Welcome
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to Sandford Parish National School! Here you will find details of the various aspects of our school which we hope will serve as a helpful introduction to the life of our school and as a useful point of reference when required from time to time.
The education, development and welfare of the children is, of course, the main priority of the Board of Management as it continues to provide the best possible environment for all children and works to ensure it meets the varying needs of all children. In addition, the element of welcome, inclusivity and community is important to us and as such we do hope that your experience, and that of your child, is a positive one.

With best wishes,
The Revd Sonia Gyles
Chairperson, Board of Management

Sandford- A Long and Proud Tradition
Sandford School was built in 1826 in the parish of St. Peter in the then semi-rural setting of Ranelagh. A chapel and residences for chaplain and school teachers were built in the same year and the entire project was financed by George Sandford of Somerset. Robert Newenham, a friend of Lord Sandford, requested this financial support which totalled 4000 pounds. He lived at Merton, a substantial house in the Ranelagh area and was a lay member of the Established Church of Ireland.
The 1835 Register of Schools lists three schools on the site: Sandford School for males with 43 boys on the rolls, Sandford School for females with 26 girls on the rolls and Sandford Infant School with 45 on the rolls. Three members of the Coombe family taught in the school, which was financed by Church funds, an endowment by George Sandford and voluntary contributions. About half the children paid one penny a week.

In the 19th century enrolments peaked in the 1850's with 125 on the rolls but declined as the century progressed, falling to 55 children by 1899 when Sandford had only 2 teachers. In 1901 Sandford Parish School became Sandford Parish National School under the National Board of Education, coming in later than most Church of Ireland Schools. Numbers grew steadily and were further increased by the amalgamation of Sandford with Donnybrook Church of Ireland School in the 1960's. Two prefabs were acquired at that time to accommodate the extra classes. A new school was built on the existing site in 1992-1993 and the original hall was retained and upgraded. In 2009 the Department of Education and Skills approved the building of an additional extension to the school. All prefabs were removed and 2 additonal classrooms were built. Two additional resource rooms, a secretary's and Principal's office were also built. The staffroom was extended and a library was included in the building project. These additions have greatly enhanced the school building.
The school now has over 200 children on the rolls. Staffing levels are in accordance with Department of Education and Skills regulations.

Management
The Patron of the school is the Archbishop of Dublin.
The school is administered by a Board of Management. The Board consists of:

•Two direct nominees of the Patron.

•Two parents of children enrolled in the school (one being a mother, the other a father), elected by the general body of parents of children enrolled in the school.

•The Principal Teacher (or Acting Principal Teacher) of the school.

•One other teacher on the staff of the school, elected by vote of the teaching staff.

•Two extra members proposed by the above nominees.


Finance
The Department of Education and Skills pays the salaries of the teachers and special needs assistants and provides for the running of the school by way of a Capitation Grant and other grants.

At Sandford Parish National School, a voluntary contribution is requested from all parents.

The Voluntary Contributions and the State Grants cover the cost of the school secretary, heating and lighting, insurance, caretaking, cleaning and the general maintenance of the school, the provision of teaching materials for the classrooms and the provision of a specialist teacher of Music. The funds are administered by the Board of Management.

School Plan
Under the terms of the Education Act (1998) the Board must prepare a school plan. In Sandford Parish National School, this plan includes policy statements on issues such as:

Curriculum, Admissions, Ethos, ICT, Discipline and Behaviour, School Library, Extra Curricular Activities and Health and Safety Arrangements (including an anti-bullying policy).

The Patron, Board members, parents, guardians and teachers and other staff of the school have access to this plan.

Admissions
Details regarding admissions procedures are available from the office. (Tel. 01-4974277)

Places in the school are offered in accordance with the school admission policy. This document is available on request. Children with special needs are welcomed to the school provided they meet the admission and school entry requirements. In the event that the D.E.S. fails to, or will not, provide the school with the appropriate resources to meet the needs of a child with S.E.N. the Board of Management may, of necessity, have to decline admission. Parents are reminded to apply for places for siblings of children already enrolled as early as possible.

