Principal looks back on year of outstanding success

Keely Wallace and Rebecca Beattie were winners of the Newtownabbey Family Connections Cup. INNT 49-513CON
Keely Wallace and Rebecca Beattie were winners of the Newtownabbey Family Connections Cup. INNT 49-513CON
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Michael McAdam, managing director of Movie House Cinemas Ltd, was the guest of honour at Newtownabbey Community High School’s annual awards ceremony on Wednesday, November 27.

Mr McAdam spoke to pupils about the importance of having aspirations and being determined to succeed. He talked about growing up in Rathcoole, attending Hopefield School, how he started in business and urged the young people to never to give up on their dreams.

During his speech at the event, principal John Lewis reflected on the achievements of the school and its pupils over the past 12 months.

He themed his presentation on the school’s new motto, ‘Working together to ensure success’, highlighting this year’s record-breaking academic results, improved attendance and the school’s ‘very good’ report from the Education and Training Inspectorate.

Hailing 2012/13 “the most successful year in the history of the school”, Mr Lewis said: “With two years of record-breaking outcomes at Key Stage 3 and 4, and with targets in place for this year that suggest similar results, I feel that I can say that this is now a consistently high achieving school with an embedded achievement culture, bought into by all.

“One of the most pleasing aspects, highlighted in the recent inspection, is the dramatic improvement in the quality of teaching and learning. In 2010, just over half of the lessons watched were judged good or better. By last year, in our first follow-up, this had risen to three quarters. In October of this year over 90 per cent of the lessons were judged good or better with three fifths noted as being very good or outstanding. This very impressive statistic is down to the hard work of the staff, teaching and support, and sincere congratulations must go to them for the professional way they prepare, share and deliver their lessons and work plans.”

Mr Lewis also highlighted the school’s important community connections, specifically its links with local businesses, churches, charities and community organisations.

Turning to the long term future of the school, he pointed to the NEELB’s proposal to merge Newtownabbey Community High with Monkstown Community School, saying: “While debate still continues around the choice of site, the proposed coming together of these two schools heralds the exciting start of a new era of provision in the Newtownabbey area. The new school will bring together the very best of the two existing schools.”

Praising governors, staff and pupils for their hard work and commitment to the school, Mr Lewis concluded: “I am very proud of the work that goes on throughout Newtownabbey Community High, at every level and in every way. This is a school that is thriving on its strong relationships and reaping the rewards of its high expectations. In seeking the best possible achievement for all of its pupils it never loses sight of its caring, family ethos, within which mutual respect remains the core value.”