Local schools recognised for exceptional pastoral care

Date published: 20 April 2018

Local schools recognised for their exceptional pastoral care at an awards ceremony hosted by the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency (PHA).

Stanhope Street Nursery School Belfast, St Mary’s Primary School Killyleagh, St Paul’s Primary School Irvinestown, Belfast Boys Model School and Tor Bank School have all been presented awards at the annual Derrytrasna Awards ceremony at Stormont.

Presenting to the schools, Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education said: “The high quantity and quality of the nominations for this year’s Derrytrasna Awards are testament to the pastoral care being provided by our schools and the high regard that families have for the schools their children attend.

“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 schools can provide help and support during what can be a difficult time in their lives.

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

“All the winning schools have demonstrated their commitment to supporting their pupils’ individual needs and are rightly being recognised today.”

Also presenting at the ceremony today, Mrs Watts, PHA 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 4th 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. In addition to awards designated for nursery, primary and post-primary sectors, a new category was introduced this year for special schools.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Stanhope Street Nursery School was nominated by a parent for their approach to dealing with a child who is awaiting an ASD Assessment and has serious behavioural issues. 
  2. St Mary’s Primary School Killyleagh was nominated by a Volunteer Worker for the assistance they provided to a family following a referral from the St Vincent de Paul helpline.
  3. St Paul’s Primary School, Irvinestown was nominated by a parent for their support they provided following her son’s diagnosis with an aggressive form of childhood cancer and after his death.
  4. Belfast Boys Model School was nominated by a Youth Worker for their commitment and progressive approach to tackling mental health and pastoral care.
  5. Tor Bank School was nominated by a Minister of Religion for their support to pastoral care in general and in particular how the school addressed bereavement and loss.   
  6. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974 383, and your call will be returned.

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