Return to School Arrangements (3rd March ’21)

Return to School Arrangements


As you may be aware the N. Ireland Executive have now given some guidance towards a phased return to school and while we may have reservations about some aspects of the planning, we accept that these decisions were taken with the best of intentions and we will manage them as best we can.

As things stand, pupils in P1-P3 will return to school on Monday 8th March albeit for a relatively short period of time. The school will, of course be closed on 17th & 18th March but re-open on the 19th. From Monday 22nd March, P1-P3 pupils will resume remote learning once again until advised otherwise but hopefully this will be in the not too distant future. Pupils in P1 and P2 will finish their school day at the usual time of 2.15pm and P3 pupils will finish at 3.10pm.

Supervised learning remains available for children of Key Workers in P4-P7 in the current format although obviously they will be moving classrooms due to the P3’s return. This supervision is available from 9.00am -3.15pm.

Unfortunately, we can not offer an “After-School” facility for pupils in P1/2 in the short-term as this would constitute mixing “bubbles” with Key workers’ children.

Dinner will be available in school for all pupils.

We ask that all pupils attending on Monday wear their school uniform so as to avoid confusion for the younger pupils.

Obviously, this phased return is far from ideal and will continue to evolve but at least it is a step in the right direction. We shall, of course, keep you updated, when new guidance is issued.

Enforced School Closure (Covid19) Jan 2021

Please be aware that the ongoing increase in Covid19 cases throughout the North has prompted the Minister for Education to delay the re-opening of Primary schools after the Christmas Holidays. School will now re-open on Monday 11th January. We were due to return on Tuesday 5th Jan but the Minister has now asked that schools use this first day to organise remote learning for the rest of the week. Therefore, remote learning will be in operation from Wednesday until Friday largely via SeeSaw and/or Studyladder/LBQ. Should you need any assistance re SeeSaw or password reminders etc or indeed require the loan of electronic devices, please contact the school no later than Tuesday.

The school can offer in-school provision for children of Key Workers (from Wed-Fri) but again we stress that this should only be availed of as a last resort. Should you wish to avail of this provision, we respectfully ask you to email the school at no later than Monday morning at 10.00am so that we can establish the level of interest and organise appropriate supervision.

We aplologise for any inconvenience this change of plans may cause but trust that we can rely on your ongoing support as we all battle through these difficult times. Stay safe everyone.

Monday, 31st August 2020 Weekly Note


A big welcome back is extended to all our pupils throughout the school, with a particular welcome to our new recruits. Joining us in P.1 are Aoibheann, J.R., Saoirse, Cormac, Oisin, Cathal, Caitlin, Aine, Anna, Ava, Darcy & Cathair along with Dylan in P.4. We extend a warm welcome to all pupils new and ‘established’, we hope and trust that you will have a very enjoyable and rewarding year ahead.

As always we encourage parents to play an active role in their child/children’s education and invite you to contact the teacher concerned should your child encounter any trouble ‘settling in’ or indeed at any time of the year. Unfortunately we must ask that, unless absolutely necessary, communication is done via telephone to keep external traffic to the school to an absolute minimum.


All children are looking resplendent in their new school sweaters and cardigans. May we ask you to take time to ensure that all children’s clothing is labelled so as to avoid any unnecessary confusion.


This is not always a topic we like to discuss but just a simple reminder to remain vigilant as to the possibility of the presence of lice in your child’s hair.


We respectfully ask that any monies being sent to the school be in a sealed envelope, with name and purpose of payment etc. clearly indicated. These envelopes will be placed in a marked tray in each classroom before being picked up later by Nuala. These envelopes will be retained by the school as ‘proof of payment’ so it is essential that these are clearly labelled so as to avoid unnecessary confusion. We also ask that weekly payments should be made in one instalment rather than on a daily basis and that payments are restricted from Monday to Wednesday.


Dinners are available in the school from tomorrow Tuesday, 1st September. Cost £2.60.

Payment by cheque for school dinners should be made out to E A Western Region.


For those children who wish to take milk, the cost for the term which takes us to Christmas is £11.50. Milk will begin on Thursday of this week.


A list of holidays can be found under the ‘information’ tab of our School App.


Anyone who may have changed mobile numbers over the summer holiday is asked to notify the school to ensure that our records are up to date and that the school text messages are going to the correct number.


We welcome along Deborah O’Kane, who joins us as a Classroom Assistant to deputise for Brenda. You’re very welcome Deborah.


We ask that all pupils bring a clearly labelled plastic water-bottle to school. Unfortunately we are no longer in a position to distribute cups as we would have done in the past and children do like to drink water throughout the day.


