The School Bell

Catholic Schools Week

Dear Pupils, Mams, Dads, and Staff,

Catholic Schools Week 2022 begins on Sunday next, 22nd January. It is an annual celebration of all the wonderful things that happen in Catholic schools in Ireland, including the fact that many Catholic schools cater for children of other faiths and none.

This year, the theme is Catholic Schools: Living Life to the Full. Each day, we will look at a different aspect of the theme.

  • Having a positive attitude and being grateful for what we have
  • Making our school a better place for everyone
  • Celebrating our grandparents
  • Wow! God created a wonderful world for us to enjoy
  • We face the future with hope in our hearts

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning, we are delighted that one class from the school can attend Mass in Ferrybank Parish Church. On Friday, we will have some special prayers and reflections at our school Assembly. You can find more information about Catholic Schools Week on

Yours sincerely,

C. O’Reilly – Principal

School Creed

Author Unknown

This is our school.

Let peace dwell here.

Let the rooms be full of contentment.

Let love abide here, love of one another, love of mankind, love of life itself, and love of God.

Let us remember that as many hands build a house, so many hearts make a school.

Stop, Drop/Pick Up, Go

Our Stop, Drop/Pick Up, Go system has been in operation since September 2020 and based on feedback from parents it is working well. I am very grateful to the staff members who stand outside every morning and afternoon. They are not obliged to be there, and they do everything they can to make sure that the children arrive and leave safely. The girls have told us that they enjoy being greeted by staff members in the morning. I am also grateful to all the parents, grandparents and childminders who help us out by co-operating with the system that is in place.

As the system has been operating for over a year now, it is probably no harm to remind ourselves of a few basics that will help everyone to keep moving as quickly as possible.

  • Come into the car park at the school end and drive out at the Abbey College end.
  • Drive forward as far as possible to allow for more cars to join in behind you.
  • Stay in the row you join when you enter the car park – do not cross into another row (We can fit four rows of cars across the car park.)
  • Stay in your car – a staff member will bring your child to you.
  • Remind the girls to wear their high-vis jackets every day – it helps to keep them safe.
  • Please have patience – we will get you moving as quickly as possible.

Finally, our Stop, Drop/Pick Up, Go signs have been removed from the railings twice in the past couple of months. Please keep an eye on the school as you are passing by and phone the Gardaí if you see anyone on the school grounds or damaging school property.

Extra Bank Holiday

Yesterday, it was announced that there will be an extra Public Holiday this year, to take place on March 18th. The school will close for St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday March 17th and will remain closed until Monday 21st of March.

Thank You Miss McElroy

Miss McElroy, who has been teaching Second Class since 20th September, will be leaving us at the end of this week. Tomorrow will be her last day with the girls.  Miss McElroy has done great work with Second Class, and I know that the girls will miss her. She will also be missed by our staff, but we wish her every success in her new position.

From Monday onwards, Miss Claire Harney will teach Second Class.


Please help us to prevent the spread of headlice by checking your child’s hair regularly.


Congratulations to one of our past pupils, Saoirse, who is representing Waterford on the National Comhairle na nÓg. Saoirse was chosen as a Good Counsel Good Citizen of the Year when she was a pupil here, and we’re delighted to hear that she is continuing to develop her leadership skills.

Community Information

St. Brigid’s Family and Resource Centre and Waterford Childcare Committee have asked us to share the following information:


Welcome Back

Have you checked out our school STEM website?

Fáilte Ar Ais

Dear Pupils, Staff, Mams and Dads,

A warm welcome back to school for our second term. We are very glad to be open, and with your help, we look forward to a safe, busy and happy Term 2.

Please continue to do everything you can to keep our school community safe. You will know from discussions on television and radio that it is difficult to find substitute staff at the moment, and that the transmission levels of Covid-19 are still very high.

As challenging as it is, we just need to continue doing what we have been doing since March 2020:

Keep a 2-metre distance from others

Keep our social contacts to as few people as possible

Cough/sneeze into our elbows

Wash/sanitize our hands regularly

If your child is unwell, please keep her at home until she is symptom free.

