Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne – 26th June 2020
Dear Parent/s, Guardian/s and Pupils,
Farewell to 6th class:
We were very saddened that we could not say “Farewell to the Class of 2020 ” in the usual way on their last day in Scoil Naomh Fiachra. They have grown so much and in so many ways during their time in Illistrin. They have become great young people and have made amazing progress over the years. The whole school community is really proud of them. They are a great credit to their school, their families and, most importantly, to themselves. Please enjoy their “Graduation Video” below and watch their wonderful journey over the last 8 years.
Today marks the end of a long association with Scoil Naomh Fiachra for the parents of 6th class pupils who do not have younger children still in the school. To all of you, a big “thank you” for all your support and cooperation down through the years. All of you supported your child’s learning throughout their time in Illistrin. You supported so many school events over the years. Many of you were very active members of our Parents’ Association Committee. Some of you served as Parent Nominees on the Board of Management of the school. You gave your time and expertise freely and consistently over the years. Your contribution to our school has been immense and you will be sorely missed. Míle Buíochas Daoibh go Léir.
Once again, a sincere well done to all parents and pupils for all your great work engaging in home based learning over these last few months. We know it has been a challenge. All parents, guardians and pupils should be really proud of how you have come through a very difficult time for children and their families.
As I write, the Guidelines for the reopening of Primary Schools are being drawn up by the Department of Education in consultation with the HSE and all of the representative bodies in the education sector. Recently the Minister for Education indicated that they will be published in late July or early August. Please be assured that as soon as we have clear information and guidelines we will begin making our own specific arrangements for safely reopening the school. A plan will be put in place by the Board of Management of the school and communicated to you prior to the school reopening.
Book Rental Fees:
Your child’s booklist was posted home with her/his report card. Payment for book rental, insurance etc. can be made when school reopens. Details of the Pupil Personal Accident Insurance Scheme and a copy of all booklists can be viewed under the parents’ info tab above.
I hope all pupils and their families will enjoy the summer break from school work. As restrictions begin to be lifted opportunities will arise for families to enjoy the summer while still obeying all government regulations and advice re movement, hand hygiene, coughing & sneezing etiquette and physical distancing.
Thank you once again for all your hard work, engagement and perseverance over the last few months. As a school community, we should be very proud of what we have achieved together and I have no doubt we will respond equally well to the challenges the next school year will present.
Finally, to our wonderful pupils: Enjoy your Summer Holidays!
Mr Luke Kilcoyne.
6th Class Graduation 2020
Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne – 19th June 2020
Dear Parent/s, Guardian/s and Pupils,
Returning books to the school:
In order for teachers to prepare for the new school year it is vitally important that school rental books currently at home are left back to the school next week. This will enable us to check what books we have in stock and what books we need to order before school reopens on our planned reopening date, Tuesday 1st September 2020.
Please drop any books your child has at home which belong to the school at the school gate on Tuesday 23rd June anytime between 8.00 a.m. and 6.00p.m.
Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
My Covid 19 Memories Week:
Next week is our final week of school this academic year. A fitting end to this rather strange year is in the format of a padlet entitled ‘MY COVID-19 Memories Week’. There are various activities included, catering for all ages. Your child’s class teacher will email all you need to know.
This link and will take you to a whole range of activities to try out during the week:
Thank you to everyone who took part in some of the STEAM Week Activities – you can see some of the great work done by our pupils on this padlet: https://padlet.com/sarahtkeogh/60ei5li1m5whmer1
You can still upload your own pictures/videos – why not show the school community what you have been doing! Please email your child’s class teacher the completed STEAM Week Activity Tracker and the teacher will email your child’s STEAM Week Certificate to you.
Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne – 12th June 2020.
Dear Parent/s, Guardian/s and Pupils,
I trust you are all keeping safe and well.
The partial lifting of restrictions is an acknowledgement that the measures put in place by our Government since schools closed on March 12th, and all the sacrifices that we have all made, have been worthwhile. Hopefully progress will continue to be made and we can look forward to an enjoyable summer.
Parents’ Association Virtual 5K
There is still plenty of time to participate in our Parents’ Association Virtual 5K. Get the family out and enjoy a walk/run and some fresh air together. Please visit the PA Facebook page (Illistrin PA) to donate or you can donate via this link:
You can also send in some pictures of your participation to the PA Facebook page and maybe show some interesting sights you see along the way.
Next week is STEAM Week.
The Junior Infant – 2nd class padlet of ideas is here:
The 3rd – 6th class padlet of ideas is here:
This week we ask that you upload photos or short videos (a few seconds long) of your child’s work to our STEAM Week padlet which is here:
Instructions (it’s really easy) on how to upload a photo or video can be read here:
This padlet will become a record of our pupils’ work during STEAM Week and will be uploaded to our website.
Your child’s class teacher will email you further details about STEAM Week.
Wellness Week Movie
Thank you to everyone who emailed a video, photo or poster of activities carried out during Wellness Week. Over 300 emails were received. The video is currently being put together and will be posted to this website as soon as possible.
End of year School Reports
You should receive your child/ren/’s report/s by post early next week. This will allow time to enable parents to discuss the content of the report with their child’s current teacher should they wish to do so before the end of the school year on 26th June.
I have been asked by Bishop McGuckian to pass on this short message to you.
Message from Bishop Alan McGuckian
Little Way Sunday School
A lovely initiative that has emerged during the Lockdown is the Little Way Sunday School. It started on Pentecost Sunday and is made available every Friday evening for the following Sunday. It is available under ‘Little Way Sunday School’ on Youtube and on the Diocese of Raphoe Facebook Page. I encourage all parents and pupils in the school to subscribe.
Le gach dea ghuí,
Bishop Alan McGuckian.
As access to the school is limited to the carrying out of essential work only, we are unable to organise the distribution of the school photographs which were taken in March. The photographer assures me that all photographs are in safe storage and we will arrange distribution of the photographs as soon as school reopens.
Mr Luke Kilcoyne.
