THE acting principal of Dunluce School has paid tribute to the former headmaster Dr Brian Haugh for his work in the Bushmills school, ensuring it is respected in the local community.
Mr David Loughrey was speaking at the annual prize day ceremony in the school where he welcomed special guests, past and present pupils, collegaues from primary and post primary school, Education Board officers and other special visitors.
He also welcomed Joyce Savage from Cancer Focus NI (formerly the Ulster Cancer Foundation)
“We have had a close working relationship with the Cancer Foundation for many years and the work that has been done through it has benefited many people,” he said.
“It is wonderful that a number of last year’s Year 12 pupils are able to join with us today, I congratulate many of you who have done so well attaining top grades at GCSE and BTEC level and in particular a number of our pupils who have attained good pass grades even though you have struggled with educational needs.
“At this point I would commend the whole teaching staff who work so hard both during the school day and giving of their time after school to provide extra tuition for the pupils. I would also like to thank the many parents who are supportive of this school in its effort to always work for the best of the pupil both in academic achievement and pastoral care. Well done to all.
“Our prize day last year was quite eventful when we had Mr Jim Eastwood who had been very successful in the show “The Apprentice”. The nature and content of his address was entertaining and informative yet a different theme from our present day.
“We recognise that success for many is measured by the currency of academic result and in this day and age that is true, but all schools should be in the business of developing the whole person in preparation for life in society. This, I believe, we do and succeed. Let me share with you some of the ways we do this.”
Mr Loughrey then gave an outline of many school activities during the year including schools trips to the French Alps and Barcelona.
He also spoke of the Comenius project.
“This is our third European Comenius partnership and we are linked with school from Sweden, Austria and Germany. In February, Dr Haugh, Mr Thomas and Mrs T Mullan plus five of our pupils visited Northern Sweden.
“I believe this was not just a culture shock but also a climate shock considering they were just south of the Arctic Circle with a meal of barbeque moose in the snow at a temperature of -18°C. Not quite our Northern Ireland conditions!
“In May Mr Mitchell, Mr Pollock and one of our Board of Governors, Mrs Donna Watson visited Frankfurt in Germany along with five pupils. All of these experiences give our staff and pupils an insight into culture and education in our fellow European countries.
“The Ulster Project Delaware is a cross-community project that allows 18 young people from the province an opportunity to visit America in July. We were privileged to have three of our pupils to experience this, Curtis McLean, Shannon Davies and Luke Philpott travelled around the Eastern seaboard of the USA visiting cities and also taking part in community based activities.
“Throughout the school year our pupils have the opportunities to be trained and educated in a variety of topics and skills, many not directly related to their academic award, however, nonetheless significant in their overall preparation for life.
“Year 8 receive a training day early in September to help them acclimatise to their new school as well as the induction programme.
Business Insight Day in November helps our Year 12 pupils acquire the necessary skills and practice at interview experiences in preparation for application to the next stage of their education or for employment.
“Year 12 also have an opportunity to sample work experience in January which allows our pupils to sample the world of work. The experiences range from primary schools, hospitals, offices, construction and shops. We are grateful to all who allow their premises to be used and give of their time especially at this time of recession and I would like to thank Mrs H Mullan for the work she does in placing pupils. Congratulations to Keri McCloskey on winning the Work Experience Cup for her work at a local animal rescue centre.
“Throughout the year there were a range of workshops organised for pupils in anti-social behaviour and firework safety. Also the Royal Navy gave pupils from years 9 and 10 the opportunity to work on different tasks involving STEM subjects – these are science, technology, engineering and maths. This gives the pupils hands-on experience to support the work done in the classroom.
“Mr Dougherty took a group of pupils to Corrymeela to a Global Identity Programme funded by Moyle District Council along with local schools to participate in a programme of cultural identity looking at issues such as refugees, migration and immigration.
“Our extra-curricular programme is as healthy as ever, not just focusing on sports such as football, rugby, hockey, dance, table tennis, netball and golf, but others like Duke of Edinburgh award, Scripture Union, choir, drama and book club. All of our teams are involved in local school leagues and our thanks go to all the staff who give of their time freely to allow these activities to take place.
“A number of our pupils got involved with the Irish Open helping out at the event which was exciting for them to be invited to such a special occasion.
“At our school sports prize morning it was a pleasure to invite Nicole Lyons, an ex-pupil to share with us her experience as one of those chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in the Portrush area. This was a proud moment for her and her family.
“The year’S KEY programme (Knowledge through Enterprise for Youth) was enjoyed by a number of year 11 pupils which consisted of two short term residentials and a week long residential. The LET programme (Learning and Educating Together) involved pupils in Year 9 bringing them together with other pupils from different backgrounds and traditions. Both these programmes are organised by Young Enterprise NI and funded by the International Fund for Ireland. The experience of both these programmes have been a tremendous benefit to those taking part and thanks to Mr Bingham and Mr Parker and all the staff for their personal contribution to the projects.
“In February, we were visited by the Education and Training Inspectorate. There were a total of eight inspectors who visited a large number of classes during their three day stay. The areas of English, maths and science were scrutinised alongside Special Educational Needs and Pastoral Care. The findings are on the website for all to see.
“It is interesting to see of late the publicity that ETi have been subjected to and the response of many to the experience of a full inspection. We feel that a number of their findings we can comply with, however, in my long experience as a teacher, vice principal and now as acting principal there was a greater emphasis on results than on the people we produce.