The girls from Third to Sixth Class have been making a great effort with mask wearing and we do ask that parents support the girls with this. It is especially important as we have a child in the school who has had an organ transplant, and she is very vulnerable as a result.

A new year brings new hope, and as 2022 progresses, my hope is that there will be no need for our school newsletters to contain information about how we are managing during a pandemic.

On this Little Christmas Day, I wish you and your family a healthy and happy New Year. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Yours sincerely,

C. O’Reilly – Principal


We offer our sincere condolences to Miss McElroy on the death of her Granny Brenda on December 22nd. Ar dheis Dé go raibh sí.


Well done to Ms. Fenton who was conferred with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Care on January 5th. Enjoy your success after all your hard work.

Air Filtration

Just before Christmas, the Department of Education sent guidance to schools on ventilation and the possible use of Air Filtration units. While it may appear from media reports that HEPA filters are the answer to all our concerns, and that all schools will be installing Air Filtration units, that is not necessarily the case.

The funding provided by the DE may be used in the first instance for improving ventilation. If that is not possible, then Air filtration units may be considered.

If it is not necessary to improve ventilation, the funding may also be used to improve the outdoor learning environment of a school.

Here is some of the guidance that has been provided by the Department of Education and the CPSMA (Catholic Primary School Management Association).

What is an air filtration unit?

It is a self-contained unit that sits in a room and must be plugged into an electrical power socket. The unit usually contains a filter or multiple filters. One of the filters may be a HEPA filter. The unit also has a fan that sucks air from the room in over the filter system and sends purified air back into the room. This can make the unit noisy. As air moves through the filter, tiny pollutants and particles are captured.

Can we close the windows and use an air filtration unit instead?

It is very important to note that:

  • Air cleaning devices are not a substitute for good ventilation.
  • Air cleaners do not remove Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
  • The best way to reduce CO2 levels in a room is to dilute it with fresh air, that is by opening windows.

How do we know if a room is adequately ventilated?

By using a CO2 monitor. (Each classroom and Learning Support Room in our school has a CO2 monitor. 5 monitors were provided by the DE and the Board of Management bought monitors for every other room.)

The Board of Management is considering the guidance and doing some further research, and as always, will decide in the best interest of the children and the staff in the school.

In Ireland, January 6th is known as Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Christmas). On the feast of the Epiphany, here is a verse from a beautiful poem about the Magi.

The Three Kings
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

Nollaig Shona Daoibh Go Léir

Congratulations to Robyn (6th Class) who won this year’s competition to create the background for our school crib

Dear Dads, Mams, Pupils and Staff,

After a very busy, and sometimes challenging first term, it is time to take a break from school.

It has been lovely to have so many parents joining us for our Christmas Zoom calls last week and yesterday, and I hope that you enjoyed your virtual visits.  The girls certainly enjoyed entertaining you with a variety of Christmas poems, songs and stories.

Christmas is a time to reflect on the things that we are grateful for. As the principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS, I am grateful to have a school full of children who do their best and who are kind and caring towards each other. I am grateful for the most wonderful colleagues who work here with me, and for the girls every day. I am also grateful for the tremendous ongoing support from our Board of Management, Parents’ Association, Mams, Dads, Grans and Grandads and the wider community.

I wish each of you and your families the peace and joy of Christmas and I look forward to working with you again in 2022. No matter what the New Year brings our way, the last 20 months have taught us that when we work together, we can achieve great things.

Stay safe.

Nollaig Shona daoibh go léir.

C. O’Reilly – Principal

School Calendar Reminder

Please be patient tomorrow if there is extra traffic in the car park. We will get you on your way as quickly as possible. School closes Wednesday 22nd December at:

12.15 – Junior and Senior Infants

12.25 – First and Second Classes

12.30 – Third to Sixth Class

School re-opens for Term 2 on Thursday 6th January 2022

School Books

The girls are bringing home some books today to keep at home during the Christmas holidays. This is just a precaution to make things easier in case anything changes over the holiday period., Right now, the advice from the Department of Education is that schools will re-open as usual on January 6th.

