11th November 2019
Dear Parent / Guardian,
I wish to introduce myself as the new Principal of Lurgan Junior High School, having taken up position on 4th November, 2019. I am looking forward to building upon the excellent work of the school under the leadership of Mrs Currie, and more latterly Mr Thompson, and above all, to working with you, the Governors and the very fine staff, in order to ensure that your child meets their potential as well as their aspirations and ambitions.
This year marks my 20th year in education in Northern Ireland. I started my career as a Teacher of English & Drama at Integrated College Dungannon in 1999. In 2002, I was appointed Head of Department for English and Drama – a post that I held up until 2007, when I was promoted to the role of Senior Teacher, looking after Curriculum, Assessment, Entitlement Framework and School Cover arrangements. Since 2014, I have had the privilege of being Vice-Principal of one of the country’s top non-selective Controlled Schools, Markethill High School, overseeing all aspects of the school’s Curriculum and Pastoral Care arrangements. I have also worked, at various stages in my career, as an Assistant Moderator for GCSE English and English Literature, assuring the quality of GCSE work completed in numerous other schools in Northern Ireland and England.
I trust that my experience to date, coupled with the very strong and effective transition which has taken place between Mr Thompson and I in recent months, will ensure that Lurgan Junior High School continues to go from strength to strength.
Our focus in Lurgan Junior High will always, without fail, be on the pursuit of academic excellence. In this vein, the school will strive to ensure that it offers all pupils access to a very broad and balanced curriculum underpinned by the highest-quality learning and teaching. Alongside this, we will continue to develop our robust and sector-leading pastoral care system to allow for effective fusion of both the academic and pastoral spheres of school life.
I give you my commitment that I will serve the school and broader community to the best of my ability and consider it an honour to do so.
I look forward to meeting you at some point in the near future.
27th August 2019
Warm, sunny summer weather can mean only one thing - it's time to go back to school!
I hope all our parents and pupils have enjoyed the holidays and are ready to return. Our Year 8 pupils join us for their induction on Thursday and Friday of this week. I am sure there will be a mixture of nerves and excitement at the prospect of moving on from Primary School. I want all those children and parents to know that we recognise this is a big step for you, and we will do our very best to ensure your child settles quickly to enjoying life with our LJHS family. With only Year 8 pupils in school it will be less busy than usual and you will be spending time getting to know the school buildings, your Form Teacher and your classmates. We wish you all the very best for the three years ahead.
As many of you will already know, our Principal Mrs Lynda Currie, announced her retirement in the last term. Mrs Currie was a past pupil of the JHS and then a teacher there before becoming Vice Principal of Tandragee JHS. In 2005 she returned to Lurgan as Vice Principal and succeeded Mr Johnston as Principal in 2013. Pupils, staff and parents have always recognised that Mrs Currie was determined to do the very best for her pupils and her school. Her commitment, energy and drive provided wonderful opportunities for all pupils and staff. She leaves a thriving school which looks outwards to its community and which offers all children a first class educational experience. We wish Mrs Currie a long, healthy and happy retirement with her husband David and her wider family circle.
We also welcome her successor, Mr James McCoy, currently Vice Principal of Markethill High School. Mr McCoy was the unanimous choice of the Board of Governors and will officially take up his post on Monday November 4th. In the meantime, I, along with the Senior Leadership Team, will lead the school through to half term.
Our Year 9 and 10 pupils join us on Mon 2nd September and we look forward to welcoming them back and working hard together to achieve success and make fabulous memories.”
Mr M Thompson
10th April 2019
Dear Parent / Guardian
I am sure you are all looking forward to the Easter Break and hoping for some warm weather in order to enjoy the holidays with your family. There is no doubt it has been a long term and your children are really keen to have a break.
As always we have had a very busy Spring Term with the full range of competitive winter sports for both our boys and girls. This is now over and athletics, cricket and tennis are just starting. Indeed, our teams have been hugely successful during the season and their commitment to training alongside excellent coaching has resulted in numerous successes in hockey, netball, swimming, cross country, rugby and football (girls’ and boys’). They have received recognition through Facebook and assemblies on their wonderful achievements. We are indeed immensely proud of them.
Thank you to all our coaches who gave so much all year round. Special thanks to the core P.E. staff as well as Miss McCann, Miss Bell, Miss Gamble, Mrs Ferry, Miss Reilly, Mrs Beck, Mr Logan, Mr Black, Mr Lunn and Mr Addley. These individuals often provide a full day’s teaching and support our pupils in Sport at all times throughout the year. They are truly amazing! Equal thanks must go to Mr Lennon and Mrs Thompson who support Mrs Quinn and her teams throughout Term 1 & 2, to Mr. McKinley who coaches Girls’ football and also to Mr Keegan and Mr Heasley (Dixie) for their constant support throughout the year.
The support of former staff for the ski trip is also an enormous help to the school and I commend Mr Jennet and Mrs Smith for the assistance they willingly give Mr Black and our pupils every ski trip. Their glowing reports of our young people on this trip are always shared on their return.
Auditions have taken place for next year’s school play, “Beauty and The Beast” and we look forward with eagerness to the Autumn Term to view the polished performance. Final call back for budding actors/actresses will be on Wednesday of this week. Up to 60 of our young people will be involved and this does not yet include stage hands. Thank you to Miss Reilly, Mrs McCrory and Mrs Gilbert for driving this forward. It will be one of the highlights of Term 1 in the 2019-2020 school year.
SCRIPTURE UNION/BIBLE STUDIES
Every week in school, Mrs Kennedy, alongside her regular staff members, ensures that SU runs smoothly for a good number of our pupils with frequent visits from Steve – Crown Ministries, Phil Howe SU and Wilson Archer. They provide spiritual guidance and support throughout the year in an informal and fun way and we are indebted to them for their support. Your children are so blessed to have such role models within our community.
