Creavery Primary School PTA has been selected as the Northern Ireland winner in the Changing the Life of the School category for the PTA-UK Gold Star Awards 2014.
The Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, presented the award at Parliament Buildings, Belfast, last week.
This award, proudly sponsored by Youth Sport Trust, recognises outstanding achievement by PTAs and acknowledges the effect PTAs and the activities and projects they undertake have on the life of the school.
The annual Gold Star Awards reward PTA successes and celebrate the great things PTAs do to support and transform schools. Interest in the awards has grown year on year since they were first launched in 2005.
It is easy to see why the judges liked this application. At a meeting in 2012 a parent commented at a PTA meeting that she often sat in her car outside the school between 2pm and 3pm as there was little point in going home between collecting her son at 2pm and her daughter at 3pm.
As this was discussed the principal commented that there was a classroom that was not being used and if it would be helpful, the parents could use it to start a homework club, to try and alleviate the problem.
A rota of parents was drawn up to supervise the children and Helping Out Parents (HOP) was created.
HOP provides care for children before and after school. In Breakfast Club children are provided with a healthy breakfast and enjoy the camaraderie of their friends while being cared for by responsible adults.
HOP has developed over time so that now children are provided with a healthy snack and educational activities. It has changed the whole ethos of the school – giving a clear message that this is a school community, are not only interested in what happens in the classroom but also the logistics of busy family lives.
Mr O’Dowd said: “I congratulate Creavery Primary School PTA on winning the local Changing the Life of the School category of the PTA Gold Star Awards.
“Parent Teacher Associations encapsulate the link between schools, parents and their local community and are an integral part of school life. The work of the PTA at Creavery PS in establishing breakfast clubs in the morning and homework clubs after school, and in securing the active involvement of parents to help out, is to be commended.
“Parents getting involved in their children’s learning aligns well with my ‘Education works’ campaign and breakfast clubs can assist in ensuring children have the fuel they need to maximize their learning in the classroom. I wish Creavery PS PTA the very best as it proceeds into the final stages of the PTA Gold Star awards.”
Jayne Thompson, PTA-NI Adviser, said: “The Gold Star Awards recognise and reward the everyday achievements of PTAs.
“The standard of entries was very high this year and PTA-UK commends all the applications received. To make it through to the national finals in the Changing the Life of the School category is an amazing feat and we wish Creavery Primary School the very best of luck as they now go through to the final judging stage.”
Creavery Primary School, School will receive £500 for their PTA and will attend a special Awards Ceremony in central London on June 11 where the overall winner in the PTA Changing the Life of the School category will be announced.
If successful, Creavery Primary School will receive a cheque for £1,000.