Ballymoney High School held their Annual Prize Day recently.
The event was opened by a performance by the school’s Chamber Choir accompanied by Mrs G. Brown.
Chair of Governors, Mr Dessie Fulton then welcomed guest speaker for the day, Norman Lynas OBE. Mr Fulton shared how Mr Lynas was an excellent role model and how he was looking forward to his address. The Chair also commended the staff and pupils for their many successes in the past year, academically and in extra-curricular areas and thanked staff and Governors for their continued efforts.
He described how the Governors had made the decision to allow the principal Mrs Currie to undertake a period of secondment to the Education Authority in order to represent school leaders in the EA’s Transition service.
He also mentioned the increasing pressures and constraints on school budgets leading to cuts in key services and reduced spending on the schools’ estate and how this was making it increasingly difficult to run schools.
The Principal Mrs Currie in her annual address highlighted how in the past year the school had continued to strive to fulfil its mission statement “to educate with care to encourage success for all”. She made specific reference to the School Development Plan and how the five key areas of Raising and sustaining Achievement for all, Child Centred Education, Effective Learning and Teaching, Strengthening Community Links and Leading Learners had continued to build the quality of the education provided for the pupils of Ballymoney High School.
The Principal emphasised the school’s commitment to being at the heart of the local community and in building strong community links particularly with local community groups, churches, primary and post primary schools and expressed her delight in seeing so many of the community partners present on the day to share in the successes of the school.
Those present on the day were given an overview of the many curricular initiatives, extra-curricular projects and many academic, cultural, sporting individual and group successes of the pupils illustrating the vibrant and varied experiences the school offers.
The Principal paid tribute to the teaching staff highlighting how they were instrumental in ensuring the high quality learning experiences, working hard to enable pupils to have enjoyable and fulfilling learning experiences.
Mrs Currie shared how it was with sadness that the school community said goodbye to Mrs Mandy Walker who had been a Learning Support Assistant in the school for many years. She also wished Mrs Ruth Armstrong (associate senior leader and head of History) all the best for her career break during the current academic year.
Mrs Currie highlighted the relentless commitment of all in the school community to child centred learning and provision and paid tribute to the pastoral support staff who continue to support the school community, including colleagues from external agencies and the significant input from pastoral support staff employed at the school.
In particular, she outlined how the school has gained the AcSEED award for our approaches in
addressing and supporting mental health and well-being issues.
The Principal expressed her delight in the record matching set of results achieved in August 2018. A superb 81% achieved 5 or more qualifications at Grade C or above, a statistic equal to last year.
She was delighted to identify the many subjects that achieved 100% of pupils achieving grade A*-C and how the analysis of pupil results has shown that the pupils of Ballymoney High School had a curriculum that gave them access to a broad, balanced and
personalised learning experience.
As Acting Principal for the duration of Mrs Currie’s secondment, Mr Bingham outlined his vision for the school and how it is shared with what was generated last year in consultation with the many stakeholders, that it continues to be ‘a first choice school developing and empowering for the future through outstanding education’.
He talked about how with, well over 105 first choice preferences to attend this year and a final intake into Y8 of 147 pupils, the school is well on the pathway to seeing this vision fulfilled.
In his position he was keen to point out how he plans to continue to work alongside the local primary schools to improve communication and transition and outlined the work that has already begun in embedding the School Development Plan.
Mr Bingham thanked the Governors and staff for all their support in helping him settle into the role of Principal and how he was looking forward to the challenges of running a great school.
Guest speaker Norman Lynas addressed the hall and talked about his many links to the school and how his father had set in place the building blocks for Lynas Food Service by opening a premises in Ballymoney. He gave the young people the challenge of looking after their mind with sound education, body with exercise and spirit by seeking a relationship with God. His address was inspirational to all in the hall as he described the many real and everyday challenges that he has had in life and how he had overcome them in order to keep going and achieve.
After Mr Lynas distributed the many prizes to current and past pupils. The Head Girl, Rachel Dunbar and Head Boy, Tom Madden ended the ceremony with a vote of thanks before all present availed of afternoon tea.