We apologise for the seemingly endless list of do’s and don’ts but appreciate your patience and support in our efforts to get school life back to something resembling normal. Ultimately, we are endeavouring to keep the entire school community safe and thank you for your wonderful co-operation thus far.

P1 Starters 31st Aug. ’20 Arrangements/Timetable

Dear Parent


As you are aware your P.1 child will be commencing school next Monday, 31st August. Normally parents would accompany their child to the classroom for the first few days of their school journey.

Unfortunately, the current Covid 19 pandemic has forced changes to be made to ensure that our social bubbles can be maintained as far as possible. As a result, we are operating a staggered start on Monday morning in order to avoid any unnecessary over-crowding of ‘visitors’ to the classroom bubble. We respectfully ask that you (1 adult only) bring your P.1 child to Mrs Breen’s classroom at the allocated time and leave as promptly as possible before the next group of allocated pupils arrive. We do not wish to cause unnecessary offence, but parents will be asked to leave if overstaying.

Parents will be permitted to bring new starters in to the school up to Friday, 4th September (if necessary) but thereafter P.1 pupils must try to make their own way from the front door. Be assured that there will be plenty of adult support for the earliest days to ensure that our new P.1’s adapt to school life as smoothly as possible.

As mentioned previously, school will end for P.1 pupils at 12.00pm for the first 2 weeks (Fri. 11th). Pupils will be brought to the front door where they can be met by their parent/carer who should wait at the entrance to the school grounds.

Pupils are permitted to bring some fruit/veg for a snack with water/milk as a drink.

All other restart arrangements can be found on our school website but if you have any queries feel free to contact the school on 8224 4614.

I look forward to seeing you and your child on Monday morning.

Your sincerely


Jarlath McElholm





9.00am           Saoirse Gormley

                        Aine McKeown

                        Oisín McCarney

                        Aoibheann Donnelly


9.10am           Anna Mullan

                        Caitlin McElduff

                        Cathal McCusker

                        John Gilmurray


9.20am           Cathair Taggart

                        Cormac Lagan

                        Ava Mullan

                        Darcy O’Neill



  • 1 adult per child
  • Fruit/veg snack
  • Water/milk drink

School Restart Information 18/8/20

What Pupils Should Bring:

P.1/2 – rubber, colouring pencils, markers, pritt stick, tissues

P.3-7 – pritt stick type glue, pencil(s), sharpener, rubber, highlighters, colouring pencils, markers, packet of tissues

(these items will be kept in a plastic wallet in school with your child’s name on it)

  • School bags & pencil cases are not needed at this stage
  • If your child is bringing a packed lunch please use a hard plastic lunch box as opposed to the softer pliable type
  • Initially PE gear should be worn to school on PE days, although your child may slip on a school sweater and tracksuit bottoms when felt necessary. PE days will be confirmed at the start of term.  

Other Useful Information

  • Sadly, parents are not permitted within school grounds unless by appointment. Our new P.1 starters will be given some degree of flexibility over their 1st few days at school. Your teacher, can of course be contacted via telephone between 3.15 – 3.45pm.
  • Unfortunately at this time we cannot offer Wrap-Around-Care. Melanie remains hopeful that this may change in the near future.
  • Our ‘internal’ P.1/2 after-school facility for pupils up to 3.15pm will still be available. Cost is £2 daily (£1 for any additional sibling)
  • To ensure our protective bubbles remain intact the school doors will not open until 8.45am; this is purely to try to accommodate working parents to some degree – please do not send your child in any earlier than is necessary.       Class commences at 9.15am.
  • There will be slight changes at home time to enable staggering.      

Parents are respectfully asked to observe 2 metre social distancing at the school gate.

P.1 – P.2 2.15pm
P.3 – P.4 3.10pm
P.5/P.6/P.7 3.15pm
  • Please note that school dinners will not be available until Tuesday, 1st September so packed lunches will be required for Thurs. 27th, Fri. 28th and Mon. 31st Aug.
  • Further info about how to pay safely etc. will be issued next week.
  • Homework initially will be in electronic form. Parental support for homework remains more crucial than ever, so please try to take time to sit with your child during this time. Anyone in need of devices should contact the school to discuss.
  • Please do not send your child to school if they are unwell. If your child complains of feeling unwell, parents will be contacted immediately. Please ensure any change in mobile numbers, work numbers etc. are relayed to school at the start of term.

Please note that this is a guide to how we aim to begin our educational restart. It will be tweaked and modified over time, as we see what things are working or in need of change. Some things will impact significantly on what was once your ‘normal routine’ and for that we apologise. Nevertheless, we appreciate your support as we embark on our journey back to school and a different kind of normal.

