February 2015

As we approach half-term, we have two important documents for you to read.  Both can be accessed by clicking the links below.  The Policy Guide is one we send out every year - it is a reminder of the range of policies we have as well as some information about dealing with queries/concerns.  The Keele survey summary has been produced as part of our school development planning process and summarises the findings of the surveys sent out in November 2014.  The results are very encouraging and we can all be very proud of our efforts - pupils, parents and staff.  We have highlighted some issues, of course, and are dealing with them, but it is worth noting the high degreee of satisfaction refelcted in the feedback.  Of particular note, is the fact that 71% of our parents responded - a hugely impressive proportion and one that means we can have real confidence in claiming to know the opinions of our parents.  Thanks to everyone for that!  We should also mention our Parents' Focus Group, whose feedback has also been included in the summary.  This was a new idea and we are very happy with the level of interest and the feedback we received.

The full school development plan will be published this month, too.  It will be published on the About Us page of the website.

Safeguarding Policy Guide

Keele Surveys - executive summary

Given the very busy end to this half-term, we will publish pictures of the school's production of The Boat Factory next month.


January 2015

Happy New Year!

We hope that your 2015 will be a peaceful and fulfilling one; we have many exciting things to look forward to in school, but we're keeping those close to our chest for the moment...

As a reminder for all in our school community, please click on the link below to access the Board of Governors' notice to ban all unauthorised traffic from the school grounds.  This is a critically important document that comes into effect this month and which - we can only hope - will be supported by everyone who wishes to place the safety of our children first.

Traffic in the school grounds

This month sees the enrolment period for entry into September's Primary 1 year group reach its conclusion.  If you know of anyone who is interested in sending their child to our school, please remind them that the closing date for applications is Wednesday 14 January 2015, at noon.  All pupils must be enrolled via the official form, including those whose sisters or brothers are already here.  The school still has some forms, but you can download them from the SEELB website, too.  Our Admissions Criteria can be accessed from our Home page, although please remember that these don't apply until the school becomes over-subscribed with applications.

This link will take you to the relevant section of the SEELB website, where you can find information on the schools as well as download the aplication form:

SEELB Primary 1 information

Following consultation with staff and parents, we are pleased to publish our reviewed Policy on Bullying (accessed from the About Us page).  We will now be working with the pupils to help them understand the definition of bullying and how they can prevent it and manage the feelings associated with bullying-type behaviour. 

PRIMARY 7, to find out your costume details just click on The Boat Factory.

As the excitment builds towards our production of the Boat Factory, we do have other news for this month...

Firstly, a word of congratulations to both P7 hockey teams that once again played brilliantly in their league matches at Comber Leisure Centre.  The boys drew one and won the rest; the girls lost one and won the rest.  Keep it up, folks!


The 5-a-side football squad competed in the annual tournament at Ards Leisure Centre and, while playing well in patches, narowly missed out on escaping the group stages...  We're confident that more is come from this group, though.

An intrepid bunch of runners have been representing the school at Cross-Country league fixtures during the last few months (proper cross-country conditions included).  The final round took place at a beautifully bright and sunny, but very 'fresh', Donard Park in Newcastle.  It was a genuinely tough course and, with the cold air, a real challenge to keep going.  Once again, the children did us proud, but special mention should be made of Matthew Lusty who finished an amazing 4th place overall and qualified for the N. Ireland Finals.  Keep  going, Matthew!


On 29 January we celebrated a very important, very big birthday...

Our beloved Andrews Memorial Hall was 100 years old - an amazing building with an amazing history and a legacy that we're truly proud to be part of.  A continuing part of.


We marked the occasion with a whole school assembly from Rev Mackay and then a specially commissoned photograph by the Newtownards Chronicle.  This picture will be enlarged and displayed in school and the Hall, as well as published in the paper to promote our Andrews Hall Festival Weekend in April 2015 (24-26).  Of that, more news soon, but the photo here will give you a a taste of how the big picture will look.





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.