Thank you, too, to Pete Wright, Mark Hand and Michael Frazer for their wonderful serene manner and their commitment to Bible Studies in our school. These gentlemen give back so much to LJHS and are a fabulous support to our children. We cannot thank them enough. I would like to take the opportunity to ask you to encourage your children to attend both SU on Thursday and Bible Studies on Wednesday lunch time. It is Christian fellowship at its best.
A number of our pupils continue to benefit from the Homework support run by Aspire members, Matthew Turner and Mark Knox. As teachers, we regularly see the benefits in the classroom and at assessment time of the work that they do. We are very thankful for your help and support.
In truth, I don’t know what LJHS would do without the REACH TEAM. This group of young people offer mentoring, leadership and friendship to many of our pupils. This term, they have supported Year 9 in VALUES lessons as part of the PD programme and next term, they will continue their excellent pastoral work with our Year 10. As a school leader who appreciates the mammoth task of reaching out to 11-14 year olds and building their sense of belonging and self-esteem in a positive and affirming way, LJHS is incredibly proud and privileged to have them as part of an integral part of our pastoral provision. Thank you to Jamie Stoddard and all at REACH. Their genuine care and compassion for our young people does not go unnoticed or unrecognised.
Our Shared Education Signature Project continues to develop with involvement from a wide range of subjects which include Art, English, Drama, R.E., Science, Maths, History and Geography as well as interested specialist teachers from these learning areas and also pupils from 8A1, 8A3, 8A7, 9A5, 9B2, 10A1 and 10A6. Mr Addley provides inspirational leadership and support in his role as Coordinator of this project. He, with his St Ronan’s College partner, has organised a shared Sport’s Day and BBQ for those Year 8 pupils involved and their parents. This will take place at the Toberhewny Site on the last week of June.
ANTI BULLYING AMBASSADORS
I have also been incredibly impressed by the initiative taken forward by both Mr. Logan and Mr. Guy. Both gentlemen have recently attended the Princess Diana Training Course with 15 of our young people to create within the school a body of anti-bullying ambassadors. These young people had a fabulous 1-day course alongside students from many different school types and of all ages. They have a myriad of ideas to promote their role and the new Anti-Bullying Policy which will be in place from September 2019.
YEAR 9 SUMMER EXAMINATION
Revision Booklets will be given out today (Wednesday 10th April) and timetables will be placed on Show My Homework
At this stage of the year, I wish to remind you once again of the Assessment procedures for Year 9.
30% of their Summer Examination will go towards their Transfer Examination in Year 10.
A number of pupils whilst in School Uniform have been vaping in school, at the school gates and just outside school. They have been reported to me by Year Heads and Senior Teachers within the school. Besides the health implications of which we are not wholly aware, this brings disrepute to the school and as is stated in our Positive Discipline Policy, these same pupils will be suspended.
JAY WALKING AT SUPERVALU
A number of our pupils have been struggling to cross the road at Supervalu and their behaviour has been reported to school. As parents, I would respectfully request that you advise your children about taking great care when crossing the road and being respectful and considerate to members of the public both inside and outside shops. Naturally, when assemblies begin again following exams we will reinforce this in school.
As a proactive measure, Dfl Southern Division – Traffic Management have been contacted and a request made that they survey this part of the road in order to ensure our children’s safety.
Recently, a bus driver returned to school after leaving the pupils to their homes. He had been quite disturbed at the noise, the throwing of pencils and drinks that had taken place. There was considerable evidence of this on the bus. When our pupils are on the bus, they are responsible for their own behaviour. Such behaviour could quite easily cause an accident. Once again, I would ask for your support in this matter.
Daily at 3.20 p.m. our young people are exiting school to return home. Many of our children are transported to and from school by bus and we have always conveyed the message that buses have priority over cars. When parents park in the school car park, there are times when the children unthinkingly rush over to get into their cars. We will continue to warn our pupils about their safety and the attention they must give to buses and all other traffic.
Please continue to be vigilant at all times when entering the school by car. With the extended car parking facilities, it is important that you as parents park in an allocated car parking space rather than block the thoroughfare adding to the visibility and congestion problems for bus drivers and staff.
Following half term, a number of girls were wearing fake tan. They were asked not to wear it in school and that to do so would mean an afterschool detention. In the majority of cases, the girls have respectfully complied. This is just a reminder that such a sanction is still in place.
Enjoy the Easter break. I am looking forward to seeing all of our children return safe, sound and re energised for learning as we enter the Summer Term.
Mrs L Currie
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
28th February 2019
Dear Parents and Friends of Lurgan Junior High School
We are very blessed in Lurgan to have so many high performing Primary Schools whose pupils transfer into L.J.H.S. Equally, when our children transfer at end of Key Stage 3, many go on to achieve so much. I have the greatest of respect for my colleagues in other teaching establishments but I totally believe that ALL of our young people should be educated in our town by those who know them best of all.
Many of you will have heard me say and it bears repeating that "There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”— Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
My letter to the Lurgan Mail this week hopefully illustrates the thoughts that many in Lurgan hold. Please read it and understand that your child, regardless of their ability, is as important as any other. Our children are the future. We must support them!
Mrs L. Currie, Principal
“Dickson Plan worked well but not for All,” says LJHS’ Principal.
The Dickson Plan was an educational experiment introduced only into the Craigavon area in the early seventies and has worked very well for some of our children but, unfortunately, not for all.
Logic and common sense dictate that any new system would be run for a trial period before a review to identify success or failure. Positives would then be ‘banked’ and negatives would be addressed and improved.
Some commentators would have us believe that, along with the Ten Commandments, Moses descended from Mount Sinai with ‘The Dickson Plan’ engraved on a tablet of stone.
Peter Weir, the one-time Education Minister who is often quoted, has clearly stated recently that his support for the current system was then and not necessarily now. His position then, he says, is NOT to be used today in support of The Dickson Plan
I am less concerned with a name, a building or a dogma than I am about ensuring we have an education system in our area that offers equal opportunity for all our children and leaves none behind.
The current system has cracks and some of our children are destined to fall through them – Otherwise, after all these years, would it not have been rolled out across the country?
