St Colman’s ‘leading light in post primary provision in Mid-Down’

St Colman’s ‘leading light in post primary provision in Mid-Down’

15 November 2023

ST Colman’s High and Sixth Form College in Ballynahinch has been described “a constant strength in our community”.

Speaking at the school’s annual prize distribution recently, Mrs Jennifer King, principal said St Colman’s was a “leading light in multi-faith 11-19 post primary provision in Mid-Down” with almost 60 years of heritage.

Mrs King said the school has a long tradition of celebrating and acknowledging positive values, in addition to exam successes that prepared young people for a fulfilling life.

Mrs King said that during the last term students, parents, staff and governors were invited to agree a set of values that best reflected the aspirations of the whole school community.

“The responses provided the school with five distinct values, which we believe demonstrate the unique character of our school and are a fundamental contributor to our students’ success and their future wellbeing,” said Mrs King.

The agreed values by the high school were ‘kindness, respect, achievement, community and collaboration, and creativity’, with all values being reflected in the awards presented to the successful students.

“St Colman’s students continuously exemplify these values and we witness daily, examples of this among the whole school community,” she said.

One noteworthy example Mrs King emphasised was the school’s charity sleep-out in February, which raised £4,000 for the homeless and had now 

become an annual event. A further £1,250 had been raised this term.

Mrs King described it as “a genuine effort involving our teachers, support staff and students in spending a cold night outdoors, with the wider community making donations to encourage and celebrate their charity work”.

The principal also spoke about how the school provided opportunities for students to explore their individual talents.

“Our school’s social media pages regularly showcase the richness of talent the school is privileged to encourage,” she said.

“This diversity of creative talent was also reflected in our fundraising bake off which wowed students and staff with talent in the kitchen with achievements ranging from star baker to spirit of St Colman’s awards.”

Mrs King took the opportunity to congratulate the students on their incredible academic results.

“Once again, your pupils have excelled with our recent Year 12s here today reaching 100% achievement at GCSE Level, and with 70% achieving seven A*– C grades, including English and Maths.

“In our burgeoning sixth form, we commend a team of pupils brought together from a wide variety of local schools and beyond, 93% of whom successfully achieved A*– C grades at A-level.

“To each and every one of you here today, I’d like to wish you a heartfelt well done – we are so proud of you.”

Mrs King also took the opportunity to thank the parents for their “tireless commitment in their support”.

Speaking about the enrolment of Year 8 students from over 30 different primary schools, Mrs King said: “The school continues to provide a high quality education, an array of extra curricular support and activities, and an atmosphere of care that we believe welcomes each student.”

Mrs King paid tribute to the guest speaker and past pupil Aaron McMullan, who is a representative of the 

management of Nitronica, a popular Ballynahinch electronic manufacturer.

“Aaron last crossed this stage in 2015,” said Mrs King. “During his time at school, he impressed staff and peers with his courtesy, warmth, academic commitment, artistic talents and good humoured demeanour to everyone he encountered – a young man we believe exemplifies the values of St Colman’s.”