P1 Starting Arrangements

7th August 2020

Dear Parent


Following the long awaited guidance from Education Minister, Mr Weir, we are now in a position to confirm starting arrangements for our new P1 pupils. Existing pupils have been invited back to school a week early (24th Aug) in a phased return, so as to make them familiar with Covid 19 related changes from what would have been their normal school experience. 


P1 pupils will commence school on Monday 31st August 2020


For many years we have found it beneficial for our P1 pupils to begin school life with a shorter day as they “dip their toes” into the formalities of school life. For this reason, P.1 pupils will finish their schooling at 12.00pm for the initial settling-in period upto 11th September 2020. Pupils therefore do not need to bring in dinner money or packed lunches during this period.

The normal school day (upto 2.15pm) will commence from Monday 14th September 2020.


To summarise P1 key dates:


Mon. 31st Aug – 11th Sept                                                             9.15am – 12.00pm

Mon 14th Aug Onwards                                                              9.15am-2.15pm


Unfortunately, at the time of writing, our Wrap-Around Care facility can not be guaranteed as our wrap around leader, Melanie, awaits further guidance from our governing authorities; obviously this issue will be clarified asap.

In conclusion, this communication is simply to outline the return to school dates.  There is to be more guidance issued by the Education Minister towards the end of the week and I will issue further communication on week commencing 17th August outlining the practicalities of this guidance and how it will impact on what would have been considered the norms of school life.


Yours sincerely

Jarlath McElholm


P2 – P7 Return to School Arrangements

6th August 2020

Dear Parent


Following the long awaited guidance from Education Minister, Mr Weir, this letter is to clarify return to school arrangements for pupils for the next academic year.  Given that schools in the Republic of Ireland were allocated an additional €375million to help manage their return to school, we had naturally been hoping for some similar kind of emergency funding to alleviate class-size pressures etc but at this stage the Minister has made clear that no such funding is available.  Naturally this puts pressure on the school to deliver the curriculum effectively whilst at the same time, be as mindful as possible of the health implications.


Nevertheless, the school will endeavour to ensure that all pupils return to school for face to face teaching for the new academic year.  Given that P.7’s have already been asked to return to school, week commencing Monday, 24th August, we feel that it would be an ideal opportunity for other pupils (P2 – P6) to ‘dip their toes’ in a phased return and in doing so, enable us to assess the effectiveness of subtle changes to normal school life which will be introduced.  P1 pupils will start school the following week (week commencing Monday, 31st August).

So to summarise –


Mon. 24th, Tue. 25th, Wed. 26th August    P2 – P7 pupils    9.15 – 12.15pm (No dinner available)


Thurs. 27th, Fri. 28th August                          P2 – P7 pupils    9.15 – 2.15pm (P2)

                                                                                                            9.15 – 3.15pm (P3 – P7)


Mon. 31st August                                             P1 pupils              9.15 – 12.00pm

                                                                             P2 – P7 pupils    usual school day


At the time of writing, our Wrap-Around Care facility is not guaranteed as Melanie awaits further guidance; obviously this issue will be clarified asap.

In conclusion, this communication is simply to outline the return to school dates.  There will be further communication week commencing Monday, 17th August outlining other charges to what would have been considered ‘the norm’.


Yours sincerely

Jarlath McElholm



20th March 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian

Re Supporting Children of Key Workers ,

Yesterday evening the Minister for Education made a statement outlining how schools will close from today Friday, 20th March.  The overriding priority is to reduce the spread of the virus using social distancing and effective hygiene.  That is why churches, schools, community, sporting and other organisations are closed.

However, the Minister for Education stipulated that schools should try to co-operate with skeletal staff to facilitate provision for vulnerable children or those whose parents are key workers and critical to the Covid-19 response who, otherwise would have no option but to stay at home to look after their children.  The earliest we can put these arrangements in place here in Sacred Heart P.S. is Tuesday, 24th March 2020.

As there is a limit to the number of places we can provide under current regulations, it is vitally important that we can provide for numbers who may require a place.

With this in mind, If you meet the Key Workers Criteria (see below) and wish to be considered for a place in this reduced provision, please email before 12.00pm Monday, 23rd March.

In the email, please include –

  • Your name & job
  • Your children’s names and classes
  • Days you will require childcare support

Refer to the job title below within each sector and consider if the following applies:

  1. You are a single parent, identified as a key worker – without another family member/trusted friend who could look after your child.
  2. A parent is identified as a Key Worker – working during school hours, without another family member/trusted friend who could look after your child.

NB Should this service be over-subscribed, a formal application form will need to be completed in order for us to prioritise.