The current debate on the future of Craigavon Senior High School Lurgan Campus has created a febrile atmosphere and passions are running high, as they should be, for nothing is more important than the future prospects and wellbeing of our children, to help them become the best they can be.
My proposal that, instead of transporting our children to CSHS in Portadown, those who would have been attending CSHS in Lurgan should be accommodated on Lurgan Junior High School site in an 11-16 school through a merger with CSHS Lurgan is a practical solution which has merit and would best meet their needs. (As a short-term measure, these pupils could be catered for in temporary accommodation on the LJHS site.)
In support of this proposal, I would make the following observations:
- LJHS has a very competent, well qualified staff who have regular Continuous Professional Development in order to engage, motivate and ensure the needs of all pupils are met
- A significant number of staff have experience of teaching GCSE and equivalent qualification and would see this as an opportunity to provide positive and productive outcomes for all
- LJHS has always taught the full range of ability
- For those Year 10 pupils not selected by the Grammar School remaining for GCSE can be the preparation for Key Stage 4 carried out in Term 3, so this time is productive
- With pupils remaining in Lurgan, it demonstrates a sense of belonging and being valued that we have always tried to engender in our children
- There would be a continued loyalty to the various sporting organisations in Lurgan town. Many representatives of these have expressed concern that, once the talent has left the town, that may dilute their Lurgan identity and it may be lost. This may be down to poaching by Portadown clubs or weariness caused by extended travel times.
- Continuity of location and teaching on the LJHS site would benefit pupils greatly, as any transfer can be a disruption and often months can be wasted while children settle in to a new environment with unfamiliar teachers, systems and accommodation.
- Performance could be measured by results of GCSE examinations which would provide focus and stimulation for both children and teachers alike. Our teachers, comprising current LJHS’ and CSHS’ staff would have a direct input right up to GCSE and enjoy the fruits of their labour as they share in the outcomes.
- Pupil’ outcomes in the non-selective system (The Dickson Plan) are well below N.I. average and this under-achievement is particularly true for boys. For the future of all in our area, this needs to be addressed and would not be helped by bussing children out of their town to a two-year school in Portadown, whose financial viability is questionable.
- Parents of prospective pupils of LJHS, residing outside of Lurgan may feel that their children may be more comfortable going to Lisburn or Banbridge rather than having to be transported to Lurgan and then on to Portadown. This would have a major impact on intake numbers to LJHS and consequently to Lurgan College and CSHS if it were to go ahead.
- Those who express outrage at the very notion of tinkering with The Dickson Plan tend to be from the Grammar School lobby so I repeat – I do not propose we abandon what is working well. The children who qualify for Lurgan College will continue to receive a first class education and nothing would change that – in fact, if we were to have an 11-16 school (call it Lurgan Academy) I believe more pupils would be attracted to it which in turn would serve to enhance Lurgan College as well, for, although it was envisaged that only 30% of LJHS pupils would be taken by the College, currently the figure is 50%+.
I know that all those involved in education and extra-curricular achievement in Lurgan have the same objective – to protect, support and motivate our children and prepare them for the future. In that belief, I ask that parents, relations, sporting organisations ,church and youth leaders and politicians re-double their efforts and build a momentum, a critical mass to send a clear and unambiguous message to the Education Authority that forcing our children to leave their home town for the sake of their education, when a local solution is viable, practical and preferable, is not something we are prepared to accept.
I commend all those who have engaged with the Parents’ Forum for their time, talent and endeavour and would invite all who have a stakeholding in our community to come together and unite in this common cause. Our school is your school, your children are our children. Let’s do it.
27th February 2019
Following the consultation, LJHS Parents’ Forum has been formed and the election of positions of Chair and Vice Chair have taken place. They are a very passionate group who support our young peoples’ desire to remain in Lurgan. They have had a very busy three weeks and have organised meetings with 2 Unionist parties. There has also been a meeting arranged with the EA representative, Mr M McConkey.
The Chair of the Forum has written to you…
LURGAN SCHOOL for LURGAN CHILDREN
As part of the consultation process set out in the document by EA the parents forum wish to put forward our position on this matter.
There are two points we wish to make at the outset
- 1. We agree with the principles of the Dickson Plan i.e. those attending the L.J.H.S transfer at 14 to a Grammar School or transfer to a Senior High School.
- 2. It is not our intention to answer all of the points raised in the article in the Lurgan Mail from Mr Robinson. To do so would be in no way productive and we believe would not address the real problem which is
“What do we do in the best interests of pupils? “
It is true to say in many respects the Dickson Plan as a principle has served the people of the Lurgan and district well in their educational pursuits. However, we are all well aware that the Dickson Plan has not been able to deliver an acceptable level of education to those wishing to transfer to C.S.H.S which has failed over 40% majority being boys.
This has gone on unchecked for many years and we the parents believe the time is now right to improve and update the Dickson Plan.
In the past there have been times, in the interests of good education for more children, where the Dickson Plan has been modified.
When the Dickson Plan was first implemented the numbers transferring from LJHS to Lurgan College was to be approx 30%. That has gradually been changed over the years to around 57%. This modification is right and proper as it has given more pupils the opportunity to go to Grammar School and this we whole heartedly support. Of course this decision has had consequences. While, Mr Robinson has been happy to have a larger intake thereby making his school more sustainable it has had adverse effect for C.S.H.S in Lurgan. Therefore, some modification or change must be accepted so that all pupils are treated equally and are given equal opportunity. To that end we believe that Option 4 of the Consultation paper should be adopted, instead of continuing on with the Lurgan S.H.S presently being classified as unfit for purpose.
It is of the utmost importance that the necessary upgrading of the Dickson Plan should take place as soon as practical. We therefore believe that the Lurgan and district children should be educated at the Lurgan Junior High site operating as an 11 -16 school with the option to transfer to grammar provision at 14. If this is done it will allow the full range of subjects to be taught in co -operation with LJHS. This will give a better identity for those attending this institution and we believe the standard of education will greatly improve as there would be continuity of Principal, teachers, ethos and pupil self esteem.
