iPads, eBooks, Books and School Book Grant scheme 2019/2020

22nd May 2019,

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

I am writing to you regarding arrangements for iPads, eBooks, Books and information about our School Book Grant scheme.

As was mentioned at our information night, we work with a company called Wriggle Learning. Details can be found at www.wriggle.ie. This company supplies, configures and manages the devices within our school to ensure it is a safe, effective and engaging learning environment. Devices for incoming first years not managed by Wriggle Learning are not allowed to be used in our school. The Wriggle online store (Login store code 36159216) opened on Friday May 3rd and was due to close on Monday June 10th. After consultation with Wriggle the closing date has now been extended to Friday July 5th. This will allow you buy the iPad, services and eBooks your child will require. There will be an option there for you to purchase insurance for the device also. It is important to note that orders placed after the closing date will incur a €50 late fee and your son’s/daughter’s iPad and books may be delivered late.

Note** By purchasing your books from Wriggle, a hard copy of each book will be supplied along with the eBook on the iPad. This decision was taken after consultation with parents. Also, this year Wriggle are delivering iPad’s and textbooks to the address given on your order.

If your child will not be using an iPad, books may be purchased from book shops while some may be purchased second hand. (See booklist).

Finally, if you receive an eBook voucher under the Book Voucher Scheme, Please use the code on the voucher during your ordering process on the Wriggle website.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Kenny

Deputy Principal

3rd Years Letter

May 17th, 2019.

 Dear Parent(s)/Guardians(s),

 As the 3rd Year students approach their Junior Certificate exams, I would like to bring the following points to your attention:

·        Third Year students will finish school on Wednesday May 29th. They must wear their uniform on that day. It is also expected that they will finish school in a disciplined manner.

 ·        Please view the Junior Certificate Exam Timetable. I would ask that you take note of the dates and times of your son’s/daughter’s exams. If students are not doing exams for a full day I would strongly encourage you to leave them to, or to collect them from the School, if possible.  I would strongly advise that students do not go down to the park by the river at lunchtime or at times when they are not doing exams.

 ·        Students must present themselves in a fit state for exams. Any serious misbehaviour or disruption caused will be treated very seriously and students may not be allowed to continue to sit their exams in the school.

 ·        Students must wear their full uniform during exams.

 ·        Rules of the State Examinations Commission state that students must be at their exam centre 30 mins   before the beginning of the exam on first day and 10 mins before the beginning of the remainder of exams. Also students are not permitted to bring mobile phones into the exam centre.

 ·        Students are strongly advised to stay for the duration of the exam. If they leave early they must sign the   Exam Attendance Book outside the exam centre. These records will be available to parents/guardians.

 I would like to take this opportunity to wish each student success in the exams.  I realise that exam time is stressful for both parents and students.  With God’s help we trust that they all will perform to their full potential and achieve their desired goals.

 Yours sincerely,

Josephine Donohue

6th Yrs Letter to Parents/Guardians

April 29th, 2019.

 Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

 As our 6th Year students approach their final weeks of school, we would like to ensure that this final term will be a happy and helpful time as they prepare for their Leaving Certificate.  I encourage students to listen to the advice given to them by their teachers especially in relation to Subject Levels.

 The formal classes for Leaving Cert Students will finish on Wednesday 22nd May. A barbecue and other activities will be arranged for the students on that day. Students are expected to attend school at 9.00am on that Wednesday and they do not need to wear their uniform. All the Leaving Cert students must remain on school grounds for the duration of the school day, this includes lunchtime. We look forward to celebrating their final day at school with them and that it will be one full of happy memories for students, teachers and parents.

 During the exams, students are expected to wear the full uniform. We would like to take this opportunity of wishing each student success in the exams.  We realise that exam time is stressful for both parents and students.  With God’s help we trust that they all will perform to their full potential and achieve their desired goal and that each will be blessed with good health and happiness for the future.

 Please view the Leaving Cert exam timetable. I would recommend that you highlight the exams that your son/daughter is doing and familiarise yourself with their timetable so that they do not unwittingly miss an exam, thinking it was on at another day or time.

Leaving Cert timetable.jpg

 The Graduation Mass will be celebrated at 7.30pm on Thursday 23rd May in the School Gym.

We invite parents/guardians to join us for this celebration.  Light refreshments will be served afterwards in the Study Hall. We look forward to celebrating this night with our students and their families as we mark their official School Graduation.

