25 May 2022

St. Mary’s College awarded prestigious ‘Effective School Governance’ honour Optimus Education

'This is a superb school in all aspects' - Assessor

 St. Mary’s College awarded prestigious ‘Effective School Governance’ honour Optimus Education

Gay Durkan, chairperson, 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 College in Derry celebrated another major educational success this week with the board of governors, senior leader- ship, middle leadership, teaching and support staff receiving the prestigious Effective School Govern- ance award from Optimus Education.

The accolade, 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 over- sight, performance manage- ment, statutory responsi- bilities and vision. Ensuring that the school has a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction.

The timetable for the verification visit allowed for a tour of the school, 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.

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 leader- ship’ underpins all of this.

“Relationship within the school are professional at all levels and based on trust and mutual respect.”
Gay Durkan, chairperson of the St Mary's College board 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.’
Mrs Durkan thanked Mr. Preston for his advice, assistance and for directing the governors in areas where they could improve their practice.

She also acknowledged the support and contribution of Stephen Keown and Yvonne Connolly.
School principal, Marie Lindsay, described the process as an “excellent learning opportunity which bought real challenge to everyone within the school community.”

As well as chairperson Mrs Durkan, St. Mary’s board of governors, includes Fr. Paul Farren, Padraig Canavan, John Healy OBE, . Delma Boggs, Gavin Molloy, Margaret McDaid, Deborah Hagan and Paul Herron.

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