Update: June 29, 2020


Dear Parents/Carers

Following the publication on 19 June of ‘Northern Ireland Reopening School Guidance - New School Day’ by the Department of Education (DE), we have examined plans for returning to our school in August and September 2020.

While assessing our options, the following guidance by the DE has been considered:

the current social distancing guidance of 2m must be followed between all adults within the education sector but that a distance of 1m is appropriate between children and young people while using a ‘protective bubble’ strategy’.

In formulating a plan and applying the social distancing guidance, attention has been given to: classroom size and furniture; the number of pupils in each class; pupils with additional needs; available staff; staggered arrival, home, break and lunch times; the use of different entrance points to the school for specific classes; arrangements for break and lunch; access to toilets; regular and thorough cleaning throughout the school combined with attention to hygiene; restricted movement of pupils around the school; and the use of the assembly hall and the school canteen as more spacious classrooms.

Based on our assessment, I am confident that we will be able to adhere to the social distancing guidance as detailed above. With this in mind, the following return to school dates are now in place:

  • Primary 7 pupils have been highlighted by the DE as a priority cohort and will start school on Monday 24 August.
  • All Primary 2 – 6 pupils will start school full-time on Tuesday 1 September.
  • Start dates for our new Primary 1 intake will be issued directly via ‘Seesaw’.

To prepare for this, teaching staff will resume work on the 24 August (P7 teachers will return on 20 August). This will give teachers time to: meet with colleagues and assess the individual needs of the pupils in their class; tailor and adapt delivery of the curriculum to support recovery as pupils return to the school environment; establish new protocols and arrangements that adhere to social distancing requirements; and plan how best to support pupils who are likely to experience difficulties in engaging with learning.

If you have specific concerns about your child returning to school, then please follow the advice provided on the Department of Education and Health Department’s websites. If you feel that your child cannot return to school once open, then please contact me to discuss home learning teaching support.

The Breakfast, Waiting and Kidz clubs will operate in September, but with a more limited capacity. For anyone wanting to avail of these clubs please contact Caroline in the school office. There will be no other after-school clubs in September.

The purpose of this communication is to give you general guidance on the start of the new school year. More specific detail will be given to you in August. As you can appreciate, this plan is subject to changing advice from the DE throughout the summer.

As always, if you need to contact me directly, please do so either by telephone at the school, or by email using either stjoesps@gmail.com or the contacts link on the school website.

Kind regards

Mr Donaldson

17 2020
First Holy Communion (P5A)
17 2020
First Holy Communion (P5B)
23 2020
2pm finish for all pupils
26 2020
16 2020
Anti-Bullying Week
St.Joseph's Primary School,
31a Holland Drive,

028 9065 0039

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