Children of key workers cannot use this facility where they have a spouse or partner working from or at home.  If they are not actually working that day themselves or they have alternative provision, our service should not be called upon as we need to keep the number in the school to an absolute minimum and ensure that social distancing precautions can be adhered to. Unfortunately, this is not business as usual and medical advisers continue to stress that the safest place for children and staff is at home with as little social contact as possible.

Parents/Guardians are asked to note that we can only operate during normal school hours 9.15am-3.15pm.  Staff will only be operating in a supervisory role and not in a teaching capacity.  We already have a reduction in staffing and this will probably continue to get worse in time.  School staff must observe the advice regarding social distancing by keeping the number of children and staff very low and limiting contact between them as much as possible.  Additionally, the school will only be open if enough staff are available to work. 

In conclusion, keep safe and thank you for your continued support in these difficult times.


J McElholm




  • Health and Social Care. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, home carers and staff required to maintain our health and social care sector
  • Education and childcare. This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who will remain active during the Covid-19 response
  • Public safety and national security. This includes civilians and officers in the police (including key contractors), Fire and Rescue Service, prison service and other national security roles
  • Transport. This will include those keeping air, water, road and rail transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response
  • Utilities and Communication. This includes staff needed for oil, gas, electricity and water (including sewage) and primary industry supplies, to continue during the Covid-19 response, as well as key staff in telecommunications, post and delivery services and waste disposal
  • Food and other necessary goods. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution and sale, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (e.g hygiene, medical etc)
  • Other workers essential to delivering key public services
  • Key national and local government including those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response

Monday, 9th March 2020 Weekly Note


A big well done to our quiz team who finished runners-up at the Allianz Cumann na mBunscoil quiz at St. Conor’s P.S. on Friday. Our team of Finbar Darcy, Patrick Harley, Cormac Darcy and Tristan McKnight were in the mix throughout the event before being edged out by St. Ronan’s P.S. Recarson in the end. Nevertheless a valiant effort – well done boys!


All school photographs must be submitted no later than Wednesday of this week. If anyone is planning to order directly online please be advised of a small error in the code which should commence with the digit ‘1’ – but this only applies for direct online orders; usual orders should just be returned to the school in the normal fashion.


Tickets are now on sale for our upcoming show of ‘The Yellow Brick Road’ on Tuesday, 24th and Wed. 25th March. Tickets can be ordered online at or by phoning the Strule Arts Box Office on 8224 7831. The children have been working extremely hard towards this event and look forward to your support.


The school will be closed from next Mon – Wed (16th – 18th March) for our St. Patrick’s Day holiday. School resumes as usual on Thursday 19th.


Monday, 2nd March 2020 Weekly Note


Our girls’ football team were off to the Station Centre this morning to participate in the Allianz Cumann na mBunscoil Indoor Gaelic competition. The girls put in a fantastic effort winning their group section before losing out to St. Patrick’s P.S. Gortin in an epic semi-final. Well done to our female footballers on a fine effort!!


As part of our ongoing Environmental Work towards our Eco Schools Application a group of actors from the Lyric Theatre Belfast performed in the school this morning. The show continued to raise awareness and positively change behaviours on issues of littering and plastic pollution.


A Lenten Mission has commenced in the Parish this week. A group of P.7 pupils will attend 10.00am Mass tomorrow morning (Tues) in Sacred Heart Church along with other schools in the parish. Any parents/grandparents interested in attending are more than welcome to do so.


Good luck to our participants in the Cumann na mBunscoil quiz which will be held in St. Conor’s P.S. on Friday morning.


This Thursday is World Book Day. To mark this event, all pupils throughout the school are invited to come to school dressed as their favourite book character. Please note that parents are asked not to go to any expense for this. It is purely for a bit of fun to promote reading as an enjoyable pastime.


Our Parents’ Association have organised a fund-raising Table Quiz to be held in the GAA Club on Saturday night at 8.00pm. This Quiz night is to raise much needed funds towards our production of ‘The Yellow Brick Road’ later in the month and obviously your support would be much appreciated.


Tickets will be on sale from Wednesday for our upcoming production, ‘The Yellow Brick Road’ which will be held in the Strule Arts Centre on Tues. 24th and Wed. 25th March at 7.30pm. Tickets can be booked by phoning 8224 7831 or by booking online at Tickets are priced at £6 for adults and £4 concessions. The children have been working very hard for this event and look forward to performing in front of a big crowd on both nights so your support will be greatly appreciated.


Hard luck to our Credit Union Quiz team who performed gallantly at Friday night’s Chapter Final but ultimately missed out on qualification for the All-Ireland Final in Dublin.