Parents Association News

Some elves from the Parents’ Association made a Covid-safe visit to the school this morning to deliver treats to the girls from Santa. After that, Santa himself appeared on Zoom all the way from the North Pole, and we were amazed that he knew so much about our school!

The Parents’ Association wishes everyone in the school community a safe and a happy Christmas. We look forward to working together for the girls in 2022.

Covid Cases

A parent has informed Miss O’Reilly that a child in our school has tested positive for Covid-19 (coronavirus). The Public Health Department of the HSE is the agency responsible by law for dealing with positive cases of COVID-19, therefore, no further information in relation to this case will be shared by the school.

On the advice of NPHET, contact tracing of children in primary schools, who do not have symptoms is no longer recommended. So, all you need to do is read and follow the advice in this important message from the Public Health Team.

The important message for pupils and parents, and staff in schools remains that anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate at home immediately and contact their GP for advice and guidance, and to arrange a COVID-19 test if appropriate.

All public health guidelines still need to be followed to protect the health of children and staff. These include:

ü  Wearing face coverings

ü  Cleaning hands regularly

ü  Maintaining physical distance from others

ü  Being mindful of the ventilation of classrooms by opening windows and doors as appropriate

ü  Encouraging all those who are eligible for vaccination, within your school or childcare facility community, to access appropriate information around this (available at For those wishing to arrange vaccination, they can do so by either:

·       Registering using the HSE Vaccine portal (

·       OR phoning the HSE at 1800 700 700

Covid-19 Vaccinations for Children

The HSE has asked schools to share the following information about Covid-19 Vaccinations for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years.

COVID-19 vaccine information for parents of children aged 5-11

The HSE has published detailed information and guidance for parents about COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5-11. This aims to help parents and guardians of 5-11 year old children make an informed decision when it’s time for their child to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Registration for the vaccine will open shortly, with priority being placed on children who are more at risk from COVID-19 or children who have a high-risk person in the family. Parents and guardians can read this information on  or they can download these information booklets from

Important information for parents and guardians about the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 (Comirnaty, Pfizer/BioNTech) (PDF, size 1.11 MB, 16 pages)

Important information for parents and guardians about the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 (Irish) (PDF, 1.7 MB, 16 pages)

                       Amber Flag News from Mrs Shanahan

Here is some information about the Amber Flag and the application process. The Amber Flag is an initiative run by Pieta House. The Amber Flag recognises the efforts of schools, clubs and community groups that support mental wellbeing. It recognises and promotes working together towards creating a happier, healthier Ireland. Over 1,000 flags have been awarded to date and we will apply for an Amber Flag in May 2022.

 Here are the steps involved:

  • Step1: Register the school for the Amber Flag Initiative                    √
  • Step 2:  The school must establish an Amber Flag Committee.             √
  • Step 3:  Audit of past and current school activities in the promotion of positive mental health.                                                                                                         √
  • Step 4:  Goals and Objectives
  • Identify tasks we can do
  • Hold a Wellbeing Week                        
  • – Hold a fundraiser event                                                                     √        
    •  Halloween Dress UP       €170 raised
  • Step 5: Submission of completed Application booklet by May 27th 2022 

The current Wellbeing Warriors Committee

Hi-visibility Jackets 

Could I please remind everyone to wear their hi-visibility jackets coming to school every day? It makes it much easier for motorists to see the girls on these dark winter days.

Basketball News

Sixth class girls Robyn, Lily, Summer and Zara played their first indoor match for Waterford Wildcats on Saturday December 11th in St. Leo’s College, Carlow.  While they did not beat the more experienced basketball team, they had a great time and learned a lot. These girls along with Annie and Amelie are looking forward to playing more matches next year.  Mrs Burke and all the staff are so proud of your dedication to your training.  Keep it up! Well done girls!

Why Jesus is Better Than Santa Claus

Santa lives at the North Pole…
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa comes but once a year…
JESUS is always there to help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies…
JESUS supplies all your needs.