We believe if this option (Option 4) was adopted it would ensure the pupils would have a high standard of education in their own town as was originally anticipated within the Dickson Plan. We reject totally those who would simply bus the children over to Portadown and sweep the problem under the carpet without due regard for the pupils wellbeing. In other words out of sight out of mind. This is the easy option for those who have no real concern for the future education of Lurgan children who do not travel the path of Grammar education or the Lurgan Community. Could it be there is another agenda? After much deliberation and consideration we believe the arguments put forward by Mr Robinson and Company are weak, uncaring, and selfish and not in the best interests of the children who will be effected the most. The phrase comes to mind “I’m alright Jack”.......
We, representing the parents, would advise strongly that you listen to Mrs Currie. The Principal
of LJHS who knows these children working with them on a daily basis both caring for their well being and academic requirements when she supports Option 4 as the best way forward.
This will give a continuity of education up to 16 and therefore the advantage of no regression caused by the move to Portadown.
This should be perfectly acceptable as the consultation document on page 4 paragraph 3 states
“The Dickson plan has evolved since its introduction “
The fact that Peter Weir who made comments sometime ago about the Dickson Plan has now clarified his position by saying, “The verbal remarks he made several years ago should not be used in the current consultation exercise”
Therefore this should be deleted as an argument or excuse for not providing the appropriate education at LJHS site.
It must be stated there is no evidence that by bussing the children to Portadown that this would enhance their educational standards. Bearing in mind enrolment at the LJHS is rising and will be maintained over the next 7 years and as a consequence there will be approx up to 300 pupils to be bussed to Portadown. This would entail at least 6 buses in transit to Portadown and back everyday with all the pollution and parking problems in the centre of Lurgan and not to mention £100,000.00 per year on the bus fares. We would suggest this money would be better spent on their education,
In light of the above our advice to all parents whether your aspiration is to send your children to Grammar school or Senior High school would be to:-
DISAGREE with the proposal
I disagree with EA recommendations and I support Option 4 thereby maintaining a high standard of proven education in Lurgan that is sustainable.
WE THEREFORE STATE:-
WE WILL NOT SEND OUR CHILDREN TO PORTADOWN AS THE SOLUTION LIES IN LURGAN!!!
"Dear Parents & Friends of Lurgan Junior High School
Find below a letter from Mr. McKay, Chair of Lurgan JHS Board of Governors. He wishes to share with you his perspective concerning recent correspondence relating to the future of Craigavon Senior High School.
I am writing in response to the “public statement” recently issued by the Principal of Lurgan College on the future of Craigavon Senior High School.
I was very disappointed by the negative, aggressive, and sometimes insulting manner in which he characterised those who hold views on this matter which differ from his.
Our guiding and only motivation in this important debate has been to try to ensure that all the school-going children in Lurgan and not a part thereof, should be able to access a high quality education in their own town. This noble motive should not have words like “dishonest”, “disingenuous”, “dysfunctional”, “misguided”, “failed” and “harmful” applied to them or their beliefs and arguments.
The personal attacks on the former Principals of Lurgan Junior High and Craigavon Senior High (and on myself) are unnecessary and unworthy, and have no place in a civilised educational debate. Both of the gentlemen referred to are men of the highest integrity whose only motive was to explore every option to try to avoid the desperate and unhappy situation in which we now find ourselves.
I also regret Mr Robinson’s reference to the 11-16 option as “the failed model now being abandoned by the maintained sector in Lurgan”. Such gratuitous insulting of another sector within the community is deplorable. I am quite sure that the good people who worked with in that sector would not see their efforts as “failed”; rather they would argue that they have moved on from a system which served its purpose well for many years to one which they see as a future improvement.
I am pained to observe that Mr Robinson’s “public statement” shows very little respect for some of his fellow professionals, or for that cohort of young people (and their parents) who will be the real losers in what he proposes by having to be bussed out of their hometown half way through their educational experience. Sadly, no care for, or understanding of, these young people is demonstrated by Mr Robinson in his letter.
I read with disbelief his melodramatic concern that “the loss of our most academically able pupils from the Craigavon area to Armagh, Banbridge and Lisburn would be disastrous for the cohesion of the local community in every way, not least of which, economically”. Is it only the cohort of pupils with which he works which must not suffer relocation? If Lurgan College were to be subsumed into Portadown College, for example, and moved to their site, would Mr Robinson be so unmoved by the plight of the young people involved and their families?
When Mr Robinson says in his letter “the question for the community is not primarily do you want children to be transferred by bus to a single site, or not”, he completely fails to understand that for those pupils and parents involved, this is the key question! Furthermore, this form of provision is not consistent with a “top class education” as he states – they are not mutually exclusive.
I am also bemused by his bland assumption that bussing almost half of the children from Lurgan to Portadown would be accompanied by “provision of a brand new school in due course” for them. Does he have access to information or decision-making that the rest of us do not?
Mr Robinson’s high-handed assertion that an 11-16 school would be “dysfunctional” and would “signal the end of the Dickson Plan model of education” needs to be challenged, as does his enlisting of the support of former Education Minister, Mr Peter Weir, who recently indicated that verbal remarks he made when visiting a rural primary school several years ago should not be used in the current consultation exercise.
Finally, I would like to conclude by clearly stating that since the community overwhelmingly demonstrated their desire to retain the Dickson Plan, I support the formation of an 11-16 school on the Junior High School site. The term Dickson Plan means selection at 14 and I see no reason why this process cannot continue in the same way as it has done over the past 50 years. As a parent, I was proud to send my children through the school system in Lurgan and I would ask that the Education Authority would listen to the strength of feeling expressed by those who advocate educating children in the community and providing schools that serve their community as outlined in the document “Every School a Good School”.
