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School Notes 10/09/2020

Welcome to the New School Year: A big welcome back to all members of the school community at Ballymahon Vocational School. Over the last number of months, we have been working hard to put in place a robust process to deal with the new COVID-19 regulations to ensure the health and safety of our students, our staff and their families. Significant modifications have been implemented in our school community, with all year groups assigned a base classroom and the introduction of one hour classes in an effort to reduce movement around the school campus. Encouraging adherence to social distancing measures, more bands in subjects have been created as we endeavor to reduce class sizes and hand sanitizing stations have been installed outside every classroom and office throughout the school. Face masks will be mandatory for all students and all classrooms have been reconfigured to allow for maximum capacity, while adhering to the social distancing requirements. A range of minor works has been carried out in and around the school, while additional storage space has been provided for school staff. On a school-wide basis, our IT system has been enhanced with a whole-school internet network upgrade, coupled with the provision of a visualizer for every classroom to enrich teaching and learning. To alleviate pressure points around the school at busy periods, a one-way system has been implemented, with three entry points and three exit points identified for staff and student use. Additionally, break and lunch-times have been staggered to accommodate the needs of all students and in order to allow for greater capacity during break times, six marquees will be erected to facilitate students in this regard. The management and staff of Ballymahon Vocational School are looking forward to meeting all of our students again after such a period of prolonged absence and we reserve a special mention for our incoming First Year students, who we look forward to supporting as they grow and learn in the heart of our school community. Our intensive Induction Programme for our First Year students will continue in the weeks and months ahead and we acknowledge the anxiety and uncertainty of returning to school for all students, parents and staff whilst we adjust to living with COVID-19. We would like to remind members of our school that personal responsibility is key however, and that the health and safety of all members of the school community is paramount. During this time, we ask that all parents reinforce good hand hygiene, social distancing and good coughing/sneezing practices with their child/children as these key activities will help prevent the spread of the virus in our schools.

Outstanding Leaving Certificate Results: Congratulations to our Leaving Certificate students on an outstanding set of Leaving Certificate results – an exceptional group of students who have completed their second-level education in what was an exceptional year. We celebrated a very strong cohort of results at BVS, with one student who got over 600 points and 12% of our students receiving more than 500 points. Over a third of our students received more than 400 points with results particularly high in the sciences, in languages and in practical subjects. All Leaving Certificate students are reminded to contact the school for support at this time if necessary and to be mindful of the variety of emotions as one chapter comes to an end and another begins. If you wish to speak to our guidance counsellor or member of school management during the week, please phone the school to make the necessary arrangements. We commend the class of 2020 for their resilience, care for each other and perseverance during challenging times & we wish each and every one of you the very best of luck as your new path falls into place. Go n-éirí an t-ádh libh go léir!

First Year Induction Programme: Big thanks to the team at County Longford Youth Services who recently led the roll out of our First Year Induction Programme here at Ballymahon Vocational School. We are proud to work in conjunction with Longford Youth as we run this important programme, supporting our First Year students in their transition from primary to secondary school. This transition & transfer induction program orientates students to the expectations & operation of their new school, introduces them to the learning skills needed at second level & supports the social, emotional & personal aspects of transition. Thanks to Kate, Mark, Deborah and all the team at Longford Youth as we work together, building bridges & building resilience in our communities.

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