News Category: Early Intervention

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Update with SLT

Great breakthough for our school today! The HSE have given a clear commitment that we will retain our on-site Speech & Language therapy service.

We look forward to receiving the letter of confirmation from senior HSE management.

A huge thank you to Minister Anne Rabbitte for all her support which has led to a positive outcome for our pupils, parents and staff.

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Redeployment of our Speech and Language Therapist is unfair and unjust.

Newspaper Article on losing our SLT

Thank you to Marie Sherlock for highlighting our concerns

Sunday Independent Article 21/03/2021

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Confirmed case of Covid

Dear Parent/Guardian,

A confirmed case of COVID-19 in Holy Family School for the Deaf has been notified to the Department of Public Health HSE.

A public health risk assessment has been undertaken and the staff and parents of any children deemed to be close contacts of the confirmed case have been contacted and advised accordingly. If you/your child is not  identified as a close contact , you/ your child does not need a test for Covid-19, they can continue to attend school, and no further actions are required at this time.

If you/your child develops any symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 infection (such as a cough, a fever, loss or change in sense of taste or smell), please do not send your child to school, contact your GP and begin restricting your child’s movements, as per public health advice.

Restricted movement means avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. It is also sometimes called ‘self-quarantine’.

Further information on COVID-19 is available at:

Kind regards,


ISL translation of confirmed case of covid in HFSD.

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Ireland Reads

On Thursday 25 February Holy Family School is inviting students, staff, family, friends and the deaf community of all ages to get reading.

Why? Because taking some time for yourself to relax and do the things you enjoy (like reading) is important to help look after your mental wellbeing.

Please pick up your favourite book and
2. Time yourself reading
3. Email your time and a selfie of you reading your book (optional)

Happy Reading!!!

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School Return to Full Capacity

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I hope this message finds you safe and well.

I am delighted to let you all know that we have been given the go ahead by the Department of Education and Skills to reopen the school to all our pupils in early intervention, primary & post primary from Monday next- 1st March.

This means we no longer have to operate alternative days of attendance for our pupils.

Please contact Ashling Donegan, Boarding Manager if you have any queries about your son or daughter’s return to five day Boarding.

Please inform your bus driver that your child will be attending school every day from next Monday.

Some Important Key dates:

Monday 8th March: Post Primary section closure (JC teacher training) Early Intervention & Primary will open as normal.

Tuesday 9th March to 16th  March Mock Examinations for all 6th Year Leaving Certificate & Leaving Certificate Applied pupils.

All pupils are expected to sit the mock examinations regardless of any final decision in relation to sitting the written paper or opting for calculated grades. We are waiting for clarification from the Department on these options.

Wednesday 17th March School holiday. We close for a half day on Tuesday 16th and reopen on Thursday 18th March

As all pupils return, we will need your continued cooperation to keep our school safe and open in three key areas:

•          Please do not send your child to school if they are ill, particularly if they are showing any of the signs of Covid-19. Please consult with your doctor immediately and follow their advice. Please know that you will be contacted if your child becomes ill at school and that you must collect your child.

There will be no exceptions to this.

If you haven’t already completed the ‘Return to School Declaration” (See attached) please forward it without delay.

Thank you for your hard work, patience & support on the days your child was learning from home and I look forward to welcoming  all our the pupils back to school on Monday.

I hope you and all your family continue to stay safe and well in the meantime.

Kind regards,


Information in ISL below

Letter from Dept of Education to parents

Safe School Advice for Parents

Click on the file below to download ‘Safe school advice for parents’

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Back to School

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I hope all is well and you enjoyed the midterm break.
All sections of our school will re-open on Monday 22nd February.
Please check the Pupil Attendance Schedule for the days your son or daughter will attend this week. 
It is your responsibility to inform the bus driver of your child’s schedule.
Please Do Not send your child to school if they are unwell or have symptoms of Covid 19, is a close contact, or awaiting a test result.
Please see the HSE guide below: 

When it is OK to send your child to school or childcare

If your child is not a close contact, it is usually OK to send them to school or childcare if they:

  • only have nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose or a sneeze
  • do not have a high temperature and are not taking any form of paracetamol or ibuprofen – this can hide a temperature
  • do not have a new cough
  • do not live with anyone who is unwell and may have COVID-19
  • have been told by a GP that it’s OK to go back to school or childcare if they have recently been unwell.
  • have got a negative COVID-19 test result and have not had symptoms for 48 hours
  • have not had diarrhoea for 48 hours
  • are being tested as part of a serial testing programme, but have no symptoms and are not a close contact. For example, some children in direct provision centres
  • are tested regularly because they are in a vulnerable group.

