THE exemplary pastoral care at Knockavoe School and Resource Centre has earned the facility a prestigious award.
Knockavoe was one of just four schools to receive pastoral care awards at the annual Derrytrasna Awards ceremony hosted recently by the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency (PHA). They were nominated for the accolade by Denise and Eamon Geary who are the parents of Rebecca, a pupil at Knockavoe School.
Delighted at securing the accolade, Martina McComish, principal of Knockavoe said “This award is a wonderful achievement for the staff, pupils, governors, parents and whole community in Strabane and the surrounding areas. It celebrates and showcases the dedication and excellent care, love and encouragement shown by staff who help all our pupils to reach for a brighter future on a daily basis.
“We as a school community, are humbled to have been nominated for this award and are hugely delighted to have been selected as the winner. Thank you to all the parents who support us as we welcome their children to our school – you make us who we are.
Knockavoe School was nominated by the Gearys for the assistance provided to Rebecca who has a diagnosis of autism and severe learning difficulties.
Presenting the awards, Derek Baker, permanent secretary at the Department of Education, said, “The quality of this year’s nominations are testament to the high level of pastoral care being provided in our schools and reflects the high regard local communities have for their schools.
“Pastoral care is an integral part of the school experience. Young people, as they grow up, face so many challenges and it is reassuring that, for some, their school is seen as a source of reassurance, and support.
“Exceptional pastoral care is not about the everyday support that schools offer their pupils; it is about those schools that go that extra mile, beyond what might reasonably be expected, to support young people’s emotional health and well-being; support that had a genuine positive impact on those who received it.”
Hilary Johnston, health and social well-being improvement manager, with the Public Health Agency added, “Good pastoral care is essential in supporting pupils in terms of their personal and social development, including mental and emotional well-being, educational attainment and future life outcomes.
“Children who enjoy and thrive at school are more likely to achieve good qualifications, which in turn are more likely to lead to a fulfilling job directly benefiting health and quality of life.”