A Parent’s Guide







  1. The Primary School.
  2. The Board of Management.
  3. The Parents’ Association.
  4. The Primary Curriculum.
  5. Our School Philosophy.
  6. The Child’s Home.
  7. Children learn what they live.
  8. How parents can help.
  9. Home school links.
  10. Preparing your child for school.
  11. Religious Education.
  12. Health Education/School Lunches.
  13. Stay Safe Programme.
  14. Relationships and Sexuality, Education.
  15. Guidelines for homework.

1.The Primary School. 

The structure of the primary school is set out  as follows. 


The school operates under the Rules for National Schools which are drawn up by the Minister for Education.

The Department of Education pays teachers’ salaries and provides a capitation grant.  The Department of Education Inspectors monitor the implementation of the curriculum in schools. 


The patron of the school is Dr. Liam McDaid, Bishop of Clogher.


The Patron nominates the Board of Management which comprises four representatives of the patron, two parents, the principal and one teacher.  The board is appointed every 3 years.

The Current Members of the Board of Management are:

Rev. B. Early                                      Patron’s Representative

Mrs. N. Smyth                                    School Principal

Mrs. M. Mckenna                              Teacher Nominee

Mrs. M. Sherry                                   Patron’s Representative

Mr. D. Ward                                       Community Representative

Mrs. C. Cassidy                                  Community Member

Mr. A. Murray                                    Parent’s Nominee

Mrs. B.Sherry                                     Parent’s Nominee

2.The Board of Management.

1.       The Board of Management is charged with:

  •           The direct government of the school:
  •           The conducting of the necessary correspondence;
  •           The appointment of the teachers subject to the Minister’s  and  Patron’s approval;
  •           Teachers’ removal, where necessary, subject to the approval of the  Patron.

2.  The Board must at all times comply with the Rules for National Schools, Constitution of Boards of Management and directives from the Department of  Education.

3.The Parents’ Association.

The aims of the Association are:

  1. To present the views of parents to the school management.
  2. To inform parents of developments in education and in the school.
  3. To foster co-operation between parents, teachers and school management.
  4. To assist in extra-curricular activities.
  5. To help organise children’s leisure activities.
  6. To provide education for parents as required.
  7. To help with the provision of extra equipment and teaching aids.
  8. To raise monies to further the purposes of the Association.
More information about the Parent’s Association can be found by clicking here.

4.The Primary Curriculum

Primary education provides the foundation for all subsequent advancement in the education system.  The most formative and important years in a young person’s development are spent at Primary School.

These facts serve to underline the crucial importance of ensuring the quality and effectiveness of what is experienced and taught at primary school.

To ensure the best possible education for our young people the Department of Education introduced a New Curriculum in 1971 which was reviewed in 1999.

S.N. Iorball Sionnaigh has adapted the curriculum to suit the needs of the children in this area.  Each class has its own detailed plan of work.

Aims of the Curriculum. 

1.         To enable children to live full lives as children.

2.         To equip them to avail themselves of further education.

3.         To prepare them to live full and useful lives as adults in society.


The whole atmosphere of the school reflects the importance of each individual child. They are called by their names.There is an interest in their personal lives and in their families. There is a sensitivity to their needs and encouragement. There is special help for the child with difficulties and their gifts and strengths are recognised. They are helped to discover themselves as unique and lovable.


Each child experiences success. Each child in our school will experience “achievement” of some sort during this school year. In order to achieve these objectives and to assist with the smooth running of the school, and with regard to the welfare of all children, it is necessary to have a code of behaviour with which parents, pupils and teachers are familiar. 


  1. Full Development Of Child:

          The curriculum is organised in such a way as to promote all aspects of children’s development.  This includes the social, emotional, academic and physical development of the child.


Due consideration should be made for individual differences.  The children’s      development, growth and progress should be judged on their own merit and      comparisons with others avoided.  All children should be helped and  encouraged to do their best and should not be forced beyond their capabilities.

