April 21st, 2020
I hope you and your family are safe and well. These are exceptionally difficult times for everyone in our school community and I know from recent communications that many of us are finding things extremely challenging.
Clonkeen College has engaged in home-schooling/distance-learning with its students since schools were summarily closed on 12th March 2020 as part of Government action to slow the spread of Covid-19. As the Government has since announced an extended indefinite period of school closure, teachers in Clonkeen College have now been directed to continue remote teaching, via the online platforms employed prior to the Easter Holidays, for the final (Summer) school term. A list of teachers and their chosen online remote teaching platforms is included below.
On Good Friday, 10th April 2020, the Minister for Education and Skills announced the postponement of the Leaving Certificate examinations until July/August 2020. He also announced the cancellation of the Junior Certificate examinations, due to be conducted in June 2020, and replacing them with proposed school-based exams in September 2020 for the third-year students of this school year (2019/2020).
The details of the planned arrangements for Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate students have yet to be finalised and published. I realise that the uncertainty about the state examinations is causing stress and concern for our state examination students and their parents/guardians. Please refer to www.education.ie for regular updates.
Clonkeen College must now consider whether our end-of-year House Examinations/Assessments can/will take place in school at the end of May. With the certainty that the Junior Certificate examinations and associated assessments will not be going ahead until September 2020, teachers have been asked to consider alternative means of assessment, that may include continuous assessment, as a basis for the creation of a Summer report for each pupil in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, TY and 5th Year. While teachers have discretion as to how they formulate some aspects of the summer report, please be very clear that student engagement with remote teaching in the final term will have critical importance in the construction of that report.
Our Leaving Certificate pupils must make maximum use of the final term to engage in crucial exam preparation under the guidance of their teachers. The postponement of the Leaving Certificate examination should be regarded as an opportunity to leave no stone unturned in preparation for it. Leaving Certificate pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning over the coming weeks. Amongst other things, they can:
- devise and follow a personal study programme
- make use of online resources
- engage with their peers about examination topics
There is no exception to the expectation that all students, 1st to 6th Year, will be engaging in home-schooling/distance-learning for the final school term.
I am seeking your help and support in enabling Clonkeen College to deliver the best possible education for your son at this challenging time. I am asking you to make sure that your son:
- can find the online platform for each subject teacher
- can access the email address for each subject teacher
- engages every day with schoolwork
- stays up to date with schoolwork
- manages his schooltime and takes breaks and regular exercise
- contacts individual teachers if encountering any difficulty regarding submission of schoolwork, feedback on schoolwork, personal issues etc.
- contacts his Form Tutor or Year Head if he has wellbeing issues due to the school’s arrangements
- respects the school’s working hours/days when contacting teachers
- follows the Governments guidance about hand washing etiquette, social distancing and staying within the family unit
I am grateful to all the parents/guardians who have supported Clonkeen College during this incredibly difficult period. I understand that home-schooling/distance-learning is very challenging for you and your son. For it to be successful, it is vital that you and your son remain in communication with the school and its teachers.
Thank you for providing the school with your email address. If you have yet to provide the school with your email address, please do so by filling in the Parent / Guardian Contact Email Address form.
It is crucial that school personnel can contact you via email should the need arise while the school is closed to its students.
I want to thank you, in advance, for facilitating our teachers in delivering an education to your son in your home. I want to thank the parents who have been so understanding and have offered their help and support. Clonkeen College has a wonderful school community and at a time of crisis this school community pulls together to do its best to support each other and our boys.
It is understandable that our students are worried about their friends, their family, and their futures in these exceptionally uncertain times of a worldwide pandemic. I would like you to reassure your son that the school and its teachers will support him, as best we can, using the arrangements we currently have in place.
Edward Melly (Principal)