A huge turnout of Year 6 and Year 7 primary school pupils and their parents enjoyed an impressive insight into life at Dalriada at the School’s Open Morning recently.
In the John Armstrong Hall, visitors were treated to a comprehensive slideshow of photographs depicting the diversity of activities which make up the rich tapestry of life at Dalriada.
In his introduction the Headmaster, Mr. Tom Skelton pointed out that Dalriada is a happy school where children and staff feel safe, valued and respected.
The school ethos is evident in the everyday life of the school and is based on positive relationships where respect for each other is paramount.
He stated: “Happy, interested children work hard and achieve highly.
“Pupils and staff at the school have high expectations in academic work, pastoral care and in a broad range of sporting, musical and cultural activities.
“Dalriada is a leading academic grammar school, both in the Province and nationally. This year we were placed ninth in the Province, according to the Sunday Times Parent Power analysis, based on our pupils’ outstanding GCSE and A level results. We were also placed in the top 100 state secondary schools in the UK. Of last year’s 116 Upper Sixth form leavers, 113 applied to university with 97% of them gaining a place at university.”
Mr. Skelton went on to highlight the numerous outstanding sporting successes including rugby Schools’ Cup semi-finalists in 2016 and the Under 16 Girls and Under 16 Boys volleyball teams who are the current All Ireland Champions respectively.
During the year, Dalriada pupils have gained recognition at Provincial and national level in rugby, hockey, volleyball, cricket and athletics.
The quality of music and drama in Dalriada is outstanding.
The School is the current BBC “Choir of the Year” and recently performed with the Ulster Orchestra at the Ulster Hall.
The “Spectrum” musical event at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine was an outstanding musical concert which sold out on both nights.
This year’s hugely successful Shakespeare production, “Macbeth” provided audiences with four memorable performances. Dalriada Bar Mock team won the Provincial competition and won the UK final at the Old Bailey in London in April. The team then represented Northern Ireland in the Bar Mock World Championships in New York.
After the Headmaster’s presentation, a number of Year 8 pupils gave their own personal account of what life is like for them at Dalriada and this was greatly appreciated by the large audience.
All visitors received a copy of the school prospectus which contains detailed information on many aspects of the life and work of the School with comments from current Year 8 pupils such as “I know I made the right choice in coming to Dalriada and I am really pleased to be part of this super school”.
Children and parents were then taken in groups for a guided tour of the School. The work of all academic departments and many after-school activities was on display. Visiting pupils had the opportunity to take part in practical activities in laboratories, workshops, music and drama, information technology and sample tasty treats in Home Economics.
The tours also included visits to the recently constructed £2.2 million indoor sports facilities which include a refurbished sports hall, new gymnasium, changing rooms, toilets, a PE classroom and a state-of-the-art fitness suite.
Over 400 current Dalriada pupils volunteered to attend Open Morning and they played a key role in the success of the day by setting up activities or acting as guides. In the evaluation of the event, Dalriada pupils were commended for their polite and friendly approach to children and parents. Visitors also commented on the high quality and varied range of classroom activities.
In conclusion, this was an excellent Open Morning which attracted pupils and their parents from 44 primary schools in the surrounding area and beyond.