Mary Immaculate Secondary School

Christmas Newsletter

Christmas Newsletter

Mary Immaculate Secondary School Lisdoonvarna Newsletter December 2018

Reusable water bottles

The Board of Management has invested in an indoor water fountain suitable for refilling reusable water bottles. The Student Council and staff support the banning of single use plastic water bottles from the beginning of the new school term this January 2019. Why bother? The sad news is just 9% of plastic is successfully processed, which is why there is currently 245,000 metric tons of plastic floating on the surface of our oceans alone. Your single-use water bottle can take as long as 1,000 years to degrade and scientists now predict there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050!!! Do your bit and invest in a reusable bottle. We expect to have reusable bottles available from the school office.


Christmas Study update:

Following from email sent to Sixth and Third year parents there will be supervised study on Monday 31st December, Wednesday 2nd , Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th January 2019 from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm.

Mock Examinations

Junior and Leaving Certificate Mock Examinations will be held in the weeks prior to the midterm and are due to finish Friday 15th February. These Mock Examinations cost €100 per family and is now due. The school receives no support towards the cost of the Mock Examinations and the BOM subsidises the cost.

Parent/Teacher meetings:

All meetings are scheduled from 04:15 pm to 06:45 pm. School will finish 15mins earlier than usual on these days.

Fifth Year students Thursday 17th January 2019 First Year students Tuesday 29th January 2019

Second & Transition Year students Wednesday 6th March 2019

Term 2 - Monday 7th January to Friday 15th February. 5th February 2019 – School Closed – JCT CPD Day for Staff February Break – Monday 18th February to Friday 22nd February 2019 School - Monday 25th February to Friday 12th April (Monday 18th March School closed bank holiday)
Easter Break – Monday 15th April to Friday 26th April 2019.
Term 3 - Monday 29th April to Friday 31st May.

(Monday 6th May 2018 School closed bank holiday)

Transition Year Production

Transition year students are currently practising for their play “Grease”. This will be held on the 6th, 7th & 8th February in the Pavilion.
Shoe Box Appeal
Thanks to all students and their parents who contributed to this worthy cause.

School Sleepover

For yet another year the school participated in the “schoolmates sponsored sleep over night” in aid of Focus Ireland for the homeless in Ireland. This took place on Friday 19th October. Your support in sponsoring this worthy cause was greatly appreciated. €722 has been collected for Focus Ireland.

John Paul Awards

Students from Mary Immaculate were awarded John Paul Awards at a recent ceremony in St. Mary‘s
College Galway: Gold Medals awarded to Aimee Burke, Aoife Dowling and Emma Kelly. The awards were co-ordinated by Shane Slattery.

john paul awards.jpg

Remembrance Mass – Deceased past pupils and staff

The annual Remembrance Mass was celebrated by Fr. Conor Cunningham in the school hall on the Thursday 29th November. “They whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before, they are now wherever we are”. This very special liturgy, moving and uplifting, was deeply appreciated by so many. Students: Ellen King, Lucy King, Sally King, Susie King, Jane O'Loughlin, Laura Haugh, Aimee Burke, Caoimhe Burke, Caitlin Burke, Emma Kelly, Joanna Kelly, Aisling O’Donoghue, Sadhbh Blood, Kate Considine, Aoife Petty, Maeve McMahon, Sarah Nagle provided the music and singing which added greatly to the occasion.

SciFest Finals

Following the SciFest@College 2018 STEM fairs, 37 projects were selected to contest the National Final of SciFest, which was held in the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin. Amy Woods from Ballyvaughan was one of the finalists with her project entitled “Expansion rates of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) in North Clare”. She was presented with an excellence in STEM award at the event.

Lisdoonvarna Young Scientists

It is that time of year again. The young scientists from Mary Immaculate Secondary School are working away on their research projects. This year five entries from the school were selected to take party in the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition. The entries are:

Leah McNamara & Jessica O’Donohue: “Snail communities in three habitat types in the Burren”,
Dylan Egan: “LifeSaver – A New Automatic Lifejacket Inflation System”.

Sarah McNamara: “A tale of two soils – a comparative study of upland and lowland soils in the Burren”.

Róisín McNamara: “An examination of ash die back in the ash trees in an area of the Burren” and

Maeve McMahon: “Evaluation of the use of software as a tool to count populations of different shellfish on seashores”.

These students will be attending the competition in the RDS in Dublin from the 9th to the 12th January 2019.

Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition

In May of this year 3 students from Mary immaculate Secondary School were announced as one of six schools that are finalists in this years Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition. The three students are Amy Woods, Seamus MacNamara and Katie Thomas. Each of the finalists teams are given five Irish Angus calves to rear. The calves are being reared on the farm of Roger and Lorraine Woods near Ballyvaughan. Two weeks ago they were moved up to the winterage. They are doing well there as there is plenty of vegetation for them in the winterage. The three students visited all the primary schools in the area informing them about their project and getting the students involved in naming the calves. You can keep up to date on how the calves are progressing by visiting their website -

Poetry Aloud

Two students from Mary Immaculate Secondary School saw off competition from 1,700 entrants to reach the semi-final stage of the annual Poetry Aloud competition, organised by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and Poetry Ireland, in partnership with UCC. The semi-finals took place over three days, from Wednesday, 21st November to Friday, 23rd November, at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Ailbhe Haran (2nd Year) and Emily Cullinan (1st Year) competed alongside 125 participants from 82 schools nationwide in the semi-final. Speaking at the semi-final, Brid O’Sullivan of the NLI’s Learning and Outreach Department, said: “Poetry Aloud aims to celebrate the art of poetry speaking and nurture the talented second-level students who practice it. The Poetry Aloud 2018 final took place on Friday, 7th December at the National Library of Ireland.

poetry aloud.jpg

Business Studies Quiz

The Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) and NUI Galway organised a quiz for Second Level students recently in Galway. Two teams represented Mary Immaculate, organised by their Business Studies teacher Ms. Quinn. Team 1: Rachael Howley, Beth Clark, Shauna O’Kane and Jack Lynch and

Team 2: Aisling O’Donoghue, Teresa Collins, Rachel O’Keefe and Leah McNamara.

Comhairle na nÓg

Paddy Haugh, Niamh Harrington, Roisin Sheedy, Conor O'Neill, Jessica O'Donoghue, Holly Neylon, Christopher Kelly, Lucy King and Sean Casserly are taking part in Comhairle na nÓg. Comhairle na nÓg was set up to give children and young people (under the voting age of 18) a voice in the development of local services and policies.

AILO Workshop (All Ireland Linguistic Olympiad)
A number of 2nd & 3rd year students attended an AILO workshop in UL Limerick on Thursday 29th November.
Why participate?

Most importantly, because it’s great fun! AILO helps you to learn about the

languages of the world and you’ll enjoy solving the challenging puzzles.

Sharpen your problem-solving skills. This will benefit you whatever career path you take, but it will be particularly useful if you are thinking of a career in computing, linguistics, languages, engineering, maths or science or – better still

– a combination of these disciplines. Job prospects in these areas are among the strongest of all industries.

Participating in AILO is an excellent extra-curricular experience to add to your CV or university application form. It shows that you have a logical mind and an ability to think outside the box.

Representing your school at the national finals in Trinity College Dublin gives you the opportunity to pit your wits against problem solvers from all over Ireland and can be a great source of pride.

There’s also the little matter of the fantastic prizes on offer! In addition to the opportunity to win the title of AILO Individual Champion in the Junior and Senior categories, the four top performing students in the individual contest at the national finals of the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad are selected

to represent Ireland at the International Linguistics Olympiad.

Transition year news

Transition year Aptitude Tests

All TY students have completed their aptitude tests with their Guidance teacher Bernie Lynch. This will help inform their choosing of subjects to study for their Leaving Certificate. Subject choices will be made in early January 2019.

Irish Wheelchair Association Fundraiser

Transition year students took part in the 'Angels' fundraising campaign in conjunction with the Irish Wheelchair Association. This took place in Aldi Ennistymon on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th November 2018. Our students raised €1,262.38 and the students will take part in the IWA Wheelchair Basketball Competition in 2019. Eoin McNamara, Grace Lynch, Emma Haran, Orlaith Petty, Cliona Stout, Seán Casserly, Tommy Garrahy, Ruth Costello, Róisín McNamara, Róisín Roche, Laura Griffey, Latisha Carr McNamara, Jane Barrett, Norah O’Dwyer, Áine Connole, Lisa Shannon, Eve McMahon & Áine BrennanB

Transition Year Christmas Fair

Over the past few weeks, the TY students were very busy making Christmas decorations and cooking in preparation for their stall at the Christmas market which was held at the Pavilion in Lisdoonvarna.

Women in Politics:
On Friday 14th December, Ms. Griffin accompanied three TY students, Emma Vaughan, Emma Haran and Bláthnaid Marsh to a conference in Dublin commemorating 100 years since women in Ireland got the right to vote. The event included talks from numerous female Irish politicians, including Mary McAleese, Joan Burton and Frances Fitzgerald. They were invited as part of a competition where they had to make a 90 second video showing why politics needs women. In their video they interviewed people of different age groups, some of which are students and teachers in this school. The students are invited to show their video in the Dáil in January 2019.

