As we have now come to the end of our Summer term and school year 22/23 at St Mary’s, it’s time to reflect on what has been, on one level a return to relative normality with no interruptions to this school year due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
From the beginning of the year we were determined to provide as many events as possible for our pupils to enjoy and learn from. This was made possible by the very successful Sponsored Walk in October, funding gained through the Shared Education programme and the European funded, Erasmus+ programme. We had more school trips in the past year than at any other time!
In terms of academic achievement, I can report that the performance of those pupils tested compares favourably with our previous results and this is testament to the dedication that you continually demonstrate towards your children’s learning. I also want to thank the school staff, teachers and classroom assistants who worked so hard throughout the year.
Again, the performance of our school children in the International PIRLS assessment is a source of great pride. Recorded scores placing us in the top 6 out of a cohort of 56 countries from across the world is remarkable.
There were many notable events over the school year: the sponsored walk, Christmas productions by Nursery, Foundation stage and P5, First Communion, Confirmation, our first Sports Day open to Parents for several years, our 50th Anniversary Mass and social event back in school, the Leavers’ Mass, Nursery Sports Day and Graduation and the P7 end of year production.
The year progressed against a backdrop of an ever increasing level of industrial action in response to the brutal cutbacks and under funding of schools. St Mary’s is not extempt from such negative influnences and the school your child is returning to in September will be different from the one that they have just left. The level of teaching staff will be reduced by one thus pushing up class sizes throughout most of the school. Funding for books, and materials is significantly reduced and the upgrading of interactive whiteboards has been suspended. The Shared Education and Erasmus+ Programmes have now ceased and there is a reduction in the Extended Schools funding and the end of ENGAGE funding, and Happy Healthy Minds Funding.
However, despite the challenging times we are facing into I have no doubt that in living up to the partnership, represented in our school crest and embodied in the culture of our school community, we can work our way through the difficulties ahead and continue to provide a warm, caring and effective learning environment.
Finally I wish to thank our Governors, Parish Priest, Fr. Emlyn Maginn, and you the Parents/Guardians for the wonderful support and encouragment throughout the year.
Wishing you all a safe and pleasant Summer break,
Mr P Mc Donnell