St Michael’s College principal, Mark Henry, called out the “shameful underfunding of schools” during his principal’s address at the recent St Michael’s College prize night.

Speaking about the role the teachers played in the lives of students he said: “The challenges facing schools and in particular the teachers at the chalk face have increased enormously over the last few years.

“The shameful underfunding of our schools and the on-going stalemate in negotiations between The Department of Education and teaching unions in respect of genuine and significant workload and pay concerns have greatly increased the pressure on teachers.

“It is against this backdrop that the teachers in St. Michael’s continue to work so hard in order get the very best out of your sons both inside and outside of the classroom. I want to take this opportunity to thank them publicly for the outstanding work that they do.”

During his speech Mr. Henry had a consistent theme and that was to illustrated that St Michael’s was an environment that gave “its students the opportunity to excel”.

Turning his attention to some of the academic highlights he reported that 29 students recieved 7 A grades or better with 40 per cent of all grades awarded to students A or better.

At A Level Mr Henry revealed that there was similar success with 20 students achieving 3 A grades or better and 45 per cent of all grades awarded to our students A or better.

The Principal also spoke about the schools’ links to industry.

“In June past the school received national recognition for the St. Michael’s Quinn Industrial Holdings partnership at the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards held at Titanic in Belfast. St Michaels were nominated in the Career Inspiration section and we were delighted to come out on top in this highly competitive section.”

There is more to St Michael’s than academia Mr. Henry told the assembled guests.

“We have had the opportunity to listen to the Brass Band this evening, we will be treated to a number by the Choir at the end of this evenings ceremony and we will be entertained by our traditional group in the canteen later as we enjoy some light refreshments. So it’s safe to say the Music department in St. Michael’s is alive and well.”

Moving on to sporting success Mr. Henry spoke about what was an historic year.

“In Gaelic football we won a seventh MacRory Cup and finally reached the Holy Grail of Colleges football by winning the Hogan Cup for the first time in the school’s history. It really was a truly remarkable achievement for a relatively small school in comparison to the size of some of the traditional powerhouses of Ulster and All Ireland Colleges football to be crowned All Ireland Champions back in April,” he said before adding.

“This team took the whole county on a journey that will never be forgotten “

In conclusion the principal thanked the parents of the pupils for working in partnership with the school, describing parents as the “first educators”.

“ Thank you for entrusting your sons into our care. I trust that you will continue to have confidence in St. Michael’s College and in our capacity to provide for your sons the opportunity to be the very best that they can be.”