 Yours sincerely,

 Josephine Donohue,              


We have been invited by CEIST to facilitate a meeting between National Director for Catechetics to the Irish Bishops’ Conference  Kate Liffey and a group of senior students from a Co-ed school. She  is carrying out research on students opinions of what they feel should be included on RSE programme at 2nd level. She will inform the NCCA who are designing the course for all 2nd level schools. This is just part of  the process.  Please read following information:

Background to RSE Review for CEIST meeting

In April 2018, the then Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, asked the NCCA to undertake a major review of RSE in schools. The Minister asked that the review should include:

- The Curriculum for RSE

- Support materials for the delivery of RSE in schools

- The delivery of the curriculum to students; including the issue of CPD currently available to teachers in the area of RSE

Specifically the NCCA’s review will encompass the aspects of RSE listed below. It should be noted that many of the issues listed below are not covered at all in previous curriculum documents for either Primary or Post Primary schools. They are:

- Consent, what it means and its importance

- Developments in contraception

- Healthy, positive sexual expression and relationships

- Safe use of the internet

- Social media and its effects on relationships and self-esteem

- LGBTQ+ matters

It should also be noted that the review of RSE will inform wider reviews currently taking place in the NCCA e.g. at Primary, the review of the primary curriculum in terms of time and structure and at second level, the review of the senior cycle. It might also be noted that much of the work that the NCCA has undertaken in the area of Wellbeing at Junior Cycle will also inform this review.

The 3 dimensions of the NCCA review are:

- Drawing on studies/research; this will run to November 2018

- Learning from key leaders, organisations and initiatives

- Working with schools

To facilitate wider engagements, a number of consultative events are being planned, the first of which was held in November 2018. It is envisaged that these events and the wider process will help identify key questions that need to be addressed in the context of the comprehensive review called for.

An important aspect of this review is Student Voice. In addition to engaging with children and young people in school settings, the team are collaborating with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to facilitate consultation with Comhairlí na nÓg on the topic of RSE.

The timeline for the review is as follows:

- Research and learning (Autumn 2018)

o Key international and Irish research

o A suite of research to support meetings and discussions

- Working with Key leaders (Autumn 2018 – Spring 2019)

o Learning from key organisations and partners in provision of RSE through bilateral and round table meetings

o RSE consultation symposium events in November 2018 and March 2019

- Engaging with schools: (December 2018 – January 2019)

o Working with several schools across sectors and contexts

o Meetings pupils, parents, management and teachers

o Providing online consultation tools


The Role of Parents is centrally important

Parents/guardians are the first educators of their children. This role obviously continues to be centrally important once children begin school and throughout their whole education. In the area of RSE this is also, and indeed even more particularly, the case. It is therefore somewhat surprising to see the lack of a much more thorough engagement with the question of the rights of parents within the Research Paper underpinning the NCCA’s current review work. This deficit is acknowledged by the authors themselves (NCCA, 2018, p. 5).

In the document, Going Forward Together; An Introduction for Parents to Relationships and Sexuality Education, the DES states clearly to parents,

As a parent, you are the first teacher of your child. You hand on values and attitudes to each new generation of children. (DES, 1997, p.3)

It is vital that this NCCA review attends to and respects this fundamental principle.

A child’s right to Social, Personal and Health Education was enshrined in law in the Education Act, 1998. Section 9 requires that every school shall use its available resources,

to promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and to provide health education for them, in consultation with their parents and having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school.

The White Paper on Education, Charting our Education Future (DES, 1995), which preceded the Education Act, sets out the role of schools in promoting the social, personal and health education of students. One of the helpful perspectives outlined in the White Paper is that the provision of a relationships and sexuality education programme beginning at the early stages of primary education and continued as appropriate to all levels of secondary students would “involve close co-operation with parents, support and complement the work of the home and in keeping with the ethos of the school." (p.173)

The central importance of the parents’ perspective is also reflected in the Department of Education and Skills Guidelines for RSE for Primary and Post Primary schools (DES, 1997). Here RSE provision is very helpfully described as a “partnership between home and school”.

Indeed, since the introduction of RSE, as part of SPHE, in the mid-nineteen nineties, the NCCA and the Department for Education and Skills has consistently pointed out that schools and parents should work together to ensure the best outcome for children and young people in the area of RSE. In Post Primary Schools, for example, Section 4 of the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools requires schools to have an agreed policy for RSE worked out in partnership with parents and a suitable RSE programme that reflects that policy in place for all students at both junior and senior cycle.

