General Information

POINTS OF INFORMATION FOR PARENTS & STUDENTS 2016/2017

1. SCHOOL OFFICE

The school office is located inside the main entrance to the new extension. Office hours, during school term, are 8:30 am. to 4:00 pm. Students who need to conduct business through the office are expected to do so outside of class time.

2. LENGTH OF SCHOOL DAY

The school day begins at 9:15 am. and ends at 3:50 pm. Lunch break is from 12:55 pm. to 1:30 pm. In addition, there is a morning break from 10:40 am. to 10:55 am. Please note that the school cannot accept liability for students entering the school grounds before 8:15 am. or remaining on the grounds after 3:50 pm. Students who arrive earlier than 8.15 am. are allowed enter the school grounds on the condition that their conduct is acceptable, given that minimum supervision is available.

Students who arrive late for class without an adequate explanation will be assigned Penalty Sheets for completion.

3. SCHOOL DIARY / JOURNAL

Every student is expected to purchase and bring to all classes a school diary / journal – available from the school only. The purpose of this journal is to keep a record of homework given and done as well as acting as a source of communication between the school and the home. It will be inspected on a daily basis by the class teachers and should be signed by a parent/guardian each evening. All requests for leave from school, as well as explanations for absences, should be entered by parents/guardians on the appropriate pages at the back of the diary. Please note that parents/guardians should supply a sample signature in the space provided on the first page. Any replacement diaries which may need to be purchased will be provided at a cost which includes a penalty fine.

4. SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY

The school uniform is as supplied by the usual stockists in Ballaghaderreen. It is to be worn unaltered (especially in the case of the girls’ kilt, which is to be worn knee length or lower and not modified into a skirt). When an exception has been granted, girls may wear standard navy-blue uniform slacks. All girls’ uniform slacks must contain a unique identifying “St Nathy’s College” labels. Considerable difficulties arise if students do not wear the school uniform. The school insists on the proper uniform being worn before a student is admitted to class. It also reserves the right to send a student home who does not comply with its uniform policy and will not accept responsibility for the safety of a student who has been sent home under those circumstances. It is strongly advised that, where it seems likely a uniform may have to be laundered mid-week, a second one should be acquired in advance.

A standard college uniform jacket is compulsory for all students. No other jacket will be allowed to be worn. A crew neck school jumper (with embroidered College crest) has been phased in over the past number of years – old V neck jumpers are no longer permissible. For 2016/2017 all new students must wear the new jumper. Black leather shoes and black socks are compulsory for all students. Sneakers/runners/plimsolls/any other footwear other than black leather shoes are not acceptable.

To avoid possible difficulties in the future, parents/guardians are expected to give their full co-operation with school uniform policy. In general, a neat and tidy appearance is required of students. As such, it is not permissible for students to dye their hair (or have highlights) and, in the case of boys, to have excessively long or untidy hair or to cut their hair in “split-levels”.

5. STUDENTS GOING DOWN TOWN

As the school is legally responsible for all students throughout the entire school day once marked present in the morning, it is not possible to allow students to leave the school grounds during the morning or lunch breaks. Parents/Guardians of students who live locally and wish their son/daughter to come home at lunch time, are required to sign a legal form (available from the school office) accepting all liability for their child during his/her absence from the school, as well as guaranteeing his/her punctual return for class in the afternoon. This form should be returned to the school office, fully completed, as early as possible during the first week of September. In addition, parents/guardians must make arrangements with the school office satisfying it that they are in a position to pick up and return these students each day at lunchtime. It is school policy that all other students remain on school grounds during lunch time.

Leaving Cert. students may go down town at lunchtime provided the necessary forms are signed by a parent/guardian and handed into the office and that school management is satisfied that good behaviour will be shown at all times by the year group.

Students who fail to arrive back punctually for afternoon class will automatically have the school’s permission to leave its grounds at lunchtime withdrawn for a period of five consecutive days and / or have penalty sheets assigned for completion.

