Dear Parents & Carers,
It’s been a very busy and productive first half of term, inside and outside the classroom. Whilst there is no escaping the challenging situation in which schools are currently operating, day in, day out, students and staff at Shimna continue to give their best.
The school year has a natural cycle and, for Years 12 to 14, the past few weeks have included public and mock examinations. Over the past fortnight, senior staff have met with Sixth Form students individually to review their progress and will do the same with Year 12 after the break. All three year groups deserve credit for their hard work and commitment to their studies.
Outside the classroom too, there have been many positive stories, including a range of sporting achievements, a Drama workshop with the Belfast Lyric, charitable activities, a ski trip to Austria - and, earlier this morning, 29 students and 4 staff departed on the History & Politics trip to Washington DC.
Another highlight was Open Evening, which is our main public event of the year. Running for the first time since 2019, it was fantastic to see so many families coming through the doors and being escorted by our students on tours of the College. On a freezing cold night, it was a heart-warming experience.
You can now Follow us on Instagram @ShimnaCollege
Meanwhile, the new build rumbles on at pace.
We are looking forward to the formal sod-cutting ceremony, which will be held on Monday 27 February, with a number of distinguished guests in attendance.
Daily, we draw great strength from the encouragement and support of parents and carers. On that note, if you would like to get involved in our Parent Council, we will be holding information meetings for interested parents and carers on Wednesday 22 February. Sign up for one of the slots clicking on the link here.
Resurrecting the Parent Council will become all the more important over the coming period. Whilst we derive great benefit from being a Grant Maintained Integrated school, we will not be immune to the impact of the £110 million of cuts to the education budget in Northern Ireland.
Half-day strike action
You will have seen coverage of the planned action by teaching unions on Tuesday 21 February. The planned action means that teachers will not teach classes or undertake any other duties before 12.00 noon.
The College will, therefore, be closed on the morning of Tuesday 21 February. Doors will open to students from noon.
As mentioned in the last Shimna News, the Governors have been undertaking a review of the College Uniform Policy. As a result of their work, two new suppliers. The full list of providers:
• Bingham’s, Newcastle
• Rhoda Stewart, Ballynahinch
• Holmes, Kilkeel
• Pricewise, Downpatrick
• McKenny’s, Castlewellan
Now, the Governors would like to canvass the views of parents, carers, students and staff on our uniform. Click on the link here to take part. The survey will close at the end of February.
Calling Former Students
We are very keen to re-connect with former students and to develop our Old Scholars network.
We will be looking to share stories and to forge links for the benefit of our College community. In due course, we will also be looking to host reunions in our new school.
The first step is to connect. If you are a former student, please drop us a line at
OSConnect@shimnaintegratedcollege.org or visit https://www.shimnaintegratedcollege.org/oldscholars Please pass on this address to other former students.
Good Mental Health
This week, we have been running a series of assemblies and activities in support of Mental Health Week. It’s been a very positive experience, with students and staff engaging in random acts of kindness.
On that note, I wish you and your family a restful and refreshing break.
Steve Pagan, Principal