Another year of success at Ballycastle High School

BALLYCASTLE High School Headmaster Ian Williamson has reported on another year of success.

Speaking at the school’s prize distribution, Mr Williamson said: “The 2011/2012 academic year has been another significant year in the life of the school. Once again there has been change and transition, coupled with challenge and opportunity. We have undergone official scrutiny and review and re-affirmation that Ballycastle High School is a school with a long and successful tradition, is delivering a quality education at present and has a strong focus on building for a successful future.

“This summer many of us have enjoyed the spectacle of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The demonstration of skills, qualities and attributes by athletes captivated the nation. Even in the current period of economic turbulence and austerity, the innovative thinking and creativity which surrounded the Olympics was truly inspirational. It proved once again to everyone involved in shaping the lives of young people, the importance of building upon their natural enthusiasm, energy and exuberance. It epitomised the importance of including everyone, and of supporting them to aim high and achieve well.

“The headlines surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic games related to inspiring a generation and creating a sustainable sporting, economic and social legacy. Today we will hear from Mr McCallion, a former Ballycastle High School pupil who played a significant role as part of a team in building that legacy.

“The iconic Aquatics building in the Olympic Park which he helped manage the construction of, was the scene of so much joy and inspiration for millions of people around the world. In conversation John Hugh told me of the difficulties that were faced in terms of getting secure foundations for the building. But equally interesting were his stories of how firm foundations in his life, which were laid in Ballycastle High School, helped to inspire him to enter a career which revolves around building for the future.

“I have stated in the past and I will state again today, that the principles I have outlined are well established in the ‘All-Round School’ ethos of Ballycastle High. Indeed this has been validated in our recent Education and Training Inspectorate Report. We continue to drive forward a vision which benefits not only our pupils and our school, but the community of which it is part. This year, has again witnessed us continuing to build for future success, choice and inclusion for all pupils in our school and it is with this in mind that we celebrate today our success.

“At A Level there have been some excellent individual performances: Julie-Ann McCook achieved three A grades in English Literature, French and Psychology. Danielle McAlister gained four top grades in ICT, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Congratulations also go to Thomas Knight and Andrew McAlonan who gained three top grades with at least one grade A or equivalent. Over 50% of our sixth formers gained A or B grades and 76% overall were successful in gaining at least 3 subjects. Sixteen subject areas enjoyed a 100% pass rate and once again and no-one leaves without qualifications.

“While individual performances are worthy of note, the vast majority of our students in the Year 14 have cause to be well satisfied and congratulated as once again most of our students qualified themselves for Higher Education Institutes and Universities.

“At As level, forty students in Year 13 sat the examinations with over 90% of pupils passing at least two subjects. Jordanne Kane, Rachel Murphy-McNeill, Hannah Pulman and Jade Trafford, who sat 4 As levels all achieved 4 top grades. Richard Beattie, Rebekah McKendry, and Ellie Reilly all have three top grades with at least one A grade or equivalent at this level of study.

“We wish every success to this year’s Year 14 as they continue with their Advanced level studies and to a number of students who have moved on to vocational training and further education we wish you every future success.

“Effective learning and teaching in Ballycastle High School is supported by equally effective learning and teaching in Cross and Passion College and the Northern Regional College. Tribute again must be paid to Mrs Ward and her staff for the professionalism and courtesy shown to High School students when they study at Cross and Passion College. Not only does it allow us to increase the choice of subjects offered to students, but the relationship between our schools enables the promotion of a culture and ethos based upon mutual respect for each others differences, while retaining individual identity.

“We put significant effort into preparing our pupils for the partnership and in this the Spirit of Enniskillen Trust is crucial. The experience, enthusiasm and professionalism of staff and volunteers from the Spirit of Enniskillen cannot be overstated. Their contribution to this key aspect of our school and to the community it serves is again worthy of note, especially this year when we had over 100 pupils from Ballycastle High School and 150 pupils from Cross and Passion College studying in collaborative classes at Key Stages 4 and 5,” said Mr Williamson.