April 2016

Welcome to the Summer!  Here's hoping for a long and sunny and warm term, with lots of exciting learning in and beyond the classroom.  Our first piece of news refers to the NSPCC project, Keeping Safe, that the school has been invited to take part in.  Further to the school's letter to parents (click here to view), the links to the support videos are provided below.

The video links for parents are:

Parents' information video

Animated video information

There is also a useful booklet with information and 'frequently asked questions', which you can access below:

Parents' information booklet

We hope that you will find these resources useful.  If you have further queries, you can contact the school directly.

We know that folk are asking about next year's school holidays (2016-17) - these are on the Home Page of the website to avoid confusion with the current year's calendar.


The Big Pedal 2016

It's that time of year again...  Schools all across the UK are about to embark on a cycle race!  With routes all over the UK, the Big Pedal brings together 100s of schools in a massive cycle race - in a virtual world!  The challenge is to have as many children and adults cycling or scooting to school for 10 days - 18-29 April 2016.  Each day, the numbers are recorded and logged into the Big Pedal website, allowing schools to compare - ie race!  We've been brilliant every year so far, so let's step on it even harder in 2016!

Here's picture of some of our P1 children after they had built their very own big pedal.  Tom, our brilliant Sustrans NI officer, also dropped into school today to promote the big push (of the big...).


We will be tweeting updates throughout the two weeks, too, so please keep an eye - and follow us, twitter-wise...

Day 1 of the Big Pedal and a steady start - great to see our P7s leading by example, but we had children in all year groups taking part today - really encouraging!

Of course, school life goes on with or without the pedalling and the pushing...

A big sports week in April resulted in the girls' netball team competing in the West Winds Tournament, the girls' hockey team competing at the N. Ireland finals at Lisnagarvey and the boys' football team competing in the quarter-final of the 9-a-side cup in Newtownards.  Unfortunately, we are out of the cup after losing to a really strong Newtownards Model side.  The hockey players were competing with N. Ireland's very best, but still acquitted themselves really well in the Plate competition.  Leaving the best until last, we are proud to acclaim the netballers as winners of the West Winds Tournament - a second victory for the squad this year.  Congratulations to the girls - and to Miss Hall and Miss Savage for their coaching prowess!  Click on tournament report to find out more.





March 2016

Please remember that we are having our Parent-Teacher Consultations next week, 7-11 March 2016.  School closes at 1.55pm every day for all pupils.  After-school clubs run by staff will not take place, but all those run by external providers will go ahead as normal.  Thank you for your continued support and cooperation with these consultations.  They really are an essential link between home and school.

This time of year traditionally sees our school sports teams in action, as seasons come to a close.  There will be lots of excitement ahead, so please come and visit the website to find out how we get on.

We begin this month's sports pictures with our Tag Rugby team, who took part in a Tag festival at Londonderry Park, Newtownards.  There were around 20 schools in action, on a fairly awful day weather-wise, so well done to all the children, coaches, referees and supporters for braving it out!  Our team was fortunate to have their new hoodies to keep out the cold, on and off the pitch!

On to netball now, and the annual tournament at Strathearn School.  Please click on the clink below for a full report on another successful outing for our girls.  Well done to all and thanks to Miss Hall and Miss Savage for their hard work and commitment to coaching the girls throughout the year.

Netball Blitz at Strathearn

The football season closes somewhat more slowly, with a number of events.  First up, was the league finals' day, where teams finishing close together in the season-long league compete in a series of mini four team leagues.  Andrews Memorial finished a very creditable 4th in the league overall, so came up against the top three teams in their group of four.  The boys played with real heart, but couldn't quite match the opposition on the day.  Once again, click on the link below for pictures and a full report.  And, by the way, the ball in the photo below only stopped when it hit the back of the net - the opposition's!

Football League Finals

The mini rugby reason is just getting started, although we have been training throughout the year.  On Saturday 6 March, we took part in the first Ulster Provincial Mini Rugby Festival sponsored by Aviva and run by the IRFU at Ballyclare RFC.  This was a great occasion and one the boys can be very proud to have participated in.  With a depleted squad, we still played really well and with great spirit against two strong teams in Campbell College Junior School and Greenisland PS.  We were waiting patiently for our team photo and now that it's arrived, we're wondering why we look so bemused...  Anyway, here we all are...

And now for some hockey...  Report to follow, but here's a taster from the girls' and boys' tournaments at Ards Leisure Centre.  The girls had the better of the weather and, in the end, the results, but you'll have to come back for more news soon...

Before we break up for the Easter holidays, we must report on a well-deserved celebration evening for two former colleagues, Miss Liz Rodgers and Mrs Jennifer Connolly.  Together, Liz and Jennifer served our school with commitment, professionalism, hard work, passion and caring for over 70 years!  Pictured with both at their retirement dinner at La Mon recently, are Mrs Gillian Barry, Mr Derek Henderson, former Principal, and Mr Ralph Magee, current Principal.  Gillian retired at the end of last year and, when her her tally of years' service is added to Liz's and Jennifer's the total is over 90 years!  Through Liz's PE expertise, Jennifer's championing of play-based-learning and Gillian's brilliant drama productions, the school has lost a huge amount of talent, experience and expertise.  However, we know the roles must be filled and our mission to provide in these areas remains undiminished!  We wish all three many years' happy retirement - from all accounts, they're all still very busy, but not driven by the school bell!  We also asked Liz and Jennifer into school to say thank you to the children and parents for their wonderful generosity towards their presentation.

And finally for this month, congratulations to everyone involved with 'Shamrock & Thistle', a concert we hosted to celebrate St Patrick's Day.  Staged in the Andrews Hall, the audience were treated to a wide selection of Scottish and Irish music, with our own choir opening the concert with some aplomb!  Other performers were Lord Londonderry's Own CLB Flute Band, Downshire Youth Brass, Johnston Highland Dancers, Louise McAllister and Matthew Shaw & Glenn Baxter (drummer and piper).  We really hope to welcome these performers and many more in the future - the Andrews Hall is a venue that deserves to be used by the whole community, remember.  It's our mission!

February 2016

Hello again everyone, and welcome to the second half of the term.

We begin our news this month with a notice to all parents, children, staff, Governors and members of the community...  Our parking barrier is now working.  This represents the successful conclusion to a long campaign by the Governors on behalf of our whole school community - the aim of keeping pour grounds free of unauthorised traffic, in order to keep everyone safe.  Further information will follow on the operation of the barrier, but please note that it is controlled by the school office only; staff in the Andrews Hall have no central control over its operation.

Now for news that some of you have been waiting for, before booking your holidays...  Just click on the link below to see next year's term dates and holidays.  Please take a few moments to read the accompanying notes, too.

Term dates and holidays for the 2016-17 school year

We all know that Vikings were scary folk from the north, who spent their time pillaging and raiding, picking on poor defenceless monasteries, including Nendrum on the shores of Strangford Lough - don't we?  Well. there is truth in all of that, as records show, but once they had tired of the raiding business, the Vikings settled in Ireland and founded some of our larger towns and cities, most notably Dublin.  Our P6 children learn about life in Viking times as part of their World Around Us and every year Rita joins us in school to paint a more detailed picture of life around 1000 years ago.  The children take part in various activities, learning about clothes, food, writing and weapons.  Most importantly they leave knowing that Viking helmets did not have horns!