Friday 5th June – Message from Luke Kilcoyne
Dear pupils and parents,
I trust you all enjoyed some of the Wellness Week Activities provided on our padlet. The padlet will remain live for the remainder of the school year and you can continue to access all the activities here: https://padlet.com/sarahtkeogh/co4dfj97mg36ku6h
Thank you to everyone who joined our online Fun Family Quiz this morning – great fun for everyone!
A reminder that pupils should email their completed Activity Tracker to their teacher to earn their certificate of participation. Please email photos/video clips of activities that your children enjoyed to email@example.com The clips and photos will be compiled into a Wellness Week Movie.
Work for the remainder of the school year
Generally, June is a busy month in school with various sporting competitions, school tours, active week and outdoor lessons. With this in mind, we have changed our way of encouraging home learning for this month.
Week beginning 8th June:
The amount of suggested work emailed to parents has been reduced this week. Teachers have provided less school work and have made suggestions for some enjoyable activities from our Wellness Week padlet or project based work. Please use your own discretion regarding how many of the activities your children engage with.
Friday 12th June will be School Tour Day for every pupil in the school. Your child’s teacher has suggested a virtual school tour followed by a treat in the afternoon enjoyed at home. We understand that this will not be the same as the “real thing” with their classmates and school staff but we wanted to let pupils know that we hadn’t forgotten the importance of the school tour.
Week beginning 15th June:
This week will be STEAM Week – Science Technology Engineering Arts Maths.
STEAM Week will follow the same pattern as Wellness Week. A padlet of optional activities under the 5 headings will be created. Pupils will be invited to choose their preferred lessons, track their own participation and gain a certificate at the end of the week.
Week beginning 22nd June:
This week we will ask each pupil to consider/reflect on life since March 12th when school closed. ‘My COVID-19 Memories’ will be the theme of the week. More details will be emailed to you nearer the time.
As of today we are planning to reopen the school on Tuesday 1st September. The Guidelines for the reopening of Primary schools will be drawn up by the Department of Education in consultation with the HSE and all of the representative bodies in the education sector. Please be assured that as soon as we have clear information and guidelines we will begin making our own specific arrangements and plans for safely reopening the school. I will keep you informed at all times as we proceed.
Mr Luke Kilcoyne.
Parents’ Association 5K
Thursday 28th May 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
Next week is Wellness Week. Your child’s teacher will email you all the details. A padlet of proposed activities has been created and can be viewed here:
We hope pupils and family members will enjoy a variety of activities designed to encourage us all to look after our wellbeing.
Friday 22nd May 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
Dear pupils, parents and guardians,
Thank you to all of our pupils for continuing with learning at home during the last week. Teachers tell me that pupils are all doing really well. We are all very proud of our pupils for their engagement with this school work. We thank all parents and guardians for their continued cooperation and support during the school closure.
End of year School Reports
Teachers will soon begin preparing end of year School Report Cards. These reports will be forwarded to parents in mid June. This will allow time to enable parents to discuss the content of the report with their child’s current teacher should they wish to do so. The Department of Education and Skills confirmed on 27 April 2020 that standardised testing was cancelled this year. Therefore, this section of the report card will be left blank. Teachers will report on these four areas: your child as a learner, your child’s personal and social development, your child’s progress with learning in curriculum areas or subjects and the next steps in your child’s learning, including ways for parents to help.
Work for next week
Work for next week will be emailed to you today. Next week is a 4 day week as no work is scheduled for next Friday, 29th May. That day was planned as a school closure because it runs into the June Bank Holiday weekend.
The following week, beginning 1st June, has been set aside as Wellness Week. Next Thursday teachers will email you a host of fun activities to promote healthy eating, physical exercise & mindfulness during that week. It will provide all families with the opportunity to take a break from school work and to concentrate on staying healthy and well.
Mr Luke Kilcoyne.
Friday 15th May 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
Dear pupils, parents and guardians,
I hope you all had a good week and that you are all keeping safe and well.
I hope all the girls and boys are continuing to be good for their mams and dads and that children are helping out around the house and doing their chores. All this time spent at home presents an opportunity for children to learn some skills at home that they can use for the rest of their lives. By giving your child jobs to do around the house like feeding pets and sweeping the floor, you are sending them an important message: that they are a contributing and important member of your family. Giving your child chores to do has a number of benefits, not only to your household but to your child’s personal development. When children do chores, they sense that they are contributing something important to the family and it builds their self esteem. This link may be useful:
Thank you to Fr Gillespie
A sincere thank you to Fr Gillespie for his beautiful prayer service last Saturday to mark what should have been First Holy Communion Day for our 2nd class pupils. The service brought our Communion children and their families together in a special way. The service can still be accessed by going to to http://www.churchservices.tv/letterkenny, choose the “Featured Videos” tab at the bottom of the page, and click on S. N. Fiachra, Illistrin: First Holy Communion
Parents Association Facebook Page
Our Parents’ Association Committee continue to update their Facebook page on a regular basis with great tips for parents during the school closure. Check Illistrin PA on Facebook for their latest updates.
Work for week beginning 18th May 2020
Work for the week beginning 18th May will be emailed to you by your child’s teacher/s before 5.00p.m. on Friday 15th May. We encourage you to make every effort to maintain a daily routine at home that includes time for school work, fun activities and physical exercise, while at all times adhering to Government restrictions and guidelines.
RTE’s Home School Hub
RTE continue to broadcast the Home School Hub on RTE 2, Monday to Friday from 11.00 to 12.00. It is aimed at pupils from 1st class to 6th class. Pupils could include watching it as part of their daily routine.
Best wishes to all pupils, parents and guardians,
Mr Luke Kilcoyne,
15th May 2020.
Friday 8th May 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
Dear pupils, parents and guardians,
The Government’s roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society was published late last Friday evening. It is available to read here: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/e5e599-government-publishes-roadmap-to-ease-covid-19-restrictions-and-reope/
The roadmap makes it clear that schools will remain closed for pupils for the rest of this school year.