IF your child becomes unwell at school, you must be available to collect him or her. Department of Education and Skills Covid protocols do not allow a child who is unwell to return home on school or public transport.
Thank you for your support and we will continue our vigilance to keep our school community safe.
Kind regards,

Eimear O’Rourke M.Ed

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Return to School

Information on returning to school

We are continuing our preparations for the return to school this Thursday 11th February.

Thank you to parents & Guardians who have already emailed Eugene Doyle Deputy Principal /School Office to notify us of your decision regarding your son or daughter’s return to school.

If your son or daughter is not returning, please email this information to:

If he or she is returning please complete and email the attached document: Return to Educational Facility to

School Schedule for EI, Primary and Post Primary

Please see below the schedule for pupil attendance in each section of the school; Early Intervention, Primary & Post Primary up to the end of March 2021.

Please note: This schedule may change inline with public health advice and Department of Education and Skills directives.

We have devised a schedule which best meets the Department’s requirement of a 50% capacity each day and which maximizes socially distancing.  The post primary 6th Year exam classes 6A & 6B have been prioritized for daily attendance.

I know some pupils will be very disappointed that they are not scheduled to return this week. We very much regret this, but we have tried to be as fair as possible to all class groups. We look forward to their return after the mid term break.

Please do not send your son or daughter to school on the days they are not scheduled to attend. If this happens we will phone you to come to the school to collect your child.

We will share the schedule of pupil attendance with Bus Éireann,  but it  is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to inform the bus driver of the days your son or daughter will be attending school.

Early Intervention

  1. Early Intervention: very regretfully, due to staff illness, and health and safety concerns, Early Intervention will NOT reopen until Monday 22nd February 2021.

The Early Intervention teachers and SNAs will continue to support remote learning to the end of this week.


  1. Primary: Click below to download timetable

Post Primary

  1. Post Primary – Click below to download the timetable (final schedule of school attendance)

Schedule of School Attendance (Post Primary)

GROUP A: Class Groups: 1A/2B/3AB/3C/4A/5B/6D

GROUP B: Class Groups:  1B/2A/2C/TY/5A/6C

**6A & 6B will attend fulltime​​**

If you need any additional clarification or information please email

Please continue to check your email, text messages, and our website for updates.

Letter to parents in ISL

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Internet Safety for Kids and Families

Irish Deaf Society has organised an Internet Safety for Kids and Families talk for safer Internet Day. Please read more information below.

Message from Trend Micro Europe, information about delivering cyber safety education free into our community. As part of their global Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF) programme and to celebrate Safer Internet Day (Tuesday, Feb 9th) they will host a cyber safety night for parents on zoom.

The cyber safety talk will address many challenges facing parents/guardians everywhere and they would like to extend their invite to you, your colleagues, friends and family; especially those in our Deaf community. See poster attached and further details about the event:

It takes place on Safer Internet Night Tuesday, Feb 9th @8pm.
For Zoom Webinar Details please go to
Or join them on their Facebook Page where the event will be streamed Live @ TrendMicroEurope –

Topics covered include managing screen time, gaming, social networks and safety online.

They will have Q&A time for parents and fellow Trend Micro colleague, Simon Walsh will join as their guest.

Irish Sign Language Interpreter will be present (Ray Greene).

This is a free event and as always everyone is so very welcome to join them.

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Latest Updates – Phased Return to School

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I hope this email finds you and your families safe and well.

I email to confirm that Holy Family will re-open next Thursday 11th February.

Please see attached the Letter to Principals from the Department of Education & Skills which was sent to the schools yesterday evening. It  gives the basis for the reopening and references important documents to help schools prepare.

We are very busy studying this documentation from the Department of Education and will update our Covid 19 Response Plan to ensure to the maximum extent  possible, the health and safety of our pupils, staff and extended families.

I will be sharing this updated plan with you and sending you regular updates as we move closer to Thursday 11th. We will translate the key messages for parents and pupils into ISL and upload them to our website.

