle in well.  Students will meet their class tutor on the first day of school and that teacher will also teach at least one subject to the class grouping, so the students and the class tutor will know each other very well.

Transition to secondary school can also be a big change for parents.  You may have been used to dropping your daughter to the school door and meeting other parents there.  Now you drop your daughter at the school gate and cannot even see the school door! Maybe your daughter takes the bus to school. It can seem like you are a million miles away from their school life.  But the following advice comes from those of us who have been in your shoes and survived!!

Your daughter needs this independence and will flourish in it.  Talk to her about how school is going and listen to all she has to say about it.  Check out the school journal, it has lots of advice on various topics and it has a record of your daughter’s homework and tests.

You can keep in touch with school news by downloading the school app and checking out the school website on a regular basis.

Check out the Parents’ section of the school website and be sure to attend the Parent School Association AGM. You can contact the Parent School Association at any time on parents@santasabina.ie

In October you and your daughter will be invited to a “get-to-know-you” evening in the school where you can see your daughter’s classrooms and meet other parents.


The National Parents Council post primary has a very good publication called Moving Up about the transition to secondary school and it is available from www.NPCpp.ie

And please remember that if you ever have any concerns about your daughter you can call the school and make an appointment to meet the class tutor or year head.  The sooner the school is aware of any issue the sooner it can be dealt with and that is best for everyone.

 

General questions

What happens if my daughter forgets something?

There is a table inside the main door, close to the school office where forgotten items can be dropped off by parents and collected by their daughters at the next class break.  If your daughter has forgotten something she should go to the table at class break to retrieve it.

What happens if my daughter is feeling sick in school?

Your daughter must inform a teacher or staff member that she is feeling sick. Your daughter’s teacher will send her to the office to call home. (A student is not permitted to text home to say that she is sick, the teacher and school office must know.) A parent or adult must come to collect your daughter and a staff member will sign her out upon collection.

What happens if my daughter has an appointment during school hours?

While it is preferable to not schedule appointments during school hours we are aware this is not always possible. Please complete a blue note (from her journal) to explain why she is leaving early or arriving late.

How do I volunteer for the Parent School Association?

You can contact the Parent School Association at any time on parents@santasabina.ie email address.  Also check out the current members of the Parent School Association committee on our webpage, and if you know any of the members you can contact them directly.

 

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