Phase 5 of the plan allows for the “opening of primary schools, on a phased basis, commencing at the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021.” In reality, there is still a high degree of uncertainty regarding the reopening of schools and we await further instructions and guidance from the Department of Education over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, teachers will continue to provide weekly work for pupils up to the date of the school summer holidays – Friday 26th June and they will be available via email to you up to that date.
Message to 6th Class pupils and parents
The final term in primary school is always marked in so many different and special ways. Unfortunately, our 6th pupils will not have the opportunity to experience their final school tour, celebrate prize giving, organise and host their fundraiser and enjoy their last Sports Day. No doubt they were also hatching some other plans to mark the end of their 8 years in Illistrin! We are very saddened that you, and we, will not be able to say “Farewell to the Class of 2020 ” in the usual way in school.
However, we will not be letting the current difficult circumstances prevent us from marking your graduation from the school and celebrating the great young people you have become during your time in Scoil Naomh Fiachra. You have all made amazing progress over the years and the whole school community is really proud of you. We are working on plans to ensure that the end of your 8 years is acknowledged and celebrated despite being apart. More details will be emailed to you by your teachers in a few weeks!
Holy Communion 2020
Saturday 9th May should have been the day our second class pupils celebrated their First Holy Communion. Circumstances do not allow for this to happen but we feel it is important that the day is marked in a special way. Fr Gillespie has prepared a video to mark the day and to encourage Communion pupils and their families to all join together in prayer at the same time in their own homes. Here is Fr Gillespie’s message:
Message from Fr Kevin Gillespie
To mark what should have been your child’s First Holy Communion day, I have prepared a short video which you can use to gather as a family on Saturday. This video is short, and will conclude with a blessing of your child and family with the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The video can be accessed on Saturday from 11am as follows: go to http://www.churchservices.tv/letterkenny, choose the “Featured Videos” tab at the bottom of the page, and click on S. N. Fiachra, Illistrin: First Holy Communion. You are encouraged to think of ways in which you can pray as a family at 11am on Saturday, using the simple prayers the children know, and to mark this day with them. Bringing all the pupils and their families to pray at the same time, even though you are all in different locations, is a special way to mark what should have been Communion Day. We all look forward to the day your children will receive Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I hope you all have a lovely day, despite the circumstances.
Fr Kevin Gillespie.
Work for week beginning 11th May 2020
Work for the week beginning 11th May will be emailed to you by your child’s teacher/s before 5.00p.m. on Friday 8th May. We encourage you to make every effort to maintain a daily routine at home that includes time for school work, fun activities and physical exercise, while at all times adhering to Government restrictions and guidelines.
NEPS advice & resources for keeping children and young people well during Covid-19
The Department of Education and Skills’ NEPS psychologists have developed advice and some resources for children and their families to manage and stay well when schools are closed. All of their advice is available at this link: https://www.education.ie/covid19/wellbeing/ The link has some short video clips containing sound and sensible advice for parents and pupils.
I continue to be available at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns or queries.
I hope you are all staying safe and well.
Mr Luke Kilcoyne.
A Message to all our ‘Dearly Beloved Students’ during Covid 19
Friday 1st May 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
Dear pupils, parents and guardians,
Thank you to everyone for your engagement with work provided by teachers during the week. “Home Schooling” is new to all of us and presents many challenges. We fully understand that many parents are under pressure with work, seeing to the needs of cocooners, looking after children and also trying to help our pupils with some school work. Please continue to do whatever you can and be assured that whenever school reopens plenty of time will be set aside for revision of any work missed during the closure.
Work for week beginning 5th May
Work for the week beginning 5th May will be emailed to you by your child’s teacher/s before 5.00p.m. on Friday 1st May. We will no longer be posting work to our website. Emailing the work will ensure links open more easily for parents and pupils and will allow teachers to send worksheets as attachments where appropriate. Please note that as Monday is a Bank Holiday, work has been provided for Tuesday to Friday.
Parents’ Association Facebook Page
Please check our Parents’ Association Facebook page (Illistrin PA) for great tips on staying fit and active during the school closure. This year Active School Week was replaced by Active Home Week and during the week the facebook page showed simple ways to keep fit and healthy. School staff are also keeping fit and active during the school closure and a video of their various activities will soon be released! Keep an eye on the website and facebook page for the video.
The work displayed in our International Week video was fantastic. Thank you to pupils and parents for sending in the work and to school staff for coming up with the idea and putting it together. It was an amazing celebration of our diverse and wonderful school community.
I hope all pupils, parents and guardians enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend as best they can in the circumstances. Please take a break from Home Schooling and try to enjoy some fun family activities while still observing the current restrictions.
Mr Luke Kilcoyne
1st May 2020
Celebrating International Day at Home during COVID 19
Friday 24th April 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
I hope you and your children are making the most of the fine weather we are enjoying during the Covid 19 crisis. Plenty of fresh air is good for everyone but please continue to follow the Government’s directive regarding movement within a 2k radius of your home.
Work for week beginning 27th April
Teachers have placed work for the week under the Parents info tab above. After clicking on Parents info you then need to click on Curriculum resources and then click on the relevant class and then the relevant teacher’s name. Specific work that is highlighted by the teacher should be emailed to the teacher directly and the teacher will provide feedback. A scanned copy or a photograph of the work is fine.
Please note that if your child attends a Special Education Teacher or an English as an Additional Language Teacher, work from that teacher is also available and labelled as “SEN/EAL” under the Parents info, Curriculum resources tab at the top of this page. Alternatively, the SEN/EAL teacher may email you directly with suggestions for work.
You may find it useful to set a time limit for work each day with your child. Do whatever is possible during the time allocated and then do some physical or fun activity. It may be helpful to break the day into 30 minute or 40 minute slots. As the weeks go by each parent will have to decide for themselves how best to approach the work and how long to spend at work. Parents are not expected to re-create school at home but to do what they can to support their child’s learning at home. Please do not allow “home schooling” to become too stressful for your children or yourself.
When school reopens school staff will ensure that all work for your child’s current class level is covered and revised as necessary.
If your child has work from a SET/EAL teacher and the class teacher, please prioritise the SEN/EAL work. We do not want any pupil to be overwhelmed with school work during the school teacher.