Department of Education and Skills Circulars to Boards of Management and Principals of Primary and Post Primary schools (e.g. M4/95, M20/96, M22/00 and M11/03) all emphasize the importance of the voice of parents in the area of RSE. More recently, Circular 0043/2018 stresses again the importance of parental engagement in the area of RSE this time in terms of the proper use of external facilitators in supplementing, complementing and supporting a planned comprehensive approach to wellbeing promotion.

This parent and child centred approach is a sensible approach to RSE. There is also a rich educational rationale for this close partnership between home and school in the area of RSE as outlined by the DES in the Interim Curriculum Guidelines for RSE for Primary Schools(DES, 1996),

The involvement of parents and teachers in a genuinely collaborative process will be essential for the success of the RSE programme and can have many practical benefits. (p.50)

These benefits, the document goes on to say, include, “consistency of language and approach that ensure that the messages children receive about sexuality and relationships are clear and unambiguous”. The document stresses that by working together, “teachers and parents will gain a fuller understanding of each other’s concerns; mutual trust and respect will be deepened and the school climate for RSE will be enhanced” (p. 51). Such a collaborative approach needs to be properly supported across all schools to ensure the best possible outcome in terms of RSE provision for children and young people.

Further insight into the why of parental involvement in the work of RSE done in schools (and indeed in all areas of a child’s education) is provided by the White Paper which suggests that because parents bring to the children's education “the unique expertise derived from intimate knowledge of the child's development, of her/his child's particular needs and interests and of circumstances outside the school, the parental role confers on them the right to active participation in their child's education” (p.11). This right is enshrined in Article 42.1 of the Constitution.

Not surprisingly then, recent research (Catherine Conlon’s research ([2018]) quoted by Morgan, Keating and Collins (NCCA, 2018), p. 39) supports parental involvement as an important feature of the current Irish RSE programme and suggests that this feature should be retained and strengthened in any future iterations. It is to be hoped that any future curricular provision and practical supports in terms of training for teachers (and arguably for parents) that might emerge in the area of RSE will continue to recognise the primacy of the parents’ voice in this important area of their children’s education if that ideal of partnership between home and school is to be realised. Over and above curricular provision and supports, the early promise of the NCCA’s work in the area of RSE in terms of the close collaboration between parents and teachers may also need to be looked at again and supported anew.

For Catholic schools we recognise that all families are integral to an education that animates and transforms us towards love. The family is the place where “we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures.” Our family teach us, as Pope Francis tells us in Laudato Si, his Encyclical on care of our Common Home,

how to ask without demanding, to say ‘thank you’ as an expression of genuine gratitude for what has been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm (213).

It makes sense then that there is, to echo the Department’s own recommendation, as seamless a connection as possible between home and family in the area of RSE as part of SPHE.

The parent’s voice is obviously going to continue to be very important. Archbishop Eamonn Martin (Key note address to JMB/AMCSS 31st Annual Conference, May, 2018) stressed the importance of the family context by saying that “the family remains for children and young people the privileged place of encounter and growth – parents are the first teachers, the home is the first “school of humanity””. Parents, he said, “turn to you (Catholic schools), as trusted fellow pilgrims, to accompany them and their daughters or sons” and they “rely” on the school’s “wisdom and experience”. This, of course, reflects the very essence of partnership suggested by the DES and NCCA documents cited above and needs to be retained and further supported if the rights of parents are to be respected.

RE: Maths Research Lesson


 RE: Your child’s participation in a Maths Research Lesson

 Dear Parent,

 Over a number of months teachers from Mercy Secondary School have been working with the Professional Development Service for Teachers to develop an innovative maths lesson designed to improve students’ ability to problem solve in maths. In the past number of years, more than 200 schools have been involved in this programme nationwide.

 A key component of this process is the teaching and observation of the lesson that the teachers have designed. During this lesson a number of teachers will observe the teaching and learning taking place with the aim of better understanding how students approach learning in maths.

As part of this, evidence of the students’ work may be recorded anonymously for the purpose of helping teachers improve teaching and learning. I am hoping you will support us in allowing your son/daughter to participate in this lesson on 7/02/2019. If you do not wish your child’s work to be used for this purpose, please inform Ms. Halligan.

 Thank you for your time and cooperation in this endeavour which we hope will be of great benefit to the students and teachers.

