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Best-ever exam results in Rathfriland High’s history

23 November 2022 - by News Reporter

WHAT a powerful occasion Prize Night turned out to be at Rathfriland High School last Thursday, as this was the first time in two years that staff, parents, students, PTA, Board of Governors and guests were able to physically assemble as one school community.

It was also a very special time for deserving students, as external examinations returned in 2022, which gave extra resonance to their achievements.

Addressing the school community and special guests, school principal, Mr Ian Matthews conveyed just how proud he was of his students: “External examinations returned in 2022, after a two-year absence, with modifications made, recognising the impact of the pandemic on learning during this time.

“Despite the challenges and uncertainties, our pupils produced what I believe to be an exceptional set of results.

“The headline figures, used by the Department of Education to measure the performance of the school, showed that 97% of our Year 12 pupils achieved five or more passes at GCSE grades A* - C, with an incredible 81% of pupils achieving five or more grades at A*-C including English and Maths ­– the highest performance in the school’s history.

“This is indeed a great achievement and provides our pupils with a very firm foundation upon which to build their future careers and move on into the world of work.

“We are particularly pleased with our English and Mathematics results this year. 100% of all those entered for GCSE English achieved A* to C grades, and 98% of Mathematics entrants did the same – a tremendous set of outcomes.

“Our pupils also encountered success in a wide range of BTEC Extended Certificates, Essential Skills qualifications, and the Prince’s Trust.

“Many too completed Occupational Studies at the Southern Regional College and in school.

“Many of the BTEC qualifications achieved were at Distinction* or Distinction level – the equivalent of either one or two A*s or As at GCSE.

“The breadth of our curricular provision reflects our commitment to all young people at this school, and bears testament to the effective collaboration in the Banbridge Area Learning Community.

“The class of 2022 are an exceptionally talented group who richly deserve our praise for their achievements.

“As a school community we are proud of all you have done during your five years with us.”

Mr Matthews continued: “I would also like to reflect on the achievements of those young people who are still with us and who are here this evening to collect Merit and Class Awards.

“Well done all of you for your enthusiasm, industry, and commitment. It is through sustained effort that your full potential can be realised, and true success enjoyed.

“Education opens doors and enables you to pursue your dreams and make a positive contribution to the community and society.

“This success is a testament to the hard work of our young people, the support afforded them by their parents and wider families, and the quality of learning, teaching and support provided by the school.

“This simply does not happen by accident and is a direct result of the high expectations we have of our pupils in relation to their work and conduct.

“This is very much a team effort, and I would like to acknowledge that team this evening.”

Mr Matthews went on to acknowledge the contribution of all the staff at Rathfriland High School, and of all the stakeholders who provide invaluable backup to the school.

Retiring school vice-principal, Mrs Ruth Chalmers was in for much praise.

Mr. Matthews commented: “Mrs Chalmers, my vice-principal, has strategic responsibility for curriculum, and her commitment to all aspects of school life is unquestionable.

“I am personally indebted to her expertise, knowledge, commitment, and unwavering support.

“Her work ethic and meticulous attention to detail, epitomises her dedication and selflessness.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that after almost 39 years in Rathfriland High School, Mrs Chalmers will be retiring later in the year.

“On behalf of pupils, parents, and staff over many years, I would like to express our sincere thanks for her exemplary service to Rathfriland High School.” 

The school principal continued: “Our school is seen by all as a terrific community resource. I am delighted with the high level of use of our facilities by youth organisations, churches, and other local groups. This further reinforces our relationships and firmly embeds the school in the community.

“This school has always been about standards and getting the best from every pupil. Tonight, you will see fine young adults come up on stage and receive their hard-earned certificates and cups.

“This school will always be committed to achieving the highest standard in whatever we do.

“With a thoroughly committed staff, talented pupils, solid parental and community support and excellent facilities, the future really is bright for our school; a school which is exceptional and an honour to serve." 

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