Thank you to all parents for doing all that you can to ensure continuity of learning for your children. We know that many of you are continuing to work from home and “home school” at the same time. This is not easy. To members of the school community who continue to leave their family home every day to provide essential services we say our biggest “Thank You”. Caring for the most vulnerable members of society and providing the services we all need during the crisis is the most important work of all.
I continue to be available by email at email@example.com if any parent wishes to contact me.
Best wishes to all pupils and parents,
24th April 2020
Friday 17th April 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well and that you made the most of the Easter break. As you no doubt already know, the Minister for Education has announced that all schools will remain closed “until further notice”.
The school staff have been working to put in place arrangements to do all we can to continue the delivery of education to your children during the school closure. We wish to keep the children engaged in learning while, at the same time, making sure that they do not feel under unnecessary pressure and that we do not cause families or parents any undue stress.
Teachers’ Email Addresses
Each teacher has created a new email address in order to open lines of communication between teachers and parents. A text message with the relevant email address was texted to all parents on Friday 17th April.
You can contact your child’s teacher at that email address at any time if you have any queries about the suggested work or if you have any concerns or questions. Teachers will not be available 24/7 but they will make every effort to reply to emails as soon as possible. Communication should be between teacher and parent and not directly between teacher and pupil. Parents should use their own email address – not a child’s email address (should your child have one). The teachers’ email addresses will only be used during the school closure and once school reopens they will no longer be in use.
Please send an email to the teacher on Monday 20th April so s/he will have everyone’s email address as soon as possible. Please write your child’ s name in the subject box of the email.
Suggested work from your child’s teacher will continue to be placed under the Parents info tab above every Monday on a weekly basis. After clicking on parents info you then need to click Curriculum resources and then click on the relevant teacher’s name (a double click may be required). Specific work that is highlighted by the teacher can be emailed to the teacher directly and the teacher will provide feedback. Please note that if your child attends a Special Education Teacher or an English as an Additional Language Teacher, work from that teacher is also available and labelled as “SEN/EAL” under the Parents info, Curriculum resources tab at the top of this page.
Please do not place yourself or your children under any undue pressure with “Home Schooling”. The current situation is stressful for everyone and parents can only do their best.
Department of Education & the National Educational Psychology Service (NEPS)
The Department and NEPS have issued several resources that they have asked schools to share with you and that you may find useful during the school closure.
Plan for a Day
A sample “plan for a day” spent at home during the school closure has been published. It suggests trying to maintain a schedule, creating time for fun activities, time for learning, break times and time for physical activity. You can access it here:
A blank copy of the same document can be accessed here:
Advice for Young People while Schools Are Closed
NEPS has also published an advice booklet with guidance for young people and their parents at this time. It is available here:
Relaxation Techniques Podcast for parents and pupils
This link will take you to a podcast from NEPS to help parents and pupils practise relaxation techniques.
A Guide for Parents on supporting children and young people with daily routines while schools are closed
This NEPS document can be accessed here:
Thank you to those who provided feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org regarding the work suggested by teachers to date and with suggestions for future work. Please do not hesitate to email me if you have any concerns or questions.
Previous posts to this website during the closure are still available to read further down this homepage. They contain some helpful educational websites and ideas.
Kindest Regards to all parents and pupils,
17th April 2020
Saturday 4th April 2020 – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne
Easter is the most important time of the year in the Christian calendar. This year we must celebrate the Easter message of hope and joy in our own homes. You can tune into the live stream of the Easter ceremonies from the Cathedral at this link: https://www.churchservices.tv/letterkenny
Our Patron, Bishop McGuckian sends his best wishes to all members of the school community. He is keeping all of us in his thoughts and prayers. He wishes to let you know that the Raphoe Diocese has recently established a Facebook presence. You can see it by checking “Raphoe Diocese” on Facebook.
The Sisters of the Merciful Jesus in Letterkenny are preparing a series of short clips for children to guide them through Holy Week. These will be posted on their Facebook Home Page “Divine Mercy Centre Letterkenny” at 11am from Monday to Friday. These are aimed at helping children in this time of pandemic.
Here is a youtube video for children which tells the Story of Easter:
You can also access a version of the Easter Story with colouring sheets and questions for discussion with your child by clicking the link below titled The Easter Story:
I hope all parents, pupils and family members will have time to relax over the Easter season. These last few weeks have been very difficult for all families and a break from school related work is recommended for everyone.
The work posted by teachers for the last 3 weeks will remain posted to the parents info tab above (under curriculum resources) should you wish to access it at any time during the school closure. Please note that if your child attends a Special Education Teacher or an English as an Additional Language Teacher, work from that teacher is also available and labelled as “SEN/EAL” under the parents info, curriculum resources tab at the top of this page.
It is important that we all look after your own wellbeing. Here is a link to HSE information about looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/minding-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
A sincere “Thank You” to those parents continuing to work outside the family home providing essential services to our community. You deserve great credit for your dedication to duty.
Fr Gillespie has informed me that Holy Communion will not go ahead as planned on 9th May. A new date will be fixed when the current uncertain situation has improved.
Parent’s Association Facebook Page
Our Parents’ Association Facebook page (Illistrin PA) continues to post lots of fun activities which all members of your family could try at home. Illistrin Football Club and Ballaghaderg Garden Centre are among the local groups posting great ideas to keep us busy and active.
Thank you to everyone who emailed email@example.com with samples of pupils’ work during our International Week. A video of the work will be posted to this website in due course.
It seems unlikely that schools will reopen as scheduled on 20th April. If the schools remain closed past that date and into the 3rd term of the school year, teachers will continue to provide suggested work for parents to do with pupils at home on a weekly basis starting again on 20th April. After Easter your child’s teacher/s will also supply you with an email address at which you can contact him/her if you have any queries about the suggested work or if you have any concerns or questions. This will open up lines of communication between school and home during the closure. The teacher’s email address will be texted to you on Thursday 16th April or Friday 17th April.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback regarding the work suggested by teachers to date or if you have any suggestions for future work. Please let me know what has worked well so far for you and your child or if you have any ideas for future work. I will collate your feedback and suggestions/ideas and relay them to teachers.
