Special celebrations for Derry primary school after it receives two major awards

Great recognition for Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir

Special celebrations for Derry primary school after it receives two major awards

Fíonán Ó Ceallaigh, Luighseach Ní Néill, Dillon Ó Coigligh show off their school's award.

An Irish language school in Derry is celebrating after receiving two special awards.

Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir has been presented with the prestigious ‘School of Sanctuary’ award, as well as an Eco Schools award for its commitment to the environment.

A small event was held at the school, which is located at on the former Gasyard site in the Bogside, on Friday to mark the success for the school community.

The sanctuary award was set up by the Department of Education and Education Authority.

It is aimed at helping schools to develop further the concept that they are welcoming places for pupils and their families, where every child feels safe and where they are fully accepted.

These schools are hailed as ‘beacons' in the community, places where cultural diversity is valued and celebrated.

The Eco Schools award is presented by the charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

The Eco-Schools programme provides an ideal way for fostering environmental awareness in the entire school in a way that links to many curriculum subjects.

Its primary goal regarding the Eco-Schools scheme is to combine learning and action for the improvement of the environmental performance of schools.

Commenting on the Derry school’s success, principal Mary Nic AIlín said: “We are delighted to receive these awards.

“The children feel a real sense of pride and success and they along with our school community are delighted that our hard work, commitment and dedication has been recognised.

“Naíscoil & Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir is a welcoming school and we are proud to be a place of safety and inclusion for all.

“We celebrate diversity in our school community and promote acceptance of others and their beliefs.

“We have worked together to develop a ‘Tearmann’, which translates as ‘Sanctuary’, for our pupils and their families.

“We have developed a sensory room which can be utilised by all of our pupils and provides a quiet, relaxed space where they can regulate and prepare for return to class.

“Our pupils celebrate each other’s successes and take great pride in telling our community what they can do well.

“Our pupils have a strong voice in school development issues and work with staff to develop initiatives which they feel are important,” she added.

Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir first opened its doors in 1998 with six children.

At the time it was situated in Creggan, adjacent to Seán Dolan’s GFC.

The school remained on that site until 2001 when it moved to its current site at the Gasyard.

The Department of Education granted the school official recognition in 2002.

Since its inception, Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir has continued to go from strength to strength.

Currently the school has 196 pupils.

“We are a comprehensive, all ability school with a child centred ethos that is committed to providing high quality education rooted in strong community values - the wide benefits of bi-lingualism are evident in our confident, high achieving children,” said Ms Nic AIlín

“The school offers support for parents at all stages of their child's education. 

“We have strong links with other schools in the city and throughout Ireland.

“We are an active part of a community of 40,000 children who are being educated through Irish throughout the country.

“And we provide an extensive range of activities outside school hours, and we are regular participants and prize winners in drama, music and dance festivals throughout Ireland,” added the school's principal.

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