December 2014

Welcome to a very special month in school...

Before we tell you our Christmas news, we hope that many new visitors come to see our wonderful school on Open Morning - Friday 5 December, at 9.30am or 11.15am.  It's always a pleasure to welcome new or prospective parents to Andrews and show them around the school on a real working day.  If you missed the Open Day, you have another chance to visit on Open Evening, from 6.30pm on Thursday 8 January 2015.  And if neither of these dates suit, please get in touch and we'll arrange a visit for you at another time.

If you need a reminder about Christmas services, please visit the Calendar page.  We look forward to meeting you over the next couple of weeks - and at the PTA's Winter Wonderland on 5 December.

We have just updated our prospectus, so if you'd like to view it on the website, just click on the link below.  Hard copies will be available in school before the end of term.

School Prospectus

We'll begin this month's news with sport.  Our hockey (boys and girls) teams and football teams have been in action in their respective leagues this month.  In both sports, we have enjoyed much success.  The boys' hockey team won 3 matches and drew 1; the girls' lost 1, drew 1 and won 2.  So, a great start to their league campaigns!  The footballers have won 4 matches, drawn 1 and lost 1, so here's hoping for further success in the new year.

Our P7 pupils enjoyed a bit of light relief after their 'testing November' with a visit to...  Crumlin Road Gaol!  Now, although they were dressed in the clothes of a Victorian child prisoner and learning about the very tough life these children endured in the gaol, they did have a great day 'out'!  The visit was a genuinely interesting insight into life at the time and certainly didn't leave any of the children wishing that they didn't enjoy the privileges of being able to go to school every day rather than onto 'the street'...



Our Christmas events got off to a busy start with the P6 and 7 choir members and musicians visiting several venues and entertaining everyone with their beautiful singing and playing.  Our 'tour' started in the TT with the University of the 3rd Age Christmas lunch, moved on to Comber Baptist Church, then to the Famers' Market and finally to Supervalu.  Later this month, we'll finish our engagements with visits to Weir Court and Comber Care Home.  You can't fault us on variety!

Of course, the big events take place in the Andrews Hall, with the P4-5, then P6-7, Christmas Services getting everyone in the mood for the season.  Both services were simply wonderful - with some extraordinarily beautiful singing and playing.  We really are so lucky to have both the pupils and the staff to create such memorable events for our parents and families.

Thanks, also, to all of our parents and families who, as ever, contributed very generously to charities through retiring collections.  The P4-5 service raised £226.51 for Bowel Cancer UK and the P6-7 service raised £198.54 for Prader Willi.






In between our Christmas Services and our Nativity Play, we had the huge thrill of receiving our Active Travel Silver Award - the first school in the area to do so!  This award reflects all the hard work and commitment to the promotion of healthy ways of travelling to and from school - with the focus on walking, cycling and scooting.  So, in celebration of getting the award, we hosted our Walking and Bike Buses before enjoying a healthy breakfast of delicious pancakes and fruit.  Tom O'Dowd, our Active Travel Officer, presented our award and it now has pride of place on our especially designed Active Travel Noticeboard - with more than a hint of a reminder of the Giro d'Italia last May...  Please, come in and have a look.

And so we come to the grand finale of this Christmas season...  Two performances of 'The Grumpy Sheep' lit up the Andrews Hall to finish the term in style.  Wonderful reading, singing and dancing, telling the Christmas story through the eyes of a particularly grumpy sheep, entertained families and friends and brought the first term of the school year to a fitting conclusion.  Of course, the grumpy sheep wasn't grumpy by the end at all!

Our thanks go to all the parents and families who came to support our Christmas events - the PTA's Winter Wonderland, the two Christmas Services and the two Nativity performances. Once again, the generosity of the Andrews Memorial family was reflected in the collections in aid of the Comber Coal Fund (£176.30) and the N.I. Children's Hospice (£163.85).



And finally, from all of us to all of you, have a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing Christmas and New Year.

November 2014

Before you read about our November news, please take a few minutes to read our revised Policy on Bullying.  This document is being made available for consultation, with the aim of finalising it in January 2015.  It represents the results of a review and update of our exisitng policy, as highlighted in this year's Curriculum Evening presentations by the Principal. We hope that you will find it useful and relevant.  As always, hard copies will be made available on request.

Policy on Bullying - draft 2014-15

We are tremendously proud of all our pupils at Andrews, and we always enjoy hearing about their adventures after they leave us.  This term, we ran a House competition to find three 'congratulations cards' that we could send to past-pupils who have made their mark in the arts or sport, or who have been publicly recognised for their contribution to community work.  This is a new venture, so we're starting with 2014 achievements - there are too many to manage before that!  The winning designs were produced by Jacob Jardine (P6), Ruby Rebbeck (P6) and Rachael Taylor (P5).




