‘Momentum will continue into new school’

Successful partnership: Mr John Lewis, Principal of Newtownabbey Community High School with Monica McCann, Assistant Director of Barnardo's and Claire Humphrey of Newtownabbey Family Connections.
Successful partnership: Mr John Lewis, Principal of Newtownabbey Community High School with Monica McCann, Assistant Director of Barnardo's and Claire Humphrey of Newtownabbey Family Connections.

PRINCIPAL of Newtownabbey Community High School, Mr John Lewis has said the success and momentum the school has built up over recent years will not be lost with the school’s proposed merger with Monkstown Community School.

Last week, ahead of the launch of the Born & Bred in Rathcoole book, the principal outlined some of recent successes of the school.

It has formed and developed partnerships with the Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal, Newtownabbey Family Connections and the charity Barnardo’s, as well as other community organisations and local businesses including Chesapeake in Mallusk and Corr’s Corner Hotel.

These partnerships, combined with other measures implemented in the classroom, have seen the school’s exam performance increase from 28 per cent of students achieving A* to C grades to over half of pupils (55 per cent) gaining passing grades.

There has also been a dramatic reduction in the number of suspensions issued from 86 two years ago to three in the past year and zero, so far this school year.

Principal John Lewis said: “The school, it’s governors, all the staff, the pupils and their parents are all working hard to turn the school around and create a stable learning environment.”

He added: “It is easy to suspend. The hard thing to do is to work with the pupils. ”

It’s expected the school will merge with Monkstown Community High School under plans revealed by NEELB.

Mr Lewis added: “We are part of the area plan and are playing a key role in how it develops.

“I would hope that the momentum and success we have built up will continue and will not be lost through the area plan changes. The area plan brings together two schools both with a very different ethos and we’ll be hoping to bring together the best of both schools through our discussions over the coming months.”