Castlederg High School


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Prospectus 2017

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Castlederg High School Prospectus 2017


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Castlederg High School Mission Castlederg High School values each pupil as a unique individual endowed with abilities, both academic and non-academic. The ideal to which we aspire is to develop the confidence and self-esteem of the pupils so that they are motivated to achieve their highest potential within a safe and caring environment. An understanding of the world and the place of humanity in it will be offered in the context of belief in Christian values whilst respect for other beliefs or none will be fostered. Our Aim The primary aim of Castlederg High School is to provide a well-ordered and caring environment in which all members of the school community can work cooperatively in the pursuit of all aspects of educational excellence.


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Contents Principal’s Welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 A School... ...That Welcomes Everyone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 ...That Cares About Each Pupil 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Encourages Responsible Choices 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Promotes The Achievement ...Of All Pupils 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Works In Partnership With You 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Provides A Stimulating Curriculum 14. . . . . . . . . . ...That Offers Curriculum Choice 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...With A Successful Sixth Form 18. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Personalises Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 ...That Promotes Learning For The Future 22. . . . . . . . . . ...That Enhances Employability Skills 24. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Offers Extra-Curricular Activities For All . . . 26 ...Where All Pupils Enjoy Educational Trips . . . . . . . . . 28 ...That Promotes Performance In Sport 30. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...That Celebrates Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 1


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A School with Strong Values Our Core Values Castlederg High School aims to foster the following core values for all: 3 a strong sense of loyalty to the school and its goals 3 positive, caring relationships through an effective pastoral care system 3 a sense of belonging to the school community 3 a sense of confidence and self-esteem 3 freedom to express views 3 respect for others, their views and their property 3 high expectation of attendance, behaviour and attainment 3 high quality learning and teaching 3 self-evaluation in the pursuit of improvement to achieve quality provision 3 communication among all members of the school community 3 promotion of the high reputation of the school in the community 3 an attractive and stimulating school environment 3 promotion of mutual dignity and respect - promoting a dignified workplace. Principal Mrs E McKelvey BSc (Hons), PGCE Vice-Principal Mrs S Cashel MA, MEd, BA (Hons), PGCE, PG Dip. Chairman of the Board of Governors Mr R Montgomery 2 Prospectus 2017


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Principal’s Welcome Welcome to Castlederg High School. I am delighted that you have taken an interest in our school. As either a prospective pupil, or the parent of a prospective pupil, may I encourage you to give real consideration to the quality educational experience that Castlederg High School has to offer. As a high performing, non-selective, post-primary school we have a proven track record of catering successfully for pupils of all abilities. We are justifiably proud of our excellent examination results each year, and delight in the success that our pupils experience, as well as the exciting career prospects that such high achievement makes possible. Our highest ability pupils - an increasing number of whom transfer with high AQE scores, or none, having made Castlederg High School their first choice – have access to a full academic education and additional opportunities through our Gifted and Talented provision. All young people, whether a prospective new Year 8, an entrant to other year groups or Sixth Form, can be assured of a warm welcome by both staff and pupils, and will be fully supported in their transition to us. I trust that you will find this prospectus, and our website, informative. But that most of all, that you will be inspired to embark on the learning journey that Castlederg High School offers young people, helping them realize success beyond what both they and their parents ever considered possible. We offer a warm, supportive, yet challenging learning environment in which each young person is known and valued as an individual. Each of our pupils is encouraged to develop a strong work ethic and to aim for their highest possible achievement. Mrs E McKelvey 3


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A School That Welcomes Everyone Our Invitation to You All new pupils, whether a prospective Year 8, an entrant to another year group or Sixth Form, can be assured of a warm welcome at Castlederg High School. In accordance with our core values of mutual dignity and respect, we accept pupils from all sections of the community. Given the excellent performance of our pupils in GCSE and A Levels over the past number of years, it is an exciting time to join us. Catchment Area Ardstraw Castlederg Drumquin Erganagh Gillygooley Gortin Irvinestown Kesh Killen Lack Newtownstewart Sion Mills Strabane Our Commitment to Supporting Your Transition We know that changing school can be an anxious prospect for any young person, and their parent(s), but we assure you that you will be fully supported in your transition to us. 3 For Year 8 pupils - we have a dedicated Induction Programme which begins with the Year 6 Big School Day and continues right throughout Year 8. 3 For pupils who transfer to other year groups during the course of the school year – we will support you on an individual basis to ensure that you become successfully integrated into our school community. We regularly welcome pupils who transfer from other post-primary schools. 3 For new Sixth Form pupils – we offer a highly supportive transition experience from Key Stage 4 to 5. As well as providing progression for our current GCSE pupils, we also welcome students who have taken their GCSEs elsewhere. In fact, an increasing number of young people make the transition to Castlederg High School at post 16 level. Our Confidence in Providing For You Experience shows that each of our new pupils: 3 settles in quickly 3 feels a sense of belonging to our school community 3 achieves success, often beyond their, and their parents, expectations. I think Castlederg High School is the best school you could get. I have found loads of friends and I especially like the teachers. I don’t have a favourite. They are all kind and helpful. When you’re stuck they will help you. My favourite subject is Music because there are so many instruments to choose from. I love CHS. Ellie Boyle Year 8 – Erganagh 4 Prospectus 2017


