News Category: Principal’s News

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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

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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:

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Latest Updates

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you are aware the plan to re-open Special Schools on Thursday 21st January has now been reversed by the Department of Education & Skills.

Holy Family will therefore not re-open tomorrow.

We very much look forward to our return and fully understand the challenges for our pupils learning from home, and for you their parents in support, at this very challenging time.

Please continue to reach out to your son or daughters’ teachers and SNAs for support.

Please also continue to log on to our website for news and updates.

Stay safe & best regards,


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Government Announcement all Special Schools to reopen on 21st of January

Following the government announcement that all special schools are to reopen from Thursday 21st of January, we will contact parents to share plans for the return to school as soon as available. Online teaching & learning will continue as planned next Monday.

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Update from Ministers Foley & Madigan on planning for the re-opening of special school.

Dear Parents & Guardians,

I hope this email finds you well.  It is wonderful to see very active and positive interaction on Google Classroom & Seesaw between the teachers, pupils & parents so far this week. Please continue to encourage your son or daughter to engage with online learning, assignments, projects & activities.

Please see link below to statement from Ministers Foley & Madigan on planning for the re-opening of special school.

I will be in contact when more information is available and with full details of any plan to re-open our school.

In the interim, Holy Family will continue to ensure that pupil’s learning and well-being is maintained throughout the current school closure. 

Please remember, there is no pressure on any pupil to complete all activities and work set by the class teacher. We encourage all families to complete only what they can manage in their given situation.

I hope you and all your family continue to keep safe and well at this time. 

Kind Regards,


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Back to School – Online

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As the Department of Education and Skills has reversed it’s decision to reopen Special Schools on Monday 11th January, we are now preparing for online teaching and learning.

I realise that it is very challenging for our pupils to learn from home and for you to support them. Having learned a lot from the previous experience and greatly improved our technology provision and skills, I believe that online teaching and learning has the potential to be much more effective this time. Our teachers are fully committed  to this goal and will be ready to engage with pupils from early next week.

I ask that you do all possible to maximise the engagement of your son or daughter. Please treat Monday to Friday each week as full school days.

Post Primary:

  1. Our pupils and most especially those in exam years (6A, 6B, 6C, 6D 5A,5B & 3A/B should be ready to learn from 9am each day. All post primary pupils have Chromebooks, Gmail accounts and have developed the necessary skills to communicate directly with their teachers.

If access to a good internet connection is a problem in your area you should communicate this without delay so that teachers can plan accordingly.

  1. Unless otherwise agreed, all pupils should ONLY contact their teachers using their Google email accounts and any live teaching or interactions will be via Google meets. This is a secure system. Parents are expected to take responsibility for the supervision of their son or daughter  while online. Any parent who has NOT already given permission for this engagement will be asked to do so.
  1. Post Primary Pupils should follow their daily school timetable to engage with Teachers. Subject teachers will link in with students as per the timetable to either provide live classes or to communicate work to be completed. Please note NOT all classes will be live. Priority will be given to examination classes.
  1. Teachers will record attendance and engagement and expect a prompt response to emails and work assigned. Class teachers will follow up with parents whose son or daughter is not engaging. If you son or daughter is unwell or for any reason cannot engage online please email Eugene Doyle, Deputy Principal
  1. Mock examinations: mock examinations have been re-scheduled to the week beginning Monday 22nd February 2021.
  1. Respectful behaviour is expected at all times. Our school code of Conduct applies during online engagement. Parents must take responsibility for their son or daughter’s online behaviour. Regretfully, there was evidence of inappropriate messaging and hurtful comments being posted by pupils during the last school closure
  1. SNAs will also be available to provide support. This support may be to support the subject teacher during Live classes, assist pupils to complete assignments or for a general check in and well being support.


Primary teachers will continue to use email and SEESAW to communicate with parents and pupils. Class teachers will create individual learning packs for each pupil.

Chromebooks have been ordered and will be posted directly to senior primary pupils whose teachers have confirmed that use of this technology will support their learning. SNAs will also provide support.

Respectful behaviour is expected at all times. Our school code of Conduct applies during online engagement. Parents must take responsibility for their son or daughter’s online behaviour. Regretfully, there was evidence of inappropriate messaging and hurtful comments being posted by primary pupils during the last school closure

Early Intervention:

Teachers will email parents to outline tasks and activities for the children that will assist them to refresh and build on their language and communication skills programme. SNAs will also provide support.

Online teaching and Learning is challenging for all. We are here to support you.

Please remember; our school staff also have families to care for and support so unless very urgent, communication should take place during school working hours.

Please check the News Section of  the Website  daily for updates and suggestions for learning activities and Well Being support.

Please stay at home and stay safe.

Kindest regards,


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Resort to Online Learning

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has confirmed that all schools including schools with children with special needs will regrettably remain closed to students from Monday the 11th of January. 

The Government decision, taken on the 6th of January, on foot of public health advice to reduce mobility in the community, was to close schools for the vast majority of students for a period of three weeks. While not ideal, this decision was absolutely the correct one and very necessary to ensure the health and safety of our school community.

Holy Family School will commence Online Learning on Monday the 11th of January 2021.  Our Principal Eimear O’ Rourke will email parents full details of our online learning plan. This will also be posted in the News section of our Website.

If students need to collect books or chrome books for online learning please contact

In the meantime, please Stay at Home and Stay Safe.

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Back to School Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Best wishes for the New Year. I hope this message finds you and your families safe and well.
As most of you know, the government has taken the decision to re-open special schools, including Holy Family School for the Deaf, from next Monday 11th January.

CIDP have confirmed that the boarding residences will also re-open inline with this decision.

As soon as we hear more information, it will be passed on to you. As of now, we have had no direct contact from the Department of Education. 

I will be in further contact with you all during this week. Please continue to check your emails, our website and our twitter feed for updates.

Stay safe and well.

Kind Regards,
Ms. O’Rourke