Nominate your school for Derrytrasna Pastoral Care Awards

Date published: 04 November 2019

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: “Young people today are facing many challenges and that is why the support provided by our schools can prove vital in helping them deal with the difficulties and hardships of life.

“Excellent pastoral care is not about the everyday support offered by schools. It is about a level of care and help that is provided over and above what is expected and it is important that we acknowledge and celebrate such work.”

Fiona Teague, Public Health Agency said:  “With the complexities and pressures experienced by our school communities, we need to embed pastoral care programmes into the culture of our schools.  The link between the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of our young people to their intellectual development is clear.

“A commitment to excellence in physical health, social competence and emotional resilience will provide our young people with the tools and foundations to achieve a good quality of life.

“I commend the school leaders who have cultivated this approach in their schools, providing the community with excellent examples of how it should be done, with authenticity, commitment and compassion.”

Applications should be made by no later than 13 December 2019 using the form available at:

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

3. Our Lady’s Nursery School, Belfast, Carrickmannon Primary School, Hazelwood Integrated College and Knockavoe School were last year’s winners of the award.

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

  • Donna Walsh, Principal of Our Lady’s Nursery: “The staff and governors were delighted to have their continuous hard work and dedication to meeting the needs of all our children recognised by being nominated and receiving the prestigious Derrytrasna Award."
  • Maire Thompson, Principal of Hazelwood Integrated College: "We were so delighted to receive this prestigious award! It provided great recognition for all the hard work undertaken by the staff here at Hazelwood, who strive each and every day to provide the best holistic experience for our young people.”
  • Martina McComish, Principal of Knockavoe School: “This award has been both a humbling and uplifting experience for our whole school community. It has illustrated the confidence and trust parents have placed in Knockavoe School to do all in our power to make the daily experiences of each and every pupil a nurturing one in every aspect.”

5. The application period will be open from 4 November to 13 December 2019.

6. Follow us on Twitter @Education_NI and our Facebook page, Department of Education Northern Ireland.

7. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Telephone: 028 9127 9772. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer number 028 9037 8110.


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