14th August 2023


Dear  Parents/Guardians, 


I hope you and your families have had a relaxing and refreshing summer. As  we  approach  the  start  of  another school  year,  please read the following information which I hope answers all your questions.


Firstly, I  would  like  to  draw  your  attention  to the following:    

·       The annual Re-Admission  Form  is  on our School App in the Consent Forms Section and if you have not already submitted  it, please do asap. We will continue to have it open for late submissions, in order for us to know what numbers are returning,  You will receive personal notifications on the app until it is submitted. (a red Attention Please on the lower right side of App window)

·       Even if your son is not returning to the CBS, we will need to be informed. If there has been a change of address or contact phone numbers, please use this form to update us.

·       Payment of Student Personal Accident Insurance – is compulsory for all students – €11 – to be paid through the App (Shop/School Payments) 

·       Payment of the Voluntary Contribution – € 92 for one student / €123 for two or more –  also online through the App. 

·       All students MUST pay the Student Insurance before they return to school in the last week of August. No student will be allowed to take part in PE, extracurricular activities, school trips, etc. unless this is paid. 


We depend on your Voluntary Contribution to fund all extra-curricular activities (sports and educational trips), the provision of buses, photocopying, postage, texting home when students  are absent, lunchtime activities, etc.  The provision of sport in the school alone costs us in the region of €45,000 each year.  The cost of buses for all types of activities, not alone sport, is one of our single largest expenses. The individual cost of €5 / student / trip has remained static for several years, so as not to incur increased costs on students/families on a weekly basis. But costs, as you know well, are increasing each year for us all.


In addition, the provision of online services such as VSware, Microsoft 365 for all students and the School App cost us approximately €25,000 per year. While these digital services are the only way to go in 2023, they appear to be invisible compared to postage and paper, yet they do come with a price tag which must be funded from our Voluntary Contributions. I think most of you will agree that our provision of these online and up to date services are what you expect from a school which has never been found wanting in the most modern methods of communication and payments. They keep you updated on a daily basis, allow you to pay online from the comfort of your home, and are available on your mobile phone. Without this contribution, many of the above facilities could not be provided.  I would be grateful if this contribution could be paid during the summer at your own convenience, if not at the time of submission of the Re-Admission Form.


The Main Office re-opens today, August 14th at 10 am. 


Anyone in either 1st or 5th years, who wishes to change a subject option, should email me with the details. Most changes are possible. If you purchase text books do not write on them if you are unsure about your son staying with the subject keep the receipt so you can switch it easily. 


The Booklists, iPad InformationBook Rental Information and more will continue to be updated and provided on the school website and on the App. Mr G Brennan is our iPad Coordinator, and if you have an issue, you can email him at gbrennan@portlaoisecbs.com. All information for the purchase of iPads is available on the school website. 


Additional monies, such as subject fees for Art, Woodwork, Metalwork, Graphics, DCG, Home Economics, and several more should be paid on the App. Due to the massive increase in the cost of steel and wood in particular, these subject fees were increased substantially last year. We regret this, but it is unavoidable. 


For your information, school will reopen for students on Wednesday, August 23rd and half days will continue until Thursday  August 31st.

·       Incoming 1st years will begin on Monday August 21st  with their Induction Day (Bring snack.)

·       The same 1st years will have an IT training day on Tuesday morning at 9am with everyone in to begin with and then any student who hasn’t bought an iPad can go home at 12 noon. Those with iPads will remain on until 3pm. Those staying till 3 should bring a lunch and a drink.

·       Wednesday 23rd  August – 1st Years come in – 9.00 to 1.15 Bring no books, just a snack for break.

·       Thursday 24th – 1st & 6th Years attend – 9.00 to 1.15 

·       Friday 25th  – 1st, 6th, 3rd Years attend – 9.00 to 1.15 

·       Monday  28th –  1st, 6th, 3rd 5th Years attend – 9.00 to 1.15 

·       Tuesday 29th  – 1st, 6th, 3rd 5th 2nd Years attend – 9.00 to 1.15 

·       Wednesday 30th – All classes including TY’s attend – 9.00 to 1.15 

·       Thursday 31st – all classes in 9-4.


When students attend for their first morning in August, they should have paid the €21 online for their journal and locker beforehand. These will be distributed to them that day. This will streamline the morning activities considerably. Thank you.  


There is no Book Rental for 5th / 6th Years – but there is School Aid.  If you go to the school website, you will see School Aid. Please download that form, complete and submit to the office during June or August.


Book Rental is now closed to any 1st year who has not been registered before now. Full payment of the €200 will be required before any books are given out. Only late admissions to the school will be allowed to join the scheme from now on.  


Rafters will return to the school canteen in September and we look forward to the availability of hot in-house lunches once again. They introduced pre-ordering of food on the School App last year but the lads didn’t really take it up.  However, tapping cards did help to speed up the queues. The fresh smell of food definitely adds to the ambiance of the GPA each day.


The School Year Calendar has been updated on this App and also on VSware. Parent teacher meetings, house exams, days off, half days, and other events are all there. Please refer to it regularly or make note of those relevant to your own son’s year group.


I put up a letter on this App during July re: School Transport for those who are eligible for same. Please refer to that notification which is still available on the App.


I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a safe and healthy year ahead.  Family life and school life are interdependent on each other and both impact greatly on each student. If you feel during the year that you need to speak to any of us, to inform us of something relevant about your son, please email or ring the office to make an appointment to do so. 


I look forward to working with you all again this coming school year. 


Yours sincerely, 

Maura Murphy 


Having the School App is the best way to keep informed, as all information for parents is provided on it. Please check it daily in the next 2 weeks for notices about your son’s return to school.  Thank you.