BALLYCASTLE High School is celebrating its Centenary year in 2011.
Speaking at the annual Prize Day Principal Ian Williamson said it had been a significant year in the history of the school and that change and transition coupled with challenge and opportunity had brought a focus on building for the future.
Mr. Williamson said much had changed in that time and gave the audience an insight into significant events in the year 1911.
He went on: “The most recent Chief-Inspectors report makes reference to: The current period of economic turbulence and change having brought austerity and challenge that requires innovative thinking and creativity. It stresses the importance for schools to build upon the natural enthusiasm, energy and exuberance of the majority of learners by including all of them, and by supporting them to aim high and achieve well.
“These principles are well established in Ballycastle High School. 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 witnessed us continuing to build for future success, choice and inclusion for all pupils in our school. I trust that you will see today how we continue to develop young people in 2011, every bit as much as was the case in 1911.
“At A Level, Lauren Morrison achieved three A grades in Business Studies, Geography and History. Joleen Simpson gained grades A* and A in Double Award Health and Social Care and a B grade in Applied Science. Congratulations also go to Ben Kennedy, Megan McAlonan, Danielle Moore, Steven Morrison, Dorothy Nicholl, Alice Poots and Clare Wilson who all achieved three top grades with at least one grade A or equivalent.
“While these 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 a high percentage of our students qualified themselves for Higher Education Institutes and Universities.
“46% our Year 14 students achieved 3 or more A levels at grade A*-C with 100% achieving 2 or more A levels at grade A* - E. These figures continue to be above the average percentages achieved by similar schools in Northern Ireland using the most recent benchmarking data available.
“At As level, thirty five students in Year 13 sat the examinations with over 80% of pupils passing at least two subjects. Julie-Ann McCook who sat 4 As levels, achieved 4 A grades. Kathy Brogan, Danielle McAlister, Andrew McAlonan, Matthew McBride and Laura McDowell, all have three top grades with at least one A grade at this level of study.
“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. Again we pay tribute to Mrs Ward and her staff for the professionalism and courtesy shown to High School students when they study at Cross and Passion College.
“Continuing with the successes of this year’s GCSE results, we saw the figure for pupils achieving 5 grades at A* to C rise to 62.5%, and was the highest percentage figure for 11 years. The figure when we look at 5 GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and Maths – which increasingly is significant to the Department of Education, was an excellent 55.4% and places Ballycastle High School well above the Northern Ireland average for schools similar to ourselves. Twenty-three students have at least 9 and in most cases 10 GCSEs or equivalent at grade C or better. Special congratulations go to Jordanne Kane who has achieved one A*, eight A grades and a B.
“95% of our Year 12 pupils gained a grade in 5 GCSEs and once again in Ballycastle High School no-one left without a GCSE qualification.
Mr. Williamson said pupil inclusion and support was enhanced significantly this year with establishment of a School Council. After elections the council was established and already has engaged significantly with local community representatives and agencies on a range of issues.
The emphasis on student voice was further enhanced by the establishment of a joint Sixth Form Student Council. This has representatives from Ballycastle High School and Cross and Passion College and formed part of the school’s Shared Education Partnership programme.
Mr. Williamson concluded: “Mr Chairman and Chief Executive as we celebrate today the successes of our students, I trust we can look forward to continued success in the years ahead. By working in a creative and innovative way we will continue to strive to prepare our pupils for the future, just as our predecessors have done in the past.”