Prize Night

The school celebrated its annual Prize Distribution on Thursday 26th October, and we were delighted to welcome a number of distinguished guests, including representatives from NICIE and the EA, not forgetting, of course, our Year 12 pupils who returned to collect their GCSE certificates and other special awards.

This year our guest speaker was Mr Paul Gray, Director, LearnSpark Ltd. He encouraged pupils to be proud of their achievements and to celebrate success, but more importantly to look forward to the next challenge.

In her address, Mrs McGarry, Acting Principal, commenced her speech by commenting on, “…a pupil-centred, purposeful, achieving and highly successful school now firmly embedded in the Crumlin community and wider area. In fact, a report of which any school would be proud. Tonight, we celebrate the rejuvenation of the college, and pay tribute to the hard work of the pupils, staff (teaching and non-teaching), parents, governors and the local community, all of whom deserve the highest of praise.”Mrs McGarry highlighted the many achievements throughout the school year both inside and outside of the classroom. She referred, in particular, to several pupils who achieved outstanding GCSE results: Hannah Storey, Brian Savage and Stephen Bishop. She also highlighted the importance of pupil attendance at school, “we firmly believe that attendance is linked to academic performance. There really is truth in the Department of Education’s website - Miss school - miss out!”

Mrs McGarry continued, “2016/17 also saw the second year of our Shared Education Programme with the aim of embedding community relations, reconciliation and school improvement. This project afforded opportunities for us to work, develop and deepen our collaboration with Governors, colleagues, and pupils from St Joseph's, Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach and Crumlin Integrated Primary School. On a personal note may I express my appreciation to the local Principals and Shared Education coordinators for their support and vision as we 'Work Together for a Brighter Future' . Last month, the Shared Education Inspectors commended the quality of the lessons and reported that our community connections were indeed a sample of best practice. Integration is at the heart of this school and the community, and the values are evident in the very positive school ethos which has been commented on several times during the ETI visits.”

Mrs McGarry concluded, “The needs of the pupils will always come first and yes there have been some massive cut backs in education but we are fortunate to have governors who like myself believe that no price can be put on a child's education. We may not have state of the art buildings and classrooms full of the latest technology but these alone will not bring happy well rounded pupils who succeed in examinations.

Enrolment in the school has trebled in the last five years with a very respectable two class intake and examination results are at an all- time high but there is still doubt surrounding the amount of funding these young people will receive. Partly because the Education budgets have been decimated and partly because of the political impasse which is on-going at Stormont. The Department of Education has a responsibility to encourage and facilitate integrated education and this along with support from all political parties has been evident in the past. If continued, I can see no reason why we should not remain a strong, sustainable and successful integrated school delivering a high quality education for the children in Crumlin for many years to come.”

Supper was served in the sports hall here new friendships were formed and old acquaintances reunited.