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Continuing Success for St Columba’s Primary School, Clady

The whole school community of St Columba’s Primary School is celebrating the many successes and achievements of the school year 2014-2015.

In June 2015 St Columba’s was successful in achieving the Rights Respecting School Award Level 1. The school puts children’s rights at the heart of its values and ethos. The Rights Respecting Schools Award acknowledges how St Columba’s puts the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) into practice to improve well-being and help all its pupils realise their potential.

St Columba’s successfully maintained its Dyslexia Friendly Schools BDA Quality Mark status in May 2015 when it was assessed for re-verification of the award.  The whole school community works as a fully cohesive team to embrace Dyslexia Friendly School strategies which have the potential to improve the learning of all pupils. This prestigious award recognises the excellent practices embedded within the school.

Pupils from St Columba's Primary School, Clady were delighted to take second place in the 'Eco-Committee of the Year' Award at the SSE Airtricity and Eco-Schools Global Awards at the Everglades Hotel in Derry in June 2015. Winning second place in the competition recognised the special role of St Columba's Eco-Committee in helping drive the Eco-Schools programme within their school. In March 2015 the school renewed successfully their internationally-recognised Green Flag for the fourth time.

St Columba's was noted to be outstanding in the amount of environmental projects they are involved in and the strength of their actions both in school and their communities. In March 2015 Niamh Lamont, Year 6 won the Environmental Youth Speak Regional Finals in Lisburn against very tough competition. She was awarded a kindle. St Columba's had won the Environmental Youth Speak in the Strabane District Council heats finals on six occasions but this was the first time the school won the Regional Finals across primary schools in Northern Ireland.

St Cecilia's College lead the Way

Career Inspiration in Education ‘Leading the Way’
Winners of Career Inspiration Award (Education) 2014 AND 2015.

St Cecilia’s College are delighted to announce that they have been awarded Winners of Career Inspiration Award (Education) at the annual Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards in the spectacular surroundings of Titanic Belfast for the second year in a row.

The judges citation read as follows: ‘Our winners gave precise evidence of long term strategic partnerships to develop students’ employability skills. It ensures its young people are given open access to impartial careers advice and is one of the few schools to have invested in a full-time fully-qualified Careers Manager. The breadth of what they do in a disadvantaged area is inspirational’.
St Cecilia’s College work in partnership with School’s Employers Connection, Chamber of Commerce, Foyle Learning Community, Further and Higher Education organisations, Young Enterprise, NISCA and Sentinus has led to a fundamental change in our approach to our careers education.

We recognise that not only do we need a robust education system that meets the needs of the learner but that also reflects the skills required by employers. St Cecilia’s has a fully qualified, full-time Careers Manager who provides every one of our student with an opportunity to engage in a range of activities designed specifically to develop their knowledge in the world of work and develop their employability skills.

We encourage our students to develop the independent learning skills that they will benefit from when they progress onto Sixth Form and then to Further or Higher Education.

Our pupils are given open access to impartial careers advice. We do not allocate pupils to pathways but instead give them fully informed and free choice. We are particularly proud of our role models days; Insight into Industry and pilot mentoring programme that we run in conjunction with a local company.

We pride ourselves on being a happy and caring school where all of our girls can flourish. We encourage high aspirations and seek to bring out the very best in every one of our pupils and as a result of this our students consistently achieve excellent results.


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

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