 Yours sincerely,

 Stephen Gammell

Team Leader – Post-Primary Mathematics

Professional Development Service for Teachers

TY Reports

25th January, 2019

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

You will receive a text message today with login details for our VSware school administration system. This will allow you access your son’s/daughter’s January Assessment report.

Having logged on to the system using your Username and password you will be able to view your son’s/daughter’s report by clicking on Term Reports on the left hand side of the screen. If you wish to print the report you can click on ‘Actions’ in the top right corner of the screen and press print.

If you have any difficulty accessing the report on the VSware system, please do not hesitate to contact the office on Monday 28th January.

Kind regards,

Gary Kenny

Deputy Principal

CBA1 - 2nd yrs Junior Cert Science

Classroom Based Assessments (CBA)

CBA1-Junior Cert Science

CBA1 is conducted in 2nd year. In science CBA1 is also called an EEI which stands for an extended experimental investigation.

Students must decide on a research question and then conduct an EEI based on this question.

The topics that students can choose from are:

·       Water

·       The Earth

·       Moon

·       Sun system

·       Food, Plant growth and behaviour

·       Chemical reactions

·       Plastics

·       Forces

·       Energy conservation

1.     For this part of the investigation students may work individually or in small groups.

2.     Each student must contribute to the work of the group.

3.     CBA1 will be conducted in class during a three week period from Friday 20th April to Friday May 18th

This will be assessed by their teacher using the following descriptors;

·       Exceptional

·       Above Expectations

·       In Line with Expectations

·       Yet to meet Expectations

Results will be reported in Summer Report.

CBA1 Business in Action 2nd yrs

Classroom-Based Assessment (CBA) 1 Business in Action Period

Students spend four weeks completing the Business in Action CBA - Monday 12th March to Friday 20th April 2018

In Mercy Secondary School Ballymahon, we have chosen to focus our CBA1 on the Finance in Action Unit of the Business Studies Subject specification,

For this project, students form working groups of 4/5.

Examples of student’s research topics are as follows.   

●      Comparing the cost of a Shopping Basket with different retailers in Ireland (10 items - eg Dunnes, Supervalu, Lidl, Aldi, Tesco)

●      Comparing the cost of going to a sporting event, looking at the cost of booking yourself vs the cost of a travel agent

●      Comparing  the cost of going to a concert in Dublin vs one in the UK (Pick an artist who is playing in Ireland and UK this summer)

●      Comparing  the cost of booking a family holiday for 4 persons in Ireland vs Europe (Adult & 2 Children))

●      Comparing the cost of Car Insurance in Ireland with different target market ( Male vs Female, People in the 20’s, 30’s, Middle aged/ Over 65)

Students can present their findings in a variety of ways:

·       Reports

·       PowerPoints

·       Posters

Results will be reported in Summer Reports

CBA 2nd yr English

Classroom Based Assessment (CBA)

2nd Year English - Oral Presentation

April 27th – 18th May 2018.

Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs) are completed during normal class time. They will closely resemble what happens on a daily basis in the classroom.
CBAs aim to create opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning in areas that are difficult to capture in a timed pen and paper exam. For example, the 1st CBA which happens during 2nd year is an oral communication task. It offers students the opportunity to research an area of their choice and communicate their findings through a range of communication formats.
Students present their chosen topic for 3 minutes during class time.
This will be assessed by their teacher using the following descriptors;

  •  Exceptional
  •  Above Expectations
  •  In Line with Expectations
  •  Yet to meet Expectations.

To support teacher judgement in the CBAs, Features of Quality are set out in the Assessment Guidelines. Subject Learning and Assessment Review (SLAR) meetings
provide teachers with the opportunity to share and discuss samples of their assessments of student work and build a common understanding about the quality of
student learning.

Results will be reported in the Summer Report

Assessment Task for 3rd yrs

Assessment Task (AT) for 3rd year English

An Assessment Task (AT) will follow in 3rd year, which is the collection of texts.

For the collection of texts, students submit two pieces of their best work, which offers students a chance to celebrate their achievements as writers.

One of these samples will be written in the Assessment Task booklet.

The AT asks students to reflect on the process of writing and is completed by students during class time.

It is sent to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) along with the Final Examination for correction. It accounts for 10% of the Final Examination mark.

This Assessment task will take place on Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th of April 2018 at Mercy Secondary School.

Thanking you,

English Department.