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Shimna News - 31/03/2023

Dear Parents & Carers,

As the Spring Term draws to a close, it is heartening to reflect on the entirety of the good work completed by students and staff over the past few months, inside and outside the classroom.

Click on the video below to see a showreel featuring more of this term’s highlights.

Preparing for the future

Since the start of term, examination year groups sat their mocks, followed up with their teachers on areas for improvement and completed coursework and controlled assessment.

Over the course of the term, we have had the pleasure of conducting individual interviews with students in Year 10, 12, 13 and 14, as well as running GCSE and Sixth Form Subject Fairs.

The overwhelming impression derived by the team who met the students was how well the students engaged. They were invariably well prepared, reflective about their progress and focused on their futures.

Individualised examination timetables will be sent to students, parents and carers shortly. Examination preparations have already started. The key to success is good planning and so, with that in mind, click on the link for some useful revision resources.

Supporting each other in challenging times

Inevitably, there have been challenges along the way. The education sector continues to operate in challenging conditions, which largely explains why teaching unions are taking a stand.

Children’s wellbeing is our priority. With this in mind, we are deeply concerned about the potentially toxic effects of social media, which require us to be constantly vigilant. One example is the alarming impact of some TikTok crazes, which are posing real and present dangers. This underlines the importance of being informed about how best to keep our children safe.

For up-to-date guidance, see

Despite this, it is a daily reassurance to work in a school where students look out for each other and where we, as staff, enjoy positive and mutually supportive relationships with the school community.

Thinking of others

23 March was the National Day of Reflection, an opportunity to remember loved ones, including those who have passed away. Mr Milligan, who leads our Resilience Programme, created a Wall of Reflection in Room 169. Staff and students contributed photographs, poems, music, stories, objects and recipes to the display.

Mr Milligan, who has been working closely with the Marie Curie Trust, writes “coping with bereavement, and supporting people who are grieving, are invaluable life skills from which we can all benefit.”

Putting to good use the skills she has developed in Mr Magee’s IT class, Danielle Patterson (11S) produced the graphic design for a recent charity event she helped to organise in memory of her brother Marty and his best friend Shane, who tragically lost their lives in a car crash four years ago. The event, in support of Exodus Southdown, raised over £2,000 to support overseas mission trips to countries like Romania, Hungary and India.

New Build

Work on our new school continues apace. The start of the project was formally marked with the sod-cutting ceremony, which was a great occasion. It was wonderful to meet up with founding parents and staff, especially as we move towards our thirtieth anniversary.

Thanks also go to Ciaran Bonner, Glasgiven’s site manager, for delivering a series of fly-through presentations of the new school to students and staff.

Along the way, we must endure the occasional disruption. This includes work by Northern Ireland Electricity Networks, which is due to commence on the first day back, Monday 17 April. We will lose a further 20 on-site parking spaces for a period of a week or so. Thank you in advance for your support in making alternative plans for pick-up and collection.

Key dates

Monday 17 April: College reopens

Monday 1 May: Bank Holiday

Tuesday 2 May: Reinstated as a normal school day (previously a Staff Development Day)

Friday 5 May: Study Leave begins for Year 12

Monday 8 May: Bank Holiday

Thursday 11 May: Study Leave begins for Sixth Form

Monday 29 May: Bank Holiday

Tues 13 - Fri 15 June: Year 13 attendance required for progression into Year 14

Friday 16 June: Staff Development Day

Friday 30 June: Last day of the school year

Introduced last year, Activities Week will run in the last week of term, starting on Monday 26 June. Further details will follow next term.


Best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and relaxing Easter break.

Steve Pagan



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