You have to wait in line to see Santa…
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly…
JESUS has a heart full of love

The Countdown is On

Dear Mams, Dads, Pupils and Staff,

We are having a busy week here at school and the highlight for us is that parents are paying vitual visits to classrooms. The final School Bell of 2021 will be published next Tuesday 21st December so check in on the website on that date to hear all our news.

School closes on Wednesday December 22nd at the following times:

Junior and Senior Infants @ 12.15

First and Second Classes @ 12.25

All other classes @ 12.30

Stay safe until then.

Yours sincerely,

C. O’Reilly – Principal

It’s December!

Face Masks

Dear Dads, Mams, Pupils and Staff,

It has been a strange and difficult week for schools, pupils and families. As you know, on Tuesday last, it was decided that children from Third Class to Sixth Class should wear face masks at school. There has been a lot of debate and discussion on radio and television, in the newspapers and on social media. Everyone appears to have a different opinion and there has also been a lot of anger and emotion. In the middle of all of that, schools and families are trying to figure out how best to keep children safe.

There has been no further guidance to schools since Tuesday evening, and until we get further advice, you might like to know how we are dealing with this at our school.

Yesterday and today, I visited Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Classes. This is what we talked about.

  1. Who decided that children in Primary school should wear masks?

The Government made the decision based on a recommendation from NPHET. Schools did not make this decision, but they are expected to pass on this decision to pupils and parents.

2. Why are children (or adults) asked to wear masks?

Because science tells us that Covid-19 is an airborne virus and wearing a mask helps to protect us and all those around us.

3. As Good Counsel Good Citizens, what are some of your rights and responsibilities as pupils in our school?

Pupils have a right to be safe at school

Pupils have a responsibility to keep others safe.

Pupils have a right to be respected.

Pupils have a responsibility to respect others and to be kind.

These rights and responsibilities mean that we should think carefully about the decisions we make and how thy will affect other people. They also mean, that different people have different opinions, and we should respect that too.

So where does that leave us? Until we receive further guidance, from Monday onwards, the girls from Third Class to Sixth Class are being asked to follow Public Health advice and to wear face masks while they are at school. The masks can be taken off for breaktime, lunch time and when the girls are playing outside. If anyone forgets her mask, teachers will have spare disposable masks available.

If some children in your child’s class are not wearing masks, that is a confidential matter between those families, me and the class teacher. The girls will respect each other, whether they are wearing masks or not and we know that they will be kind and caring towards each other as they always are.

I do hope that as parents, you are aware of the effort that has gone into keeping everyone in our school safe since March 2020. If your child has a genuine difficulty with wearing a mask, for whatever reason, rather than writing an angry email or letter, please feel free to contact me in confidence on 051 832984 and I will be happy to talk with you.

It’s less than three weeks to the Christmas break. Let’s all take a breath, stay calm and do our best to enjoy this very special time of year.

Please stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

C. O’Reilly – Principal

P.S. The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan has asked schools to share a letter from him with parents. It is available for you to read, if you wish to do so, on the Latest News tab of our website.

Christmas Holidays

School will close for the Christmas holidays on Wednesday 22nd December. The girls will finish at the following times:

Junior and Senior Infants @ 12.15p.m

First and Second Classes at 12.25p.m

All other classes at 12.30p.m.


A big ‘Well Done’ to Rosie (5th Class) who came Third in the Regional Credit Union Art Competition. We hope you enjoy your prize, Rosie.

Christmas Cards

As a Green School, we make a special request every year that the girls do not bring in Christmas cards for their classmates. If every pupil brought a card for every girl in her class, we would have 5,090 cards coming into the school!

Instead, each girl will make a card for one other child in her class. That way, everyone receives a card, and we cut down on the amount of card and paper that we use.

Christmas Zoom Calls

Our Zoom calls with Mams and Dads before Hallowe’en were a great success so we have decided to invite you to another call with your child’s class before the Christmas break. The girls will share some of their beautiful artwork with you, and they may even entertain you with some stories, poems or songs on the Christmas theme. The calls will take place on the following dates, and you will receive an email the day before with a link.

