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HOMEWORK........ Click here for maths help Also see the BBC's helpful site HERE

Homework represents a regular link between home and school and as such represents a good opportunity for the development of a practical partnership between parents and teachers. All schools should have a homework policy which should be prepared in consultation with parents and children. The policy should give clarity to the whole school community about the purpose of the homework and what is expected at each class level. Why does my child get homework?
Your child gets homework to:
1. Practice and reinforce work already done in class
2. Test your child's understanding of work covered or competence in skills
3. Provide an opportunity for the child to work independently and develop self discipline
4. Provide an opportunity for your child to use non school resources (parents, library, environment, media, and internet)
5. Provide a means by which you, as parents, can see the sort of work which your child is doing in school, and this in turn will enable you to assess their progress
6. Engage you as partners in your child's education in an active way and so become involved in your child's learning.
Homework should:
1. Be suited to the capabilities of pupils, your child should be able to attempt homework within a reasonable time frame
2. Have a purpose
3. Be properly explained to children in advance
4. Be checked by the teacher
5. Be supervised/checked/signed off by parents
6. Be consistent with policy applying throughout the school. How much homework should my child expect?
The amount of homework in each class and the time to be allocated to it are key features of the school's homework policy. As a parent you need to be fully familiar with this policy, so as to manage the time allocated at home for your child.

In general the following guidelines apply:
Junior/ Senior infants: No formal homework but perhaps some drawing, preliminary reading, matching shapes and pictures or listening to stories read by parents
First/ Second class: 20-30 minutes
Third/ Fourth class: 30-40 minutes
Fifth/ Sixth class: 40-60 minutes
Normally schools do not give homework at weekends.
It must be stressed that these are suggested target times. In practice, the time taken will depend on the individual child.
How can parents help?
You should set aside a time each day for homework taking into account other needs such as recreation and family circumstances. As a parent, you have a really important role to play in: Encouraging your child's work Observing their work Ensuring that your child has a quiet environment to work in. The television or other distractions should not be taking place during the time allocated to homework Making sure your child has all the necessary equipment e.g. pens, pencils, eraser, sharpener etc. Being nearby in case of questions; but don't take over Acknowledging and respecting effort, honesty and enthusiasm. By doing this, your child will progress and develop at their own pace, in a safe and relaxed environment Being consistent. Discuss, monitor, check and sign homework every night. Your child will make mistakes. Encourage them to find and correct their own mistakes. Children must be able to accept that making mistakes is part of the learning process and it is important that they can go back and try a different method or approach. What should I do if there is a problem with my child's homework? If you notice a problem with your child's homework, whether they have difficulty with a particular aspect of it, they can't complete it in the time set, or any other problem you should alert your child's teacher as soon as possible. Write a note in their homework notebook if they have one or make an appointment to speak to the teacher. If there is a change in home circumstances, such as a new baby, illness of a parent or any other reason, you should inform your child's teacher. This will assist both the teacher and your child.


Bullying can be defined as repeated verbal, psychological or physical aggression conducted by an individual or group against others. It is behaviour which is intentionally aggravating and intimidating, and occurs mainly in social environments such as schools, clubs and other organisations working with children. It includes behaviours such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting or extortion behaviour by one or more children against a victim. While the more extreme forms of bullying would be regarded as physical or emotional abuse and are reportable to health board or An Garda Síochána, dealing with bullying behaviour is normally the responsibility of the school or organisation where it is taking place. Training for teachers and staff/volunteers in organisations working with children should include modules on raising awareness and developing techniques for dealing with bullying.

From & Issued - Department of Health and Children in 1999

Children First: National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (PDF)

Department of Education & Skills
Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post-Primary Schools

Department of Education & Skills  Anti -Bullying Policy (as incorporated into the Code of Behaviour)

 Anti Bullying Information
National Parent Council Post Primary recommends the DVD titled
“SILENT WITNESSES” available from
The Anti – Bullying Centre,
School of Education,
Room 4049
Arts Building,
Trinity College, Dublin 2
Tel. +353 (0)1 6082573 /  6083488

This information was sourced from

Starting School:Useful hints and tips for parents

Sometimes a child’s first day in school is more nerve wracking for the parent than for the child. It is a time of great change for parents and children. It is a time of letting go for both parent and child.
To enable you and your child make the transition from home to school easier it is useful to:
  • Talk to your child about the children they know who are starting school with them. Have conversations about friends. Tell them about your friends. Talk to them about making friends and the activities they might do in school with their friends. It is a good idea for your child to play with some of their new friends before they start school.
  • Reassure your child that you, or whoever you have agreed, will be there to pick them up when school finishes. It is really important that your child is happy with whoever it is that will be delivering or collecting them from school. It is also crucial that your child arrives for school on time and that you are there on time to collect your child when school finishes.
  • Let your child use their new school bag and lunch box before the first day in school. This enables the child get used to opening and closing them so that they are not difficult to use on their first day at school.
  • It is a good idea to let your child wear or try on their new school coat and shoes prior to starting school as this gets them used to putting them on and taking them off themselves.  Put their name inside their coat and school bag and show them how they can identify their own belongings.


