Nominate your school for Derrytrasna Pastoral Care Awards

Date published: 06 November 2018

The Department of Education, in partnership with the Public Health Agency, is seeking examples of outstanding pastoral care in schools.

The Derrytrasna Pastoral Care Award provides recognition to school communities that have demonstrated exceptional co-operative effort in supporting the pastoral care of pupils. Schools that go above and beyond to make a real difference to their pupils lives.

Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education, said: “Exceptional pastoral care is not about the everyday support offered by schools. It is about a level of care and support that is over and above what is expected and what is offered to pupils by teachers or the school community. 

“These awards recognise those schools which go above and beyond to make a real difference to their pupils’ lives.  There are many schools which provide exceptional help and support to pupils and it is right that they are recognised for their important work.”

Valerie Watts, Interim Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency, 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.”

Applications should be made by no later than 14 December 2018 using the form available at:

Notes to editors: 

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. This joint DE/PHA award is to recognise schools that have demonstrated exceptional co-operative effort in support of a pupil.

3. Stanhope Street Nursery School, St Mary’s PS Killyleagh, St Paul’s PS Irvinestown, Belfast Boys’ Model and Tor Bank School were last year’s winners of the award.

4. The winners of last year’s awards commented on their success: 

  • Fiona Martin, Principal of St Mary’s Primary School, Killyleagh: “It was a great honour and privilege for St. Mary’s Primary School to received joint first place in the Derrytrasna Pastoral Care Award for 2018. The award recognises the hard work, commitment and sheer determination of the staff, going above and beyond to support families through the difficulties and hardships of life.  A very proud moment for all associated with St. Mary’s.”
  • Anne Molloy, Principal of St Paul’s Primary School Irvinestown: “It was very humbling for us to achieve this award in memory of Finn Gillen who was a very special little boy who will always be remembered with love and affection in our school community.
  • Mary Montgomery, Principal of Belfast Boys’ Model: “It was with great delight and a strong sense of pride that we won the Derrytrasna Pastoral Care Award for post-primary schools in April 2018.”
  • Claire Breen, Principal of Tor Bank School: “The whole Tor Bank community were absolutely delighted to be winners of the Derrytrasna Award for exceptional Pastoral Care. We pride ourselves on ensuring that every child who walks through the door has their aspirations nurtured, their learning needs met and their welfare supported. Our whole-school approach to meeting the pastoral needs of our pupils is both proactive and responsive, inclusive of everyone in the school community and focused on individual need. To be recognised with an award such as this is humbling and deeply appreciated by the whole school community.”

5. The application period will be open from 5 November to 14 December 2018.

6. The Department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the Department’s internal records management system. The Department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The Department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.

7. For media enquiries about this press release, please contact the DE Press Office on 028 9127 9755 or email Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110. Follow us on Twitter and our new Facebook page Department of Education NI.


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