Mr. T. J. McKay
Chairman of the Board of Governors LJHS"
Wednesday 16 January 2019
Dear Parents and Friends of Lurgan Junior High School
Firstly, a resounding thank you for your attendance at Monday evening’s meeting when EA representatives shared the consultation document with everyone. (embargoed until after the LJHS meeting) Your responses were strong, child centred and focused on the needs of Lurgan children and those who travel into Lurgan from the outlying areas. As parents of our children, you ably demonstrated our solid community links, your concern for the young people in our care and for prospective pupils coming to LJHS. I applaud your commitment, the manner in which you so competently and respectfully expressed your viewpoints and your ability to see that all that was on offer were bus passes and modular accommodation (porta cabins) to extend teaching space at the Portadown Campus of Craigavon Senior High School.
As Mr. Michael McConkey and his colleagues went to great lengths to assure us that this was only the beginning of the process, it is now time to take them up on one of the strategies they repeatedly recommended in order to take the process forward thus reflecting community feeling. As such, I would like to facilitate you in setting up a Parent Forum for all interested parents.
To many present, it would have appeared that the proposal was very much a “fait accompli” but we received several reassurances that this was not so, that it was not a numbers game but instead an opportunity to listen to your views and give you time to find your voice and use it to bring about the best educational outcomes for all our children. Therefore, a Parent Group will provide the opportunity for you to move forward as one body in the best interest of your children.
Earlier on the 14th January, Mr. Michael McConkey delivered the same presentation to the staff of the school (Teaching and Non-Teaching) and their views mirrored those of both parents and community. This is not an attempt to wreck the Dickson Plan “by stealth” but a real opportunity to right the wrongs that have been allowed to go on within our community for 24 years and in line with the opening sentence of Minister Weir’s remarks about the Dickson Plan originally made in 2016 which bears repeating,
"It is important that lessons are learned to improve our system, but also that we protect what is working within our system…"
As parents, you made it clear that you will continue to support Lurgan College and appreciate the efforts and dedication of the staff there who have supported many of our young people at both Key Stage 4 and at AS and A level providing an excellent pathway to third level education and into the world of work. Equally, you recognise the same professional commitment from the staff at Craigavon Senior High and have an understanding of the difficulties, financial and otherwise that have befallen the school in more recent times.
However, with their move to a single site school in order to address the issues facing them, the detrimental impact this would have on our young people has to be acknowledged. To this end, you are invited to Lurgan Junior High School on Tuesday 22 January at 7.00 p.m. in order to form the Parent Group and decide on what action is required in the coming days and weeks.
Mrs. L E Currie
25th October 2018
Dear Yr 8 Parents and Friends of the school
Thank you for encouraging your young people to dress as their heroes. This was an opportunity to raise funds for the British Legion Poppy Appeal and at the same time allow our pupils time to consider and value those individuals from the past and the present.
Some chose family members, whilst others chose professions and a number recognised relations who had fought in previous wars and battle grounds in the defence of freedom and democracy.
Special thanks to Ms Roberta McNally who regularly attends our annual assembly in the promotion of Heroes Day. Her story was as always thought provoking and entertaining.
Mrs. L. E. Currie
10th October 2018
September is now behind us and all of our young people are well settled into the first term of the school year. Already so much has happened and I’m certain your children have kept you informed about their activities. Remember, there is always the school Facebook page to let you see the myriad of events that have taken place.
We had a wonderful Prize Day on Friday 5th October and were delightfully entertained by the School Choir and Band under the tutelage of Mrs. McCrory and Mrs. Moorehead. It was wonderful to see the Hall filled to capacity with pupils, supportive family members, governors, principals and friends of the school. Our former pupils returned proudly wearing their new uniforms and looking so mature and grown up. There was a great atmosphere which just added to the entire afternoon.
On Monday 8th October, we had our first Parent Forum. We very much appreciated their attendance and the high level of participation by all present. This was an opportunity to consult with a random selection of Year 8 & Year 9 parents regarding developments in Assessment, Reporting and ICT. Miss Osborne, Mr. Logan and I are looking forward to the next meeting in the Spring Term.
Next Friday, 19th October is our Primary School Sampler Day. This is a major event for us when we will host P6 classes from our contributory primary schools to let the pupils see first-hand exactly what the BIG school offers. To ensure that our P6 children have an enriching experience, our Year 8s and Year 9 pupils will not attend school on this day. Year 10s will attend as usual and a Careers Day has been arranged for them. The main reason for this is to support the Key Stage 2/3/4 transition. In previous years this has taken place over 5 days and involved significant financial investment for substitute teachers and for transport. We are no longer in a position to cater for our P6s in this way and as a result we have had to be creative and bring them all in on the same day. We genuinely appreciate the support of our Primary schools and our current and prospective parents for making this possible.
BEHAVIOUR into LEARNING POLICY
There are a few other areas relating to LJHS’ “Behaviour into Learning Policy” that I wish to highlight in this letter. Firstly, the Health and Safety of our pupils. Yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a pupil ran across the road to Moutray’s shop to join her friends. She did not look where she was going and almost caused a fatal accident. Apparently, a number of our pupils congregate around Moutray’s shop. Please advise your children to take the utmost care when crossing roads. They need to be vigilant at all times. There is a lot of traffic along Millennium Way and I would urge the greatest of care when walking to school. I am very grateful to the gentleman who contacted the school to advise me of this situation.
Secondly, we are very grateful to the majority of our parents who always use the front entrance to the school and call in at the front office or telephone to make an appointment with staff members. We are always more than happy to talk to parents and sort out any issues as they arise. However recently, parents used the Mourne Road entrance to come into the school. We would discourage this at all times as we require all parents to sign in if they are visiting the school or a member of staff. This procedure is for the safeguarding of both our pupils and our staff.
Thirdly, the Conduct Card. This has been an amazing success. As parents, you can be genuinely proud that there are well over 500 pupils who have yet to receive a signing. Our Year Heads and Form Teachers have noticed a significant improvement in uniform, corridor behaviour, timekeeping and litter. This initiative is working and with your continued support, behaviour, uniform, punctuality and the absence of litter should continue to improve.