Class Zoom Class with Families – December 2021

TimeWednesday 15thThursday 16thFriday 17thMonday 20th
12 Noon      Fifth Class  Second Class  Fourth Class  Senior Infants
12.30p.m.      First Class  Third Class  Sixth Class  Junior Infants

Christmas Crib Competition

It’s no surprise that we have had fantastic entries for our competition to design the background for our school crib. The winner will be revealed at Assembly tomorrow!

Parents Association News

The National Parents Council is running some information sessions for parents during the week of December 6th. Register now to find out how developing communication skills will help build your relationship and support conversations with your child.       Sessions are running 10am Monday to Friday, and 7.30pm Monday to Thursday next week. These sessions are open to all parents of primary school children.

Advent Assembly

Thank you very much to Mrs. Burke and Fifth Class who prepared a beautiful Assembly on the theme of Advent. The girls put in a huge amount of preparation between research, and creating beautiful pieces of art, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

18th November 2021

Visit our cool school Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) website to see all the latest from our future scientists and what they were up to during Science Week.

Without our Masks

Dear Mams, Dads, Pupils and Staff,

Over the past few weeks, photographs have been appearing on doors around the school. We realised that some of our pupils have never seen staff members without their masks so we thought it would be a nice idea to take photos of each staff member and put them up for the children to see.

Each door now has a photo of the person or people who work in that room, without their masks, and we hope that all the smiles will help the children to feel more comfortable as they come and go every day.

This week, the Minister of Education made a special appeal to families not to have play dates or birthday parties in their homes. This is not to spoil anyone’s fun – we all know how important it is that we do everything we can to try to keep schools open.

As always, we hope that you and your family are staying safe. We are very grateful to all of you who are so considerate in keeping the girls at home if they are unwell. Please continue to use the email address for your child’s teacher to let him/her know that your daughter will be absent.

Yours sincerely,

C. O’Reilly – Principal


On Friday 19th November, the school will close early for all pupils.

Junior and Senior Infants @ 12.15p.m

First and Second Classes at 12.25p.m

All other classes at 12.30p.m.

This is to facilitate in-service training for the Staff in the Primary Language Curriculum. 

Sacramental Preparation

Meetings will take place next week for the parents of children who are preparing for First Penance, First Holy Communion and Confirmation during the 2021-2022 school year. Invitations to the meetings were sent home with the girls on Wednesday. If you didn’t receive one, please contact the school office as details on how to register your child to receive the Sacraments will be provided at the meeting.

Amber Flag News from Mrs. Shanahan

Thank you very much to all our families for your contribution of €170 towards Pieta House. Our Amber Flag noticeboard is now up and running.

It’s A Boy!

We were all delighted to hear the news this morning that Ms. Fenton’s little grandson had arrived safe and well during the night. Huge Congratulations from all of us here at Good Counsel to Ms. Fenton and her family at this very special time.

Reviewed and Updated Policies

The Board of Management reviewed and updated two important policies:

The Child Protection Safety Statement and Risk Assessment and

The Anti-Bullying Policy

The updated documents will be available shortly on the website.

Covid Learning and Support Scheme (CLASS)

The Department of Education is very aware that the children were home learning for almost 7 months from March 2020 to June 2021. Because of this, it has provided special funding this school year so that schools can provide some extra support to all our pupils.

Ms. Claire Harney has joined our school team for the next 15 weeks so that we can offer some additional support to the girls. We are doing this in a variety of ways – small groups, one-to-one sessions and lots of in-class support. If you hear that your child is working with a different teacher, it doesn’t mean there is a problem, it just means that we are lucky enough to be able to give some extra attention to all the children this year. We hope that Ms. Harney enjoys her time at our school.

Wrap Up, Stay Warm

Dear Mams, Dads, Pupils and Staff,

Welcome back for the second half of Term 1. We have been blessed so far this week with lovely bright sunshine. However, it can get cold during the day. We are working hard to balance the need for lots of ventilation in the classrooms with heating the building, so please make sure that the girls wear warm layers, like thermal vests, under their uniforms and long socks or tights. We are also spending as much time as possible outdoors, so it is important that the girls bring their coats, hats and gloves to school. A huge ‘Well Done’ for wearing your high-vis jackets Girls! It is especially important at this time of year when the mornings and afternoons are darker.