Curriculum
Sandford Parish National School, like all national schools, follows the curriculum prescribed by the Department of Education and Skills. It is based on the principle that education should be a child centered experience in which the child is an active participant. The curriculum is laid out in the following areas:

Language (Irish, English)
Mathematics
Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) ( History, Geography, Science)
Arts Education ( Visual Arts, Music, Drama)
Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

The Church of Ireland Religious Education Programme is used throughout the school. Roman Catholic children may attend a class leading to First Communion and Confirmation. In accordance with Rule 69 of the Rules for National Schools parents may withdraw their children from Religious Education classes.

The school has an excellent Information and Technology (ICT) suite and children are given every opportunity to develop their skills in this area. During their time at Sandford Parish National School, children are offered a wide range of learning, cultural and sporting experiences, which enrich and broaden their education and personal development. Many extra curricular activities are also available.

Teaching and Learning
Teaching in classrooms, learning support rooms, the P.E. hall, computer room etc.is of a structured organised nature. This ensures that the educational experience of the children is appropriate to their age and developmental level. The learning outcomes of the children are therefore enjoyable and are also such that every child achieves his/her potential while at Sandford Parish National School.

Special Educational Needs
For children with low achievement and/or learning difficulties or exceptional giftedness, specific learning programmes are devised. Provision is made for children with special education needs, as defined by the Department of Education and Skills. In some cases Special Needs Assistants are allocated to specific children. Parents are closely involved in this process.


Grievance Procedure

•If a parent/guardian has a complaint, an appointment should be made to see the class teacher with a view to resolving the issue. The issue will usually be resolved to the satisifaction of both parties.

•If a parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher, an appointment should be made to discuss the issue with the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving it.

•If the complaint is still unresloved the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.

•If the complaint is still unresloved and the parent/guardian wishes to persue the matter further, the complaint should be lodged, in writing, with the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

•The complaint will then be dealt with by the Board of Management, and appropriate procedures will be followed.


Code of Behaviour and Discipline
The school has a detailed Code of Behaviour and Discipline which is made available to all new parents/guardians of children in the school. The Board of Management requires that all parents/guardians read, accept and sign this.

Class Rules
1) Work quietly, listen silently and take turns to speak clearly.
2) Sit safely, stand properly and when given permission walk safely.
3) Come on time, be prepared for work and always try to do your best work.
4) Follow instructions from all staff members straight away.
5) Respect other pupils and their property.
6) Help to keep your classroom tidy, clean and attractive.


Out of Class Rules
1) Name calling, bad language, fighting and dangerous play are not allowed.
2)Walk quietly inside school building.
3) Stay in your yard(s) and line up properly in the proper place at the proper time. No running in the side passageway.
4) No cycling, skating, blading etc. on the school grounds.
5) On wet days, get a book, game etc., remain seated and talk quietly.
6) Help make the school a happy and attractive place in which to work and play.    

Organisation of Classes in School
Children are normally enrolled in the September following their fourth birthday and usually spend eight years in Primary School.
When it is necessary to divide a class, the division is made by age, not by ability. Where possible, every effort will be made to maintain gender balance.
When classes are divided, teachers use group teaching methods and follow the appropriate curriculum for each class group.

Absence from School
All parents are requested to send in a written note with their child following an absence from school. Children will not be allowed to leave school during official school time to attend, for example a doctor or dentist unless they present a note from their parents to that effect or unless they are picked up from the classroom by a parent/guardian. 

Chronic and unexplained attendance will be investigated by the Education Welfare Board. Please be advised that where a child is  (a) absent for more than 20 school days or (b) taken out school during term time for holiday purposes......the Principal is legally obliged to report these absences to the Education Welfare Board.


Homework
Homework is set for Monday to Thursday nights. Children take varying amounts of time to complete homework, but the following are guidelines for the approximate amount of time pupils in each class should take:

Junior Infants- 10 minutes (mainly oral)
Senior Infants- 20 minutes (written and oral)
1st/2nd Class- 30 minutes (written and oral)
3rd/4th Class - 45 minutes (written and oral)
5th/6th class -60 minutes (written and oral)

Pupils, particularly those in junior classes, may need guidance or advice about their homework and it is desirable for parents to hear their oral work. However, parents, guardians, or older sisters or brothers, should not do homework for the children. If a child has consistent difficulties with homework or always takes much longer than the suggested time above, parents should contact the class teacher.
From 1st to 6th class, homework is recorded in a homework diary. This should be signed by a parent/guardian each day. It is best if homework is done at a specific time and place each day and that a parent or other adult is on hand to offer advice and encouragement where needed.
If homework is not done or not completed for any reason, a written excuse must be provided the next day.

