Maths Week Ireland

Maths Week Ireland

The pupils of St. Mary’s are celebrating Maths Week Ireland by participating in lots of online activities and lessons both inside and outside of the classroom. On Friday 21st October, to conclude Maths Week there will be a Maths-themed non-uniform day for staff and pupils. We are looking forward to lots of creative and fun ideas with prizes to be won for the most inventive outfits!


Addressing Issues with “Free School Meals” Applications

Dear Parents

I wish to advise you that the processing of free school meals applications within the Education Authority is proving to be a very slow and cumbersome process for many.

It is imperative for the school and for you that this situation is resolved immediately. Both School’s funding and Parents’ entitlement to free school meals are being compromised.

At this point I would advise any of you who are experiencing difficulties to make contact with your elected representatives to encourage a speedy resolution to this situation.

Elected Representatives for the Slieve Gullion area are listed below with contact details

Thank you,

PMcDonnell (Principal)


Byrne, Pete

  • Party:SDLP
  • Email:Byrne, Pete
  • Tel:028 3086 8491 / 00353 8790 00141

Larkin, Mickey

Magennis, Oonagh

Ó Muirí, Barra

Taylor, David

Declan Murphy

  • Party:Sinn Féin
  • Email:Declan Murphy
  • Tel:028 3083 9669/ 00353 8726 57265


  • Party:Sinn Féin
  • Email:Aoife Finnegan
  • Tel:028 3086 1948 / 00353 8711 41388


School Meals + Summer Food Payments

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Families who received free school meals during this school year, 2021/22, are entitled to a Summer Food Payment over the summer holidays. The first of two payments will be made into bank accounts on 8th July. If the EA do not hold bank account details for you a cheque will be sent from the EA on the 8th of July.

Please be advised that families receiving the holiday food payment still need to apply for Free School Meal and Uniform Grant for school year beginning in September 2022. The link below will take you to the EA website where you will find more information.

🎁 Presentation 🎁

🎁 Presentation 🎁

We were delighted to welcome Lillian our cook, back to St. Mary’s on Friday morning for her last day of employment with the EA. Lillian has worked in a number of schools across the Newry area over her career, but latterly here in St Mary’s. Pupils and Staff presented Lillian with flowers and a gift in thanks for all the delicious meals she lovingly prepapred at St. Mary’s.

The Pupils, Staff, Board of Govenors and wider school community thank Lillian for all her work, wish her a continual return to full health and hope the future is full of exciting and fun times in her retirement.


“Nut Free” School Declarations

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Please see below part transcript of a letter received from the Head of Service- EA Catering re- school meals and nut allergens.

Dear Principal,

It has come to the notice of Environmental Health colleagues that a number of schools are issuing statements that they are “nut free”, in an effort to control risk for those pupils affected. Although the school catering service does not use nuts or products containing nuts in any recipes, we cannot claim to be nut free. 

Various products are used in recipies that do not contain nuts or nut derivatives, however the food packaging on thes products include “may contain” or “produced in a factory where allergens are present” statements. This is called precautionary allergen labelling (PAL) Precautionary allergen labelling checklist, Food Standards Agency. To help consumers make safe and informed choices, food businesses may voluntarily provide this information about the unintentional presence of allergens.

The catering service procure a high volume of food items from various suppliers. Frequent substitutions and product reformulation create the task of removing items with PAL from the kitchen extremely difficult. To ban all of these would also restrict the foods that could be offered, potentially affecting the legal requirement to meet nutrional standards for school lunches for all other pupils who avail of these, particularly pupils entitled to a free school meal.

Allergy UK do not recommend banning nuts at all, as it is a very difficult guarantee to make and could potentially cause a greater risk by creating a false sense of security.

The catering service continue to provide meals for all special dietrary requirements including pupils with nut allergies. The following guidance is available to support schools in relation to special dietary requirements of pupils.

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen Briggs- Head of Service- EA Catering

Free School Meals- Easter Break Payment

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Families entitled to Free School Meals will receive a payment from EA to support meals during the Easter break. This will be paid to your bank account (if details are available) or by cheque. For further information please contact the EA Helpdesk at the number below or check out their website at the web address given.

📞 Helpdesk: 02890 418044 (Mon- Fri, 9am – 4:30pm)

➡️ FAQs:

Sponsored Walk

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Our “Hallowe’en Sponsored Walk” is due to take place this Friday, 22nd of October at 10:15 am, (weather permitting). Routes are as follows:

P4-P7: will follow our traditional route- crossing outside the school onto the river walk, then the Tullymacrieve Road, Cranny Road, Lough Road, Glendesha Road, Forkhill Road and back via the River Walk to school. (Approx. 2.8 miles)

P1- P3:  will walk to the Football Club and back (approx, 1.6 miles).

Nursery: Our Nursery Class will walk through the Main School Yard, to Ti Chulainn Car park, then onto the Bog Road and back to school via the main school gates to Nursery.

Parents/Guardians are cordially invited to participate, we ask that you fall in and walk at the back of your child’s Class or Year group. Our P7 Year group will lead us all off  and the event should last approximately 1 hour.

First dinner sitting is on return at 11:30 am. On the day dinner will be a favourite…”pizza and chips” This will be served as a “take away bag” to facilitate any Parent wishing to take their child/children home on completion of the walk. Please let the class teacher know in advance if you wish to do this and dinners can be bagged up and ready. 

We know that “sensible” footwear may not be in keeping with some of the costumes planned but, please be mindful of surface water on the roads and that footwear suitable for walking is necessary. Everyone should also bring a waterproof coat with a hood. 

Finally, we have a number of children with a particular fear of clowns, so please NO CLOWN COSTUMES. 

We hope everyone has fun and that we raise lots of money, this can be returned after the mid-term break.

Thank you in advance for your co-operation,

P Mc Donnell




Christmas Dinner

Tomorrow’s dinner is a traditional turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings! To help us all get into the festive mood, everyone, (whether dinner or lunch), is invited to wear their Christmas jumpers or dress in festive colours!

Pupils wishing to exchange Christmas Cards are permitted to do so within their own Class Bubbles.

We know and appreciate how much our pupils enjoy selecting and giving a gift to their teachers, classroom assistants and other members of staff, but in the current economic situation we know that many families are struggling financially and we ask therefore that the money which otherwise would be spent on presents be kept within the family for all those little extras and treats.