St. Mary’s awarded prestigious ‘Governance’ accolade

ST. MARY�"S AWARD. . . .Mrs. Gay Durkan, Chair, Board of Governors, St. Mary�"s College and some of the school�"s pupils pictured with the prestigious ��Efffective Schools Governance�" award, presented to the school this week. St. Mary�"s is the only school in Northern Ireland to receive this award from Optimus Education which is judged on nine elements that address the Ofsted criteria for effectiveness of leadership and management. Included back from left are Yvonne Connolly, Senior Teacher, Gavin Molloy, Fr. Paul Farren and Padraig Canavan, Board of Governors, Brendan McGinn, Vice Principal, Delma Boggs and Finola Downey. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)
ST. MARY�"S AWARD. . . .Mrs. Gay Durkan, Chair, Board of Governors, St. Mary�"s College and some of the school�"s pupils pictured with the prestigious ��Efffective Schools Governance�" award, presented to the school this week. St. Mary�"s is the only school in Northern Ireland to receive this award from Optimus Education which is judged on nine elements that address the Ofsted criteria for effectiveness of leadership and management. Included back from left are Yvonne Connolly, Senior Teacher, Gavin Molloy, Fr. Paul Farren and Padraig Canavan, Board of Governors, Brendan McGinn, Vice Principal, Delma Boggs and Finola Downey. (Photo: Jim McCafferty Photography)

St. Mary’s College was this week celebrating another major educational success after receiving the prestigious ‘Effective School Governance’ award from Optimus Education.

The Effective School Governance Award, delivered in partnership with EES for Schools, is based on nine elements that address the Ofsted criteria for Effectiveness of Leadership and Management within a school or college.

The Northland Road College successfully met all elements of the framework. These included accountability, engagement, financial oversight, performance management, statutory responsibilities and vision.

Ensuring that the school has a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction.

The award has been allocated to the Board of Governors, senior leadership, middle leadership, teaching and support staff at the Derry school, and the timetable for the verification visit allowed for a tour of the premises and meetings with members of staff, parents, pupils and governors.

Assessor Ian J. Preston, ESGA Lead Adviser, on behalf of Optimus Education, praised the school for its ethos and culture, stating: “This is a superb school in all aspects. It was evident from the initial tour of the school how the ethos and culture of the school permeates throughout.

“Pupils spoke of the ‘amazing opportunities’ the school presents and are undoubtedly proud to be pupils.

“Parents said their children ‘loved the learning atmosphere’ and praised the ‘great pastoral care’.

“Staff confirmed the culture of academic excellence in the school and the outstanding involvement of parents and the wider local community.

“Staff development opportunities are ‘visionary’ and ‘inspirational leadership’ underpins all of this. Relationship within the school are professional at all levels and based on trust and mutual respect.”

Gay Durkan, Chair of Governors, said: “It was a very useful and informative experience to work with ESGA.

“The process enabled us as governors to engage in constructive self-reflection and to assess our impact on the teaching and learning in St. Mary’s College.”

The chair thanked Mr. Preston for his advice, assistance and for directing the governors in areas where they could improve their practice.

Mrs Durkan also acknowledged the support and contribution of Mr Stephen Keown and Miss Yvonne Connolly.

School Principal, Mrs Marie Lindsay, described the process as an “excellent learning opportunity which bought real challenge to everyone within the school community”.