You can also email me about any other matter, should you wish.
My previous posts to this website during the closure are still available to read further down this homepage. They contain some helpful website and ideas.
I hope all the girls and boys are well behaved while confined to home and that they enjoy a delicious Easter Egg (or two!) during the Easter Season!
Stay safe and kindest regards,
4th April 2020
Friday 27th March – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne regarding the School Closure due to Covid 19/Coronavirus
I know that all families are doing all they can to cope in these very difficult times. Please remember that each of us can only do our best. I hope you and your children are keeping well and staying safe and healthy. That is what is most important.
Advice from the Department of Education and the National Educational Psychology Service (NEPS) on how to speak with your child about Covid 19 is available here:
The Department and NEPS have also issued “A Guide for Parents on supporting children and young people with daily routines while schools are closed”. It is available here:
Both of these documents contain simple and practical advice for parents. They are well worth reading.
I have been asked by the Minister for Education to pass the following message to all of you:
“There is an absolute need to practice social and physical distancing, and to minimise physical contact with each other, to help avoid the spread of Covid-19. This includes continuing to avoid meeting up and in all circumstances to adhere to HSE guidelines. Parents and guardians should continue to ensure that their children maintain the restrictions on congregating for the safety of all in their community.”
Updated information and advice from the HSE is available here in English:
and available in 17 other languages here:
Recommended Work for Week 3 of the School Closure:
An outline of the work that teachers recommend to do during Week 3 (30th March – 3rd April) of the school closure can be accessed like before by clicking on the Parent’s Info tab above, then clicking on Curriculum Resources and clicking on your Child’s Class Level. It is advisable to download the recommended work on a computer/laptop with Microsoft Word/Office as all documents are compatible with these. If you are opening your child’s work on a mobile phone, please remember that your phone settings may not allow for an accurate download of content e.g teachers diagrams, worksheets, etc. If you have any difficulty accessing the recommended work please email email@example.com and we will arrange to have it emailed to you.
Your child’s teacher may also have provided some guidance on activities for your children to engage with during the Easter Season (reading, useful websites for learning, Easter crafts etc). During the 2 week Easter break we would encourage pupils to keep up their reading and other learning activities especially fun games that they have enjoyed at home over the last few weeks. Please use the websites and educational resources that we have recommended in previous posts to this website. These can be found and read further down this homepage.
The current closure has been extended to the 19th April. If the closure continues past that date and into the 3rd term of the school year, teachers will continue to provide suggested work for parents to do with pupils at home on a weekly basis starting again on 20th April.
RTE School on TV:
RTE school starts on Monday 30th March and will broadcast from Monday to Friday every morning from 11.00 to 12.00 throughout the school closure. It is aimed at pupils from 1st class to 6th class. Pupils could include watching it as part of their daily routine. Here is a link with further information: www.rte.ie/news/2020/0320/1124339-rte-to-launch-school-on-tv-teaching-initiative/
Pupils with additional or special educational needs:
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has issued advice and “Top Tips” for parents of pupils with additional or special educational needs. The materials have been developed by Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. More resources and advice will be added in the coming days. The advice can be accessed here: https://ncse.ie/online-resources-for-parents
Wishing you all well and thank you for your continued support.
Ms. McBride, Ms McGlynn & Ms McGroarty (EAL teachers) ‘International Week’ message
This week was to be International Week in Illistrin NS. We would still like to celebrate this with our families and the wider community. Maybe you could include a lesson on a country of interest to your family, listen to music from a different culture or do some art work from another country.
Monday 23rd March – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne regarding the School Closure due to Covid 19/Coronavirus
I hope all our pupils and family members are keeping well during these difficult times. Please look after one another and stay in contact by phone or internet with other, especially older, family members, neighbours and friends. Please continue to follow the advice from the HSE re Covid 19. It will be updated regularly and can be accessed here: https://www2.hse.ie/
Please continue to remind your children to practise good hand, coughing and sneezing hygiene. The importance of social distancing, maintaining a physical distance from others and limiting the number of social contacts is a key piece of advice and should be followed by all.
Recommended Work for Week 2 of the School Closure:
An outline of the work that teachers recommend to do during Week 2 of the closure can be accessed by clicking on the Parent’s Info tab above, then clicking on Curriculum Resources and clicking on your Child’s Class Level. If you have any difficulty accessing the recommended work please email illistrinoffice@
Most of the publishers of Irish text books have made e-copies of their books free for parents and pupils to access online during the school closure. These will provide great reading material appropriate to your child’s class level. In many cases they have also made their digital resources and digital games free as well. These digital resources and games may provide you with educational ways to keep your children busy.
Books and materials published by C.J. Fallon can be accessed here: https://www.cjfallon.ie/
Books and materials published by The Educational Company (EDCO) can be accessed here: https://www.edco.ie/
Books and materials published by Folens can be accessed here: https://www.
Please note you should register as a teacher.
We fully understand that many families are under considerable pressure at this time and we wish to remind you that your well-being and the well-being of your children is what is most important. Many parents are continuing to work outside the home in order to maintain essential services. We thank them for continuing to provide us with these essential services that we all depend on and can sometimes take for granted. Many other parents are working from home while also looking after their children. Please do not place undue pressure on yourselves. Some time set aside daily for fun activities, physical activity and learning is the best way for all of us to work our way through this unprecedented situation.
A radio interview with Ciara Reilly, Lecturer in Education in the Marino Institute of Education and a Primary School Teacher can be accessed here: https://www.rte.ie/
Illistrin Parents’ Association Facebook Page:
Please check our Parents’ Association Facebook page, Illistrin PA, for some great ideas to keep children active and busy. The page also provides some links to other local Facebook pages demonstrating various activities for all of us to try out from our homes. These links include soccer coaching from Illistrin Football Club, Dance classes from Dance Fitness with Tina (go into group icons on Facebook and search Dance Fitness with Tina, request an invite and Tina can add you to the group) and art lessons from Donegal Cartoons Jarla.
