St Colman’s Primary School and All Saints’ Nursery Unit has become the first school in the Dromore diocese to be recognised with a prestigious award for promoting equal opportunities among pupils whatever their individual differences may be.
The Inclusion Quality Mark award demonstrates excellent provision for all children regardless of individual need, ability or disability, and whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, attainment or background.
“We’re all delighted” said Mr Donaghy, school principal. “However I feel it’s really a recognition of the day to day hard work, dedication and commitment of all members of staff and leadership of the school”.
Mr Donaghy was pleased to be sending a letter home with pupils to inform parents of the award but said: “From feedback we already know our school is a very good school and we work extremely hard day and daily to ensure this, so the award is a recognition of this.”
“St Colman’s and All Saints’, like every other Catholic school, is inclusive by its very nature and welcomes all children regardless of religion, disability, or background.
“Not only is the school the first in the Dromore Diocese to be recognised with this award, but it is the second in the SELB and the ninth primary school in Northern Ireland.”
Overcoming barriers to learning was just one of the key areas focused on.
“It’s my job to see what a child’s barriers to learning are,” said Mr Donaghy.
“For instance, we set ourselves very high attendance goals because we recognise poor attendance impacts so much on learning. Our target is 95% or above and from September to the end of November we achieved 98%. We really want the children to enjoy school and hopefully this reflects that.”
A rigorous independent assessment process included areas such as - inclusive values and practice of the school, the learning environment and how this promotes inclusion, how inclusion is promoted in teaching and learning and how progress is monitored, how the school works with parents, governors, the wider community and outside agencies to promote inclusion.
The assessor, Dr Brenda Montgomery found that the school’s policies, procedures and staff met the high standards demanded under the nationally recognised IQM standard and the school was further recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Inclusion.
In closing Mr Donaghy warned that the proposed budget cuts by the Department of Education could have a serious impact on schools and their ability to deliver high standards such as these.