Starting School
Children are accepted for enrolment in the September following their fourth birthday. Prior to September, parents of incoming children are invited to the school to meet the teacher and the Principal and to see the classroom.
Parents are reminded to apply for places for siblings of children already enrolled as early as possible.
In the first week of school formal education may seem light, but children are learning an enormous amount in an informal way and this is a particularly vital time for their social development. They will be tired at the end of the morning and it is important that they have adequate time to rest at home.
When in school a child will be part of a group of nearly 30 children, and it is helpful if children come to school with some basic skills, for example, knowing how to take sweaters off and on and how to fasten their coats and trousers. It also helps if they are given snacks for breaks in containers which they can open and close themselves.
Children may sometimes be unsettled for the first few days when they arrive in school. While it is appreciated that it may be difficult to leave an upset child, children usually become distracted by new activities, therefore parents are asked not to delay unduly in the classroom when bringing their children to school.

School Times
The official school times are 8.30a.m. _ 2.10p.m. Class times are as follows:

Junior and Senior Infants      8.30a.m. _ 1.10p.m.
1st Class - 6th Class               8.30a.m. _ 2.10p.m.

The last day of each term is a half-day for children and on these days school finishes at 12 noon.

Parents are asked to note that school insurance does not extend beyond official school hours unless children are participating in an official school activity.

Day -to - Day School Life
The school opens at 8.30a.m. when all children are admitted to their classrooms. All children should be in attendance as near to 8.30a.m. as possible as informal teaching begins at 8.30a.m. Any children arriving after 8.45a.m. are late and must report to the office even if accompanied by a parent.
It is important that all children are organised for work. To that end all children should have stationery appropriate to their age and class. The list of appropriate stationery is on the book list.
The state curriculum is taught in SPNS. This includes Irish, English, Maths, SESE, SPHE, Art, Drama, Music and Physical Education. On P.E. days (advised early in the academic year) all children must wear a tracksuit, or shorts and t-shirt and runners. Insurance does not cover children who are not suitably attired. On all other days, children should wear practical clothes.
Children are assessed annually from 1st to 6th Class using recognised standardised tests. At time of going to print it is Government policy that these assessments be conducted in May or June. Teachers engage in informal assessment of the children throughout the school year. This assessment may be of an oral or written nature.

All children should bring a healthy lunch to school. See section on Healthy Eating.

Health and Safety at School
Each class teacher should be kept informed of any difficulty or illness, which may affect a child's performance or behaviour. It is essential that the school has telephone numbers where a parent, guardian or other responsible adult can be contacted in an emergency.

The East Coast Area Health Board offers a free range of health services to Primary School children. Parental permission is sought before these checks take place.

Children attending national schools are entitled to free dental care which is available at dental clinics, the nearest one to Sandford Parish National School is at the Health Centre in Baggot Street Hospital. Tel. 01 6681577

Nits and headlice are a recurring problem for children of school age. In the event of an outbreak in the school, parents are notified and asked to check and treat their child's/children's hair if necessary. It is also advisable for parents to check their child's/children's hair on a regular basis.

Children are supervised by school staff during their breaks and a responsible attitude towards their own safety and the safety of others is encouraged in the pupils. The school insurance policy covers the legal liability of the School Management for accidents to the children. In addition all children enrolled in the school are insured against personal accident.

Bicycle racks are provided and it is important that all cycles brought to the school are kept locked. School insurance does not cover the theft of bicycles or other property left on the school premises.

Under the Tobacco(Health Promotion and Protection) Regulation 1990, smoking is prohibited in primary schools, including the school yard.

If unusual circumstances require that a child has a mobile phone in school, it must be turned off during official school hours. Tippex and similar substances are not permitted.

Lunch Breaks
The children have two breaks in the course of the day. A rota of teachers is organised so that the children are supervised during these breaks.