As you all know, the number of Covid-19 cases in the community is rising. At school we are continuing with all the measures that were put in place last year – sanitising, handwashing, extra cleaning, social distancing, etc. I would appeal to everyone to please do your best to continue with mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene outside of school. As far as possible avoid sleepovers. Most importantly, if your child is unwell, she should stay at home. Like yourselves, we want to keep the school open so let’s continue to work together to do that. The Department of Education has asked us to share this link with you.

Stay safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

C. O’Reilly – Principal

Important Note

On Friday 19th November, the school will close early for all pupils.

Junior and Senior Infants @ 12.15p.m

First and Second Classes at 12.25p.m

All other classes at 12.30p.m.

This is to facilitate in-service training for the Staff in the Primary Language  Curriculum. 

Credit Union Art Competition

A big ‘Well Done’ to Rosie (5th Class) who won First Prize in her category of the St. Dominic Credit Union Art Competition. Rosie will receive her prize on Wednesday 10th November, and her artwork will now go forward to the next level of the competition.

STEM News from Mr. Dooley

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)

Before the Halloween break the girls had great fun being Mathematicians and taking part in Maths Week. Next week will be Science Week, where classes will be carrying out science experiments. 

Check out everything we have been doing on our cool new STEM website –

 We will add to the website as the year goes on.


Some of our families are currently celebrating the festival of Diwali or Deepavali. Diwali is a five-day Festival of Lights in the Hindu faith, with each day having a different set of rituals and traditions.

Day 1 — Dhanteras: November 2, 2021

This is the first day of the festival when people clean their homes and prepare for the events ahead. This is also a busy shopping day

Day 2 — Choti Diwali: November 3, 2021

The second day is when people startdecorating their homes.Many families will put up string lights and start creating their rangoli, which are intricate designs placed on the floors of homes.

Day 3 — Diwali and Lakshmi Puja: November 4, 2021

The most important part of the celebration is the ritual that takes place on this day. Clay oil lamps or diyas are lit and rituals worshipping the goddess Lakshmi are performed. On the day of Diwali, families get together to exchange gifts and have a large meal. Many people wear their nicest clothes on this day and say ‘Happy Diwali’ to each other.

Day 4 — Padwa: November 5, 2021

The fourth day of celebrations is dedicated to the love between husband and wife, and men will often buy gifts for their wives.

Day 5 — Bhai Duj: November 6, 2021

Bhai Duj, the last day of celebrations is dedicated to brothers and sisters.

We wish a very ‘Happy Diwali’ to anyone who is celebrating at this time.

Amber Flag and Pieta House

Girls, well done on your fantastic Hallowe’en costumes on Friday 22nd. Your Mams and Dads did a great job getting you all dressed up. Our sincere thanks to all of you who sent in a donation for Pieta House.

Children First

National Children First Awareness Week will run from the 1st to 7th November. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of Children First and remind wider society, including organisations working with children and young people, of our collective responsibility to keep them safe in our communities.

Children First promotes the protection of children from abuse and neglect, by setting out what individuals and organisations need to do to keep children safe, and how to deal with concerns about a child’s safety or welfare.

If you would like more information, please check out this link:

Random Act of Kindness Day November 13th

“No act of kindness no matter how small, is ever wasted,” – Aesop

Is there something you can do to cheer someone up on Saturday 13th?

Special Assembly

Tomorrow, Mrs. Ryan’s Third Class will lead a Prayer Service at our weekly Zoom Assembly. The theme is ‘All Saints and All Souls’. November is the month when we pray for everyone we know who has died, and for all those who have no-one to pray for them. We have a Remembrance Box in our school’s Sacred Space where the girls can put the name of anyone they would like us to pray for. Sr. Maria, who is the Diocesan Advisor for schools, will join us by Zoom for our Special Assembly tomorrow.

On Tuesday, the feast of All Souls, some of our classes joined the 10.30a.m. Mass in the Parish Church via the webcam.

Poem for November