Finally, the development of resilience in our young people. Many of you will already be aware that we are striving to ensure the growth of our children’s level of initiative and independence. We are encouraging every child to take and accept responsibility for their learning and their equipment. As educators, we want to be enablers rather than disablers. This improved ethos can only work when parents support their children by supporting us. However, I am reliably informed that there are still a number of parents who regularly bring in late home works, forgotten PE kit and other materials in order that their child does not need to take any level of responsibility. I am respectfully requesting that this stops. If your children are to become resilient adults, they need everyone’s support.
Last year, all our Year 8 pupils (currently Year 9) and their parents were informed that 30% of their overall Year 9 marks would go towards the Year 10 Transfer Examination. This is a positive move and one that is supportive of the child. It ensures a consistent and constant approach to learning. At the moment, a number of teachers report that some pupils still need to improve the quality of their work if these marks are going to benefit their final examination in Year 10. Teachers are expecting focused and quality written and oral responses at all times.
On TUESDAY 16 OCTOBER at 7.30 p.m. our Year 10 pupils have been invited to Lurgan College. It is important that parents attend with their Year 10 children so they are aware of subject options and also the process of transfer. Mr. Guy and I will be present. This has always been an informative evening and there will be opportunities to listen to the principal, Mr. Robinson, and the 2 Vice Principals as they talk about pastoral and curricular provision.
On WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER at 9.00 a.m. Ms. Harkness, Principal from Craigavon Senior High School will attend LJHS to speak to all Year 10 pupils.
Also on this SAME DAY, the SUBJECT TEACHER MEETINGS will take place from 1.10 p.m. These meetings will end at 3.20 p.m. and Ms. Harkness will hold a Transfer Meeting in the Senior Assembly Hall for Year 10 Parents from 3.30 p.m. All Year 10s are welcome to attend. ALL PUPILS WILL LEAVE SCHOOL at 12 MIDDAY. Please organize transport for your child as there will be no buses at this time.
School will end for Half Term on Friday 26 October 2018 at 3.20 p.m. and resume on Monday 5 November. I wish you all an enjoyable Halloween.
Mrs. L. E. Currie
29th August 2018
Dear Pupils and Parents,
There is only one sleep left until our Year 8s join the Lurgan Junior High School family and staff in school are very excited about your arrival on Thursday morning. We have been very busy making sure we are fully prepared for your learning as we want to make Year 8 as productive as possible. We will see you at 8.50 a.m. and there will be lots of staff members about to guide you into the Junior Assembly Hall so you can meet your Form Teacher.
This is the second year in a row that we have been oversubscribed in Year 8 and we are genuinely delighted that you have chosen LJHS for the beginning of your post primary education. In the last 4 years our numbers have grown immensely and we have an additional 170 pupils in our school. Isn’t that wonderful?
Many of you, I have no doubt, are equally enthusiastic and happy to start your new school. Mums and Dads have been investing in school uniforms and all the things necessary to ensure you have the best start possible at LJHS. Take pride in your uniform. When you wear it appropriately, you send out a message of self-respect to everyone. What you look like on the outside is a reflection of how you feel on the inside.
Of course, it’s normal to feel a little nervous and you will not be on your own in this. One thing that has worried previous Year 8s is that they may not know others in their class. Everyone is in the same boat and I want you to use this as an opportunity to get to know as many young people as possible. To have good friends, you need to be a good friend, so talk to the pupils in your class, find out what they did during the summer, ask them questions about their interests and see if they want to join any of the after school clubs. Include everyone, don’t leave anyone out.
It’s a really good idea to join a club that will develop your own particular interests. This is a great way to make friends and also allows you to see your teachers in a different environment. Our teachers are amazing and will want you to participate in as many clubs as possible. Mrs McCrory has put the after schools’ clubs on our Facebook page so you can easily see what might interest you.
Another little worry is homework. You definitely don’t need to be anxious about this as we have a homework app called “Show My Homework” (SMHW). Most teachers will put their homeworks on this and you can see it on your mobile phone or your PC. Teachers will provide lots of guidance to ensure you can be successful. Mums and Dads can also see what homeworks teachers are giving and the specific deadlines for handing them in. It’s a good idea to be organised and get your homeworks done as soon as possible. Remember, they may not be for the next day so you will need to look at your timetable every night to make sure you have the right books, equipment and homeworks. We are really trying to develop your independence, so start off with the right habits now and you will be fine.
Getting lost is also a concern for new pupils. Everyone gets lost now and again, even new teachers. Just stay with your class as you move from classroom to classroom over the next couple of weeks and before you know it, you will feel totally confident about the location of all your classrooms.
On Friday, Mrs Kerr and I will be going to the canteen with you. Our 2 supervisors there, Mrs Cassells and Mrs Tolland are really helpful and will make sure you get the lunch you want. The dinner ladies work very hard to provide nutritional meals for you on a daily basis and they will get to know the food you like very quickly. We have already informed the canteen of anyone who has specific dietary needs but it does no harm to make yourself known to the ladies if you are gluten free or have any allergies. If you could bring your packed lunch or your money for the canteen in change that would speed up the process.
On the first 2 days you will be in school without Year 9 & 10 pupils. This will give you time to get to know the geography of the school and to see the way the canteen operates. Lottie, our Head Girl and Leon, our Head Boy, have organised prefects to come in on Thursday and Friday to support you. They are 2 brilliant young people, respected by their teachers and peers, who, with their team will continue to look out for you during your first year. They have also organised a prefect rota for playground duty in the first few weeks and will be available for any questions or concerns you may have.
Your Form Teacher will be with you all of Thursday morning and will explain your timetable and show you around the school. They will provide guidance and advice on absolutely everything. They will be in your corner at all times throughout the year ensuring you are working to your potential and encouraging you to give your absolute best in all you do. The Year Heads, Mrs F Kennedy and Mr R Logan, will also be working hard to get to know all of you as the year progresses. There is healthy competition for Year Heads to have the best year group and this is evidenced by achievement points, attendance and participation in House events. So get active and get involved. We really want you to feel you belong!
Roll on Thursday! I can’t wait to meet you all. Have an early night, sleep well, there is no need for any anxiety. We will look after you tomorrow and you will be home by lunchtime. Mums and Dads can collect you at 12.30pm.
