• Isabel Russell

Week 1

Welcome Back… to the New School Year

Week 1 – Friday 28th August 2020

Hello Everyone! It is with great delight that I welcome everyone back to the new academic Year in Holy Trinity College but it is strange that we have already completed our first week and it is still only August!

What an experience we have had in the past 5 months. I’m not going to labour on the Covid pandemic but I sincerely hope that you and your family have remained safe and well.

Years 12 and 14 have returned to school this week. The students have been brilliant as they adapted to new procedures and routines alongside subject consolidation. It's also brilliant to hear our young people’s voices on the corridors and classrooms. That is what school is about - and it’s great to be back. Of course we will focus on learning, teaching and our health and well-being, but there is an added focus on Health & Safety to ensure that the College is safe, healthy and a clean space for all of our community.

I am looking forward to hearing who has been selected for the Senior Prefect Team, interviews of which occurred this week. Mrs Mc Sorley, Mrs Quinn, Mrs Gilvary and Mr O’ Hagan will have had a hard job selecting from a large range of very mature and articulate young people for key roles within the College – exciting times ahead for Year 14.

Staff have been planning lessons and resources steadily since last week. We also met our new Year 8 pupils last week during our Transition Scheme – they were an absolute delight and so looking forward to getting started properly in school. A huge thanks to Mr Loughran who coordinated the programme and our many school staff who devised very exciting activities – Mrs Toal, Mr Maguire, Mr Forker, Mr Mc Geary, Miss Mc Gurk, Mr Mc Guigan, Mr Stevenson, Mrs O’ Connor, Miss Collins and Mrs Wyer. In my opinion, this scheme has contributed to reassuring our Year 8 that school is a great place to be in and that they are ready for a brand new experience.

However, I want to take some time to congratulate our ‘A’ Level students. What a recent tough experience they had in the past few weeks! Chaos re an algorithm which had a devastating impact on many students, followed by a U-Turn decision to use Centre Assessed Grades and tears of joy. Contrary to many schools, the percentage of grades downgraded in the College was 12.4% - results from extremely hard working and conscientious students. However, with the change of approach and students awarded the higher grade, an impressive 85.3% of students achieved 3+ A / A*- C grades with 98.6% achieving 3+ A*/A – E grades. We extend our congratulations to all our A Level students and wish them happy and successful futures.

A number of A Level Students who achieved 3+ A*/A grades



Some of our A Level students who achieved 3+ A/A* - C grades



Moving onto our GCSE Results and the Education Minister’s subsequent decision to use Centre Assessed Grades, I wish to congratulate Year 12, of whom 94.3% achieved 5+ A* - C Grades – absolutely fantastic!. In addition, 71.5% achieved 5+ A* - C grades including English and Maths. A terrific achievement for everyone and I commend pupils, staff and parents/guardians alike, for their hard work, commitment and dedication throughout the year. The College continues to deliver with high standards!

A range of Year 12 students who achieved 7+ A*/ A Grades at GCSE Level.




A selection of Year 12 students who achieved 10+ A* - C Grades at GCSE Level.





Today, I issued an updated version of the New School Day guidance. Please take time to read it along with your son or daughter. The year ahead is going to be very busy; there will be pressure on Exam Groups; the well-being of our pupils and staff will be a priority; relationship building will be key - with our peers; our teachers; and reigniting the passion for learning will be essential. Most importantly, we will endeavour to remain a Covid-free environment with hygiene standards and social distancing in place. We all have to work together on this and we appreciate your support and encouragement to your children.



It’s great to be back again in school and by writing this Blog, I hope to give you a flavour of what is in store throughout the year – an insight into the daily hustle and bustle of life within. Be sure to join us!

Isabel Russell


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Holy Trinity College 9-29 Chapel Street Cookstown / email: info@holytrinityc.cookstown.ni.sch.uk

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