News Category: Principal’s News

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Lions visit to Holy Family School

We were delighted to welcome our friends Frank O Donoghue and Werner Schwanberg and guests from Lions Ireland to our school this week. They were escorted around the primary school by our 6th class students Ava and Ethan to check out all our new technology equipment. They got to see how much they have helped to advance the digital status and technology in our school & they got to see the positive impact of digital learning with our students. We were delighted to see our students confidently presenting to the visitors all of the brilliant learning they have done in school using their Chromebooks. Our special visitors from Lions Ireland were presented with a beautiful personalised, handmade, framed butterfly artwork by our Junior Class to say thank you. On the frame, it has the quote ‘Thank you for helping me spread my wings with my education. We also presented Ger Cashman who walked ‘St. Declan’s Way’ 120km from Cashel to Ardmore with a beautiful engraved wooden plaque created by Darren Flynn.
Thank you Lions Ireland for helping our school.

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HFSD Going Digital

Thank you to Trinity Access for donating 10 new Chromebooks to our school. Here is a photo of some of our primary students enjoying using their Chromebook for teaching and learning in school. We are nearly at our goal to have every student and teacher in HFSD in the school with their own Chromebook.
We are delighted to say this week we have submitted our application for the Digital School of Distinction. This could not have been possible without the generous support of Lions Ireland who has donated over 130 Chromebooks, 20 visualisers and one Clevertouch screen, and other organizations such as Trinity Access 21 who has donated 10 Chromebooks. Digital competence and confidence are crucial in this 21st century for the future success of our deaf pupils.

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Message from Principal Eimear O’Rourke

Message from Principal Eimear O’Rourke in relation to the Campaign to prevent the loss of on-site Speech & Language Therapy.

I am pleased to report very good news! The HSE has confirmed in writing that a speech and language therapist will be assigned from the Cabra/Grangegorman CDNT (Children’s Disability Network Team) to work directly on-site with all children in the Holy Family School during the school day and term time. The HSE also stated that the medium to longer-term goal is to support the pupils with further therapeutic interventions (such as Occupational Therapy OT & Psychology) from the CDNT Interdisciplinary team.

I am also delighted to report that Deirdre Cunningham will continue as our Speech and Language Therapist. We greatly value Deirdre’s commitment to Holy Family and her highly expert support for our pupils, staff and parents/guardians.

I would sincerely like to thank everyone who supported this successful campaign. Special thanks are due to our parents/guardians who wrote many, many letters to the HSE, political representatives and signed and shared the petition. This greatly helped to win hearts and minds and to especially convince Minister Anne Rabbitte of the impact the loss on site SLT would have on our pupils. Grateful thanks to parents Daire Lyons, Siobhan Corcoran & Colin Maher who willing spoke to the media on the issue.

Sincere thanks to our local Senator Marie Sherlock, who worked tirelessly in support of our cause and the political representatives who took the time to advocate on our behalf to the HSE and the relevant ministers.

We now look forward to working with our local CDNT, HSE to ensure that our pupils receive all the additional supports necessary to enable them to reach their full potential.

Message from Principal Eimear O’Rourke in ISL below.

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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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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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Online Class Rules

Online Class Rules in ISL

Online Class Rules

Online  Class Rules  


  • You must email teachers if you are going to miss their class before the class begins.  
  • Be on time for class.  
  • An attendance record will be kept and is given to Ms. O’Rourke and Mr. Doyle. 
  • Only the class, the teacher and an SNA can participate in the class.    


  • Quiet – mute your microphone unless you are talking  
  • Clear/blur background only and don’t change the background during class.  
  • Visible – Turn your camera on to help with communication  
  • You should be sitting at a table  


  • No playacting – no messing 
  • Ask permission to eat during class   
  • Do not wear sunglasses or PJs   
  • Follow the same rules as you do when you are in class.

To download a copy of the online class rules, click on the link below.

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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