The College has a fully stocked canteen shop for all students. To discourage students from leaving the school grounds (at any stage during the school day) without the knowledge and approval of the school office, it is school policy to impose a two-day suspension from class on any student who leaves without the necessary permission.

6. LOCKER FACILITIES

With the growth of student numbers it has become increasingly difficult to supply each pupil with a locker to store books etc. As a result, it will only be possible to provide lockers to first, second and third year students who wish to avail of them as well as to needy senior students. The cost of renting a locker for the year will be €25.00 (€5.00 of which will be refunded at the end of the year on condition that the key is returned safely and that the locker is left in good order). Second and Third year students who wish to avail of locker facilities should already have complied with the conditions outlined last May. Students are not to write graffiti or place stickers either externally or internally on lockers. It is also a condition of hire that students will not swap or share lockers with others or attempt to gain access to lockers during class time. Any violation of these conditions will result in withdrawal of locker facilities and the loss of the financial deposit. Students who lose the key to their locker can obtain a replacement from Room 1C at a cost of €5.00. Students who defaced the locker assigned to them last year will be subject to payment of a €5.00 fine before being allocated another for the 2016/17 school year. Locker keys (where a locker has been assigned) will be distributed during the first week of September.

Please note that the school does not accept responsibility for items lost or stolen within the school. Students are asked to leave valuables (especially cash) into the office for safekeeping.

7. BOOK GRANT

St. Nathy’s College offers assistance by way of book grants to a small number of disadvantaged families who would otherwise experience severe financial hardship in purchasing school textbooks. The operation of a book grant scheme each year depends entirely on financial resources being provided by the Department of Education. Applications for this grant will be assessed on an individual basis. Please note that possession of a Medical Card does not automatically entitle one to a book grant. Priority will be given to First and Fourth year students where the number of books required can be significant. The value of the grant awarded, if any, will be determined by individual needs and by the number of other successful applicants. Application forms for this grant can be obtained from the school office from August onwards. Completed forms are to be returned not later than Friday, August 26th. Books obtained by way of a book grant will be stamped with the College Stamp and will remain the property of the school. These books are to be kept in good condition and returned to the school when finished with. Failure to do so may militate against future book grants being allocated.

8. BOOKSHOP

All books required by students are available from “First Class Office” located at No 6 The Mill Business Park, Ballaghaderreen. “First Class Office” is open Monday – Saturday, 8:30am – 6:00pm. It is strongly recommended that parents/guardians of First & Fourth year students visit this bookshop prior to school re-opening to acquire the necessary texts outlined on the book lists.

“First Class Office” operates on a strictly cash basis. In the interests of safety, parents/guardians are advised not to give large sums of money to students who may lose it. To reduce the costs to parents/guardians, students are asked to buy as many second hand books as possible which are available from older students who have completed the course. Book lists are available from the school office upon request or from the “First Class Office” or on the College website – www.stnathys.com.

9. PHOTOCOPYING & MATERIALS

For the 2016-17 school year, each student is asked to contribute €16 each at the beginning of the school year to help cover the cost of photocopied and other materials (teachers’ notes, exam papers, practical subjects, etc.) supplied to them by teachers during the year. This €16 is to be given by the student to his/her tutor along with the €9 fee for the school diary. Therefore, the combined cost of photocopying, materials and diary is €25.

10. STUDENT PERSONAL ACCIDENT INSURANCE

All students are insured by our general school insurance policy. However, there can be situations where injuries occur and the school cannot accept liability. In such instances the student cannot claim from our insurers for necessary medical treatment etc., etc. and, as a consequence, financial hardship may result in the family. For example, the standard school insurance policy does not cover the cost of medical attention, doctors’ fees etc., etc. if the school deems such attention to be necessary in a given situation during the school day. Under such circumstances bills for medical expenses incurred are forwarded to parents/guardians for payment. To avoid such a prospect it is possible to obtain an optional personal insurance policy for a relatively low fee (€6.00) that would cover all medical expenses incurred in treating such injuries irrespective of liability. Parents/Guardians are strongly recommended to avail of this personal accident insurance policy for their children. Please note that parents/guardians also have the option to avail of the 24-hour personal accident insurance cover for the child(ren) for just €9.00.

