08 Nov Priory Celebrates Pupil Achievement
Parents, governors, staff and pupils of Priory IC in Holywood were joined by special guests, including the Minister of Education, Peter Weir, for their Celebration of Achievement Afternoon on Friday. Junior, senior and Sixth Form students were awarded prizes and trophies for a whole range of areas including academic achievement, creative and expressive arts, sport, community work and personal development.
“Last year was an exceptional year for Priory, so we’re delighted to have the Minister here with us to celebrate,” said Mrs Magennis, the college Principal. “Our young people once again achieved record-breaking GCSE and A level results in August, and more of them than ever before are now going to university here or further afield.”
The demand for integrated education in North Down and Greater Belfast seems to be higher than it has ever been, with Priory receiving a record number of applicants to year 8 in 2016, and is now one of the most oversubscribed schools in the area. So when the Northern Ireland Office announced in March that the long awaited funding for a new school for Priory had at last been secured, the college was delighted. “The Fresh Start funding that has been made available to Priory over the next 5 years will ensure that the young people here will at last get the educational facilities they deserve,” said Mrs Magennis. “Thank you to everyone throughout the Holywood community, pupils, parents, governors and staff past and present, and friends of the college for your unerring support over the years, which has secured this fantastic new future for integrated education in this area.”
The guest speaker at Friday’s event was Mr Patrick McGrath, the founder and Managing Partner of iTeach, a not for proﬁt organisation based in Belfast, that helps teachers and pupils use iPad technology for learning and teaching in classrooms all over the UK, including at Priory. In January 2016 Priory was awarded the iTeach Champion Schools Award in the post primary section for the way in which they are using iPad technology to enhance learning and teaching across the curriculum. They are the first post primary school in NI to have achieved this award and Mr McGrath acknowledged the work of the college in his keynote speech. “I’m proud to be working with Priory in their innovative approach to integrating cutting edge technology into the pupils’ learning experience. This is a school that is seizing every opportunity to enhance provision and that’s the message we need to give young people today – seize every opportunity, don’t be afraid of failure and never say ‘I can’t”
Prize winning pupils this year included:
Desire Bamisile, who won the Principal’s Prize for achievement at GCSE and Ryan Herfield, who won the Principal’s Prize for achievement at A level and is now studying at Queens’ University, Belfast. In addition, Marcus Ross, Anna Forster and Leah Morton each won awards for Promoting the Integrated Ethos of the College; Luke Elliott and Bryony Lupton won the Extra Curricular Male and Female Cups; Jessica Harris, Benedict Thurston and Ollie Wakefield were recognised for Outstanding Achievements in Sport, and Nicole Shaw and Rhys Ditty won prizes for Performing Arts.