The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny has started a project called #HomeIsWhereTheArtIs. The project sets a daily art challenge for children. You can see details on their website: https://
We are grateful to Bishop McGuckian, Fr Kevin Gillespie and local clergy for providing a live stream from St Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny. Mass from the Cathedral can also be viewed every day at 10.30 a.m. on the RTE News Now TV channel. The live stream from the Cathedral is here: https://www.
Useful Educational Websites:
There are hundreds of useful educational websites online that you can access free of charge. I recommend the 4 listed below as they make it easy for parents to access resources appropriate to your child’s age, class and ability.
https://www.twinkl.ie/offer and enter the code IRLTWINKLHELPS – this code will give you free access to a huge number of resources.
Reading to your child and listening to your child reading is the best way to support your child’s continued learning at home. Many favourite books are available online in e-format. Spend a few minutes online searching for e-books your child might enjoy and you’d be surprised what is available for free or for a small cost. A reminder that free children’s audio books are available here during the month of March:
Saturday 14th March – Message from Mr Luke Kilcoyne regarding the School Closure due to Covid 19/Coronavirus
Please continue to follow advice from the HSE re Covid 19. It will be updated regularly and can be accessed here: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/
Please also note the Department of Education advice re the school closure which can be accessed here: https://www.education.ie/en/
In the event that any pupil is feeling unwell on or just before the school reopens, you are requested to seek advice from your GP by phone and to let the school know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The HSE and the Minister have asked all schools to share this important message with you:
All children are urged to practise social distancing, and to minimise physical contact with each other to help avoid the spread of Covid-19. This should include minimising social contact, avoiding meeting up and keeping physical space between children. Parents and guardians are urged to support their children to maintain this approach.
It’s important to remember that for school closures to be effective it’s really important that children aren’t mixing with other children while out of school. Children generally suffer mild symptoms but they could give the the virus to each other and silently pass it on to other family members and more vulnerable people or elderly people. What all of us do now can make a big difference.
How best to support your child’s learning during the School Closure:
Last Thursday, teachers sent home textbooks/work packs/worksheets. An outline of the work that teachers recommend to do during the 2 week closure can be accessed by clicking on the Parent’s Info tab above, then clicking on Curriculum Resources and clicking on your Child’s Class Level.
I would also encourage you to work with your children revising the work covered already this year. Reading, tables, spellings and handwriting are all activities that can be practiced and reinforced at home.
Useful Educational Websites:
Here are some useful websites with great educational resources for children of all ages that can be used at home:
https://www.twinkl.ie/offer and enter the code IRLTWINKLHELPS – this code will give you free access to a huge number of resources.
https://www.worldbookday.com/world-of-stories – this will give you free access to a great selection of children’s audio books.
Further notices will be posted to this website during the school closure.
The Department of Education has closed all schools in the country from 13th March to 29th March 2020. The Department’s notice to schools can be read here:
Text messages and this website will be used during the next 2 weeks to give parents updated information and to let parents know how best to continue with their children’s learning during the school closure.
Please continue to visit https://www.hse.ie for regular updates on the Coronavirus/Covid 19.
Should you have any queries in relation to this email please contact the Principal Mr. Luke Kilcoyne.
11th March 2020 – Statement from the Department of Education for all schools re Coronavirus/Covid 19
The Department of Education has asked every school in country to make the statement below available to all parents of primary school children. We also wish to remind you that you can contact the Principal Teacher, Mr Luke Kilcoyne, on 074 91 25775 or at email@example.com if you have any concerns or questions. School staff are continuing to teach hand washing routines, coughing hygiene and sneezing hygiene. Every measure is being taken in school to do all we can to prevent any possible spread of the virus. We will continue to follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, the HSE and the Departments of Health and Education. Any possible decision to close any school in the country will be communicated to school management by the Departments of Health and Education. If this happens we will contact parents immediately.
Please note that a parent of any pupil returning to school from abroad at any time during the Coronavirus/Covid 19 outbreak must contact Mr Kilcoyne prior to their child’s return to school.
Department of Education Statement 11th March 2020:
We would like to direct your attention to updated guidance issued this morning on talking to children and young people about Covid-19.
You can access and download this guidance in both Irish and English from the Department of Education and Skills website below under the heading ‘Talking to children and young people about Covid-19’. https://www.education.ie/covid19
We would also like to direct your attention to a child-friendly interview that Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn did with RTÉ’s new2day programme last week, that may also be a useful resource when talking about Covid-19 with children and students.
Coronavirus – Covid 19 : Saturday 7th March 2020
The Department of Education, the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs continue to issue advice to all schools and parents regarding the Coronavirus/Covid 19. The advice has been issued in the interests of public health and to make school staff, pupils and parents aware of the measures everyone can take to prevent the spread of the virus. We are sharing this advice with you to allay any concerns you may have.
Garda School Quiz
Well done to our quiz team who won the ‘Milford Garda District Heat of the Garda Schools Quiz’ on 5th March beating 17 other teams. Our team led from start to finish and displayed their great general knowledge answering questions on history, geography, sport, road safety and current affairs. They are pictured receiving their prizes from members of An Garda Síochána based in Milford. We are grateful to the Gardaí who put great time and effort into organising and hosting this quiz. Our team will take part in the County Final of the Garda Schools’ Quiz on 19th of March in the Mount Errigal Hotel. Best of luck to them!
Below are some of the questions they were asked:
Who is the prime minister of Great Britain?
Which is the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland?
What is the speed limit on Irish motorways?
Who was the 1st President of Ireland?
Where is the only place on Irish roads that you would see a flashing red light?
World Book Day
Pictured below are Ms. O’Donnell’s 6th Class & Ms. Lafferty’s Junior Infants celebrating World Book Day. 6th Class students read stories to Junior Infants and discussed their favourite characters, events and books.