Girls Football
Lisdoonvarna Secondary School Success
Senior ‘C’ Clare Post Primary Schools Ladies Football Final

Kildysart CC and Mary Immaculate Lisdoonvarna contested the Senior C Clare Post Primary School Ladies football final in Inagh GAA pitch on Thursday 8th November. Kildysart got off to a powerful start and were a goal and a few points ahead before Mary Immaculate registered their first point of the game. Slowly but surely Mary Immaculate made their comeback but were still 5 points down at half time.

Mary Immaculate pushed on early in the second half securing some vital scores to level the game. It was point for point for a while but Mary Immaculate put together many impressive passages of play and played with great determination from start to finish and proved decisive winners in the end on a score line of 4: 10 to 3: 8.

This senior team then went on to play Coláiste an Chraoibhaín Fermoy in a Munster 1/4 final on Monday 3rd December in Rhebogue GAA pitch Limerick. Again they were victorious on a score line of 8: 11 to 6: 3.

The panel includes: Aimee Burke, Sally King, Kate Considine, Amy Woods, Róisín McNamara, Emma Healy, Norah O Dwyer, Áine Connole, Róisín Roche, Laura Griffey, Sarah McNamara, Lisa Shannon, Latisha Carr MacNamara, Eva Harrington, Áine Hegarty, Shauna O'Kane, Beth Clarke, Grace Howard, Rachel Howley, Teresa Collins Sadhbh Blood, Rachel O'Keefe, Leah McNamara, Lynn McCormack, MaryKate O’Dwyer, April O’Callaghan and Julie Martin

Our Senior Girls will go on to play the Munster Semi-final in the New Year, details to be finalised.

Junior B Clare Post Primary Schools Ladies Football Final.

Our Junior girls played Rice College in Corofin emerging victorious and subsequently played the Clare schools final in Lahinch against Spanish Point.
However Spanish Point were a much stronger team on the day and won easily.

The panel includes:, Susie King, Aoibhínn McCormack, Róisín McNamara, Emma Healy, Norah O Dwyer, Áine Connole, Róisín Roche, Laura Griffey, Lisa Shannon, Latisha Carr MacNamara, Eva Harrington, Áine Hegarty, Shauna O'Kane, Beth Clarke, Grace Howard, Rachel Howley, Teresa Collins Sadhbh Blood, Rachel O'Keefe, Leah McNamara, Lynn McCormack, Mary Kate O’Dwyer, April O’Callaghan and Julie Martin,

A huge thank you to coaches Mark Mulqueeney, Emma Slattery and Parents: Paula King, Lorraine Woods, Deirdre O’Dwyer, Mary Connole, Helen Burke & Caroline
Considine. Helpers: Sean McNamara & Thomas Roche

Boys Football

In Munster football Mary Immaculate were beaten by Colaiste na Trócaire Rathkeale in what is a straight knockout competition. In Clare, they have beaten St. Michael’s Kilmihill after having had a bye in the opening round.

Munster under 16/half takes place on January 23 and in Clare they have drawn away to Ennis Community College. Training takes place for the Senior/u16half every Tuesday. The u15’s have been beaten in Munster by Castleisland Community College and are knocked out in Clare having lost to Ennistymon CBS.

First Years have taken part in 2 blitzes in Cahercon, Kildysart and in Milltown, getting plenty game time and development in the process.

Soccer News

Senior boys Vs Scariff Community School

This was the second game of the group stages and the boys stood up to the test of a strong Scariff outfit. We conceded an early goal and struggled to get a hold of the game early on. We kicked an equaliser just before half time. In the second half we conceded a goal early on again. The boys showed great strength in once again bringing the game back level and finishing 2-2.

Junior Boys Vs St Marys Newport

This was the first outing for the junior boys and the first time the group would have played together as a whole. We came in at half time with 2 goals to 1 with Macdara Garrihy scoring our goal. In the second half the boys plucked away at the opposition team but unfortunately we conceded a late goal with the game finishing 3-1.

Senior Boys Soccer Munster 1/4 Final V Killenaule

Early on in this game Killenaule’s striker created a piece of magic scoring an over the head bicycle kick from the edge of the box. Mary Immaculate then made an impression in the game with Shane Fitzpatrick scoring a fabulous self-made goal coming up the right flank and scoring with his left.

We conceded another goal shortly after leaving the score 3-1 in favour of Killenaule.

Mary Immaculate put on a great show of character and strength.

Cross Country Running

Congratulations to Jack Rush, 13th place out of 44 participants in the 2000m Minor Boys and to Poppy Slevin, 16th place out of 23 Junior Girls 2000m. Thanks to Gary Rush for accompanying the students.