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A very good school on our doorstep with excellent examination results. Would recommend Castlederg High School to any parent. - Parental Survey Comment June 2016 On my first day at school here all the other pupils were very welcoming. They made sure that I didn’t get lost on my way to class and showed me around school. At this school the teachers are all much more understanding … My subjects are more interesting and I am doing much better in my school work. Glen Sproule Year 11 – Castlederg (Transferred during Year 10) Castlederg High School has been one of the best choices that I have made. I moved here to complete my A levels at the beginning of Year 13. The teacher support is amazing … I was nervous about starting but I was made to feel that I’d been there all along. It is a great school and I would recommend it to anyone. Emma Leitch Year 14 – Sion Mills 5


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A School That Cares About Each Pupil Our Pastoral Commitment At Castlederg High School we place great emphasis on care and support. We pride ourselves on getting to know each young person as an individual and are committed to ensuring they reach their full potential within a caring and supportive learning environment. Our Pupils are: 3 recognized as individuals 3 valued and respected 3 given a voice and listened to 3 treated fairly 3 encouraged to reach their full potential 3 rewarded for their achievements Duty of Care We have a great sense of responsibility to each young person in order to: 3 ensure their safety 3 safeguard their welfare 3 offer personal, social and emotional support 3 support them as learners 3 guide them towards their future. The Form Teacher The Form Teacher plays a key role in the pastoral care of each pupil by: 3 meeting with them each morning 3 offering help and encouragement 3 monitoring punctuality and attendance 3 reviewing completion of homework and progress 3 assisting with individual target setting 3 delivering their Personal Development Programme. Health and Wellbeing We place a strong emphasis on pupil health and wellbeing by: 3 having a dedicated Pupil Welfare Officer, who will contact parents if a pupil is ill 3 having a strong team of First Aiders on the staff 3 working in partnership with parents and medical professionals 3 arranging staff training to meet pupils’ individual medical needs 3 being vigilant of pupils’ emotional state 3 offering counselling, should a pupil and their parents wish them wish to avail of it. 6 Prospectus 2017


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The school teachers impressed me at the parent teacher meeting because they really seemed to care about my child's education. - Parental Survey Comment June 2016 The one thing I really like is that the teachers care more in Castlederg High. They are more willing to help, so I feel I do better in my work. I enjoy staying after school for rugby and it is great to get the late bus home. Matthew Hall Year 9 – Irvinestown (Transferred during Year 8) Here all the teachers care about the pupils. They are really nice and are always willing to help. I am really happy since I moved here as my grades have increased and I feel the teachers are always pushing me to my full potential. Danika Campbell Year 11 – Castlederg (Transferred during Year 11) 7


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A School That Encourages Responsible Choices Our Approach to Positive Behaviour The school takes a positive approach to behaviour management encouraging, and rewarding, good behaviour and respect for self and others. Each pupil is taught to be responsible for their actions so as to: 3 ensure their safety, and the safety of others 3 create on ordered learning environment 3 develop the skills of self-management required in adulthood. Our Pastoral House System Each pupil is allocated to one of three houses in our pastoral house system: Derg, Mourne and Strule. Pupils gain achievement points for their house for: 3 conforming to the correct school routines 3 effort and excellence in their work 3 participation in various aspects of school life. Our pastoral house system is also effective because it: 3 helps integrate pupils further, as they belong to a house as well as a form class, streamed classes and a year group 3 helps junior pupils become familiar with senior role models 3 provides opportunities for pupils to develop teamwork and leadership skills 3 promotes motivation and a competitive spirit to achieve. Our Personal Development Programme We recognize our duty to prepare young people to cope responsibly with the various pressures of 21st century society. We safeguard our pupils by developing their ability to make informed choices on personal, emotional and social issues that could otherwise leave them at risk. Our Personal Development Programme, delivered at an age appropriate level to all pupils, raises their awareness of responsible decision-making about important issues, such as: 3 e-Safety 3 anti-bullying 3 stress management 3 relationship issues 3 alcohol and substance abuse 3 eating disorders 3 road safety. The teachers are nice and you don’t need to worry about anything. There is also a no bullying policy and you learn lots about that in ICT and PD. I love subjects like Music, Art, PE, Maths and English. If you were looking to come to a good school I would recommend Castlederg High School. Lauren McCann Year 8 – Ardstraw My experience so far is very good. Everyone is so kind and friendly. 8A1, 8A2 and 8B1 are all mixed in form classes so you get to know lots of different people throughout the year. All the teachers appreciate you so you don’t worry and always have someone to talk to. Lauren Doherty Year 8 – Castlederg 8 Prospectus 2017


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My child transferred from another school through the year and CHS has done everything they can to help them settle in and advance in their learning. - Parental Survey Comment June 2016 9


