Active Flag

St. Attracta’s N.S. was delighted to be awarded its first Active School Flag in June 2021.

During the school year 2019-2020 and again from 31st August 2021 to June 2021 we worked very hard to achieve our Active Flag.  Our Active Flag Committee led the pupils, teachers and parents throughout over the two years as we all made our Active Flag school slogan FITTER, HEALTHIER, HAPPIER a reality! The composition of our ASF committee changed over the two years. Unfortunately the Covid-19 school closures from 12th March 2020 and again from 6th January 2021 impacted on our plans. But Covid-19 didn’t dampen our enthusiasm that has already caught hold. While adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions, pupils and teachers kept our Active Flag pursuit alive during the lock-down. Our Active School Week became a highly successful Active Home Week. See all our class videos and images shared on our school twitter account. To find the Active Flag tweets, simply do a search of the words ‘@Active Flag’.

The videos below give a  small flavour of the activities we completed before we had to close.  Andy Moran, a past-pupil, launched our Active School Flag bid with a very energetic 10@10.  All classes also enjoyed our Active Halloween circuit stations. Watch more videos here on our school’s Vimeo channel – when the page opens, scroll down to all the ASF labelled videos.

Physical Education

St Attracta’s is committed to providing high-quality Physical Education to all pupils.  All classes receive 60 minutes of formal PE lessons each week.  All classes are taught the strands of Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics, Games and Outdoor & Adventure each year.  Pupils from 3rd-4th class also take part in Aquatics, having swimming lessons in Claremorris Pool.

Teachers use a variety of resources to guide them in delivering quality PE lessons. PSSI Lesson Plans are widely used throughout the school and we have focused on the Athletics strand for the school year 2019/2020. We also introduced the Move Well, Move Often programme to teach the Fundamental Movement Skills to all pupils. From November 2019, we introduced a School P.E. Year 1 & 2 , meaning that all classes are taught the same strand and Fundamental Movement Skill at the same time during the school year. This allows for the sharing of resources and ideas among staff and ensure that an equal amount of time is given to each strand. From April 2021, we introduced a specially revised School P.E. Year 2 – TERM 2 & Term 3 plan in light of the period of distance learning from January to March 2021.

Our school teaches the Land PAWS water safety programme in the 3rd and 4th classes every year. These are the classes that attend swimming lessons as set out in the school’s plan for P.E. Year 1 & 2. For 2020-2021, the PAWS programme was also taught from the Junior Infants to Second Class (see photos below).

Our PE equipment and resources are clearly labelled, well organised and accessible. In line with our Covid-19 Response Plan, every class was given its own supply of P.E. equipment (see photos below). In May 2021 the school took delivery of a brand new steel container for the storage of P.E. equipment – see the video of its arrival on our school twitter feed here. From September 2021 we look forward to using this single storage place for all our equipment.

Click on the images below to see our Physical Education highlights!

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PDST visited our school 0n 18th November to provide in-school teacher professional development for the fundamental movement skills of running. Tthe modelled lessons throughout the day and the follow-up discussion in our Croke Park session after school gave us more confidence.

All teachers work together to strengthen their delivery of a different PE strand every year. This is promoted through whole school activities like Feel Good Friday where teachers work in class pairings to lead movement break sessions in which a specific Strand and related FMS is practiced e.g. Athletics>> Running.

In 2019-2020 external tutors also supported class teachers with Gymnastics (Infants to 2nd) and Dance (3rd to 6th) for six week blocks. In 2020-2021 external coaches supported class teachers with the Games >>Striking an object with an implement  – Tennis (Infants to 2nd), Hurling (3rd to 6th), Gaelic football (Infants to 6th classes).

We conducted an online Active School Flag survey with a cross section of pupils from 3rd to 6th class in June 2020.  The survey findings affirm the work done during the year and highlight some things to consider for P.E. classes as we plan for 2020-2021.

Physical Activity

Here are some of the activities the Active Flag Committee organised to help all classes get more active. Pupils were encouraged to share more suggestions with the Committee using the Suggestion Box in the school reception area.

  •  10@10 circuits – we run 10@10 circuits for all classes on designated days every month.
  • Active special occasions – we run special 10@10 circuits for Halloween and Christmas. For 2019-2020 our Easter and summer special occasions were victims of the Covid school closures.
  • Fitness Friday – classes  move from station to station in the yard over a 10 minute period. Each station is led by a pupil from a senior class and/or playground leader.
  • Lunchtime Leagues – we run various lunchtime leagues throughout the school year in Spikeball, Football and Soccer. Teams are made up of boys and girls from different classes and matches are played during lunchtime. Older pupils act as referees for the matches.
  • Playground Leaders – Before the Covid-19 restrictions pupils from 4th to 6th classes gave up one lunch break per week to play games with the Junior Classes, ensuring they are active and happy throughout break time. Our school trained these pupils as playground leaders. Since the introduction of our Covid-19 Response Plan, all classes appoint their own playground leaders. Pupils in the playground leader role rotate during the year to ensure that as many children as possible have an opportunity. The school facilitates the use of playground equipment during breaktimes. Playground leaders oversee the daily distribution and collection of the equipment.
  • Active School Walkway – We have a designated walkway around the playgrounds in our school. One lap of the walkway is 500m, meaning that for every 2 laps you do, you have completed 1 kilometre. We introduced the walkway in June 2019 and, in 5 days, we collectively walked and ran the distance from Ballaghaderreen to Lough Key Forest Park.
  • Active Breaks – All classes take part in active breaks throughout the school day. This includes Go-Noodle and a variety of classroom movement ideas. On a wet day, if pupils cannot go outside at break time, extra time is given to movement breaks in the classroom.
  • Run Around Ireland Challenge – Every class completed the ‘Run a Day’ challenge, as a whole school initiative, over a period of 4 weeks during late April and May 2021.  year. Each class selected an Irish landmark to ‘run’ to e.g. the Spire in Dublin which is 183km away. We used our Active Walkway to clock up the kilometres; 2 laps of our walkway is 1km. Progress for each class in the Run Around Ireland Challenge was updated on class noticeboards. Our school promotes physical activity in a cross-curricular way through the Run Around Ireland Challenge. Teachers use the running destinations to support pupils in their study of geography, history and maths.
  • Active Home Week and Virtual Sports Day – please see the section below
  • Staff v 6th Class Step Challenge – the 6th class pupils take on the staff in a step challenge. Pupils wear pedometers for a week recording their steps every day. The following week, it’s the staff’s turn and whoever gets the most combined steps are the winners. The winners then choose a forfeit for the losers!!Click on the images below to see our Physical Activity highlights!

