St Marnock’s NS Parents Association

Chairperson’s Address

AGM Wednesday 7 October 2015 8pm

The last school year was an extremely busy one from the PA point of view.  For the first time in many years the PA undertook to carry out some fundraising for the school.  I will go into these events in detail later in the presentation.

Our current committee has 23 members who are very positive and enthusiastic and all have the same goal in mind.  Our volunteer list on the other hand is very small for a school with a pupil family of nearly 500.  It is not fair that it is the same people who are called on and who volunteer themselves for all events.  This is something that we would like to improve on this coming school year.  This is also a great way to introduce yourself to the workings of the PA before you make the decision to join the actual committee.

Painting School Yards even before school stated back last year, members of the PA spent some evenings painting some fun and colourful murals in the two front play yards.  They brightened up the yards and not only do the children of the school enjoy them but also their younger siblings can be seen playing on them while waiting at home time.

Swimming As always this is very popular with pupils.  This is our main source of income and it helps fund all our other activities during the school year.  In conjunction with this we also ran the Swim Gala in March – this was open to all pupils of the school and compromised of a fun and a competitive side.  The PA sponsored the Rosettes for all pupils involved on the day.

Pupil Protector Insurance The PA ran this Insurance for the pupils again last year. It offers great value for money with your child covered 24/7 365 days of the year. This is also a source of income for the PA – albeit very minimal.

Book Fair We ran this again in conjunction with Scholastics. Yet again it proved very successful. Basically for every € that is spent on books the school gets 60c back to spend on books for the school.  Last year over €3K was raised and this was spent on New Oxford series of readers for the shared reading programme.

Christmas Cards Believe it or not we start preparing for the Christmas cards as early as mid-September.  This is always very popular with the children as they have something personal to send to their family and friends at Christmas. Any surplus monies on this are donated to charity and last year we handed a cheque in the region of €1K to SVP.

Cross Country Annual event between all the schools in the immediate area. PA provided marshals and water for the St Marnock’s children on the day.

Christmas School Decorations We are very fortunate to have some very talented parents involved on the PA.  We put their talents to good use last Christmas and with the help of some of the junior classes we were able to put up some lovely colourful and fun Christmas artwork.  The children loved being involved and it made the school feel very welcoming over the festive period.  The PA also sponsor the real Christmas tree that is put up outside every year and we decorate the other tree inside the school doors.

Credit Union Quiz Another annual event open to pupils of 4-6th classes. The PA helps out by preparing and running practice sessions for the children involved at their lunch break in the weeks running up to the quiz. 

Communion/Confirmation/Graduation Receptions Every year the PA hosts a tea/coffee reception for the children and their families involved in these masses.  This year we called on the parents of children in 1st and 5th classes to help out in the provision of some cakes/biscuits and also to help out on the day.  The PA also started a new tradition last year and we sponsored a beautiful cake for the children on the day.  This was greatly appreciated and quite yummy!

Sports Day  This is both the most anticipated and most dreaded day of the year. Only because it is so busy and needs to run with exact precision. It is an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of day.  While the school organises all the races the PA runs all the background matters ie chaperones for winners, recording of winners, coffee shop, oranges and water for all children, sponsoring rosettes for junior classes.  While it is one of the busiest days of the year it is still by far my most fav day.

Lunchtime Games  Last year Mr Fitzgerald stated lunchtime games initiative for the pupils of 3rd class and up. The games are strategic, team building and ‘get the brain thinking’ games.  The children love them and the PA assist by providing 2 parents every Tues and Thurs to sit in with the children involved either assisting/acting as referee or indeed playing the games along with the children.  The children and the parents have really enjoyed this initiative and it is quite amusing to see how competitive everyone, especially the parents involved can become!

Road Safety  This is an issue that keeps coming up. Last we had a few very near misses at the traffic lights with cars breaking red lights etc.  Following numerous complaints from parents and our two traffic wardens the PA undertook to write to our Fingal Co Council to highlight the issues at hand.  The letter was also sent to our local Government reps – Brian McDonagh and Dara O’Brien.  At the end of May myself and two other parents met with Brian and two reps from Fingal Co Council who were walked through our concerns. We have also met with the Senior Area Engineer who came out at the start of September and we are hopeful that something can and will be done to alleviate some of the more pressing concerns that we had.

Anti- Bullying Talk  Through our association with the National Parents council we were able to organise a talk on Anti-Bullying for parents.  We invited parents from St Helens NS to join us for this talk which was free to all.  It was very interesting and gave a good insight into how to spot, react and deal this delicate issue.

Fundraising As I mentioned earlier last year the PA undertook to carry out some fundraising for the school.  At the start we had so many ideas we didn’t know where to start but we finally settled on holding a Table Quiz.  The local Sands Hotel were kind enough to give us a room for free and our diligent PA members undertook to knock on all the local businesses doors to secure some great prizes for the quiz and a raffle we held on the night.  All our hard work was rewarded with the room full on the night and all had great fun.  We raised €2250 on the night.

Next we had a cake sale in the school. These are always great fun and the children love being involved. This year was no different and the atmosphere in the school on the morning was electric. The standard of baking would put GBBO to shame.  We raising €1200 on the day of which €200 was donated to a Nepal Charity.

Disco – Despite my own protests (!) we held an end of year disco for the children in June. This was a very busy evening but very well attended.  The children all seemed to love it.  We did learn a few lessons from it and when we do it again we will tweak it a little so that the first half of the disco for the junior children will not be so busy.  On the night we raised €1000.

Jersey Raffle On School sports day we raffled a signed Dublin jersey which raised €200.

On the last day of school we held a 2nd hand uniform sale.  Although not well attended we did raise €70 from it. We intend to hold this again but maybe after Christmas rather than at the end of the school year.

Bag Packing – Dunnes – this was held in July and it was very hard work over 2 days. We had great volunteers both adults and children who presented the school in a very good light. Over the two days we raising €2000.

Total Raised €6520

Spent on new sports equipment, laptops, IT, school yard games for the children.

Charity As a PA we receive numerous requests from people to do specific fundraising for charity.  We do not view this as our role so although we do some charity work we do it on a small scale.

Temple St Trick or Treat – raised €720

SVP Christmas Cards – €918 raised

SVP Selection Box and Food Appeal

Cake sale donation of €200 to Nepal

As you can see we are a very proactive committee. We have built up a good relationship with Mr Fitzgerald and his team and they are very open to any suggestions we may have.  They are also very good at approaching us with any ideas they have or things they need done.

We cannot be successful without the support and help of all parents in the school and we are extremely grateful for this especially over the last year when we started our fundraising drive.  We hope we can count on this goodwill continuing during the present school year.

We are all endeavouring to ensure our children have the best possible start in their education which will stand to them in their future lives.

Elizabeth Crilly