Local schools awarded for exceptional pastoral care

Date published: 08 April 2019

Four schools have been recognised for their exceptional pastoral care at an awards ceremony hosted by the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency (PHA). Our Lady’s Nursery School, Belfast, Carrickmannon Primary School, Ballygowan, Hazelwood Integrated College, Newtownabbey and Knockavoe School, Strabane have all received awards at the annual Derrytrasna Awards ceremony at Stormont.

Presenting the awards Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education said:

“The quality of this year’s nominations are testament to the high level of pastoral care being provided in our schools and reflects the high regard local communities have for their schools. 

“Pastoral care is an integral part of the school experience. Young people, as they grow up, face so many challenges and it is reassuring that, for some, their school is seen as a source of reassurance, and support.

“Exceptional pastoral care is not about the everyday support that schools offer their pupils; it is about those schools that go that extra mile, beyond what might reasonably be expected, to support young people’s emotional health and well-being; support that had a genuine positive impact on those who received it.”

Also presenting at the ceremony today, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager, Public Health Agency, Hilary Johnston, said:

“Good pastoral care is essential in supporting pupils in terms of their personal and social development, including mental and emotional wellbeing, educational attainment and future life outcomes. 

“Children who enjoy and thrive at school are more likely to achieve good qualifications, which in turn are more likely to lead to a fulfilling job directly benefitting health and quality of life”.

“I commend this year’s winners for their commitment to pastoral care.”

The Derrytrasna Pastoral Care award, now in its 5th year, was created by the Department of Education in collaboration with the Public Health Agency in 2014 and seeks to recognise through nominations, those school communities that have demonstrated exceptional effort in supporting the pastoral care of pupils and their families. Awards are made in the nursery, primary, post-primary and special school sectors.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Derrytrasna Pastoral Care Award is named after St Mary’s Primary School in Derrytrasna, the school whose exceptional pastoral care for a terminally ill pupil inspired the award.
  2. Award Winners:
  • Our Lady’s Nursery School was nominated by a parent for their approach to helping a child who has a diagnosis of Autism and high anxiety levels. 
  • Carrickmannon Primary School was nominated by a parent for the support provided to her daughters; one who was having a bone-marrow transplant, and her little pre-school sister who was the bone-marrow donor.
  • Hazelwood Integrated College, Newtownabbey was nominated by a parent for the quality of pastoral care they provided for her son who is supported by the Additional Educational Needs Department.
  • Knockavoe School was nominated by a parent for the assistance they provided her daughter who has a diagnosis of autism and severe learning difficulties.
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