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A School that Promotes Achievement of all Pupils Our Learning Support Provision At Castlederg High School we actively promote the achievement of all pupils. We see each pupil as an individual learner and provide additional support when needed. This approach is most effective when we as a school work in partnership with parent(s) and pupils. Our belief in inclusion for all pupils across all aspects of school life leads to each young person reaching their full individual potential. All pupils are supported in their learning through: 3 being set in streamed classes 3 additional setting for Maths 3 differentiated lessons that cater for the ability of each individual child 3 guidance on revision topics and skills before examinations 3 mixed ability form classes. Recognising Pupils Who Need Additional Support We offer a high level of support to pupils with Special Educational Needs. Where appropriate additional provision is offered in the form of: 3 in-class support, provided by highly committed Learning Support Assistants 3 an Individual Education Plan 3 mentoring 3 Reading Partnership, which consists of one-to-one reading assistance 3 the provision of a reader and extra time or other relevant concessions in examinations 3 Literacy club 3 Numeracy club. Our Dyslexia Friendly Approach All classrooms offer a dyslexia friendly approach which benefits pupils who have dyslexia, but others too. Teachers use a range of dyslexia friendly strategies in their teaching which enables pupils with dyslexia to access the curriculum more easily, and supports them in processing and expressing their ideas. When I came in January Year 8 I was finding the work hard because English was not my first language. Now, I have improved much more because of the teachers giving me help. The LSA has really helped me too with chunking out words and managing my work. Emanuel Cirpaci Year 11 – Newtownstewart 10 Prospectus 2017


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Brilliant school. No need for so called grammar schools when this school is local and accessible. - Parental Survey Comment June 2016 I am studying Maths, History and Biology at A level and am on target to achieve ABB to study Maths at Queen’s University, Belfast. Castlederg High School is honestly an amazing school because the teachers are so dedicated and motivate you to excel. Calvin Buchanan Year 14 – Drumquin Our Gifted and Talented Provision We recognize each pupil as a unique individual with their own particular gifts and talents and are committed to developing their full potential. Whilst all pupils are equally valued for their gifts and talents, we at Castlederg High School aim to recognize and develop those pupils who have the potential to achieve to a level beyond their peer group. Recognising Pupils who Excel Gifted and talented pupils are identified as those who excel in one or more of the following areas: 3 academic achievement 3 music 3 performing arts 3 leadership 3 creative thinking or expression 3 sport. As a school we promote the interests of gifted and talented pupils through: 3 a strong emphasis on personalised learning 3 high quality learning and teaching, 3 an emphasis on differentiation upwards 3 a culture of high expectation and aspiration 3 separate streaming for the core subjects of Maths and English 3 offering extension subjects, like English Literature and Further Maths 3 extending the curriculum to cater for individual pupil interests 3 participation in community music events 3 opportunities to mentor other pupils 3 membership of sports’ teams and participation in sporting competitions 3 selection for regional sporting trials 3 participation in recognised award schemes - Duke of Edinburgh and Volunteer Now 3 opportunities to promote leadership skills. 11


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A School that Works in Partnership with You As a school we work in close partnership with pupils and parents, believing that this approach ensures the best possible school experience. Tailoring our provision to the needs of each individual pupil entrusted to us lies at the heart of our success as a school. This pupil-centred commitment requires that we: 3 listen to pupils’ views 3 have strong links with their parents. Our Students’ Council Our Students’ Council is made up of elected representatives from all form classes from Year 8 to 14. It also includes the Head Boy and Head Girl and their deputies. Elections are held every two years. This forum allows pupils to meet regularly as an elected body and: 3 express their views 3 influence decision making 3 impact positively on school improvement. Promoting Links With Parents As a school we value the parents of our pupils as key partners in ensuring their child’s success. We believe that parents have a key role to play in: 3 encouraging their child as a learner 3 promoting the value of what the school can do for their child. Castlederg High School has helped me evolve in both confidence and learning. The teachers always push me to achieve my best and are there to offer guidance. I am involved in the Students’ Council which helps me to be a voice for the other pupils and to make sure that their views are heard on different matters in school. Matthew Donnell Year 12 – Newtownstewart 12 Prospectus 2017


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My child has spent seven very happy years at Castlederg High School, where teachers have been approachable, helpful and been readily available to provide help and support in all areas, both to my child and to me the parent. - Parental Survey Comment June 2016 Communicating With Parents Good communication is vital between home and school in order to maximize the positive benefits of this partnership. Parents are encouraged to contact the school regarding any relevant matter relating to their child. In addition, formal home-school links are established through: 3 pupil organizer, which may include teacher and parent comments, as necessary 3 annual parent-teacher meetings for each year group 3 annual pupil progress reports 3 tracking reports to monitor pupil progress towards external exams 3 parent information evenings at key transition points – Year 8, Year 10, Year 12 3 prompt communication on significant pupil issues like well being 3 individual pupil review meetings, as necessary, with the Year head 3 SEN annual review and transition review meetings 3 regular updates to all parents by letter or parent text service 3 school newsletter 3 school Facebook page and website. Welcoming Parents’ Support At Castlederg High School we warmly encourage parents to be part of our school community by: 3 attending school events 3 becoming involved in the parent- teacher association 3 providing feedback during the review and development of school policies 3 responding to parental surveys of school performance. 13



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