16 Mar

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Dear Staff Members, Parents, Guardians and Friends of Sancta Maria College

As the second term of the 2016/2017 school year advances, and as we approach the start of State Examinations 2017 and the Easter holiday period, we would like to update you on some matters of importance and also bring to your attention some of the wonderful work – curricular and extra-curricular – that has been taking place since the start of this calendar year. As you peruse the pages of this newsletter I have no doubt but that you will agree that our teachers and students have been extremely busy and much has been accomplished in this short time.

On the redevelopment front work has advanced considerably and the two new teaching wings are almost complete. While we do not currently have a handover date we do expect it to be in the coming weeks, hopefully sooner rather than later, and we do hope to have made the transition before the start of the Easter break. As you know, we have committed to bringing that about without interruption to teaching and learning and that commitment remains in place. Currently classrooms in the new wings are almost complete and circulation areas are being advanced. The installation of the ICT Infrastructure will soon take place and planning for the kitting out of classrooms, specialist rooms, General Purpose, G.P., Area, Stores etc are all underway.

Much progress has also been made on the grounds surrounding the teaching wings with ball courts and parking areas well advanced and considerable progress made on landscaping and paving of courtyards etc. Please see the insert for some photographs and consult the website for the more complete picture on all fronts.

The handover of the New Wings, I’m sure many of you will be very happy to hear, will be accompanied by the handover of the Templeroan Car Park, Ball Courts etc. and, well in advance of the opening of both, you can expect a detailed document outlining the new arrangements for Staff parking, and for Parents and Guardians parking and dropping off/picking up of their daughters. Also included as we encourage cycling and walking to school initiatives as part of the new heightened awareness of, and emphasis on, student and staff ‘wellbeing’ will be the location of new bicycle stands. We will also, of course, include details of the location of the new entrances and exits to both the campus and the buildings.

Please understand that that document will outline the revised plan for the whole SMC campus as, of course, the handover of phase one marks the beginning of phase two! This may, as you can imagine, result in changes to arrangements on the Ballyroan and BBSE side also and these changes will impact on access routes and parking facilities at that side. There are, as I’m sure you know, many parties involved in the finalising of the plan and please bear with us as it comes to completion. Once finalised and once we have certainty around the new arrangements we will update the whole school community, using all of the communication tools available to us. May I also add, please keep in mind that this plan is, of course, an interim plan, i.e. it will be revised again on completion of phase two, if not before, which, as you are aware, includes a new ring road on the Ballyroan side of the campus.

On both my own behalf and on behalf of Ms Rowan I would like to say a very sincere “thank you” for your patience and understanding to date and we ask, please, for your continued tolerance and support as we advance to phase two.

Regarding parent/teacher meetings for second and fifth year students, arrangements are currently being finalised and a letter will issue today, Wednesday, 15th March. Please ensure that your daughter makes this document available to you as, of course, it impacts on parents/guardians and students of all year groups.

I’d like also to bring to your attention some curricular changes that will be introduced for the next school year. ‘Wellbeing’ will be a subject on the new Junior Cycle timetable and planning is already well underway. This includes looking at ‘wellbeing’ in the broadest sense of the word. In this regard, please find copies of new menus for the school canteen accompanied by the introductory prices. This change will take place in the next couple of weeks and we ask please for your support as we drive this initiative in-house. We welcome your feedback and we assure you that all suggestions will be taken seriously and given due consideration. Further details regarding the ‘Wellbeing’ programme will issue next term.

For parents of third year students we ask that you ensure please that your daughter gives you a letter outlining the arrangements for the conducting of the English assessment task, which is part of the new Junior Certificate state examination for this year. As you are aware, this is one of the elements of the new Junior Certificate that was stymied by the ASTI industrial dispute. Thankfully, the matter is now resolved for this year and the assessment will take place during the week beginning 24th April. The externally-designed task will be conducted in-house, supervised by teachers of Sancta Maria College, however, it will be assessed by State Examination Commission, SEC, examiners as opposed to in-house teachers. Should you, as a parent or guardian, have any concerns or need clarity on any aspect of the plan please feel free to call the College on 014934887.

Thanking you, once again, for all of your support and forbearance as we continue to redevelop the College. Please believe me when I tell you that it is going to be truly magnificent and well worth the inconvenience that accompanies such a major redevelopment as ours!

Slán go Fóill agus Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh go léir

Gearóidín Ní Chinnéide

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