Dublin Corporation supplies milk free of charge. If parents provide their children with lunch they are urged to consider its nutritional value. The following items are
not allowed in school:  Chocolate of any description, sweets, jellies, biscuits, crisps, cakes, buns and sweet muffins, winders and similar sweetened fruit leather, unhealthy cereal bars, ‘sports’/fizzy drinks.

Chewing gum is prohibited in school. Yoghurts are not encouraged for the younger children.

 

Please see Healthy Eating Policy for further information.

Library
Each classroom has its own library of reference books and fiction. Activities and projects appropriate to the age groups are devised to develop information skills and to foster reading for pleasure. The school operates a central lending library.This library has a good selection of modern fiction and reference books. Reading is highly valued and is promoted throughout the school.

School Books and School Bags
The Board of Management recently introduced a Book Rental Scheme. While it remains necessary for parents to purchase some books the book rental scheme has greatly reduced the annual costs associated with school books.

Book lists are issued in June. To help parents avoid lengthy queues in bookshops, new books may be ordered through the school. These are purchased and distributed as appropriate.

In an effort to alleviate the weight of school bags the following measures are taken:


•Textbooks, which will not be needed until later in the school year, may be stored in school.

•Timetables are issued to the senior pupils to obviate the necessity of bringing all books to school every day. Children should be encouraged to check their bags regularly so that they are not carrying heavy loads unnecessarily.

A school bag which spreads the weight evenly on the back, seems preferable to a design where all the weight is taken on one side.

Parent Teacher Association
A Parent Teacher Association (PTA) was established at Sandford Parish NS in 1986. Its main aims are:

•To promote the further education of members in matters related to parenting, child development and education.

•To provide a forum for members to meet socially and for members to discuss matters of general concern but not particular matters relating to individuals.

•To elect representatives to the County Committee of the National Parents Council (NPC) and to liaise with this Committee.

•To provide a support base for the development of projects and activities of advantage to the school and the members.


All parents and teachers are encouraged to join the PTA and to participate in its activities. These are enjoyable and informative and provide an opportunity from time to time to assist the school  through fundraising for a specific purpose.


Home-School Liaison
Parents are encouraged to visit the class teacher informally during the year to discuss their child's progress and to get to know the teacher; such contact is mutually beneficial. It is important not to delay your visit until a problem emerges.
If a lengthy discussion is desired, parents are advised to make an appointment to see the teacher before or after school. This also gives the teacher an opportunity to assess and consider the child's work and behaviour before the meeting.
At Parent Teacher meetings a specific time is set aside for each family to discuss in detail their child's progress with the class teacher. This is an important opportunity for parents to talk to teachers and they are asked to make every effort to attend these meetings. School reports are issued once a year at the end of June.

Circulars concerning school matters are distributed by way of the pupils. The eldest of each family is the messenger and should be encouraged to deliver messages promptly. As a back up, schoolbags should be regularly checked. Holiday lists and details of extra- curricular activities for the year are normally issued in September. The school also uses a text-a-parent service  and E-mail to contact parents only in emergencies.

School news is carried in the Sandmill News, which is distributed to each family via the schoolbags.

Please ensure that the office has up-to-date mobile numbers for Parents/Guardians. It is vital that at least 2 additional contact numbers be provided for emergency purposes.


Sports Day
A sports day is held in May of each year in the grounds of a local secondary school. Each child in the school participates in the sports on that day. Individual and team activities are the events of the day.

Photographs
A professional photographer visits the school each year and makes available for purchase individual, family and class photographs.

Second Level Schools
Parents should make contact with a second level school in good time with a view to enrolling their children.
Most second level schools require their intake to sit assessment tests. The results of these tests may be used to allocate children to 1st year classes by streaming, banding, setting or mixed ability. These tests are usually administered in the child's second term in 6th class. The venue is the second level school. Some second level schools offer a limited number of scholarships, which cover all or part of the school fees. Details should be sought from the second level schools.

Prospective pupils must be 12 years of age by the 31st August of the year they enter post-primary school.

A number of grants are available to assist Protestant parents in sending their children to Protestant secondary schools. Elegilibility is calculated by a means test.

Further details from:

Grants Secretary,
Secondary Education Committee,
5 Belgrave Road,
Dublin 6