3.Activity and Discovery Method:

Children learn best by activity and by directed discovery.  Children are the main agents in their own education and hence succeed better when doing,discussing and discovering.  Project work encourages children towards independent research, creativity and a sense of personal achievement.

4.Integrated Curriculum:

Links are established between various areas and aspects of the curriculum. All subjects are not rigidly time-tabled.  While studying history, for example, one can include reading, poetry, geography, music, art etc.

5.Environmental Based Learning:

Children learn best when their education is based on their own environment – by means of concrete examples, personal experience, local history and geography, nature study, etc.

5.Our School Philosophy

  1. We believe our school should be a place:
  • Where children enjoy their schooling:
  • Where there is an atmosphere of happiness, security and confidence in adults;
  • Where children are educated rather than filled with facts;
  • Where children will think clearly, creatively and critically and be encouraged to act independently;
  • Where children are relaxed and confident in their relationships with materials, ideas and people;
  • Where concern is given to their full development.

2. We expect all children to work hard, to give of their best at all times and only be satisfied with their very best.

3.We aim to see that all children possess:

  • The ability to use their own language effectively and imaginatively in reading, writing and speech;
  • The ability to question and argue rationally;
  • The ability to apply themselves to tasks and to develop lively enquiring minds;
  • The ability to foster a desire for knowledge, vital in the world today, which will motivate them to apply themselves to worthwhile activities.

4.We seek to encourage regard for religious and moral values and a respect for the beliefs and values held by others.

5.We strive to develop the creative and imaginative capabilities of all children.

6.We believe all children are important and unique individuals who must be helped and encouraged to explore, to think and to learn in their own way, at their own speed.

7.Finally, and equally as important as academic success, is the attitude of the children.

We hope that when they leave Iorball Sionnaigh they will:

  •   Welcome the opportunity to make new friends;
  •   enjoy learning and be prepared to tackle further types of education;
  •   have concern and respect for the welfare of others and for the rules which govern the community;
  •   be a credit to their school, their friends and their parents.

6.The Child’s Home

A great part of children’s lives are concerned with home and school.  It is therefore very important that parents and teachers endeavour to provide and maintain for them the best possible home and the best possible school.  The following are suggestions about what the home should provide:-

A Home :

1. is where a child can grow up with confidence and joy, free from stress and anxiety.

2. provides physical care, security and a healthy development.

3. encourages abilities and personal development.

4. provides warm, loving, dependable, consistent relationships.

5. gives experience and sets good examples of group life in the home and in society.

6. responds to a child’s curiosity with affection and reasoned explanation.

7. co-operates with school and values educational and learning opportunities.

8. teaches the child to cope with success and failure.

9.is where play, conversation and reading take place.

10.is where from his/her earliest days the child is encouraged to be more independent.

11.is where a child is taught to respect him/herself as a member of a family, a community and the family of God.


If  children live with criticism

They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility

They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule

They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame

They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance

They learn to be patient.

If children live with encouragement

They learn confidence.

If children live with praise

They learn to appreciate.

If children live with fairness

They learn justice.

If children live with security

They learn to have faith.

If children live with approval

They learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance and friendship

They learn to find love in the world.

8.How Parents Can Help 

Parents are the first, and by far the most important, educators of the child.  Children spend 88% of their lives at home.  So the influences and values from the domestic environment cannot be overstressed.  Within the curriculum structure there are many ways in which teachers and parents can arrive at objectives, thus bringing out the full potential of the child.  The following are some important guidelines.

  •   Show an interest in, and concern for, your child’s education.
  •   Being over ambitious and putting undue pressure on the child is undesirable.
  •   Avoid comparing your child with other children at home, in class or in the neighbourhood.
  •   A positive approach to school staff is vital and neither should be criticised in children’s presence.
  •   Do not use the school or its teachers as a means of disciplining your children.
  •   The role of television and computer games should be addressed regularly.  An over-reliance on either leads to frustration, passiveness and the exclusion of other healthy pursuits.
  •   Praise and encouragement form the cornerstone of successful relations between parent/teacher and children.
  •   Problems which affect your child’s progress at school should be discussed with the class teacher or with the principal.

