Terms such as ‘world class’ and ‘ground-breaking’ were used to decribe the overall educational offering at St. Louis Grammar, Ballymena when the report of a special quality assessor was issued after a major inspection of the school earlier this year.
The high praise was noted in the speech given by headmaster, Mr. Sean Rafferty at the school’s annual prize distribution.
During his address, Mr Rafferty said: “Academic success can be in some ways regarded as only one measure of a school’s success and yes, we have fulfilled our academic targets, but we also celebrate the individual extra-curricular achievements of our students in so many different elements of school life. Combine academic/extra curricular success/participation and then you begin to see what a holistic education is really about.”
And that ongoing quest for the best possible educational comination paid handsome dividends in January when the school hosted two Inclusion Quality Mark Assessors.
Mr. Rafferty explained: “Basically, we had applied to have Inclusion Quality Mark status awarded to our school. Before that could happen, we had to show evidence of how, we as a self-evaluating school, measured up against pre-set criteria in eight areas of our school life from Curriculum/Pastoral/Teaching & Learning to communication with stake holders. I am delighted that we also received the Centre of Excellence status, which gives us flagship status, one of the first post primary schools to achieve this accolade.
“The IQM was a most vigorous/invasive review of our practice and certainly caused us to be really conscious of what we as a school deliver. In his summation Mr Ryan, the lead assessor, used terms such as “world class”, “innovative”, “superb”, “excellent”, “ground breaking” and has used examplars from our school as evidence of best practice. My congratulations to all involved.”
Mr. Rafferty acknowledged that 2014 was a big year for St Louis.
“We are celebrating 90 years of St Louis educational provision in Ballymena. We have much to be thankful for and our Gala event in Tullyglass House Hotel in May was a really special occasion. That event saw a cross section of St Louis advocates share the special St Louis link and witness its impact. We included the presentation of our IQM award on that night as it reflected the inclusive/quality values St Louis promotes.”
And he noted: “Our academic results at 84% 3 A* - C (NI average 78%), 97% 7 A* - C in Maths and English (NI average 93%) are reflective of a strong academic drive. 98% of Upper Sixth have gone to University to further their studies.
“These grades reflect hard work, enthusiasm, focus, direction and high quality learning and teaching provision. I am delighted and proud of our school, our students and their teachers. It would not be out of place nor indeed patronising to suggest that we have a fantastic team spirit where everyone is valued, everyone is a contributor and where everyone really cares.”
Guest Speaker at this year’s prize distribution was was Ms Gabrielle Moseley, Counsellor for Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Consulate General in Belfast.