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Our school invites local sports clubs and physical activity providers to give sessions as part of our P.E. 2 Year Plan. We also actively work with local clubs to promote new membership from our pupils.

  • Ballaghaderreen GAA – In 2019  we set out to  develop a stronger school-club link with our local GAA club. Many of our pupils play at under age levels. In October 2019, some of our pupils played on the U-13 Boys team that won the county final. We are very lucky to have access to the wonderful pitches which we can use for school sport’s day and training for school teams. A coach from the club comes to teach skills to the all pupils. We enter teams in the Mini-7s and Cumann na mBunscoil leagues. Listen to some of our pupils been interviewed by MWR radio when Ballagh’ GAA were in the final days of preparation before the Club County Final.
  • Watch videos of MWR New Editor Teresa O’Malley interviewing pupils and visitors in  St.Attracta’s National School in the lead up to the County Final.                                                Video 1               Video 2                  Video 3  
  • Mayo Hurling – In 2021 we introduced hurling sessions for all pupils from 3rd to 6th class as part their weekly P.E. curriculum. See our revised P.E. 2 year plan for 2021
  • Be Active for Parents – this initiative help parents get involved in a real way with our Active Flag activities. Parents of children in the infant classes are invited to join our Súgradh Le Chéile days. These run for a hour during the school day. Parents and their children are put through their paces in a fun way.  Morning talk and walk sessions are also arranged for all parents just after the morning drop-off.
  • Tennis Ireland– coaches from Tennis Ireland visit the school for a block of time each year to teach tennis skills to our junior classes. They also coach our senior tennis team for the local tournaments in the summer term. Tennis Ireland provided lessons during our school’s Summer Camp which ran from 20th to 24th July 2020.
  • FAI Soccer Coaching– Pupils from 2nd to 6th class receive soccer lessons through the FAI in the autumn each year. Our 2019-2020 four soccer teams enterted into the Co. Roscommon Soccer League tournaments were disappointed because of the Covid19 school closures.
  • Active Flag Homework & Active Home Week– During the Covid-19 school closure, Active Flag homework was assigned to all our pupils each week. At the end of April 2020 we pulled out all the stops as we replaced Active School Week with our Active Home Week. Parents were fantastic as many families got active in the confined of their own gardens. Some brilliant examples of the Active Home Week activities are avaialble to watch on our school twitter account. Just search Active Home Week.
  • Active Flag Committee – Our Active Flag Committee (AFC) is combined with our Pupil Voice Committee this year. The Pupil Voice Committee did great work last year by running spike ball games and a basketball league at lunch times. It also ensured that we got a Buddy Bench and re-lining of all the play areas. On the AFC, pupils are given various roles and tasks to carry out throughout the school year such as making announcements to the classrooms on various initiatives, designing posters for the school, carrying out surveys and checking the suggestion box. Our pupils play a very important role in organising and delivering our Active Flag initiatives. We rotate members on the AFC to give opportunities to as many pupils as we can.
  • Wall of Fame – We have a Wall of Fame in the main corridor for all to see. This wall displays the achievements of pupils in varied activities outside of school as well as achievements, both sporting and otherwise made in school.
  • HSE Health Promotion – We explore how we can develop a working partnership with the HSE’s Health Promotion Department through the local Health Promotion officer. We are committed to improving the overall health and well-being of our pupils.Click on the images below to see our Partnership highlights!

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Active Week

Our Active Week planned for May 2020 did not happen due to teh Covid-19 school closures. Not to be outdone, we promoted a highly successful Active Home Week from 27th April to the 3rd May. Parents were encourgared to share videos and images and these are avaialble on our school twitter account. In follow-on week parents were encouraged to trial and pratice the FMS taht were already done in the school. Videos links and information sheets were shared via email with parents.

In June 2019, we enjoyed a fantastic whole school Sports’ Day on the local GAA pitch. In its place for 2020, we ran a Virtual Sports Day during the second week of June 2020. in preparation, five teachers participated in the PDST Virtuall Sports Day webinars. In turn, every class teacher in the school then shared with parents the ‘how to’ of running a sports day at home.  Parents could run the sports day on a day of their own choosing during the desgnated week. Again many parents shared videos and images on our school twitter account. We had a wide variety of sports’ day activities throughout the week including creative circuits and fun activities. The teachers also incorporated the fundamental movement skills into the plans shared with parents to promote more practice.

Click on the images below to see our Active Week highlights!