9.Home/ School Links

The support and co-operation of parents/guardians are essential to the effective operation of school.  Research shows that the most effective schools tend to be those having the best relationships with parents/guardians and where parents are told not only when their children are in trouble but when they have behaved particularly well.

The following measures should ensure full co-operation between school and home:-

  1. A note in child’s journal.
  2. A letter to parent/guardian or teacher.
  3.  Personal contact – appointment advisable
  4. Contact between parents/guardians and principal.
  5. Parent/Teacher meetings.
  6. School reports on children.
  7. Newsletters.
  8. Talks for parents and teachers on some aspect of school life.
  9. Parents’ Association activities.
  10. Religious Celebrations.
  11. Annual Sports Day and Games.
  12. Parents/Guardians may contact the Board of Management in the form of a written submission.

10.Preparing Your Child For School 

School will be a new and interesting experience for your child.  Their world has suddenly become filled with all kinds of changes, some happy, some frightening and some exciting. It is an enormous step for a child to share a room with a large class.  However the children will settle down and adapt to their new surroundings quite easily.

There is much that a parent/guardian can do to prepare the child to cope with separation and socialisation and help to build a sense of independence in him/her.

Helpful Suggestions

A.        Practical:-  encourage your child to: 

  1. Dress and undress him/herself.
  2. Use the toilet properly.
  3. Washand dry hands and face.
  4. Use a handkerchief or tissue.
  5. Put on and take off coat and hang it up.
  6. Practise putting items in and taking them out of a schoolbag.
  7. Share toys and take turns in an activity
  8. Tidy up after using toys, apparatus, books etc.
  9. Do things independently

B.        Academic:

  1. Ensure your child known his/her full name and address.
  2. Discuss everyday happenings with him/her.
  3. Watch television together and discuss the programme.
  4. Encourage child to paint, crayon and cook.
  5. Play games to encourage counting or recognition of shapes e.g. snakes and ladders, snap, jigsaws and nursery rhymes.  Number rhymes and songs are also a great help.
  6. Read with your child – every day if possible.  Allow him/her to hold the book, turn the page, study the pictures.
  7. Encourage your child to scribble in an anti-clockwise and top to bottom direction.
  8. Show your child that numbers occur in life e.g.  How many forks on the table?  How many cars on the road?
  9. Help him/her identify colours in everyday life.
  10. Encourage him/her to do things which involve using their hands such as drawing, tracing, cutting, pouring, mixing, stirring, rolling, making play dough, etc.

C.        Other Suggestions:

  1. Avoid clothes/shoes that are difficult to manage.
  2. Ensure that your child has a suitable schoolbag so that books, flask and lunch box will fit in comfortably.
  3. Put flask into a plastic bag in case of leakage.
  4. Mark children’s coats/bags/flasks, etc.

11.Religious Education 

Aim of Religious Education 

To foster and deepen the Christian Catholic faith in each child, and in the light of the faith vision of the Kingdom, to help pupils grow and mature on their journey towards becoming fully human.  In S.N. Iorball Sionnaigh where the ethos is that of the Christian Catholic school, we help the children to deepen their awareness of following Jesus in the community of the Church.

  • Parents are the first educators of the child, in their religious, social and academic development.  The school and the parish work to extend and clarify what the child experiences at home.  The priests visit the school regularly to support the work.
  • The Religious Education Programme used in the school is the “Alive-O” series.  The approach here is a personal one, where the children are helped to know Jesus as a living and loving Person.  The moral development section of the programme is aimed at helping children to behave in the right way for the right reasons.
  • The children are prepared for the Sacraments of Penance, Communion and Confirmation, which develop their commitment as part of a worshipping community.  Children make their First Holy Communion in Second Class.  The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred on pupils in Sixth Class. 

12.Health Education/School Lunches

1. To provide each child with a foundation for healthy living in all aspects.

2. In co-operation with teachers, parents can encourage their children to adopt healthy behaviour which will positively influence their present and future health.


