3rd April 2020
Just a short update as we come to the end of the second week of online learning.
Many thanks to parents who have all engaged in the online resources provided for your child. Your support, guidance and commitment are fantastic, and it is wonderful to know that we are all dedicated to ensuring that our young people continue to learn, even in the current circumstances.
Staff have been working very hard to make sure that your child’s learning is of the highest quality and you have our commitment that we will continue to do our utmost to help you and your child with the online programmes of study.
As we move into the Easter break today, you will notice that work will not be set over the break. This will enable your child to catch up on some missing work, should they be in the position of having not completed some tasks set by teachers, but it will also give everyone a much-needed break to allow for everyone to re-focus and re-charge their energy levels.
I would encourage parents to continue to seek advice from staff if required: we do understand that this is an entirely different way of working for everyone and we assure you that we have realistic expectations in connection with the amount of work that your child can accomplish at home. Please feel free to use the email addresses already circulated if you have any issue in relation to subjects, tasks set or technical problems that you may be experiencing.
I have asked that Form Teacher and Year Heads remain in contact with parents and pupils and I know that many of you will have been contacted to see how things are going. I am pleased to hear the many positive comments that you have made, and I am delighted with the emails that have been sent to school thanking us for everything that we have done to date. I have, of course, forwarded your comments to staff and they are very appreciative of the kindness and regard that you continue to show us. Thank you.
Year 10 Transfer Procedures.
A small number of questions have been posed in relation to the Year 10 Transfer Procedure. You will recall that I informed you that school was looking into this issue and that I would update you all as soon as was practicable. Currently, the members of the school’s Board of Governors are examining a range of options in connection with Transfer procedures this year, and I would hope that by the end of next week, I would be in a position to inform parents of final decisions on the issue.
As you know, LJHS will pass on academic data to the Senior schools by the end of this month. In the meantime, if you feel that your child warrants special consideration in their application to Lurgan College, then I would advise that you gather the relevant information related to this so that you can forward it along with your letter requesting special consideration to Lurgan College no later than 4th May 2020. The College will then review the data that we send to it and will review any special circumstances forwarded by you, the parent, and will issue letters notifying parents of its Board of Governors’ decisions about admissions on Saturday 9th May 2020. Further information in connection with Lurgan College’s Admission Criteria can be obtained if you contact Lurgan College directly.
I have asked Mr Thompson and Miss Osborne to organise questionnaires to be completed in relation to our online programmes. Over the next few days, these will go live on the website and I would ask that you take time to respond. They will contain some questions about how our online resources are going and the answers to these questions will no doubt prove useful for us as we try to gauge the points of view of pupils and parents, in our bid to refine our approach to online study.
I conclude by reiterating our continued commitment to helping your child with their studies and thank you all again for your consistent and maintained effort and support. Be assured that you are all very much in my prayers at present, as we continue to look to Him for guidance every day and pray that His preserving hand would be upon our entire school family and the wider community we serve.
28th March 2020
At the end of what has been an eventful week, I bring this short update to you.
This week, Lurgan Junior High School pupils have all been taught through our chosen online platforms. It has been extremely pleasing to see our young people engage in their learning and structure their day so that the most is being made of their time at home. The fact that they are doing this, is testament to the level of resilience that they have and is also reflective of the fantastic parental support that they are receiving at home. I express my thanks to all parents and guardians in your endeavour to encourage your children to focus on learning and not to get too distracted.
I know, having spoken with several parents, that you are appreciative of the efforts that our expert teachers are making and I therefore take this opportunity of thanking them, on your behalf, for everything that they are trying to do in order to enhance the lives of the pupils entrusted in their care. No one could have predicted that we would be in these circumstances, but flexibility on everyone’s part is allowing for great things to be done and the level of kindness that I have witnessed is really heart-warming and uplifting.
All of the staff have appreciated the many words of support and encouragement extended to them. It is reassuring to know that our teachers continue to change lives for the better and there is no doubt that the school family has entered into this situation with a determination to succeed. Indeed, I am extremely grateful for the fabulous work that teachers have undertaken to get the online learning platform up and running so quickly and effectively. Without exception, they have gone above and beyond to offer our pupils an excellent distance learning experience.
But truly, I am also very proud of our pupils, and the capacity with which they are facing this new challenge. On the whole, they have embraced it and many children are working in as disciplined a manner as possible on the material set. I have enjoyed listening to stories from staff about how pleased they have been with certain classes and year groups – pupils who are working hard, who are communicating any queries that they may have, and who are also sending words of thanks through the system to their teachers. All this is nothing less than I have come to expect from our excellent pupils – Respect, Responsibility and Resilience, indeed!
