Dalriada will continue to flourish

Dalriada School will continue to flourish and provide a high quality educational experience, despite external pressures.

That was the message from school principal Tom Skelton during the annual Speech Day.

Remarking on the school’s 75th anniversary, the principal said: “This has been a memorable year for Dalriada with governors, staff, pupils, parents and friends of Dalriada all playing their part in making sure we celebrated our landmark year in style. I want to pay particular tribute to all our staff who contributed to our celebratory events in addition to providing high quality teaching, outstanding pastoral care and a superb range of extra curricular activities.

“The Common Entrance Assessment continues to be a robust method of selection maintaining the solid support of parents in favour of academic selection. Over 200 children sat the three tests in Dalriada.

“We continue to work closely with our neighbours Ballymoney High School, Our Lady of Lourdes and Northern Regional College through the Ballymoney Learning Community. We are delighted that we have secured additional funding from the Sharing Education Programme to deliver a staff development programme between the three schools aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning for every child in the Ballymoney area.

He added: “Dalriada community have suffered losses this year, Mr. Brian Smyth, former teacher of Physics and Technology passed away in April 2013. “JB” as he was affectionately known was a real character who also contributed to rugby and charity fundraising in Dalriada. Rev. Dr. Derek Poots, OBE passed away on 17 January, 2013. A former Chairman of the North Eastern Education and Library Board, Dr. Poots delivered Religious Education lessons to classes in Dalriada during his 26 years as minister of Trinity Church, Ballymoney. On 19 th January we were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic accident in the Glencoe Mountains, in which former pupil Una Finnegan lost her life. Una joined Dalriada in 1999 and left in 2006 to study medicine at Newcastle University. She was a true Dalriad, fully committed to school life, with a particular love of adventure and outdoor activities. We are delighted that her family have set up a bursary in her memory to be named the Una Finnegan Initiative Award which will provide financial support for a senior pupil to undertake a project to further personal development.”

In conclusion, Mr Skelton said: “The school year 2012-13 has certainly been a year where we celebrated our historical landmark in style with a host of memorable events enjoyed by all. But now...it is time to get back to basics and do what this great school does best – promote the holistic development of every child in our care.”

For a fuller report of the speech, see our website www.ballymoneytimes.co.uk