Minister of Education, John O’Dowd, visited St Colman’s Bann Primary School last Friday to celebrate its recent Inspection report, which deemed the school to be ‘outstanding’.
Mr O’Dowd, a past pupil of the school, spent time with staff and pupils to recognise their success.
He said: “It has been a pleasure to return to my old primary school today to congratulate you all on receiving an outstanding Inspection Report.
“The report is recognition of the leadership and commitment of all the staff in the school and as importantly the work of the pupils.
“Being here today I have been able to see the high standard of education and pastoral care in this school.
“The importance of education cannot be overestimated as it is the cornerstone of every society. A good education improves life chances and creates a pathway to success.
“School days really are the best days of your life and I hope all past and present pupils of St Colman’s remember their time here with fondness.
“Returning to St Colman’s brings back lots of happy memories for me of growing up in this part of County Down.
“I have really enjoyed my visit today I want to thank the school community for inviting me to join in the celebration of your much deserved recognition by the Inspectorate.”
Inspectors said the school was outstanding in their Achievements and outcomes, Provision for learning and Leadership and management.
The report stated that: “The children are engaged actively in their learning: they are making significant progress in developing their thinking skills and personal capabilities.”
They added: “The children who require additional support with their learning are identified at an early stage through assessment using standardised tests and teacher observation.
“Additional support for the children’s literacy is an effective blend of approaches by the teachers and classroom assistants to meet the children’s individual needs.
“The numeracy support sessions are practical, interactive and develop well the children’s skills and confidence.”
They continued: “The pastoral care in the school is outstanding. The school is a welcoming, supportive and secure learning environment where the children develop readily their self-confidence and self-esteem.
“The leadership of the school is highly effective, demonstrating a clear, strategic vision and an uncompromising drive for school improvement.” Principal Margaret Neeson said the school was ‘thrilled’ with the inspection report.
Mrs Neeson commented: “It was a very positive experience to work with ETI and whilst we are very pleased to have confirmation that we are on the right tracks, we are acutely aware for the need to keep striving to improve in all aspects of our work.
“We are thrilled to be recognised as ‘outstanding’ in every key criterion assessed and it’s a tribute to the work of all the staff. It is an achievement of which all of our children, their parents, the staff and school community have every right to feel very proud.”