Fresh air and exercise are essential to the growing child.  Educate them to develop motor skills and aerobic fitness by playing games, walking, cycling or swimming.  Encourage good posture and flexibility by standing, sitting and walking “tall”.


Encourage children to have a balanced diet by eating fresh fruit and vegetables and avoiding food with a high fat or sugar content.  Choose lunches carefully.  Sandwiches and fruit are healthier than sweets and biscuits.  The school has adopted a Healthy Eating Policy.  Chewing gum, crisps, peanuts, popcorn (choking hazard), chewy sweets, Isotonic and fizzy drinks are not allowed at all.  Friday is considered ‘treat’ day where a small treat is included with the normal healthy lunch.  Such a treat may include, a bun, a biscuit, a small bar of chocolate, a cereal bar etc.  Please keep an eye on what your child buys in the shop on the way to school. Remember, treat on Friday only.  


Attention should be paid to personal and dental hygiene habits.  Hair should be checked regularly and teeth brushed daily.


Develop a healthy lifestyle for your children, stressing the positive outcome of healthy and responsible behaviour.  Be active not passive and remember it is essential to take time out to relax.  Good sleeping habits are to be encouraged.


Discuss all aspects of safety with your children as well as health related learning done at school.  Teachers encourage children to make good health choices.  Your choice for them should not conflict with this.

School Health Services. 

Vision Screening    )   Infants

Hearing Screening  )

Dental Screening            )

Measles/Mumps/Rubella)  6th class

13.Stay Safe Programme

Most children grow up happy and safe but we know that from time to time they can encounter upsetting, frightening or unsafe situations.  The Stay Safe Programme is designed to help your children deal with these situations. Children are introduced to the Programme in Senior Infants, second, fourth and sixth classes.  Parents may withdraw their child from the Programme if they wish.

14.Relationships And Sexuality Education

Aims of the Programme

1.      To help young people develop healthy friendships and relationships.

2.      To promote an understanding of sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework.

Principles of the Programme 

  • The programme is an integral part of the social, personal and health education in the school.
  • Parents are by law and in fact the primary educators of their children and home is the natural environment for relationships and sexuality to be taught.  The school has a positive role to play in supporting and complimenting the work of the home in this task.
  • The programme is a required section of the school curriculum.  Parents may withdraw their child from the programme if they wish.

15.Guidelines For Homework

       Aims of Homework

       For the Child.

1.    To reinforce work or skills taught in class.

2.    To enable the child to do research and to work independently.

3.    To have an opportunity to complete work begun in class.

4.    To learn how to organise and use free time.

5.    To develop a habit of work.

6.    To develop a sense of responsibility and discipline.

For the Parents and Guardians:

1.    Keeps you informed about what your child is learning in school and how he/she is coping.

2.    Encourages communication between you and your child.

For the Teachers:

1.    To let them see how each child is progressing.

2.   Opportunity for extra application of lessons taught at school.

3.    A means of communication between parent/teacher.

Recommendations for Parents:

1.    Set aside a quiet, regular time with a minimum of distractions.

2.    Children should be sitting comfortably at a table where lighting is adequate.

3.    Homework includes oral as well as written work.  Listen to your children   reading, ask them tables, spellings, poems etc.

4.    Show and interest in what is being done and praise them at every opportunity.  Don’t do their homework!

5.    Don’t get impatient when your child cannot understand.  This will only have a    negative effect.

6.    If your child is persistently having problems with homework contact the teacher.

7.    If, for any reason, homework cannot be done, let the teacher know.

8.    Personal effort should count for more than perfection or results.

9.     Sign homework journal each night.

Target Times for Homework

Infant Classes:     Parents can help with reading stories and class reader, drawing                                   pictures and with word recognition.

1st & 2nd Classes:           20 – 30 minutes.

3rd & 4th Classes:           30 – 40 minutes.

5th & 6th Classes:           45 – 60 minutes.

* Time taken will depend on each individual child.

* Normally no homework is given on alternate weekends.