Students who are timetabled for Physical Education (compulsory for all Junior Students – Department of Education requirement) or who participate in College Football / Basketball etc., etc. are expected to obtain this insurance. Parents/Guardians who wish to avail of the scheme are asked to forward the completed form, along with the appropriate fee, to the office not later than Friday, September 23rd – the earlier the fees are forwarded to the insurance company, the earlier the students are insured.

11. CAPITATION SUPPLEMENT

The Department of Education & Skills assists with the running costs of the school by way of capitation grants. Unfortunately, because of severe cuts in funding in recent budgets, this capitation does not meet fully the realistic running costs of the school. Recent surveys showed that half of our schools must raise up to 30% of the total running costs to meet annual expenditure. In this school, for example, capitation does not cover the costs of the following:

a) Adequate heating during the winter months.
b) Additional subjects such as art, music, computer classes, special needs classes etc., etc. which would otherwise not be on the timetable.
c) Computer equipment which must be provided, serviced and updated each year mainly from private sources. Without additional funding none of our students would have access to, or classes in, computer studies.
d) Extensive library facilities.
e) Sporting facilities. All junior students are timetabled for Physical Education classes with a qualified teacher. The cost of any P.E. equipment involved is not covered by way of capitation. The very significant costs of training College teams (which, again, did so very well last year and brought credit to their parents and school) are not included in government payments. Such costs can be quite substantial, especially those which relate to the hire of buses, the purchase of equipment as well as the ongoing repair, maintenance and building of sporting facilities. Without additional financial resources it would not be possible to have any sporting activities in the school.

To continue with the present level of commitment to student interests and well-being it is necessary to request a financial contribution from parents/guardians. This contribution will depend on the number of children in the school. It will be collected from the most senior family member by the Class Tutors in early September.

The recommended total contribution for the year is as follows:

One student in the school: €60.00
Two students in the school: €45.00 each.
Three or more students in the school: €35.00 each (Max. €110)

We trust that parents/guardians will understand and appreciate why such additional funding is necessary and, again, respond positively to this request as they have done in previous years. The school gratefully acknowledges this support.

12. SUPERVISED EVENING STUDY

The school will provide this facility if it judges that the number who wish to avail of it would make it viable. Names of students who are interested may be given to the school office.

13. LEAVING CERTIFICATE VOCATIONAL PROGRAMME (L.C.V.P.)

Apart from the traditional Leaving Certificate and Transition Year programmes available to Fourth Year students (and already chosen by them at this stage), it is possible for some Fourth Year students, depending on certain combinations of subject choices opted for, to take the L.C.V.P. as well. This programme consists of the traditional Leaving Cert. course of study in addition to a supplement of three extra classes per week. These three classes seek to prepare students for future working life after school. The Department of Education & Skills introduced the L.C.V.P. because it believed that students received an excellent academic preparation in the Irish educational system but were not necessarily adequately prepared for the work place after school. The students, in the three extra classes per week, will concentrate on bridging the gap between what is learned in the classroom and its application to employment opportunities. The Department of Education & Skills assesses the extra work involved on an on-going basis over two years through project work. In addition, there is also a final written paper taken in May 2017.

Upon satisfactory completion, students will gain the usual Leaving Cert. results as well as a special L.C.V.P. certificate outlining their results in that programme. The Department of Education & Skills has negotiated with Third Level institutions (including the universities) to accept L.C.V.P. results in addition to traditional Leaving Cert. results for the purpose of entry points.