6th Class Projects on ‘American Landmarks’
Bhféis Gaeilge i gClochar Loreto
Comhghairdeas mhór do na páistí a ghlac páirt i bhféis Gaeilge i gClochar Loreto Dé Máirt 3ú Márta. Bhí sé chomh deas éisteacht leis na páistí ó rang Ms. Ferry, Ms. McGee, Mr Gallagher agus Ms. Gormley ag déanamh rann agus amhrán ar an ardán. Thug muid fearadh na fáilte ó na múinteoirí agus ó na scólairí i gClochar Loreto. Fuair na páistí bosca pop arbhar agus fuair na múinteoirí cupán deas tae! Bhí muid iontach sásta nuair a fuair muid cúpla duais fosta. Fuair Ollie Haran scoláire na féise-éacht mhór dó! Maith thú Ollie! Rinne sé job iontach leis an dán An Leipreachán. Tá muid ag dúil go mór le seachtain na Gaeilge a cheiliúradh inár scoil féin.
Donegal Regional Championships
Well done to our Sportshall team who completed in the ‘Donegal Regional Championships’ in the Aura on Thursday 5th March. Everyone was so looking forward to this day as the children trained very hard over the past few weeks. The children competed in a variety of events: long jump, triple jump, vertical jump, chest push, speed bounce, javelin, obstacle relay, over under relay and running relays. Our 3rd & 4th class girls and boys achieved second place as did the 5th & 6th girls and boys teams. This was a very enjoyable day for all the children and it was a great way of meeting children from other schools. The event ran very smoothly. Thank you to the volunteers from Letterkenny Athletic Club for organising the day and to the transition year students from Loreto and St. Eunan’s college who helped on the day.
Senior Infants get a visit from Mr Conal Mc Carron from ‘The Irish Coast Guard’
Senior Infants have been learning about ‘People at Work’ in SESE. Oisín McCarron in Senior Infants dad came to visit us to discuss his job in the Irish Coast Guard. He discussed his role in rescuing people at sea, from mountains, crashes etc in the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter. Senior Infants had many questions for him and Mr McCarron left ‘Safety Squad’ books, wrist bands and some prizes for those who completed their ‘Safety Squad’ books at home. A massive thank you to Conal McCarron for his visit.
Our three 6th classes are participating in “CYCLE RIGHT” – Cycle Safety Training.
The course consists of 4 x 2 hour sessions with each class. Topics covered include: safe equipment; rules of the road; starting and stopping; road positioning; shoulder checking; turning left and right; overtaking and traffic manoeuvres, and, where appropriate to the group, on-road training.
The emphasis of the course is on safety through control of the bike and awareness of surroundings. Fergus and Gemma McDaid provide the training. Coaching, bicycles and helmets are provided free of charge to the school. CYCLE RIGHT is supported by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, An Taisce the Road Safety Authority and Cycling Ireland.
Gaelic Football Team
Pictured below are the boys on the Gaelic Football Team who have won the title of ‘Star Trainers’ from their recent training sessions held twice a week at lunch times. Two students are picked at each training session for the title. Congratulations to all the students particpating.
School Closures: September 2019 – June 2020
Teacher Training on the Primary Language Curriculum – Closed Friday 13th March 2020
St Patrick’s Day Closed Monday 16th March and Tuesday 17th March 2020.
Easter Holidays Closing Friday 3rd April 2020 for a half day.
Reopen Monday 20th April 2020.
May Bank Holiday Closed Monday 4th May 2020.
June Bank Holiday Closed Friday 29th May 2020 & Monday 1st June 2020.
Summer Holidays Closing Friday 26th June 2020 for a half day.
Please note that the Department of Education may close the school for other training days for teachers. As soon as we are informed of any additional school closures, we will notify all parents/guardians.
This list of school holidays is also available under the parents’ info/calendar tab.
School Year 2019-2020
A full staff list can be viewed at www.illistrin.town.ie. Any staff changes during the year will be posted to this list on our website.
As part of being an Active School, teachers will no longer give written homework to pupils on Thursdays. Instead pupils are asked to take part in some physical activity every Thursday after school. Oral homework e.g. reading and spellings will continue to be given on Thursdays.
Full uniform must be worn every day. Pupils who are not wearing full uniform may be placed on detention during break time. P.E tracksuit should be worn on P.E. days. If your child has lunchtime training or is attending a sporting event during the school day, s/he must wear the school P.E. tracksuit.
Going Home Early
Children may only go home early if they have a medical appointment. Please let the teacher know in advance by writing a note in your child’s homework diary or a written letter to your child’s teacher. When you are collecting your child please avoid our busy break times at 11.00 and 12.30. Please go directly to the secretary’s office, “sign out” your child and wait there until the school secretary arranges for your child to leave class and meets with you at the secretary’s office. For child protection reasons visitors to the school are not allowed to go directly to classrooms.
Our Early Collection of Pupils Policy can be viewed under the Policies and Enrolment tab of our website.
Child Safeguarding Statement
The Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Fiachra has approved our Child Safeguarding Statement. The statement can be viewed under the Policies and Enrolment tab on our website and a hard copy can be viewed in the school office. The Board of Management has appointed Mr Luke Kilcoyne as the Designated Liaison Person and Mrs Doreen Kennedy as the Deputy Designated Liaison Person for Child Protection matters.
Pupil Personal Accident Insurance
Allianz have been providing Pupil Personal Accident Insurance to schools in Ireland since the mid 1980’s. Pupil Personal Accident Insurance is a benefits policy and covers Medical and Dental expenses following an accident. All pupils enrolled in our school are covered by this policy for any accident taking place in school or out of school. The cost is included in school book fees. Full details can be accessed via this link: https://www.allianz.ie/schools/pupil-personal-accident/cover
Thank you to all parents who have paid book fees for this year. If you have not yet paid the fees, please arrange payment as soon as possible.
Contact numbers and addresses
It is vital that we have your contact number and address at all times in case of an emergency involving your child. If there is any change at any time in your contact details, please inform the school secretary immediately. You can email any change to our secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org Instead of writing to parents we use our “text a parent” service. If you have not received any of our texts, please contact our secretary.