The Guidance on re-opening of Special Schools states that only 50% of pupils can attend school every day. I will be sending you our schedule for this attendance as early as possible next week.  It is likely, but not confirmed as yet, that our Early Intervention & Primary pupils will attend on alternative days  e.g. Monday/ Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday.  Pupils will attend for either 2 days or 3 days each week. All pupils will have the same time in school over a 2 week period. On the days the class group is at home online or remote teaching will continue to be provided.

Post Primary Classes are likely, but not as yet confirmed, to attend either for 3 days or two days in sequence every week i.e. Mon/Tues/Wed or Thursday/Friday. All pupils will have the same time in school over a two week period. There may be special provision for 6th year Exam pupils to attend on a fulltime basis. This is a model that best fits with Boarding.  On the days the class group is at home online or remote teaching will be provided.

We hope that all pupils can return to our school. I would be grateful if you would  let me know by Monday 8th February at the latest  if your son or daughter will not be returning to school. We need this information to finalize our planning and to notify our bus escorts.

Please email this information to for the attention of Deputy Principal Eugene Doyle.

If your son or daughter is not returning to school, we will endeavour to put supports in place for the days they are not attending live schooling. But this will very much depend on the availability of staff to provide this support. It will not be possible for the class teacher to teach students in school and at home at the same time.

School Transport

I understand that grants can be provided to parents/guardians if they wish to bring their own children to school rather than use school transport for this limited period until all schools reopen.

I hope to be able to give you more information and share links to School Transport to apply for this grant as soon as possible.


It is of HUGE IMPORTANCE that your son or daughter DOES NOT COME TO SCHOOL WHEN THEY ARE SICK. Please err on the side of caution if your child is unwell. I will be directing bus escorts not to allow any child who is unwell onto the school buses.

We MUST keep our school community safe!

Short videos for parents from public health doctors will be circulated to reaffirm the importance of keeping COVID-19 out of education facilities by keeping symptomatic children at home

Every Parent MUST complete and RETURN the attached declaration form.

It is also available at this link:

Parents of children returning in this phase will be asked by the school to complete the declaration form at the attached link: This form is to be used when children are returning to the setting after any absence.

You can email this completed form to or the child can return the form on his or her first day back to school.

If your son or daughter becomes unwell during the school day, You MUST be in a position to collect your son or daughter. Sick pupils are not allowed to travel on school or public transport.

I hope this information is helpful and I will continue to share our plans as they develop with you in the coming days.

Please also check our Website for updates.

Kindest regards,


Letter from Department of Education to Principals below

Return to Educational Facility Parental Declaration Form below

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Home School Hub in ISL

RTÉ is delighted to confirm that from Monday, February 1st  students and their families can view Home School Hub ISL from 10am to 12pm on RTÉjr, mirroring the Home School Hub delivery on RTÉ2. 

This new series of Home School Hub ISL will be signed by native ISL presenters Marcus, Jennifer and Tom and will broadcast at 10am Monday to Friday on RTÉjr, followed at 11am by repeat episodes from the first series of Home School Hub ISL.   

You can find RTÉjr on UPC /Virgin channel 600/ Saorview channel 7 and Sky channel 617. 

This means that from Monday, all children and families will have access to a virtual classroom from 10am-12 noon, either on RTÉ2 or RTÉ Jr and RTÉ Player.  

In addition to the broadcast on RTÉjr, the ISL Home School Hub will also stream ‘live’ on the RTÉ Player in its dedicated ISL area which you can find here: 

Home School Hub ISL will be available after broadcast here:

RTÉ 2 will continue to broadcast a number of ISL programmes for children during the week including Storytime, Body Brothers, Wild Kids and Drop Dead Weird. 

We know this is a challenging time for all parents and their children and we’re committed to supporting the deaf community in whatever way we can.  We’re organising a virtual visit by the News2Day team in February in the Holy Family School for The Deaf’s sixth class as well as an on line careers talk for the TY class. 

Finally, we’ve added a new feature in RTÉ Player on desktop computers to easily select ISL versions of programmes (where available). 

A switch to default to always play ISL (where available) regardless of Sign In: 

And the ability to see (and where applicable, select) if an episode has ISL before you play it: 

(Click the black ‘Irish Sign Language’ button to turn it red and then click ‘Watch Now’) 

All available ISL catch up programmes (Kids and all other genres) can be found here: