Note from the Headmistress
13th September 2019
At our staff meeting at the start of term, I talked about change. It is natural to fear change and this is something that Lingard Goulding (Headmaster from 1977 to 2001) mentioned in his book when he handed over to Dermot Dix (Headmaster until 2018). Lingard stated that Dermot was worried that introducing change ‘might imply criticism of the previous era. He continued to say that he experienced a similar fear in the treatment of changes that occurred in his time. He also reassured us that ‘there is no cause for such apprehension as each generation evolves inevitably from its predecessor, and change is an essential ingredient’. He also says that If a new Headmaster did not introduce such improvements he would not be worth his salt’. I don’t think he was anticipating that a new Headmistress would be taking over!
On a similar note, on Monday this week, I took my first assembly with the Junior Infants, Senior Infants and 1st Class. We shared a story about Willow the Owl about the challenges we face as we get older but also as we move from one phase of our lives to the next. We reflected on how we might prefer to stay in a safe, warm place where we are comfortable.
As we grow older, we face new opportunities, new challenges and new experiences. Like Willow the owl, I explained to the children that we might feel frightened to try new things, but we won’t grow to be all that we can be if we never try anything new. As we start this new school year, we may feel like we’d rather crawl back to our comfortable nests. However, we, too, need to stretch our wings and face new challenges. The whole year is ahead of us. That’s really exciting! I encouraged the children to have a go at anything new and to try hard even when we find something difficult.
With the older children, we focussed on friendship and forgiveness. I reminded the children that it is not easy to forgive. However, when we do, it makes us feel better as well as the other person.
Today at assembly all pupils were reminded that bullying i.e. repeated inappropriate behaviour whether by word, by physical action or otherwise, directly or indirectly applied, by one or more persons against another person or persons which undermines the individual person’s right to personal dignity, will not be tolerated and will be dealt with immediately. Next week we will talk to the children about bullying. Every pupil will be issued with the school’s “All about Bullying” leaflet. As per school policy, pupils should discuss any incident of bullying with a teacher or another trusted adult within the school system; this is responsible behaviour rather than “telling tales”.
Parents/guardians should contact myself regarding incidents of bullying behaviour which they might suspect or that have come to their attention through their children or other parents. The school policy is available on the school website https://www.headfort.com/policies/bullying/
The term ahead
As you can imagine, the children have been extremely busy since the start of term. Games and extras are now in full swing and it is great to see the children taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. On the academic front we have been able to allocate more contact time in English and Maths. We will be completing assessments at the end of September to ensure that we are monitoring the progress of all children. I am determined to develop a well-integrated system of pastoral and academic support for all our pupils. This ensures that we have an excellent working knowledge of our pupils and how best we and the staff as a whole can support both their personal and academic progress.
We are looking to reinvigorate the House System and review our rewards and sanctions policy. The essence of these systems is a belief that children can choose how to behave. By recognising and rewarding ‘good’ behaviour, it is believed that the good behaviour will be encouraged and have beneficial effects on pupil behaviour in general.
We are also in the process of appointing our new Prefects for this term.
Notices and dates for your diary
● Smart phones Please note that smartphones and phones that have a camera facility are not allowed in school. If a child is found with a smartphone, it is policy to confiscate the phone until the end of term
● Punctuality we would be very grateful if all day pupils could arrive at school for an 8.30am start. We have found that the morning walk from 8.30am to 8.40am and the reading period from 8.40 to 8.50am provide the pupils with consistency and routine and help all pupils to have a positive start to their day;
● 6th Form We are delighted to announce that the Headfort 6th form has been invited to this year’s National Ploughing Championship as part of the launch of the Aberdeen Angus TY Project. This year the Championship is due to take place in Ballintrane, Fenagh in Co.Carlow and the children will have the opportunity to attend the launch of the Aberdeen Angus Project hosted by RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan;
● Sewing Club If you have any fabric remnants or scrap material please drop them into the office;
● Contacting school Could we please ask you to send all mail queries concerning your child to firstname.lastname@example.org
● Parent/Teacher meetings this term:
II Form Friday 27th September
III Form Friday 27th September
IV Form Friday 27th September
UV Form Friday 25th October
VI Form Friday 25th October
LV Form Friday 22nd November
All meetings will start at 11am and finish at 1pm.
All pupils will remain in lessons until 1pm and will be dismissed following the Parent/Teacher meeting.
For information on upcoming parent teacher meetings matches etc please check this link to our website calendar on a regular basis https://www.headfort.com/calendar/