Mrs L E Currie
18th April 2018
Dear Parents and friends of LJHS, join with me in celebrating our win today. Our boys are Northern Ireland Champions. I want to thank all parents who travelled down to Ballymena and the boys who were absolutely terrific, as well as Mr J Guy their coach, Dixie and Billy. It was wonderful that almost 200 of our pupils attended to support the team. I am incredibly proud of all the boys. Well done!
22nd March 2018
I hope this letter finds you all well and looking forward to the Easter break with your family. The beautiful sunshine this week has been encouraging and after such a long winter, we are all due some good weather so we can have some outdoor time with our children.
NON UNIFORM DAY - Friday, 23rd March 2018
£1 non uniform money is for Cameron Truesdale. Cameron is currently receiving treatment for his condition and all funds raised will support this.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
We have had another busy term at Lurgan Junior high and were delighted with the School Performance, High School Musical. Our pupils and staff put their whole heart into it to make it such a success for everyone. I’m sure that as parents you were proud as punch.
WINNERS of THE HIGH SCHOOL CUP IN RUGBY
We have also had a tremendously busy sporting season with weekly practices after school and competitive matches on going throughout the term. Our pupils performed well and we were absolutely thrilled when just last Tuesday our U12 boys’ rugby brought home the silver in the High Schools Cup.
NAVAL CADETS STARTING SOON
Next term, we are adding another extracurricular activity to provide another outlet for our young people. Mr David McCausland has talked to our pupils about Naval Cadets and is hopeful that he will have a company of our pupils to participate in canoeing, hill walking and other equally rewarding outdoor pursuits. He is keen to commence this after Easter and it would be such a positive and rewarding experience for the children. There will be permission letters going home this week. Do return them at the earliest opportunity.
Shared Education classes continue to play a big part in Lurgan JHS and this has done much to develop our pupils’ thinking skills, creativity, oracy and problem solving as well as their self-esteem and confidence. The classes – 9A6, 9A1, 8A5, 8B1 - have enjoyed their shared experiences at both St Ronan’s College and Lurgan Junior High School. Mr Addley, as coordinator, has successfully extended the programme to include History, R.E., ICT, Maths, Art and Music. It was so empowering for our 2 Shared Education Ambassadors, Lucy McBride 9A6 and Cameron McLean 9A1, to provide the Project Coordinators with worthwhile and evaluative feedback. We are indebted to all our staff and pupils for their enthusiasm, involvement and participation in the project.
KEY STAGE 3/4 TRANSITION – YEAR 10 NEWS
On Thursday 22 March, Mrs R Harkness, Acting Principal of Craigavon Senior High School, attended Year 10 Assembly to inform our pupils of future pathways for them as they go forward in their education. Other activities have been arranged by Mrs Harkness to ensure a smooth transition from LJHS to CSHS. There will be a Subject Fayre and 3 days of Induction at the end of June to support them into GCSE and other appropriate courses.
Likewise, Mr D Bell, Vice Principal, Curriculum and his team from Lurgan College will be arranging pupil/ parent interviews in May to finalise Option Choices. Induction will also take place at Lurgan College for Year 10 pupils. Additional advice and guidance by Subject Leaders takes place in specific subjects. Indeed, Mr Reavie, HoD I.C.T. has already spoken to Year 10 pupils regarding I.C.T. courses available for G.C.S.E.
WINNERS OF THE SEMI FINAL NI CUP
On Wednesday 21 March, the U12 Boys’ Football Team played in the semi-finals of the NI Cup against Integrated College, Dungannon. It was such an honour for our boys to play at Mourneview Park and we very much appreciate the kindness of Glenavon staff in making us welcome. All in all, it was a wonderful game and we have much to celebrate with the skill, talent, persistence and team work shown on the day. The match went into extra time and then on to nail biting penalty kicks with LJHS winning 4 goals to 1. Simply, a beautiful game. Thank you to all of the proud parents, staff and pupils who supported them at the match. The boys will now go on to play in the finals on Wednesday 18th April at Ballymena. We wish them every success.
Congratulations also to the team who travelled to Strathern with Mr Black on Tuesday to take part in the Techknow Challenge. A great result for Noah, Simon, Louis and Nathan who built a website, under timed conditions. Well done boys’.
SCHOOL FACEBOOK PAGE
I know many of you keep abreast of all school news on Facebook. I would just like to say a huge thank you to Mrs McCrory for keeping you informed about the many and varied activities that go on in LJHS. We couldn’t do without her!
This year, for the first time, Lurgan Junior High is changing its Annual Prize Day date. This is in line with all the other schools in the Dickson Plan system of education. It will give our Senior High School principals an opportunity to know those prize winning pupils and share in their success. It will also afford our own LJHS pupils opportunities to participate in events right up to the end of the school year. We are looking forward to this celebration of success in September of Term 1.
YEAR 9 EXAMINATIONS
Following robust and rigorous monitoring of data, it was clear that pupil attainment dropped in Year 9. After discussion with pupils, staff and governors it was felt that Year 9 outcomes would be considered more purposeful if a percentage of marks was carried over to the Year 10 Transfer examinations. This will be in place for our current Year 8 as they move into Year 9. It will ensure more consistent effort and progress by pupils. It will also provide a stepping stone to Year 10 and as pupils move forward in their education, they will not be as stressed regarding the final examination.
END DATE AND TIME
School ends on Friday 23 March 2018 at 12 midday. There will not be school buses at this time and parents are responsible for ensuring their children are collected from school.
On behalf of all staff, I wish you all a restful and relaxing Easter break. We look forward to seeing all your children return safely to us on Monday 9th April 2018.
Mrs L Currie
23rd January 2018
Good morning everyone,
15th December 2017
What a busy day at LJHS! Firstly thank you to all participants and Mrs Graham who ensured that LJHS Bake Off was a huge success. Special thanks to Mr Sydney McCormick, former governor and proprietor of The Kosy as our expert. Also thank you to Chairman and to so many talented pupils who performed so well under pressure. Well done to everyone!