In St. Nathy’s College, we are anxious that Fourth Year students taking the traditional Leaving Cert. programme and who meet the combination of choice subject requirements should, in addition, take the L.C.V.P. option. This will ensure that they will not be at a disadvantage in relation to other students from other schools who have successfully availed of, and completed, the course. With this in mind, we have incorporated the necessary adjustments into the Fourth Year timetable and have allocated students satisfying the L.C.V.P. requirements into the necessary extra three classes per week. We believe the programme is very worthwhile and will benefit the student enormously and, as such, rely on parental support and encouragement in its ongoing implementation.

14. ALLOCATION OF CHOICE SUBJECTS TO FIRST, SECOND & FOURTH YEARS

Students who completed the necessary documentation relating to choice subjects on time have, by and large, been accommodated into their preferred classes. A minimum number of changes may be possible for students who wish to alter their subject choices. Such changes, if possible (and then only with the permission of the Guidance Teacher and the subject teachers concerned), will be accommodated during the week beginning August 29th. Until that time students are expected to attend the classes assigned to them. Under no circumstances can a student change from specified classes without consultation. The school seeks parental co-operation in particular in this matter.

15. STUDENTS LEAVING SCHOOL ON AFTERNOONS

The college has noticed an increase in the number of requests from parents/guardians who wish their son(s)/daughter(s) to leave school for an afternoon for various reasons. This is especially true on Friday afternoons. As a result, it is not uncommon to see significant numbers of students downtown wearing school uniforms and unaccompanied by parents/guardians.

This situation has become an increasing cause for concern. It is expected that parents/guardians keep such requests to an absolute minimum as the school may not grant permission. This is particularly the case if any element of doubt exists concerning the request. Parents/Guardians who wish to collect their son/daughter can do so from the school office and not downtown.

Should students need to leave for a dental or other appointment, the relevant appointment card must be produced. Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to leave the school on a Friday afternoon or on an afternoon preceding a break or long weekend. The only exception will be if a parent/guardian collects the student from the school office.

16. STUDENTS WHO UNDERTAKE PART-TIME WORK COMMITMENTS

In recent years the number of students who attempt to combine full-time academic study with part-time work has shown a steady increase.

While part-time work, undertaken during holiday time, can be of benefit to the overall development of the student (work placement is an integral part of the school’s L.C.V.P. programme), management and staff have expressed grave concerns in relation to the amount of evening and weekend work undertaken during school term by students (many of whom are exam candidates).

The school does not recommend that students (especially exam candidates) undertake any significant part-time work commitments during term time. Neither can the school accept responsibility for poor results gained by students who sacrifice study opportunities for short-term financial gain. The amount of evening study required by students who wish to gain even average results precludes such work commitments.

17. ST. NATHY’S PARENTS’ ASSOCIATION

The school assists and facilitates parents to convene with school management at regular meetings.

18. JUNIOR CERTIFICATE RESULTS

The Department of Education & Skills has advised that Junior Certificate results will be issued to schools mid-September. Classes for Fourth Years will continue as usual on the day results arrive in the school. Results will be given to pupils no earlier than 3:00 pm. on the day of issue.

19. SAFETY MEASURES

In an effort to reduce the College’s insurance premium, closed circuit security cameras operate within the school. These cover external grounds and indoor circulation areas – canteen, corridors, stairwells etc., etc. It is hoped the measure will also provide additional security for the property and personal possessions of students.

20. CATHEDRAL CAR PARKS

The school strongly advises against students being allowed to drive to and from the College. Students are not allowed to drive or park cars on College grounds. Those who drive to school are no longer permitted to use the Cathedral car parks for parking facilities. This is due to complaints in the past relating to anti- social behaviour.

21. TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT

In the interests of Health and Safety, parents/guardians are asked to please co-operate with the school in the following matter:
i. If possible, please do not drive onto the school grounds between 8:45am and 9:15am and again
between 3:50pm and 4:00pm.
ii. If you must drive onto school grounds, under no circumstances are students to be dropped off in
the area immediately opposite the Main Entrance. Please continue to the “Drop Off Area” beside the Sports Complex. This will better allow for the safe movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.