For a number of years now, the school has hosted its own Primary Technology Challenge and a Chemistry at Work day, both organised by Mr Sandford, our Vice Principal.  Mr Sandford was elected as a Fellow of the Primary Science Teaching Trust last year and this year saw him incorporate both these events into a special Science Week in school.  Every class, from P1 to P7, took part in some kind of investigative work and displayed their work in the Andrews Hall.  These made a great backdrop to both the Technology Challenge and the Chemistry at Work event.  Every child - and every teacher - should be genuinely proud of their achievements.



The week also allowed us to host a fabaulous talk by Jonathan, from W5, on the theme 'science or magic'.  Again, with the children's work as a backdrop, and parents invited, too, the evening really did have a wonderful family feel to it.  Let's hope this week will become firmly fixed in the school calendar. 




This time of year is very busy in school,  particularly as we prepare for Christmas, but we are also preparing to welcome our new pupils in September 2015...  Our open day information is summarised below; you can also access a 'pictorial mini-prospectus' by clicking on the link below.  Of course, these pieces of paper are only a starting point.  To see the real Andrews Memorial, you must come and visit - so we hope you will!

Open Morning: Friday 5 December 2014; tours of the classrooms at 9.30am & 11.15am

Open Evening: Thursday 8 January 2015; from 6.30pm

Welcome Leaflet








October 2014

Firstly this month, we'd like to thank everyone for their attendance at September's Curriculum Evening presentations.  We had an average of 47% of pupils represented at each evening, so these are clearly supported by you as a means of engagement.  The powerpoint presentations are available now, along with Mr Magee's presentation on the school's review of its Policy on Bullying.

We'd also like to highlight the publication on the website, of our revsied Policy on Child Protection.  It can be accessed via the 'About Us' page.  If you would like to request a paper copy, please contact the school directly and we'll be happy send you one.  There is a short summary version, too, which you can view hereOnce the revised Policy on Bullying is complete, a summary version of it, along with this Child Protection summary, will be sent to all families.

As for all school years, the PTA seeks to form a new committee of parents and teachers aiming to organise events and raise money for the school.  This year, however, sees more than the usual number of changes, with key members leaving after many years of distinguished service - for which the whole school is genuinely grateful.  You can view Mrs Otley's final Chairperson's Report along with Mrs Gabbie's Treasurer's Report by clicking on the highlighted text.  We wish all the outgoing and incoming PTA members every success in their various ventures this year.

October sees our first set of Year Group News Sheets, accessed from this page.  Please take a look to find out some more about the start of the year.  If you're a new or prospective parent, please feel free to browse.  We also hope to see you soon at either our Open Morning (Friday 5 December 2014; tours at 9.30am & 11.15am), or Open Evening (Thursday 8 January 2015; from 6.30pm).  Our Admissions Criteria can be accessed from here, or from the Home page of the website.

And now for some other school news...

The Harvest Service took place in the Andrews Hall on Wednesday 8 October, with one of our local ministers, Rev Roy Mackay, as guest speaker.  The P1-3 children were wonderful in their singing and praise; the school orchestra, with yet more new recruits, did themselves - and us - proud, too!  The retiring collection of £180 went to 'Open Doors' mission, the fresh produce to the residents of Weir Court in Comber and the non-perishable goods to the food bank in Newtownards.  Thanks to everyone for their generosity and support of the school and these worthy causes.

For the last few years, we have received a visit from the Belfast Giants, who come and talk to the children about living a healthy lifestyle.  A 'giant' player always visits, too, although they aren't just as giant without all that protective gear on!  The children enjoy listening to the player and being reminded about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle - something we are keen promote at Andrews through healthy breaks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as well as all our outdoor learning, sports and Active Travel schemes...

And on the theme of a healthy lifestyle...  This month saw our intrepid and brave and wonderful Primary 6 pupils travel to Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre, or Seaboard to all at Andrews, for their annual residential trip.  This year the trip took place much earlier in the year, so was interesting as a 'team-building' exercise between the children and between the teachers and children.  Both classes coped brilliantly and maintained the core ethos of Seaboard - have a go!!  Here are just a few pictures - a larger selection will make its way to the Gallery page in due course.

Looks like fun, doesn't it?

And finally, back to our new PTA...

The first big events of the year were the Hallowe'en discos - for those wondering about the fireworks, fear not, they will appear soon enough!  As a new idea, the children were asked to prepare pumpkins for display.  These are just a few of the amazing samples - we definitely have some talented carvers in our midst!