  • It is a good idea to teach your child their full name, address, and home phone number.
  • Let your child know what contact name you have given to the school if you are not available.


  • Children just want to be the same and fit in with other children so the more your child can do for themselves the easier their time away from you will be.
  • Make arrangements to meet with someone for a cup of coffee and a chat on the first day. It’s not only children who get upset and it is always a good idea to have someone to meet just in case.


  • Get involved in your school if you can. Some schools ask parents to help out with activities.
  • Most schools have a Parent Association. Being on the Parent Association committee is a great way of finding out how the school is run, who is who in the school and being involved in your child’s school life. 

Most of all enjoy this stage of development with your child. It’s a special time for parents and children and a time of new beginnings.


The Primary School Curriculum was developed by the NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment) and launched in 1999. The process of revising the curriculum began with the work of the Review Body on the Primary Curriculum, which published its report (The Quinlan Report) in 1990. The report constituted a detailed appraisal of the 1971 curriculum and provided the basis for the redesign and restructuring that is presented in this curriculum (Introduction, p.2).


National Schools/Primary Schools
The national school system was established in 1831. The national schools were originally meant to be mixed religion or multi-denominational as we would describe them today. In practice, that did not happen and virtually all national schools are under the management of one church.

There was no legislation governing how they were to be run. Circulars and rules issued from the relevant department instead. The Rules for National Schools reflect the fact that they are largely denominational schools.

The Education Act, 1998 does not use the term "national school" and instead uses "primary" school. The name is not particularly significant except that national school clearly denotes that the school is state aided while a primary school can be private or state aided. Most relevant schools actually describe themselves as "national" schools. The following initials are frequently used to describe schools

NS - National School

GNS - Girls National School

BNS - Boys National School

SN - Scoil Naisiunta (appears before the name rather than after it)

Some schools use the Irish form of their name but that does not necessarily mean that they teach through the medium of Irish. Gaelscoileanna are national schools that do teach through Irish and they usually, but not invariably, include Gaelscoil in their title. There are about 183 Gaelscoils around Ireland.

Multi-denominational schools sometimes include that description in their title. Many also have the description of 'Educate Together' in their title. The Educate Together schools are operated by the member associations of Educate Together and are fully recognised by the Irish Department of Education and Science and work under the same regulations and funding structures as other national schools. There are around 52 Educate Together schools, approximately half of which are in Dublin.

Some national schools are run by religious orders - they are sometimes called convent or monasteryschools. They operate under the same rules as other national schools except for some special rules relating to the appointment of principals and the choice of teacher representatives on the Board of Management.

There is a number of special schools - including residential care units and schools for children with disabilities, young offenders, children at risk, children with specific learning disabilities and emotionally disturbed children.

Private Primary Schools
Private primary schools receive no state support nor are they subject to state control in relation to curriculum, school day, school year, etc. There is a limited element of state assessment of private schools because of the requirement that the state ensure that children receive a certain minimum education. There are around 45 such schools in Ireland.

Teachers in private primary schools are not paid by the state and there are no requirements about their qualifications. Many private primary schools do provide the basic curriculum as set out for national schools but they are not obliged to do so.

Choosing a School

Parents have a constitutional right to choose the kind of school to which they want to send their children and have a right to educate them at home if they wish.

There is no absolute requirement on schools to admit any particular student. Schools are required to publish their admissions policy.

Schools are subject to equal status legislation and to the constitutional requirements on religion.

Admissions Policy

All national schools are obliged to publish a school plan that describes their ethos, admissions policy and objectives.

The admissions policy of most national schools is fairly straightforward - they give priority to children from their local area, which, for denominational schools, is usually the local parish. Admissions problems can arise in expanding areas where the school cannot cope with extra numbers. Schools run by the minority religions usually give priority to their co-religionists. The admissions policy for multi-denominational schools and gaelscoileanna is decided by each school. If a school refuses to enrol your child you may appeal the decision to the school's board of management. If this does not succeed you may appeal the decision to the Department of Education and Science (DES).... further information

When choosing a primary school, parents may also need to know about the admissions policies of secondary schools. Some secondary schools give priority to the students from certain primary schools.

Source Irish Government Website, Oasis


Information on this page was sourced from the following websites which are accessible from our links page


Ballynacally podcasting icon

Our podcast section contains some interesting interviews of modern challenges and issues facing the parents of school children.
(broadband recommended)

podcast icon Learning 0 to 6

podcast icon Standardised Test 1

podcast iconStandardised Test 2

podcast icon Assessment for learning

podcast icon The value of Play

podcast icon Developing Play

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Bullying video

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Learning DVD