“All of us a capable of improvement, however, the inquisitional nature of this inspection left us feeling quite shocked. Sadly, on the heels of this experience the local press had published the initial plans for area planning in the Coleraine area. For many years there has been a sizeable number of spaces in local schools.
“As you can imagine these two events had a very damaging effect on the morale of what I consider a staff that are well motivated and professional. We are in a climate of change in education, how this change is handled both at local level and government level will have an impact for generations to come. We are a school for this community – we have embraced the recommendation – we have solid numbers – we are financially viable – we are ready and very willing to take Dunluce to this new level.
“At his point I want to pay tribute to C2k and the Northern Eastern Education and Library Board for their support at this period. With all the difficulties that they are facing we have found them to be freely giving of their time and expertise and in particular I would like to single out Pauline Baird our CASS officer who has been a tremendous friend and mentor to us throughout these last months.
“I would also like to thank the Board of Governors for their help since I have taken over the post of Acting Principal and in particular Mrs Frances McCollum for those many meetings which we have had and in particular her home made scones and traybakes which we all have come to appreciate during the late Friday afternoon post-inspection training.
“One of our highlights each year now has become the school show. There is always a buzz around the school at this time just before Christmas at the beginning of December. Last December we were all given a real treat by this ambitious production of “Anything Goes”. This was an outstanding achievement for both the production team and the army of pupils involved, not just on stage but behind the scenes, props, lights and sound. The new experiences and skills that are acquired through this type of venture cannot be quantified academically but the memories are irreplaceable.
“Thanks must not just go to the pupils and their parents for their time sacrifice to accomplish such a venture but special recognition must also be given to the Director, Mr McClarty, Musical Director, Mr Lutton, Assistant Director, Mrs Moore and the floor manager, Mr Scullion plus the many other staff who are giving of their time and expertise.
“Still on the drama theme, 21 of our pupils ably directed by Mrs Moore performed on Monday 1 June at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine in a project organised by the Neighbourhood Policing Team. Pupils from other schools in the Coleraine area included Dominican College, St Joseph’s College, Coleraine High School, Coleraine Academical Institution and Loreto College.
“There have been a number of changes in staffing throughout the year and also towards the end of the year. Early in the year two long standing cleaners whose work was valued left for retirement and will be missed, Mrs Ann McAuley and Mrs Pauline Parke. One of our supervisory assistants, Mrs Marcheta Glass, left for alternative employment, Miss Alison Cunningham, one of our classroom assistants left to take part in further studies. One of our teaching members retired at the end of June, Mr Alan Devers. M
“r Devers began his teaching career in Dunluce School in September 1978 as a history teacher. During his time here Mr Devers has been Head of History and also in the earlier years teacher in charge of EMU, Education for Mutual Understanding. Latterly Mr Devers has been involved with Special Needs Provision initially with Mrs Floyd and then of late with Miss McBride. We wish him well in his retirement and we hope that his interest in history and in trains will fill the space left as a result of his leaving the teaching profession.
“Miss Caroline Gordon became Mrs Caroline Lewis over the summer and we wish her and her husband a long a happy life together.
“A new addition to our staff is Mr Samuel Campbell to the English department. Mr Campbell has been with us before to help out with maternity leaves however, it is good to welcome him on to the staff in his new capacity.
“The fact that I am delivering this report will be a clear indication that Dr Haugh has now retired. Sadly in mid April Dr Haugh left school due to ill health. Unfortunately he was unable to return from that date until his retirement date at the end of August however it was great to see him visiting school in August to speak to staff and Year 12 pupils who received their results.
“Over the past 10 years Dr Haugh has worked tirelessly to build and progress on a solid platform left by Mr Page, his predecessor. Dunluce School is respected in the local community and this is no small measure attributed to the leadership and skills of Dr Haugh. Dr Haugh’s vision for Dunluce through drama and promoting it as a school worthy of the trust of parents has allowed this rural school to progress while others are fading.
“Enrolments may have been in decline, however, the image of Dunluce, which is attributed to the leadership, has allowed it to attract members in a way not represented in local or national trends. We wish Dr Haugh a healthy and restful retirement and thank him for all that he has done in the further development of this small but significant seat of learning and teaching in the popular north coast town of Bushmills.
“We at Dunluce may have had our ups and downs throughout the year, however, I feel from this video you should get a sense of the mood and spirit of the school. This is a good school and this is due to a number of reasons. We have a motivated and enthusiastic staff. I pay tribute to our teaching staff for the hard work that takes place both in and beyond the classroom.
“Thanks also to the Educational Welfare Officer, Counsellor and Psychologist, the support staff and classroom assistants, the office staff, the technicians and clerical assistants, the canteen staff and supervisory assistants, the Cleaning Staff, the Head Boy, Head Girl and their Deputies and to all the School and Travel Prefects. I thank them all for their valuable contribution to this school.
“I would like to single out Mrs Julianne McBride for her professionalism and expertise in the office and her long suffering patience in the most recent months, and for her extensive part in the organisation of today. Also the senior leadership team, Mrs McIlveen, Mr Scullion and Mr Thomas I thank you for all our hard work and your leadership qualities which have certainly risen to the challenge of late.
“Finally, I thank all the parents for entrusting their children to the school, this is an awesome responsibility and privilege. I can assure you that we have and will continue to work hard in the best interests of all their children.”