Thank you also to the Barcelona Fundraisers - adults and pupils for all their efforts.
Super to see and hear the contributions made by Year 8s in the TPV elections- a talented and enthusiastic group of young people, a credit to our school.
Year 10 Career talks have gone on all week and we hope they have proved beneficial to our pupils. Thank you Mr Guy for arranging them.
The generosity shown by all families in providing for the Food bank is really appreciated.
Also impressed by the hard work of Young Enterprise in making the most beautiful Christmas gifts.
Thank you to the Misses Cardwell's for the bun sale to support their charity.
Thank you too Mr Lunn for Wednesday night’s disco. Our children loved it.
And last but not least a wonderful warm thank you to all those who supported Miss Hanna and Mrs McCrory in the Christmas Assembly. The pupils were absolute stars. It was also lovely to have Mr Peter Wright from Hill St Presbyterian Church to support this occasion.
Parents be proud of your children. They have given a lot this week. We too are proud of them and wish them a wonderful weekend.
L E Currie
28th September 2017
Aspire comes to Lurgan JHS!
Mrs Rhoda Kerr, Pastoral V.P. invited 2 inspirational young people and past pupils of our school for an evening meeting with parents and pupils for an incredible opportunity to raise engagement and attainment.
Mark and Matthew, Aspire Leaders, spoke to all informally over a cup of coffee to raise awareness of the possibilities to improve pupils’ learning by providing support, resources and free tuition.
From next week, 10 of our pupils will be able to avail of the after school club for homework support and downtime. This runs on 3 afternoons when volunteers will make themselves available to support our young people both academically and pastorally.
We are delighted that they can provide such a wonderful service and on behalf of all pupils and parents present on Wednesday evening, I wish them every success. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be involved in such a worthwhile community project.
A big thank you to the ASPIRE Team!
Mrs L Currie
27th September 2017
Congratulations to our Under 13s Hockey Team who had a great 2-0 win against Killicomaine JHS at the weekend. Goal scorers were Danielle Ervine and Sophie Wylie. Well done to all our girls!
The under 14s had a good game against a very strong Killicomaine team. They performed so well and worked hard right to the end. We wish them well as they continue through this season.
I was absolutely delighted to hear about Saturday’s achievements regarding the Equestrian Team. There was a huge number of competitors but Lurgan JHS did themselves proud with Daniel Moore riding a double clear and securing 2nd place time wise, Callum FitzGerald with only one pole down and Ellie Leathem – out for the first time with her new pony – a tremendous start!
Outside of school, as members of Lurgan Town Juniors, six of our boys, Kristian Cassells, Patryk Suchonski, Dylan Alexander, Jamie Stokes, Dylan Emerson and Luke Vennard, alongside their team had a wonderful 3-1 win against Windmill starts on Saturday. Well done to all of them!
Today I am looking forward to the U13 Rugby match against RBAI. I wish the boys every success.
Mrs L Currie
26th September 2017
On behalf of staff members who attended the Modern Languages/History Trip to Paris and Normandy, I want to say a huge thanks to all parents and pupils involved.
Your kindness and appreciation of staff members and the contribution they made to the trip was overwhelming and all staff benefitted from the treats and eats you provided. The teachers and non- teaching staff involved could not have felt more valued.
Thank you for taking up this wonderful and enriching trip for your children. They will have many memories of this for years to come.
Mrs L Currie
9th September 2017
Good to see the Under 14 and Under 13 Hockey Teams in action this morning in their first match against Royal School Armagh. The U14 team gave their best efforts and also battled against the relentless rain to finish with a scoreless draw. Thanks to the parents who gave their support. It is so motivating for your children.
The Under 13s played against a tough Armagh side and by the time I left Kathy Thompson had scored the first goal.
Despite the bad weather, the girls showed great character and persistence.
Mrs Sue Gibson was there to offer, as always, her constant encouragement to the teams and it was just super to welcome back Miss Chloe McCann to LJHS, this time as staff member and umpire.
The girls looked smart in their new all weather coats purchased from The Gordon Group.
Well done, girls. I am looking forward to your next matches.
LJHS pitches were very busy this morning. As I was leaving, I met 3 very happy Glenavon players. (U18 team) They had finished their match with a 3-1 win. Congratulations boys. A good start to your season.
Mrs L Currie
8th September 2017
As you can see, your children are looking happy and confident. The majority have settled so comfortably to BIG school and appear to be enjoying their first days. This is one of our biggest year-groups and we are at our maximum numbers. I continue to enjoy seeing them respond to the routines of LJHS.
I just love the photograph of our PE Boys in their new kit. They know they look good!
Mrs L Currie
1st September 2017
Dear Former Pupils of LJHS,
All staff are delighted by the great A level results. We wish you well as you continue your educational journey. We invite you to return to LJHS at any time to keep us informed of your progress.
Well done to those who have completed their As examinations and other courses. We wish you well as you continue your studies.We in LJHS are absolutely delighted by the outstanding GCSE results. Keep studying and give your best as you return to do your As subjects and other courses.
31st August 2017
30th August 2017
Good afternoon, Year 8s,
All your teachers are feeling excited and genuinely looking forward to your arrival tomorrow morning. There is no need for anyone to feel worried or nervous as it is a similar experience for everyone. Form Teachers will be present in the Junior Assembly Hall to greet you and they will be supported by some of our Year 10 pupils. Many of you are already familiar with the school due to your attendance at Open Evening or at Taster Days and the fact that your brothers or sisters have been former pupils at the school.
Have a good night’s sleep and we will see you at 8.50 a.m. on Thursday morning. On arrival, just make your way to the Hall and take a seat. Your Form Teachers will have lots of useful advice and information for you. They are keen to give you the best start possible. Hopefully there will be time to visit the many classrooms where you will be taught a variety of subjects. And before you know it, it will be 12.30 and your parents will be waiting to collect you.See you all tomorrow. Enjoy your evening.