News Category: Principal’s News

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CIDP 175 Years Anniversary

All of our Students and Staff was invited to a special celebration of CIDP 175 years anniversary. Our students included their momemtoes and books of their experiences in school for the Time Capsule and they helped with the planting of two trees. We would like to thank CEO Tara McBreen, Manager Paul Ryder and everyone involved in organising today. The sun was shining and it was a wonderful celebration. We want to wish CIDP a very happy 175 years anniversary.

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Welcome Back to School

The school staff is all very much looking forward to welcoming all our pupils back to school for the 2021/2022 school year on Monday, 30th August.
Below is a letter from Principal Eimear O Rourke with all the Return to School information. Thanks to Sean Herlihy for translating this letter into ISL.

Letter from Principal Eimear O Rourke

Dear Parent or Guardian,

I hope you and your family are safe and well and enjoyed a lovely summer break. We look forward to welcoming your son or daughter back to school next week.

Please note the different return to school dates:

Monday 30th 1st Year and 6th Year post-primary pupils only

Tuesday 31st All other pupils primary and post-primary pupils

Early Intervention: Tuesday 31st unless a different date has been agreed with Co-ordinator Ger Lewis.

School Calendar 2921/22

A copy of the school calendar 2021/22 is attached.

School Transport

You will be contacted in late August (usually the week before the new term starts) by your child’s bus/taxi driver with details. Students who are travelling to school via public transport i.e. train or Bus Eireann intercity services will be issued with either a bus or train pass.

Please note it is parent’s responsibility to inform bus/taxi drivers of their son or daughter’s return to school date and if they are not availing of the service on any particular day due to illness, appointments etc.

A Safe Return

As per directives from the Department of Education, our current Covid protocols remain in place. Our Covid 19 Policy Statement and Response Plan will be updated for the current school year and published on our website.

Re-opening the school safely will require the continued co-operation of all members of our School Community – Board of Management, School Leadership, Staff, Parents, and Pupils.

General School Measures

  • Visitors to our school building will be limited to essential visits only and should be made by prior arrangement. 
  • Parents wishing to collect their son or daughter for an appointment should contact the office prior to arrival at the school. 
  • Sanitising stations will be available at school entry/exit points and in all classrooms.
  • School will be cleaned every day in line with public health recommendations.
  • Guidelines around social distancing of 2m between adults, hand hygiene and correct cough etiquette should be adhered to at all times.
  • Newsletters and updates will be shared with parents through emails, school mobile and the school websiteto reduce paper sharing between school and home.
  • All payments if possible should be made using bank transfer to avoid cash handling and potential spread of infection. Please phone the school office if you need assistance
  • We will continue to apply physical distancing in a practical and sensible way, recognising that the learning environment cannot be controlled in a way that is not effective for learning.
  • Face Masks : it is still mandatory for all staff and post primary level pupils to wear face coverings. Special schools have an exemption for some pupils who find this a difficulty. We will provide all staff and pupils with visors that are Deaf friendly and have the approval of the Deaf Community.
  • Face coverings worn on school transport must not be worn in school.

Arrival to School

Pupils travelling on school transport should remain in the car/bus until the school doors are open at 8.50 am (post Primary) and 9.00am (Primary and Early Intervention)

School Uniform

Students should attend in the required school uniform every day unless otherwise directed.

In the Classroom

  • Contact between class groups (bubbles) will be kept to a minimum.
  • Coats, phones etc. should be kept to a minimum and will be kept in pupils’ lockers to limit contact as much as possible.
  • Shared resources such as tablets, laptops, etc. will be cleaned after use.
  • Students MUST have their own materials for class as sharing of materials will not be permitted. Please ensure your son/daughter has adequate pens, pencils, ruler etc

School Lunches

Students MUST bring their own lunch to school. Please note there will be no facilities for heating food so please do not send in food that needs to be toasted /microwaved etc as these facilities will not be available. The school shop will be closed.

Voluntary Contributions

To meet ongoing school expenses, it is also necessary to ask for your continued support in the running costs of the school.

To cover the cost of Insurance, Art, Photocopying, Post & IT, Work Shops & Interpreting the following Parental Contributions Apply:

Early Intervention €85
Primary €90
Post Primary €100

For parents of two or more children, the cost per child is €80.

A letter regarding additional fees for post-primary pupils studying Home Economics, Woodwork, Metal Work, and Construction Studies and swimming fees for Primary pupils will be sent to you in due course.

Parents and guardians have the option of spreading costs by monthly standing order over the course of the year, to cover all subjects and school activities. For parents and guardians who avail of this option, and we confirm we will not look for any additional payments throughout the year, this includes the subject and swimming fees.  This applies to pupils in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th years. Transition Year may have additional costs that it is not possible to cover in this way.

School Attendance

As a parent, you must let the school know if your child is absent and the reason why. It is school policy that reasons must be given in writing.  You can use the school diary which has dedicated pages for your notes. The school will notify the National Educational Welfare Board if a child is absent without reason for 20 days or more or where the absence gives rise to concern.

If your child is sick or is absent for other good reasons, no action will be taken by the NEWB.  However, if there is concern about your child’s attendance at school or about the reasons given, you may be visited by an Educational Welfare Officer who will discuss your child’s education with you.  The Officer will work with you and take full account of the circumstances of the child and the family before deciding what further action is necessary to ensure that the child receives his/her entitlement to an education.

Further information concerning the new service and about school attendance matters generally can be obtained from the national Lo-Call Education Helpline (Telephone 1890 36 36 66) which is staffed by an Educational Welfare Officer.


Audiology support will continue to be provided to all students following all necessary safety measures. Please ensure that your son/daughter arrives at school with a working hearing aid/cochlear implant and other assistive technology (FM system) if applicable. Students should have spare hearing aid/cochlear implant batteries and be encouraged to change these themselves where possible. As always assistance will be provided to students when required. Spare batteries are available in school as usual at a cost of 50 cents per battery.



Please note procedures put in place will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and as updated advice is published by the Department of Education and Skills

See – Back to School ( for advice on the return to school Autumn 2021

Mobile Phones: The use of mobile phones is not permitted during the school day. For security, phones should be switched off and stored in the students’ locker or the school office before 9am. If pupils need to make a call during the school day, they can do so from the school office.

Well-being & Counselling

The well-being of all our pupils is central to our mission. Our School Counsellor Ms. Katrina Connolly is available on request on 01 8380058 if you need assistance in dealing with any concerns you might have in relation to your son or daughter.

 Class teachers and SNAs

 I would like to thank SNAs Mrs Philomena Massey and Ms Mary Brazil for their many years of dedicated service and wish them every happiness in their retirement. I also wish teacher Ms Patricia Henry every success as she leaves Holy Family for pastures new.  I would like to welcome Mr Raymond Watson and Mrs AnneMarie Guinane to the school SNA team. Two new teacher appointments for Early Intervention and Primary are currently pending.

I wish to thank you for entrusting Holy Family with the education of your son/daughter, as we continuing to work with you throughout their time with us in Holy Family.

An ISL translation of this letter will be available on our website shortly.

Enjoy the last few days of the school holidays.

Eimear O’Rourke M.Ed

Download Return to School Letter below

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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