Dear Parents,

Thankfully, another school week has passed without any incidences of Covid-19 in our school. It is a great credit to all in our school community that in a school of almost 1250 people we have had less than a handful of confirmed cases since the beginning of the school year in late August. Further endorsement of our protocols has been the absence of close contacts to these confirmed cases. We thank you again for your support and cooperation with our Covid controls. While there are no guarantees, with 12 working days to the Christmas break, our continued efforts to diligently follow the procedures we have in place right up to the end of term gives us the best opportunity to reduce the risk of transmission in school.

GCC School Pitch Development

Please click on the link below  to view our planned school pitch development including a flood lit Astro Turf pitch and walk way. The school has received notification that the necessary documents have been uploaded to the E-tenders Portal to enable interested contractors to price for the project. The tendering process should be completed before Christmas with a contract awarded. A commencement notice is expected to be issued in January with work beginning in February. The full project should be completed by October mid-term 2021. We are grateful to all our Parents for your support in ensuring that the school can finance a project of this scale.

New Site Plan with Pitch Development

Maths Competency Test – Numeracy Initiative 2020

Please click on the following link to view a letter to Parents of students in 1st Year about an upcoming Maths Competency test. Parents are asked to note that an important element of our School Self-Evaluation process is related to Numeracy. As part of the Christmas assessment, teachers in our Maths Department  will assess the general mathematical competencies of all first-year students. The outcomes of the assessment will be carefully analysed by the Maths department and the School Self-Evaluation team to identify areas of the curriculum requiring particular attention during first year. The first year programme will attempt to address any areas of weakness and will also seek to exploit any evident strengths. The findings will also inform a whole-school approach to further reinforce basic mathematical competencies.  We intend to monitor and assess the effectiveness of our interventions, which we hope will further support students’ engagement and learning.

Maths Competency 1st Year 2020-2021

Christmas Exams

As indicated in our Parents Update last Friday, this year the school has opted for a combination of classroom based assessments for 1st, 2nd & 4th Years and traditional formal exams for 5th Years following a designated timetable. The start date for 5th Year exams will most likely be Tuesday 15 December while classroom based assessments will take place between Tuesday 8 December and Tuesday 22 December.

With regard to Christmas Exams and Assessments we have asked our teachers to make every reasonable effort to spread the exams/assessments over the allocated period from Tuesday 8 December to Tuesday 22 December. We are conscious of overloading students with too many assessment tasks in too narrow a window. We asked teachers to please consult with students when finalising dates. In an effort to assist this process from next Monday 7 December all 1st & 2nd Year base classrooms will have an Assessment Exam Timetable/Template displayed in the classroom. As dates and times are being allocated for assessments we have asked that this information be entered on the template so that all teachers can be aware of exam/assessment load being placed on students.

5th Year Parent/Pupil/Teacher (PPT) Meeting

As per our agreed calendar the 5th Year PPT meeting is due to take place next Wednesday 9 December 2020. The format will follow the approach of the 3rd Year and 6th Year PPT meeting. Teachers have again been asked to comment under 3 areas:

1. Engagement in Learning: Teachers may wish to comment on students development of academic skills that support learning*: for example: Well Organised; Pays attention well; Persistence in Tasks; Adaptability; Cooperation; Eagerness for Learning (engaging in questions, discussion, seeking clarification); Independent Learner.

(*Behaviours that predict success in education:

2. Academic Performance: Achievement in class assessments and the quality of assignments/projects submitted – Teachers may wish to comment on the suitability of the subject level currently being studied and grades achieved relative to overall ability/potential.

3. Areas for Improvement: Teachers may wish to comment on 2-3 specific areas that would help the student to improve their overall engagement and/or performance. Feedback will be available to Parents on the week beginning Monday 14 December 2020.

Leaving Certificate PE

The Physical Education Association of Ireland awarded two framed certificates to the GCC PE department (please click on the links to view the pictures) recognising their historical role as one of the first schools in the country to introduce Leaving Cert PE and Senior Cycle PE. Thank you to Ms. Claire Rockall and Ms. Grainne Power for leading these programmes. Well done to our 27 students who completed the LCPE course in 2020 and best wishes to the current 5th and 6th year LCPE classes in the school.

PE Teachers Claire Rockall (left) and Grainne Power (right) with Principal Ronan McCarthy

School Office
We continue to have a considerable number of parents coming to the school without prior arrangement with the school office. In line with Public Health advice, we are requesting parents to not come to the school office unless a prior appointment has been made.

School Car Park

As has been requested previously, parents are kindly asked not to drive into the school grounds from 8.00am to 9.15am each morning and from 3.15pm to 4.15pm Monday to Thursday, and 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Friday. Please do not use wheelchair spaces or set down areas and park in designated spaces only.

Christmas Hamper Appeal

Thank you to all the students and staff of GCC who contributed so generously to our annual Food Hamper appeal. 50 hampers have been delivered to Hazel Dennehy of Street Angels, who takes care of vulnerable families.

As a result of your kindness you have made a real difference to those who need helping hand at this time of year.

We hope you have a nice weekend.

GCC Senior Management