Communion and Confirmation
2nd class pupils who are making their First Holy Communion will celebrate the sacrament at 11a.m. on Saturday 9th May 2020 in the Cathedral, Letterkenny. Candidates for Confirmation from 6th class will celebrate the sacrament on Thursday, 30th January 2020 at 5.00p.m.
Please read the information sheet regarding the safe use of our school car park which is posted on our website under the parents info tab and can be read in your child’s homework diary. Please make anyone who is dropping or collecting your child/ren aware of the arrangements for the safe use of the car park. In the interests of pupil safety please be patient and careful when using the car park and please do not block the road between the school car park and the garage.
Administration of Medication
Staff members cannot administer medication to children without authorisation from the Board of Management of the school. This includes inhalers. Obviously, it is preferable that medical practitioners would arrange times for medication so that they don’t coincide with school time. However, if this is not possible and you require your child to be administered emergency medication in school please contact the Principal Teacher for a copy of the procedures which must be followed.
A list of closures for the school year 2019.2020 was posted to our website in May on the calendar page under the parents’ info tab. We will leave the list on the website throughout the year.
School Timetable, Attendance and Punctuality
Thank to everyone for their cooperation with our new school timetable. Pupils should be ready to join their class line when the bell rings at 9.00a.m. This helps to ensure a smooth start to the school day.
School opens to receive pupils at 8.40a.m. No arrangement exists for the supervision of children who arrive at school whether by bus, or otherwise, before 8.40 a.m. and therefore no responsibility is accepted by the school for pupils before that time. Pupils may be taken into their classrooms or the school hall (if it is available) on very wet mornings from 8.40a.m.
The school day finishes at 1.40 p.m. for infants and 2.40 p.m. for all other pupils. 1st class are walked to the school gates at 2.35p.m. to help ease congestion at 2.40p.m. The school accepts no responsibility for pupils after these times and it is the responsibility of parents/guardians to arrange the safe collection of their children at these times.
Regular attendance is vital to your child’s progress at school. Children should only be absent from school when they are ill. Please supply a written note to your child’s class teacher for each absence. I am legally obliged to report any pupil who is absent for 20 days or more in any school year to TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency. An Education Welfare Officer may contact a parent if such a report must be made.
Calls to the secretary’s office
Please let your child know every day who will collect him/her after school and whether or not he/she is going home by bus or car. Children can become anxious if there is an unscheduled change to collection arrangements. Keeping to the same routine is in everyone’s best interests. Please always notify the class teacher, by written note, if there is any change in collection arrangements. We can not guarantee that the school phone will always be answered during the school day and phone calls to the secretary’s office should be kept to a minimum. If you require a letter confirming your child’s attendance at this school please allow 2 days advance notice to the school secretary. You can email your request to email@example.com
Pupils from 3rd class are availing of swimming lessons in Aura Leisure Centre during the 1st term. Ms Ferry’s, Ms Devlin’s and Ms Molloy’s classes have started their weekly lessons. 4th classes will start later in the year.
Cross Country Athletics
We were delighted to see so many pupils from senior classes attend trials on our running track for our Cross- Country Athletics Team. Well done to our Cross-Country Team members who participated in the Annual Cross-Country Schools’ Competition at O’Donnell Park on 13th September. They trained hard during lunch breaks and ran brilliantly. We are very proud of them. Check out the photos of team members on our website.
Gaelic Football Coaching
Mr Jim Clarke, Gaelic Football coach, is back with us again this year. Jim has started his coaching with 6th classes on Thursdays. During the year most classes will get the opportunity to avail of Jim’s coaching. We are grateful to St Eunan’s GAA club for providing this coaching free of charge to our pupils.
We also welcome Nathan McElwaine from Termon GAA club who is coaching various classes on Fridays. Our pupils are really enjoying his coaching sessions and we thank Termon GAA club for this free coaching for our pupils.
School Book Fair
Our Annual School Book Fair will take place from 13th – 20th November. A great selection of books will be available and a catalogue and price list will be sent home a week prior to the Book Fair. Pupils will get the opportunity to browse (and buy if they wish) during school time and parents can visit on the evening of the 13th November.
I wish to remind you that children should only bring healthy options to eat and drink for lunch. Our Healthy Eating Policy can be read on our website. Items such as fizzy drinks, biscuits, doughnuts and fruit winders are not allowed due to their high sugar content. Milk, water, fruit, breads and yoghurts are considered healthy options.
Some children in the school have severe allergic reactions to peanuts/nuts. This allergic reaction can occur through ingestion of peanut/nut products, cross contamination and breathing peanuts/nuts in the air.
Since this condition can be very serious, we have declared the school a nut free zone we are asking for your help in minimising the risk to these children by:
- Avoiding giving children peanuts or any nuts in school lunches
- Avoiding giving peanut butter sandwiches, other spreads containing nuts such as Nutella and snacks/bars containing nuts or labelled “may contain nut traces” in school lunches
- Asking children not to share their lunches.
It is important that all parents carry out the suggested measures and reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to these children.
We also have a pupil who has an allergy to kiwis. Please continue to place fruit in your child’s lunch box but please avoid kiwis for lunch.
Word of Welcome to Our School
I would like to welcome you to our school’s website. Hopefully it will give you a flavour of the many activities in which our children are involved and provide you with important information about Scoil Naomh Fiachra. There is a friendly atmosphere in the school and we have a broad range of pupil backgrounds. This encourages tolerance, understanding and an appreciation of others.
In Scoil Naomh Fiachra we believe that students are happiest when they are engaged, challenged and excited by learning. Our aim is to develop the talents of all pupils by involving them in a wide ranging educational experience. We are committed to excellence in academic, cultural and sporting pursuits, and to active partnerships between staff and pupils, school and home.
We offer an equally varied and challenging range of extra-curricular activities, including Swimming, Soccer, Gaelic football, Hurling, Camogie, Athletics, Rounders, Irish Dancing and Debating. We hope the children, their parents, extended family members and friends will be frequent visitors to the site and that such visits with be enjoyable and informative. If you require any further information about our school please feel free to contact us by post, phone or email.
Mr Luke Kilcoyne