P6/7 Class Parents

Dear P6/7 Parent/Guardian,

In light of Storm Barra, which is expected to cause high winds and heavy rain tomorrow, we have decided to postpone P6/7 walking tour of Bessbrook. It will be rescheduled for a later date.

Last week was a very busy one… we hope you enjoy some photos of the highlights!

Mandarin with Miss Shary… online stretching and relaxation exercises with Joanne… and Design and Technology challenges with Margaret from Sentinus.

Thank-you to all the facilitators, our P6/7 pupils were delighted with the opportunities to have  such interesting and fun experiences.

Operation Encompass

Dear Parent/Carer,

I writing to update you about an important project that our school is going to be involved in. We have been given the opportunity to take part in a pilot project of ‘Operation Encompass’. We are one of around 76 schools taking part in the Newry, Mourne and Down area. Operation Encompass is a partnership between Police and Schools and is aimed at supporting children who are victims of domestic violence.

Operation Encompass started in England ten years ago and is now coming to Northern Ireland. It is very simple idea, but one that will help us to support and protect vulnerable children. When the Police attend an incident of domestic violence where one of our pupils is present, they will inform the school’s designated teacher for child protection at the start of the next school day. This information is shared in strict confidence and school staff are only told on a need to know basis.  

Following any notification from the police, our staff will provide immediate support to any child who has been the victim of domestic abuse. We know that when children do witness domestic abuse at home, this is a highly traumatic experience for them. By taking part in Operation Encompass we can provide tailored and compassionate support to our pupils, in line with our ethos. This builds on our existing commitment to child safeguarding.

Should you wish to find out more information, please contact the school’s Designated Teacher for Child Protection [Miss Mulkerns] or alternatively you can read more about Operation Encompass at www.operationencompass.org.

Signed: P Mc Donnell

Head Teacher


Poverty Support Fund

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am writing to inform you of the “Poverty Support Fund” administered through the Bolster Community Group. This fund is available to meet the needs of vulnerable families in our community and referral for assistance can be made through school. Please see further information below and if you wish to apply for support please don’t hesitate to make contact for online referral.

P Mc Donnell


The Poverty Support Fund is accessible to all Family Support Hub partner agencies, trusted partners and health professionals and  provides a responsive and flexible pathway for meeting identified needs across Newry and Mourne.

The Poverty Support Fund aims to provide support to meet the needs of the most vulnerable families struggling with poverty throughout Newry Mourne and Down area.

Support will be tailored to family circumstances based on current pressures, to include provision of essential items, furniture or white goods or address food, fuel and social, connectivity and digital poverty and will supplement existing outward referrals for financial advice, food banks or other community-based support.

Referral pathway: Access to the fund is either:

  • Through a referral to the Family Support Hub or by completing an online “Request for Help Form” (available through school).
  • Bolster Community will carry out a triage visit or call once referral form is received and we ask trusted partners who are making the referral to assess the need beforehand.


  • Families must be identified by a trusted partner as being financially in need due to the impact of covid, this may be because of furlough, debt accrued during covid, need for home-schooling equipment, job loss, increased costs etc, when making the referral to fund referrers should highlight how Covid has caused the financial pressure.
  • Bolster Community can only support families within the old Newry and Mourne Council area.
  • Families should not be receiving support from any other organisation for the same thing they are requesting from us e.g. if they have requested oil from SVP then we won’t be able to help with oil but could perhaps offer electric top up.
  • Families cannot self-refer and referrer should have consent from them.

Costs Covered:

• Financial – to those on low income and at risk due to financial stress.

• Food – access to food (whether due to cost or availability) for those most in need.

• Connectivity – to those living alone or in rural and border areas that are likely to experience greater challenges in accessing services.



Dear Parent/Guardian,

A reminder that Parent Teacher Meetings are running this week, Monday to Thursday each day beginning at 2 pm. To facilitate, all children may be collected from dinner times on wards, there are no buses for homeward journeys. We will ensure that “family groups” are gathered to leave via one exit, this is via the entry/exit point of the youngest family member. We ask everyone to be mindful of “gathering” at gates at collection times.

Waiting areas into Classrooms are small spaces and to keep numbers waiting down to a minimum, we ask Parents to keep to allocated time slots and 1 Parent/child at meetings. Please wear face masks and use the sanitiser stations. If you or anyone in your household is displaying any Covid  symptoms, please do not attend, an alternative time can be arranged when everyone is well. 

Thank you for your co-operation,

P Mc Donnell

Walking Tour of Newry

Walking Tour of Newry

Our P6 Group from our P6/7 Class had a great morning finding out more about the history of Newry City with local guide Des Murphy on Friday. Have you ever wondered: Why is “Hill Street” without a hill? Why was the wrong Cathedral built in Newry? Our P6 Group found out the answers to these and more questions on Friday and were “buzzing” with information when they arrived back to school. Thank you to Des Murphy for a great morning out. P6 look forward to using all their new found knowledge in their work back in the classroom.

Catholic Schools’ Week – Choir

We were delighted and honoured to be asked by Fr. Declan to provide music for a recording for Catholic Schools’ Week in February next. Our P6/7 class rose to the challenge and yesterday they travelled to Portadown for their recording.  They sang beautifully and performed their choreographed actions perfectly, in addition their politeness and good manners were commented on by all those they met.

A big thank you to Mrs Mc Cann for preparing them so well and for providing the piano accompaniment and an even BIGGER WELL DONE to the boys and girls of our P6/7 class. Everyone at St. Mary’s is very proud of you and we are all looking forward to seeing your performance in February! 👏

COVID 19- Notice to Parents/Guardians

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I write to inform you that the managing of COVID 19 infections is becoming more challenging within our school community. We have been attempting to move towards a more normal school experience for everyone and are now, no doubt, like yourselves frustrated by the persistence of the virus and the demands it places on us. We are extremely thankful for the high level of co-operation that has prevailed between home and school to date and would hope in this same spirit you can continue to keep us abreast of illnesses and strive to keep sick children at home.

Thank you,

P Mc Donnell