Carol Service
On Friday 21st of December all students attended our carol service in Corpus Christi church at 11.30am. Helping to organise the carol service were: Ms. Dunne, Ms. O’Doherty, Ms. Hynes and Mr. Slattery. A large number of junior and senior students actively participated by way of readings, reflections, offertory prayers and gifts, and the singing of Christmas hymns and seasonal carols accompanied by staff and parents. It
was lovely to see many parents and parishioners attend.

carol service.jpg

Whole School Inspection Report December 2018

In September 2018 the Department of Education and Science carried out a Whole School Evaluation (WSE) on the Management Leadership and Learning in Mary Immaculate Secondary School Lisdoonvarna.

The WSE report finds that Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna “operates as an orderly, secure and healthy learning environment through the combined efforts of senior management, the ancillary staff, teachers, and the student body”.

The report goes on to say that ‘findings from parents and students questionnaires and focus group interaction show that students feel safe and cared for.’

The Board of Management of Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna has expressed its delight at the very positive findings of the Whole School Evaluation (WSE) report issued this week.

The all-encompassing Evaluation was carried out in the school in September and featured meetings with Senior Management, the Board of Management, parents, students and teachers as well as analysis of questionnaires, examination of students’ work and observation of teaching and learning.

The 4 overall areas of evaluation were:

1 The quality of school leadership and management

“The overall quality of school leadership and management is very high”

The report notes that the senior management team has been “proactive in leading learning and teaching, guiding the school to engage very productively with initiatives in special education and in school self-evaluation”.

It was found that “student care permeates school life, with all teachers providing elements of it to students”

The inspectorate found that students spoke “very positively of the time outside school hours” that teachers give very generously to support extra -curricular projects and co-curricular learning. It commended the “breadth of student awards that are presented each year, valuing students of different talents and those making contributions to school life”

The evaluation report found that the Principal “strategically and effectively” manages curriculum-related planning for both the post primary level and the Further Education PLC and BTEI sector which the school offers.

Resources are “deployed as strategically as possible” and “good guidance provision” is in place to support educational decision making.

It praised the school’s “high quality” Special Educational Needs policy.

The report acknowledged the popularity of Transition Year and recommended that the overall TY programme needs to be reviewed and planned in a much more comprehensive manner. It advises that ‘all TY subject plans should be reviewed, that Credits be allocated toward final certification for the different components of TY and that this be communicated to parents. It further advised ‘that Programme Certification for different levels of TY achievement should be developed’.

The overall governance of the school is very good with many members of the Board of Management having “strong personal links to the school” and are deeply committed to its continuation and development.

Whilst the Board is well informed, it is recommended that “school policies, school improvement plans, school calendar of activities, curricular and guidance information and student achievements be uploaded to the school website.’

The school is very well maintained with stimulating displays of students’ achievements.

The report noted that “very good progress” has been made in establishing digital learning supports.

The senior management team keeps up to date with evolving requirements and “plans proactively for change”

Student voice and leadership are developed through the democratically- elected student council and the report noted the positive impact of the 6th year peer mentor system which is a “key support for 1st year students”

2 The quality of teaching and learning

“Very positive, respectful relationships” were evident between teachers and students with a high overall quality of teaching and learning. The inspectors were delighted to see that ‘students took responsibility for their learning through engaging purposefully with tasks and asking high-quality questions to clarify their understanding of concepts or skills.’ Making use of the school’s advanced IT capability, with 100 MB Wi-Fi connection and IT facilities in each classroom, the inspectors observed ‘digital technology was used in each lesson’. It suggested that ‘incorporating a flipped classroom approach where students view and answer questions on digital content as homework before coming to class’ be developed in light of each student having access to Office 365 and their own individual school email address.

3 The implementation of recommendations from previous evaluations

The Inspection team found that all of the management-related recommendations made in previous subject inspection reports and the previous 2008 WSE-MLL evaluation were implemented.

4 The school’s self-evaluation process and capacity for school improvement

The overall quality of the school’s SSE process is described as “excellent” with “very detailed, cumulative SSE work since 2012/13”

The report recommends that the Schools improvement Plan be summarised and uploaded to the school’s website for easy access.

Overall, the report acknowledges the school’s “high capacity for improvement, based on the strong culture of staff professionalism and collaboration that has been developed, on senior management’s strategic leadership, and on the Board of Management’s earnest commitment to the school.’

Please consider supporting our school Lotto, it is our only means of fund raising.

I wish you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas and every blessing for the New Year from all at Mary Immaculate.

Thank you for your continued support.

John O’Loughlin

Mary Immaculate Secondary School,
Co. Clare,

065 707 4266

Ceist- Catholic Education, an Irish schools trust
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