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Shimna News - 17/06/2022


Learning from each other


Dear Parents & Guardians,

Summer’s here

Although it feels like the Summer Term has flown by, it is remarkable to think how much effort has been expended by our students and staff. While Years 11 to 14 have been busily working their way through GCSEs, A Levels and BTECs respectively, Years 8 to 11 have also sat their school examinations. Year 13 students have since returned from study leave to prepare for September and to get valuable careers and university advice.

It's not just been about examinations this term. The Summer Term has brought new extra-curricular opportunities, such as cricket and athletics, and we have continued to engage with outside agencies to promote safe and healthy lifestyles. The YMCA team has led a series of Life Skills sessions, for example focusing on the harmful effects of energy drinks on young people, while officers from the PSNI have delivered road safety training to our students.

We are determined to finish the year on a positive note. As part of the Resilience Programme at Shimna, Year 8 to 11 will be taking part in an Activities Week over the last week of term (23-29 June). We see this as a way of helping to redress what our students have missed out on during the pandemic. The programme will provide a mixture of physical activities, extra-curricular opportunities and team-building exercises.

Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming over 400 students from 21 local primary schools as part of our annual P6 day. The programme included a mixture of taster lessons and activities. It was a fantastic day, with lots of positive feedback from students and visiting staff alike. We look forward to meeting our incoming Year 8 students, as well as their parents and guardians, for a welcome event next Friday.

Over the month of July, we will be running the Sports & Drama Summer Scheme for local primary school children. A limited number of spaces are still available. Please contact Mrs Maguire at for an application form.

A new formation

Behind the scenes, we have been busy reorganising. This exercise has been carried out alongside the creation of our new and exciting College Development Plan.

To begin with, the Senior Leadership Team has been expanded. I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Clarke (previously Head of French), Mrs Jones (previously responsible for Internal Assessment) and Ms Poland (previously Head of Biology and the Sixth Form) as Assistant Vice-Principals. Their duties will include overseeing Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 respectively.

We have also appointed a Heads of Year team. From September, Mr Dagen and Mrs Kelly will oversee the incoming Year 8, as well as working together with our feeder primary schools. Joining them in Key Stage 3 will be Mrs Fitzpatrick, Head of Year 9, and Mrs Samuel, Head of Year 10

At Key Stage 4, Mr Mayers will be Head of Year 11 and Mrs Quinn Head of Year 12. In the Sixth Form, Mr Keenan will be Head of the incoming Year 13 and Mrs Skelcher Head of Year 14.

In addition, Mrs Rowell replaces Ms Poland as Head of Biology and Mrs Forsythe, who has been with us over the past year covering for a maternity leave, will be staying on as a general teacher.

Meanwhile, Ms Maguire has been promoted to Head of Careers. Her role will include supporting our Sixth Form team, including Ms Rooney, with work experience and UCAS.

In addition, Mrs Martin will oversee Student Publications, including an end-of-year College magazine; Mrs Walsh will be responsible for coordinating our Extra-curricular Programme; and Mrs Wilkinson takes on a new role as our Communications Coordinator. Mr Milligan continues to bring an innovative approach to our Resilience Programme.

The College is fortunate to have such a wealth of experience and talent in its ranks.

Schools invariably bid farewell to staff at the end of the year. Three colleagues, Mr McMillan (Head of German), Mr Mullan (Maths) and Mr Smyth (History), are taking career breaks. We look forward to welcoming them back in the future. On that note, Mr McDonnell (Head of Chemistry) will be returning in September following a career break.

After 23 years of distinguished service, Mr Lenny (Head of Business) is retiring. He has made an enormous contribution to Shimna over the years, earning the respect and admiration of staff and students alike. Meanwhile, Mr McCloskey, who has done transformational work in his role as Head of Integrated and Religious Studies, is moving on to Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock in Belfast. We also say goodbye to three Classroom Assistants. Mr Anderson and Mr Hanna are embarking on teaching training courses, while Ms Laverty is moving to All Chilldren’s. We wish them all very best of luck in the future.

We thank them all for their service, loyalty and commitment to the College. Between them, they have enriched the lives of generations of Shimna students.

Their successors will be introduced in the September edition of Shimna News.

Finally, Anne-Marie Martin is standing down as the Chair of the Parent Council after years of sterling service. On behalf of the College, I would like to place on record our thanks and appreciation for all her efforts, in particular her leadership of fund-raising efforts.

Getting ready for September We are immensely proud of our Shimna identity, which includes our uniform. Necessarily, rules were relaxed during the pandemic for health and safety reasons. However, from September, we will be reverting to the College Policy and expect our students to wear the official College uniform at all times during school hours, on journeys to and from school and at school functions. It also includes returning to the practice of requiring students to change into PE kit before and after timetabled lessons.

Our uniform was designed by the founding parents. It is gender neutral, offering a degree of choice within an identifiable uniform, as set out in these pictures:

Please note:

  • Plain black shoes should be worn

  • Grey (KS3 and KS4 ) or navy blue (KS5) jumpers or cardigans can be worn but hoodies are not permitted

  • Plain navy leggings or tracksuit bottoms should be worn for PE

  • School skirts should be grey and pleated or straight

  • In regards to jewellery, students should wear no more than one stud earring per ear and no more than one ring per hand

  • In line with health & safety guidelines, facial piercing items and nail extensions should not be worn in school

Supplies of our uniform can be purchased at Bingham’s of Newcastle, Rhoda Stewart of Ballynahinch and Holmes of Kilkeel. We also have a reserve stock of used uniform items, which are in good condition. In keeping with our commitment to recycling, we would gladly accept donations of uniform items which are no longer required. If you have any questions or require assistance, including financial support, please contact the College at

The College can arrange lessons with peripatetic Music teachers and we have some availability for September. Please contact Mrs Fitzpatrick (Head of Music & Performing Arts) via the email address above if you wish to apply.

Alice Fitzpatrick (9B) pictured with John Poland, our drum tutor. Alice recently achieved a Distinction in her Initial Grade on the drum kit through Rock School.

For all students, the Summer break is an opportunity to read for pleasure. Recommended reading lists for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 are linked. The is another source of excellent suggestions.

For the more adventurous, there are opportunities to enter competitions at and

Finally, we wish all of our students who sat public examinations this term the very best of luck for results days in August (18 August for A Level and BTEC, 25 August for GCSE) – and, to everyone, we hope you and your family have a wonderful break over the Summer. Happy holidays!


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