The principal of Devenish College has told students, staff and teachers that they “must work hard to ensure that our school is the best that it can be” at the annual prizegiving night last Thursday.

In his speech, Simon Mowbray paid tribute to the students who were being recognised on the night for their achievements.

“By 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,” Mr. Mowbray said.

He said that the increase in enrolment to the college for the fourth consecutive year showed how attractive a school it was.

“These rises in enrolment have in no small part been due to the high academic standards and expectations that we have set and the wealth of opportunities and pathways we offer in Devenish College. Our school is definitely making huge strides forward and it is a school that I am truly privileged to lead and manage. We are delighted that the local community places their trust in us to deliver a rich educational experience for their children.

“With the increase in student enrolment we have been able to expand our staff, increase the curriculum choice we have available including our 6th Form provision, increase our extra-curricular opportunities and use additional funding to improve our resources.”

Mr. Mowbray spoke about the excellent exam results the school achieved last year which saw 81 per cent of Year 12 pupils gain at least five GCSEs at Grades A*-C. While at A-level 48 per cent achieved at least three grades from A*-C.

Speaking about the GCSE results he commented: “We know that this is the highest percentage pass rate achieved in the history of Devenish College and it is also the highest rate achieved in the last thirty-two years in which records exist. We were also delighted with all our pupils who met and surpassed their expected grades.

“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, which once again underlines the wealth of opportunities open to all our pupils.”

The parents of students were also paid tribute to by the principal.

“Can I also give gratitude for the encouragement from you, as parents, as that is also a vital ingredient in allowing our pupils to achieve. From a teacher’s perspective, this really makes a huge amount of impact. Supportive parents, who take a keen interest in their children’s health, welfare and education, are worth their weight in gold

“So to all our pupils, and to you as their parents, I say huge congratulations for all the hard work and effort you have put in to achieve these excellent results. I am a firm believer that you reap what you sow and for these pupils that has been demonstrated empirically.”

Extra-curricular activities within Devenish College saw great success also with the successful Cinderella pantomime, the success of Devenish College Community Cup winner Ellie McDonald who ran in the Irish Cross-Country Finals in Dublin along with strong showing in rugby, soccer and athletics.

“Our pastoral system and personal development programme also strives to prepare our students for life in the 21st Century. We believe that through improving the learning and teaching experiences of the pupils and extending the range of extracurricular activities available we are providing a well-rounded education for our pupils which are helping them to develop as key contributors to society.”

In closing, Mr, Mowbray said: “As Principal of the school I am immensely proud of our pupils and staff who are all working together to ensure that Devenish College is a happy and safe school, that we are all being stretched and challenged to do our best and that our students are achieving to the best of their ability.

“Individually and collectively this is the best staff I have had the privilege to work with. The health, welfare and attainment of your children are at the forefront of everything they do. In this context of challenging times, I would like to publicly thank all of the staff for their hard work, endeavour and commitment to Devenish College on behalf of pupils, our parents and myself.”