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Holy Cross Girls’ PS is delighted to have been awarded both the Clann Lir shield for conversation and the Tir na nOg shield for poetry at Feis Bheal Feirste on Saturday 13th June. The school was the overall winner in both categories. The secretary of the feis, Ciaran Austin, confirmed that this is the first time in the history of the feis that the same school has been outright winner of both shields. This is a tremendous achievement for the staff and the pupils.


The pupils and staff of Holy Cross Girls’ PS are delighted to have achieved the highest Eco award ‘GREEN FLAG STATUS’ for their environmental work.

The school Eco curriculum, supported by the pupil Eco Council, encourages the pupils to be responsible for their own health and to be aware of their environmental responsibility.

Mrs Maura McNally, Principal, explained that one of the aims of the school is to support the children to become responsible citizens. The girls learn to value the earth and are encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle as well as participate in health awareness programmes and activities.
Our global links with St Theresa’s School in Uganda which has earned us ‘The Primary School International Development Award’ also contributed to the school achieving Green Flag status as it helps the pupils to learn to respect diversity and equality for all. ‘It is wonderful to achieve this award and I am thrilled for Miss McCusker and the Eco council who planned the work and congratulate the fantastic effort made by the pupils. Well done girls!

Sports help school children build friendships in Twinbrook

Pupils from St.Luke’s and St.Mark’s Primary Schools in the Twinbrook area shared their love of sport at Brook Activity Centre, ahead of their school amalgamation in September.

Over 500 children from both schools developed friendships and bonds over the three day sports event. The teachers from both schools worked together to develop a sports programme that would encourage new friendships and teamwork. The children enjoyed a range of games including football, skittles, dance and of course, the egg and spoon race.

Ms McCormick, from St.Luke’s Primary School, comments, “We organised the school sports event to introduce the children from both schools to each other. The event has really helped to forge friendships among the children before the summer holidays, so that they’re familiar with the other children when they start back to their new school in September.

“Sport is a great way to teach children about skills that are transferrable in the classroom, such as teamwork and communication. Brook Activity Centre did a great job at facilitating the sports events, all of the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have made so many new friends.”

Gareth Kirk, GLL Regional Director comments: “We’re delighted that we could facilitate the school sports event at Brook Activity Centre before the schools merge in September. With so many children not participating in the recommended amount of daily physical activity, I would like to commend the teachers for making this sport event fun and creative, to encourage their pupils to participate in physical activity.

“We hope to see many of the children at our summer scheme in the next few weeks to further develop their friendships that they’ve already made. Finally, I would like to wish the staff and pupils every success in the future and we would like to see the newly amalgamated school return to use our facilities in September.”

How St. Colm’s High School in Draperstown lives and breathes for the environment

At St. Colm’s High School in Draperstown, the staff and pupils don’t just pay lip services to environment issues – they live and breathe it. And the top-achieving south Derry school (60 staff, 447 students) was rewarded with the Green Award in a highly contested category with this year’s Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards.

Among St. Colm’s guiding principles – alongside its commitment to student care, the Catholic ethos and the school curriculum – is to develop pupils who are appreciative of their heritage, their community and their civic responsibilities.

And central to that is its “green” ethos. St. Colm’s was the first post primary school in the Magherafelt district area awarded a Green flag for its environment work in 2007, and it has continued to work tirelessly on environment projects since then. Its Green Flag status was renewed last month. The school’s Eco-club was established nine years ago and has also gone from strength to strength (it too has gained a Green Flag).

St. Colm’s has amassed an array of awards in recent months, including the overall Eco-Unesco Young Environmentalist Award for its Susan’s Trail biodiversity project (created in memory of Susan Potter). That adds to six All-Ireland Eco-Unesco Awards and highly commended in another.
As well as securing other acknowledgements for energy efficiency, climate, community development and biodiversity, the school also collected ‘Most Inspiring Environmental Project by young People’ in the Sustainable Ireland Awards and SSE Airtricity/Tidy-NI best eco-committee awards.

Eco activities include regular litter-blitzes, making bird feed workshops, painting fences, hedge planting and seasonal planting, maintenance of the greenhouse and Susan’s Trail, awareness-raising campaigns which include Earth Hour, Power Down Day, Adopt-a-spot, Wrigley’s Litter-less Campaign, The Big Spring Clean and Translink’s Travels Challenge, entering national eco-competitions, poster competitions on saving energy and raising awareness of litter problems, working with Magherafelt District Council on the regeneration of Moykeeran/The Plantain, a nature park in Draperstown, and public speaking on environmental issues.

The school says: “St. Colm’s is a happy, hard working and successful school with excellent facilities and resources for all pupils regardless of specific areas

St. Mark's Kenyan Mission

A sixteen-strong team of Year 14 students and staff from St. Mark's High School, Warrenpoint, have embarked upon a mission to Kenya in East Africa. This is the third time that a group has travelled from St. Mark's to Kenya where they work with the small rural community of Naro Moru.

While there, the group will live within the community, work on local farms and help to build an extension onto the local school. There is no doubt that the students, led by Mr. Sean O'Hare, will have a life-changing experience as they see, at first hand, the difficulties faced by those in the developing world.

The team would like to thank all those in our local community who supported fundraising events for the Kenya trip and Cookstown Meats for sponsoring the team kit.

St Patrick's Keady is Number One

A County Armagh school has been voted best secondary school in the UK in the 2015 TES school awards.

St Patrick's High School in Keady received the award at an event in London on Friday night.The judges said the "innovative work and move away from banding, the amazing results achieved and rate of acceleration" made St Patrick's stand out.They also praised the school's work in the community.In 2011, only 51% of GCSE pupils at St Patrick's were achieving five A*-Cs including English and maths.
By 2014 it had become the highest-performing non-selective school in Northern Ireland, with 80% of pupils achieving those results and 93% leaving with five GCSEs.

TES said St Patrick's had abandoned streaming and banding, focused on teaching and learning, motivating and engaging boys, and assessment for Learning.It said it also built stronger links with its partner primary schools, and a learning resource centre now assists students who are struggling."But it's not all about the academic side: St Patrick's is prominent in the local community, sending food hampers to those in need at Christmas and organising regular visits to the elderly," it said."As the school's entry to the TES Schools Awards pointed out, the emphasis is on education in its 'fullest sense'."
The TES (formerly Times Education Supplement) school awards are in their seventh year.Winners in 17 categories were announced on Friday

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