Broadening Horizons

We believe in the importance of broadening our pupil’s horizons and making them aware of the world beyond Northern Ireland. Over the last number of years our staff have organised and led a range of school trips which have provided our pupils with the opportunity to further their education and understanding of the world.

The History department encourage trips to broaden the student’s perception of curricular topics. In partnership with the Integrated Education Fund, KS3 students have visited Sentry Hill and GCSE students have participated in workshops in the Ulster Museum. We were able to learn about our shared experiences and how events like the Great War and the Troubles affected people from all communities. Students have recently visited Berlin and Krakow. Both sets of trips were very beneficial for their study of their KS3, GCSE and A level courses. The trips also encouraged independence, tolerance and understanding of sensitive issues. “I really enjoyed the visit to the memorial at Sachsenhausen. It was one thing hearing about concentration camps in class but actually seeing the memorial of it was eye-opening and really deepened my understanding of the topic.” – Megan

Pupils have the opportunity to put into practice what they learn in Modern Languages by engaging in active learning experiences in Spanish. This has ranged from Spanish cuisine, traditions to music and dancing.

In the past our pupils have enjoyed taking part in trips to France. Students have enjoyed trips to St Malo, Mont St Michel, Parc Asterix, the Ulster Tower at the Somme and Paris. Trips to Normandy to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the D Day landing beaches of WW2, as well as the Royal Palace of Versailles have been enjoyed by many.  Pupils get a great deal of enjoyment from these experiences, benefitting socially, culturally and linguistically.

We provide a unique experience for our pupils to go skiing in Pamporovo, Bulgaria. Pupils learn new skills in a high altitude environment, they will be led by qualified ski instructors who will make this trip safe, fun and interactive. Pupils will recieve 4 hours of ski lessons each day. A full evening programme of fun activities are also be provided including: ringos, swimming, disco, bowling, karaoke & awards evening.

Our Junior Choir participate in Peace Proms at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Peace Proms promotes ‘peace through music’ and gives students the opportunity to sing in an epic production with a choir and a full symphony youth orchestra. The programme includes rocking vocal and violin solos from majestic Bagpipe and Uilleann pipe melodies to powerful pop and peace anthems. The concert is an inspirational and thrilling experience for our Junior Choir.

Learning to play a musical instrument has so many benefits – whether it’s building your confidence, enhancing your memory or widening your social circle. The Music department offers tuition for Bagpipes, Clarinet, Drum-Kit, Flute, Guitar, Horn, Piano, Saxophone, Singing (Musical Theatre and Pop), Trumpet and Violin. Our peripatetic tutors visit school weekly to provide the opportunity for students to learn and develop skills in their chosen instrument/voice. A number of students work towards external examination including TCL, ABRSM, LCM and iPath and all achieve amazing results. We have celebrated Merits and Distinctions this year and eagerly await results still to come. Students who avail of instrumental and vocal tuition have the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities, perform at various events and are encouraged to take GCSE Music.

Facilitated by the Ulster Scots Agency, a group of Year 8 and Year 9 students successfully completed the OCN NI Lambeg Drumming Skills in Practice course. This enabled our students to understand the historical background of the Lambeg Drum, understand how to make, assemble, and maintain a Lambeg drum and be able to demonstrate different drumming styles/techniques using a Lambeg drum. Two of our students were selected to demonstrate their practical skills at our Spring Concert and all are invited to receive their certificates at Stormont on 28th June. We are excited that we will be able to offer this course to a new cohort of students next year.

Our annual Spring Concert provides the opportunity for students to showcase their learning as individuals and in ensembles. The performance itself builds confidence and helps develop skills in presentation and managing nerves. It enhances students’ learning and wellbeing and unites our school community. Our 2024 Spring Showcase was a huge success. The variety of music and dance during the evening was awesome and the students who participated were so talented and brave. Our Spring concert is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved.

In Careers education our pupils gain valuable experiences of different career pathways in our Work Experience programmes at KS4 and KS5. Our pupils find these experiences very rewarding with some of our pupils gaining apprenticeship roles as a result.