NCHS principal delighted with progress report

Newtownabbey Community High School principal, Mr John Lewis, with pupils (l-r) Gemma Carey, Aga Golonka, Megan Larsen and Karlie Connelly. INNT 03-505CON
Newtownabbey Community High School principal, Mr John Lewis, with pupils (l-r) Gemma Carey, Aga Golonka, Megan Larsen and Karlie Connelly. INNT 03-505CON
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The principal of Newtownabbey Community High has welcomed the findings of a recent inspection report, which describes the standard of education being provided by the school as “very good”.

John Lewis, headmaster of the Rathcoole Drive school, which is expected to merge with Monkstown Community School later this year, said he was delighted with the Education and Training Inspectorate’s (ETI) findings.

A standard inspection carried out at Newtownabbey Community High School (NCHS) in September 2010 found the quality of education at the school was “satisfactory”. But the follow-up inspection, carried out in October 2013, showed significant improvement in several key areas.

The ETI report, published last month, states: “During the standard inspection, the quality of less than one-half of the lessons observed was good or better. The quality of the lessons observed during the second follow-up inspection was consistently improved, with almost all of the lessons being good or better, and three-fifths very good or outstanding across almost all areas of learning.”

The report praises the school’s improved pupil attendance record and improved pupil behaviour. It also points to the outstanding transformational work of the senior leadership team, rising standards of literacy and numeracy and the enhanced overall quality of education for the pupils.

In terms of the school’s improving GCSE results, the ETI noted that “examination standards are now significantly above the average when compared with similar schools.”

“The quality of education provided by this school is now very good, as a consequence of steady improvement over three years, built upon significant staffing and curricular change, the outworking of structures to effect improvements in practice and in outcomes and the positive response of the pupils. The school is meeting very effectively the educational and pastoral needs of the pupils and has demonstrated its capacity for sustained self-improvement,” the report concludes.

Mr Lewis said that the improvements at the school were down to the hard work of staff, supported by the Board of Governors and other partner organisations.

“As a school over the last three years we have been focused on developing a culture of achievement, a positive ethos bought into by a range of partners, raising our examination results at Key Stage 3 and 4 and thoroughly monitoring and evaluating all that we do. I feel that this report reflects favourably on those overarching aims,” he commented.

Mr Lewis said that the school’s adoption of a ‘non suspension policy’ and implementation of a ‘restorative practice approach’ had also been very successful, even attracting interest from a number of other educational bodies.

“We are a school passionate about promoting continual improvement of our academic and pastoral standards for our young people. We are very proud of what we have achieved and believe we have best placed the school for its potential merger,” he added.