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28/07/2021

Steelstown Primary School... at the heart of the community

The North's best primary school, Steelstown Primary School, is at the 'heart of the community and we welcome the whole family,' principal, Siobhan Gillen has said.

 Steelstown Primary School... at the heart of the community

The North's best primary school, Steelstown Primary School, is at the 'heart of the community and we welcome the whole family,' principal, Siobhan Gillen has said.

The children have availed of Arabic lessons and Mandarin is also taught to the children. Its strong parent teacher association fundraises tirelessly for the school and parents are also supported through a range of initiatives such as curriculum evenings, parenting programmes and the Family Connect Programme in conjunction with Save the Children.

"We are at the heart of the community and we welcome the whole family," said Mrs Gillen.

"We offer a fun, positive and inclusive education and we are continually evolving to help and support every child and family."
Mrs Gillen said Steelstown met the needs of children of all abilities.

"We nurture every child and aim to ensure that every child's needs are met, whether they are gifted children or children who need extra support.

"We want the children to develop holistically, socially, emotionally and academically."

Steelstown pupils are also offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

"When children are presented with opportunities they get the chance to shine,” added Mrs Gillen.

"It's about giving the child the opportunity in all areas and then nurturing it."

The extended schools programme is extensive. including a breakfast club and a host of after-school activities.

Before the school day begins there is accelerated reading, mathletics, crosscountry running  and reading sessions and  there is a wide range of after school clubs including sports, music, swimming, minecraft, hurling and dance.

It is also one of just two schools in the city that offers musical instrumental tuition in brass and string to entire class sets. The pupils  have also performed with local orchestras and Ulster Orchestra.

Steelstown PS has a proud sporting tradition and is a previous holder of the Northern Ireland Schools Cup and has won the Steelstown Gaelic Shield for the last three years in a row.

It's former pupils include Celtic FC and Northern Ireland international Paddy McCourt and League of Ireland players, Patrick and Shane McElheny, who play for Dundalk and Finn Harps respectively.

One of its most popular groups is the Badger First Aid Club which picked up six trophies at last year's award ceremony.

"It's important to celebrate all our pupils' achievements both inside and outside school," said Mrs Gillen, who also recognises  the efforts of her pupils with various in-school awards throughout the year.

"It gives them a great sense of achievement.

"If you have high expectations  of children they will meet them."

Mrs Gillen conclulded: “With the school and home working in unity, we can have success, for behind the parent stands the school and behind the teacher the home.”

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