Senior Prize Giving for 2017.
Principal, Mr Hampton, began by welcoming everyone to this most important occasion for Strabane Academy and in particular the guest speaker, Ulster and Ireland rugby player, Craig Gilroy.
He commented on the high standards of work and conduct that pervade the school and whilst the focus is on academic excellence, he was equally proud of our caring reputation and ethos and how the focus was on the needs of the individual pupil, trying to get the most out of every child.
He reflected on the quality of the teaching and learning, which lies at the heart of every successful school and how Strabane Academy has a team of highly motivated, caring and professional staff, both teaching and non-teaching, dedicated to making education enjoyable and to ensuring that children are respected and valued within a safe and caring learning environment.
He went on to describe how Staff Development had concentrated on work within the classroom and importantly there was a whole school focus on Teaching and Learning; in particular Marking for Improvement, giving Effective Feedback, Differentiation and on the development of Heads of Department in Leading Teaching and Learning and in Empowering and Challenging others.
He said that, “2017 was again an excellent year for examination results and that this was reflected in both the number of pupils who have returned to study within our sixth form and in the number who have gone on to study at Further and Higher Education”
He commented on how the majority of our leavers have gained
access to university courses includingteaching, computing, engineering, business and also a wide range of health-related professions.
“We value success through hard work and respect. My staff and pupils deserve a great deal of praise for all they have accomplished and I am immensely proud of their achievements.”
He explained how at A level our students have excelled with a 98% pass rate and over 34% achieving all A*to B grades and outlined the results of some of the top achievers including; Adam Hughes A*A* A*B, Jack Kennedy A*A*A, Josh Hamilton and Ciaran Slevin AAA, Aaron Heywood and Orlagh McCloskey A*AB and Emma Doherty AAB.
The Principal observed how these results were due to a number of factors including the excellent provision for Sixth Form pupils in our school and the dedicated and hardworking staff who provide additional support to pupils outside of timetabled classes. He also commended the support of our parents and the hard work of the pupils.
At GCSE level he noted how, “ our very pleasing A levels results have been backed up with more impressive GCSE results with the vast majority of our pupils obtaining 5 or more GCSE’s at A* to C grades.”
He explained how within the top stream, where pupils typically study ten subjects; 98% of all pupilsachieved 5 or more A*-C grades and 92% achieved 5 or more A*-C grades including English and Maths.
When he explained the results for the whole year group, which included a wide range of ability, he stated that 89% of the year achieved 5 or more GCSE grades at A*to C which compared extremely favourably with similar all-ability schools in Northern Ireland.
He noted that,18 pupils achieved 7 or more A*/A grades. They were: Rhiannon Bates, Lauren Crawford, Gavin Doherty, Orlagh Falconer, Emily Finlay, Jonathan Gamble, Lauren Kee, Sianna Lafferty, Leah McColgan, Ava McGillion, Anthony McNutt, Jordan Mealiff, John Mehaffy, Ryan Millar, Fionntan Moore, Ben Sayers, Jack Sayers and Aaron Wiley.
And of those pupils, he remarked how fantastic it was that 7 achieved 9 or more A*/A grades. They were: Lauren Crawford, Emily Finlay, Jonathan Gamble, Lauren Kee, Jordan Mealiff, John Mehaffy and Ben Sayers.
The Principal wholeheartedly felt that these results reflected the hard work of the pupils and highlighted the dedication and support provided by the staff who have encouraged and supported each of our young people to achieve to their potential.
He pointed out that, “The most important outcome is that all the pupils who did their best, whatever the result, deserve our praise and we will continue to focus on every pupil as an individual.”
One of the most notable features of the evening was the provision of activities outside of the classroom and how the pupils continued to participate with fantastic enthusiasm in the wide range of extra-curricular activities which Strabane Academy offered.
Mr Hampton explained how he felt that, “these were a hugely important part of our school life and reflected our aim to develop and encourage pupil potential in all areas, not just academic.”
He remarked how the main sports of Rugby, Hockey, Cricket and Football were all flourishing for both boys and girls and mentioned how there were many other activities including music and drama with orchestras, choirs and dance groups all operating during and after school.
Mr Hampton took time to comment on the huge commitment of staff and to say a heartfelt thank you all of those who give up so much of their own time to work tirelessly on behalf of the students, to organise and take part in these activities and trips.
“Our pupils’ participation and success in all of our endeavours are only possible because of the commitment of my colleagues. I would like to thank each and every staff member for the help and support that they provide to enable the pupils to succeed in life and; I would also like to thank our pupils for their good behaviour in representing the school wherever they travel.”
In concluding his report, Principal Hampton took the opportunity to thank; his colleagues for the support that they provided him as their Principal, the parents for their invaluable help and continued support especially those in the Parents Teachers and Friends Association and the Board of Governors whose expertise provided sterling guidance in these challenging times in education.