Best Kept School in Northern Ireland
I am delighted to inform you that St Joseph’s has been awarded the coveted title of ‘Best Kept School in Northern Ireland’. The school was visited on two occasions by judges from the NI Amenity Council and was selected from over two hundred applicants as the overall winner for 2013.
The criteria used for assessing each school included
a) Environmental enhancement including biodiversity projects
b) Absence of litter and general tidiness/cleanliness
c) Pupil participation and levels of engagement.
Both judges commented on the outstanding level of commitment within the whole school community to education for sustainable development and also the children’s enthusiasm for promoting this aspect of school’s work.
This success along with the recent Eco Schools Green Flag award is testimony to the hard work of the Eco Committee and Mrs Downard who have been the driving forces behind these successes. I would also like to commend the staff of Interserve Facilities Management who work tirelessly to ensure the school and its environs are kept in immaculate condition throughout the year.
The children really enjoy their visits to the eco garden and I know that many of them talk about it at home. Parents might also like to see the developments that have taken place over the last few months. Therefore, we are extending an invitation to you to visit the eco garden on Friday 14th June 2013 between 1:30pm and 3:15pm (weather permitting). Perhaps you will be attending the Key Stage Two Sports or collecting your child from school so why not join us for a cup of tea/coffee and take a stroll through the eco garden?
PRESS RELEASE FROM NI AMENITY COUNCIL
St. Joseph’s Gets Top Marks in Best Kept Awards
Teachers and pupils at a school on the outskirts of Belfast are celebrating after winning the top title in a prestigious environmental awards scheme.
St. Joseph’s Primary School, Carryduff has today (11 June) been named the overall winner in the 2013 Best Kept School Awards, which are organised annually by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC). This is the first time the school has entered the competition and it has come straight in at the top spot! The accolade acknowledges the school’s outstanding commitment to green projects and environmental education.
Almost two hundred schools from across Northern Ireland entered the awards this year and NIAC judges have been travelling the country for months in search of the cleanest, tidiest and most environmentally active schools.
St. Joseph’s Primary School, which has 447 pupils, was chosen to receive the ‘Best of the Best’ title out of a shortlist of fifteen schools – winners in pre-primary, primary and post-primary categories in each education board area. The South Eastern Education and Library Board school took the title this year after NIAC judges rated its environmental projects - including a newly created Eco Garden, woodland walk, vegetable plot, and recycling initiative - the Best in Northern Ireland.
NIAC Chairman Doreen Muskett MBE commented; “The Best Kept School Awards were set up to acknowledge the great environmental work being done in schools across Northern Ireland, which is encouraging children to develop an interest in the natural world and how we impact on it.
“As part of the judging process we look for evidence of pupil participation in environmental projects, and of course clean and tidy school grounds, and St. Joseph’s Primary School is just wonderful on all these fronts. The range of green projects, organised by the school and co-ordinated by their own Eco Committee, is outstanding and really amounts to an outdoor classroom where the pupils can learn about wildlife, food production and recycling. Top marks for St. Joseph’s!”
Patricia Downard, a teacher at St. Joseph’s Primary School commented; “We are extremely proud to have won the title of Northern Ireland’s Best Kept School, especially as we have not entered the scheme before. Everyone at St. Joseph’s gets involved in creating our school environment, and although it involves a lot of hard work we believe it helps our pupils learn valuable lessons about their surroundings and of course they have great fun enjoying the spaces, plants and wildlife. We look forward to many happy years educating and inspiring generations of children through activity-based learning in our outdoor classroom.”
Visit www.niacbestkept.com for a full list of winners and more information on the Best Kept School Awards.