Dear Parents,

As you are aware we welcomed back our 6th year students to onsite learning this week. Our staff were delighted to re-engage with students and we look forward to continuing programmes of learning next week before our 5th Years return on Monday 15 March 2021. For our students who continue to access subjects remotely, we would like to acknowledge the efforts of students and to compliment them on their ongoing level of engagement with online classes and schoolwork. From an analysis of our records (see below), we can see that most of our students have taken advantage of the opportunities provided by their teachers and have spent a considerable amount of time engaging with the remote learning programmes. We continue to be aware that this is not an easy time for students but we encourage all our students to continue maximising their levels of engagement across all subjects before the full return of students to in school in early April.

Leaving Certificate, SEC Accredited Grades & Leaving Cert Orals & Practicals
Please see the following links which provide information for stakeholders on the conventional Leaving Cert and the Accredited Grades process.

Guide to State Examinations and Accredited Grades – 25 Feb 2021

Circular S07_21 Important Information in relation to the arrangements for the delivery of the 2021 Leaving Certificate Examinations (2)

We would like to confirm for parents and students that we will not be holding Pre-Exams in the traditional format. The document issued by the Department of Education, following consultation with all stakeholders, is quite clear in stating that this is neither required or recommended. The document recommends that the period following the return to in-school teaching and learning should be used to maximise opportunities for teaching and learning with students. This is a reasonable expectation given the disrupted learning experienced by students during the periods of school closures in 2020 and 2021. Instead the DES document is advising in-school assessments and suggests a maximum of 3 assessments for 6th Year students between now and 14 May 2021. Given the disruption to programmes over the last 12 months (across 2 school years) for our current 6th Years, meaningful assessment opportunities will have been compromised. In order to have adequate data on which to base Accredited Grades, 3 additional assessments (of a maximum 1 hour in duration) will be scheduled.

Parents are asked to note that the school management team is currently trying to identify the best way to organise, structure and distribute the 3 assessments (advised in the DES document) between now and 14 May 2021. We are hoping to provide a two week run in to each assessment window. Therefore, the first assessment window is likely to be the week running up to Easter (week beginning 22 March). We have already begun engaging with our Irish and French Subject Departments around the scheduling of oral examinations which are due to be held during Easter and we hope to present an assessment schedule early next week for staff to feedback on. We anticipate that towards the middle or end of next week we will be able to provide parents and students with a comprehensive plan for the period up to 14 May 2021 .

G-Suite Online Learning Platform
As mentioned above we are very proud of our students engagement with our online platform. Please click on the link below which outlines the high levels of activity there has been on our G-suite platform. While a small number of students have had difficulty engaging with online learning , it is clear from the data that we have had a large cohort of students interacting consistently with staff. We have had in excess of 1000 unique users logging in every week which is over 90% of our student cohort. We have also had really high levels of activity in terms of teacher posts. This data is related to Google Classroom only and does not include interaction on Zoom which a considerable number of teachers are using on a regular basis.

Remote Learning_G_Suite in Numbers March 2021

School Pitch Development
We are delighted to inform parents that our school pitch development has been sanctioned and work will begin in the coming weeks. The development includes:

• floodlit all-weather pitch (65m x 37.5m)
• a hurling wall
• a 3m tarmacadam walkway around our existing grass pitch
• lighting of this walkway

We will provide parents with a graphic of the planned development next week. The development will be completed before the beginning of the new school year in September.

Covid Protocols
We would like to thank our students once again for their high levels of co-operation with our Covid protocols. We would like to emphasise again the importance of wearing masks, sanitising hands, wiping down tables and chairs after use and social distancing.

School Office
With regard to Covid protocols parents are asked to note that the school office is closed to the public. We are asking parents once again not to come to the school office without prior notice. Please ring the office with any queries and please continue to email and post documents to the school as a matter of course.

We hope you have a nice weekend.

GCC Senior Management