Holy Family secures I.I.P. Gold again

Staff at the canteen.
Staff at the canteen.

Celebrations have commenced at Holy Family Primary and Nursery School, Derry with the announcement that they have secured, for the second time, the highly prestigious Investor in People Gold Award standard.

This is the highest level possible in the Investor in People assessment system and is only secured by the top 5% of Investor in People organisations.

Primary 3 and 4 teachers.

Primary 3 and 4 teachers.

The world renowned, I.I.P. system, assesses organisations across 10 different strands with numerous evidence requirements. In fact, to secure the Gold standard, Holy Family had to meet 165 evidence requirements. However, the forward thinking Derry school surpassed even that and met no less than 179 evidence requirements to secure this most challenging award.

School principal, Garry Matthewson explained that it was vitally important for the staff and leadership of the school to continue to develop and reach the highest standards of provision possible so that they could continue to ensure that the pupils at the school make outstanding progress. Mr Matthewson proceeded to explain that this award system was particularly attractive to the school leadership as it was a holistic awards system that measured the school across areas such as:

* Vision and values

* Stakeholder engagement

Nursery staff.

Nursery staff.

* Corporate social responsibility

* Leadership and management

* Rewards and recognition

* Performance management

* Continuous improvement

“The beauty of this award system is that it provides a detailed, independent and holistic evaluation of the school against criteria that are used by top performing organisations across the world. Accordingly, the evaluation outcomes that we receive are robust and evidenced based and give us great insight to what we need to do to remain at the forefront of educational provision.”

An important feature of the assessment system is that it is holistic in nature and looks at the strengths of not only the school leadership but the various teams in the school. The assessor, John Mulholland, noted that “Holy Family is aptly named as there is a true sense of family with successes/highs celebrated and a sense of spirit d’corps during the lows. Staff at all levels look out for one another and there is a very strong sense of kinship.”

Furthermore, the assessor noted that “the success of Holy Family pupils extends beyond examination performance and the many extra -curricular achievements achieved against All Ireland/UK competition is testament to the commitment, hard work and dedication of staff. These successes clearly reflect the pride staff have in their work and the extent to which Holy Family is an excellent place to work.”

The most pleasing aspect of the final report delivered after a thorough two day assessment, according to Pastoral and Standards Leader, Linda Parke, was the comments of the assessor in respect to the vision and values at the school. “The values shine through on a daily basis and it is easy to observe this in practice in staff interaction with pupils, parents and colleagues. There is a very strong ethos in Holy Family and every effort is made to ensure that pupils achieve their full potential.”

The breadth of the Holy Family approach to education and partnership working is best evidenced by the assessor’s judgement that “It is fair to say that Holy Family is more often than not at the forefront of curriculum development and for initiatives such as Nurturing and Accelerated Reading Holy Family serves as a beacon to others.”

While the principal, Garry Matthewson, acknowledged the tremendous work of the various school teams in delivering this achievemen, he was keen to point out that this achievement “would not have been possible had it not been for the great support the pupils and staff receive from parents, the Board of Governors, the Parent Teachers’ Association as well as the tremendous partnerships we have developed with the Dunluce Family Centre, the N.I. Nurture Group Network and the Outer West Education Forum.”