“Prize Night provides a forum for the governors, parents and staff to say ‘a huge well done to our pupils’. This evening is for them!” said Mr. Simon Mowbray, Principal of Devenish College, in his speech at last Thursday’s (October 26) prize distribution. 

He added: “By their commitment to their studies and their involvement in a range of extra-curricular activities, they have demonstrated that Devenish College is an excellent school – one that pupils look forward to attending.” 

He told the gathering they were delighted that 116 pupils chose to come to Devenish College in September – this was an increase of 20 from the previous year. 

He outlined: “Indeed, our Year 8 enrolment has almost doubled since 2015 and I am delighted to report that our overall enrolment has moved back over the 500 mark and currently sits at 513. 
“This is the first increase in overall figures since 2004 with the exception of 2013 when the amalgamation with Lisnaskea High School took place. 

“This in no small part has been due to the high academic standards and expectations that we have set and the wealth of opportunities and pathways we offer.”

Referring to their GCSE results, he said that last year 71.4% of pupils in Year 12 achieved at least 5 GCSEs at Grades A*-C, an increase of 11% from the previous cohort. He reported “at A Level, 54% of pupils in Year 14 achieved at least 3 A Levels at Grades A*-C. This is 4% above the NI average for similar schools. 100% of our pupils achieved 2 A*-E.” 

He said: “I think you will agree that these are excellent results. They are results that set the benchmark for our younger pupils to aspire to and beat. 

“They are a reflection of the self-motivation of the pupils under the guidance, support and dedication of a professional and hardworking staff. The results also show a healthy blend of applied and academic subjects.”

Mr. Mowbray went on to highlight the vast array of extra-curricular activities and learning experiences that were offered. 

He also updated the audience on the progress of the new school build on the Tempo Road site. He explained that in late September the College received a fantastic letter from the Department of Education.

“Stage Three approval was granted for a £21 million school. There is only one more stage to go,” said Mr. Mowbray.

He outlined: “The timeline is as follows: *Planning approval has been applied for and it will come before Council Committee in November, we hope with recommendation for approval. *The first stage of the tender process has started and approximately six contractors that have the wherewithal to build the school will advance onto a select list. *A Building Control application is ongoing and final approval will be expected just prior to construction beginning. *The Stage Four application will go to DE at the end of March. At this stage approval will take twenty days providing DE have no issues. *In Mid to late April the six contractors will apply to secure the contract. *Construction will begin in July.”

Concluding with positive news from a recent inspection by ETI, he stated: “We are delighted to report that the Inspectors were very positive in their evaluation of the school and were particularly pleased with the work, effort and commitment of our students and staff.”  

After presenting the cups and awards, guest speaker John Maguire, Managing Director of Belleek Pottery, addressed the audience and discussed key areas that he had kept to the forefront of his mind as he progressed through his career. 

He believes that it is important that you always try to positively impress the people that you are working for and working with, your friends and your family. 

By setting yourself high standards and delivering on those expectations you will impress on those people the key skills, attributes and qualities that you have.