Routines & Expectations.
As we move forward into another week, God willing, I would re-iterate some suggestions that may help:
- Pupils are asked to check SMHW regularly - two or three times per day so that they can keep up to date with work set;
- Pupils completing MyMaths tasks, must log in using the school login and the ‘MyPortal’ login in order for teachers to be able to see results and therefore track progress.
- Pupils should stick to their timetabled day, as far as possible, in relation to their learning.
We appreciate that for some pupils who may need to share technology, for example, this will not always be possible. Teachers, therefore, are being realistic about the amount of work completed. However, we would be very grateful if parents could monitor work being done at home, to avoid school having to ring homes about the issue at what is already a critical time.
PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT IF THEY ARE HAVING ANY DIFFICULTIES WITH ANY OF THE WORK, THEY SHOULD CONTACT STAFF, WHO ARE ONLY TOO WILLING TO HELP, BY EMAILING THEM AT:
IT Helpdesk (for any issue with passwords/computer access):
Curriculum Support (for any subject questions/queries):
Pastoral Support (for contact with any member of our pastoral team – eg: Form Teacher, Year Head, VP):
- The best routines will probably involve trying to complete the work on the day it is set - please establish agreed routines and expectations with your child to manage each day.
- Please try to keep daily routines intact with your child, including when they get up and when they go to bed.
In the past week, there appeared to have been an issue in relation to the uploading of work by pupils: it was clear that work was being done, but sadly, that it was not being uploaded correctly. In order to remedy this for the incoming week, I would encourage you to watch the demonstration video outlining how work should be uploaded correctly. The video can be found in the ‘LJHS Community Classroom’. In addition, there are a number of videos also relating to how to open documents from the classroom and how to submit completed work to be marked.
Free School Meals.
On Thursday, The Communities Minister said, “Families will receive £2.70 per child per day for each day of term the schools are closed. This money will be paid to families on a fortnightly basis.” The Education Minister, Peter Weir, said, “Starting next week, the Education Authority will process payments in the same way they do for uniform grants. The Education Authority already has the bank details for the vast majority of those in receipt of free school meals so there is no need for anyone to apply. There are, however, a number of families for whom bank details are not held. These families will be contacted via a text message early next week and advised to complete an online form which will then be available on the Education Authority website. It is vital that people respond to any request from the Education Authority to avoid delay in payment.”
You can read more about this here: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/news/ministers-takeaction-relation-free-school-meals-payment-0 .
Following a number of concerns about school reports for pupils in all year groups, I would like to inform you that our Senior Leadership Team is working very hard to ensure that all pupils will receive a report this year. At this stage, it is likely that Year 8 pupils will receive a numerical report, having already received their Annual Written Report (with comments) at Christmas.
We aim to send pupils in Years 9 & 10 an Annual Written Report (with comments) in due course. Year 10 will be completed first to allow for information, pertinent to the transfer process, to be communicated to parents in a timely manner.
Finally, I again express my gratitude to you all for your effort and commitment on so many levels. It is good to know that our parents are so supportive of the school that serves your children and all of us here at LJHS remain dedicated to teaching our young people to the highest standard.
With best wishes.
25th March 2020
I wish to inform you that, in consultation with the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Governors, the decision has been taken to close school from 3.30pm this afternoon, in light of current circumstances.
Whilst the school building will not be open to staff or pupils, please be assured that our staff are working remotely to support you in any way that we can.
You can contact school by using any of the email addresses that are located in the Guidance Handbook, posted on the school’s website and on the school’s Facebook page last week. For your convenience, however, I have provided a reminder below:
IT Helpdesk (for any issue with passwords/access):
Curriculum Support (for any subject questions/queries):
Pastoral Support (for contact with any member of our pastoral team – eg: Form Teacher, Year Head, VP):
As you know, these email addresses will be checked regularly to ensure that your child’s learning is structured and that it continues effectively. Resources (including PDF copies of booklets), will be posted on SMHW and on Google Classroom so that your child has everything that they need.
I take this opportunity to express my thanks to you all for your continued understanding at this time.
24th March 2020.
Dear Parent/Guardian and Pupils of LJHS,
School has operated today in a limited capacity, supervising a very small cohort of children of Key Workers with a skeleton staff of teachers and non-teaching staff. Pupils and staff have been observing social distancing guidelines and continue to observe hygiene recommendations.
It has been very encouraging to see the volume of pupils engaging today with their online learning. Pupils are busy at home completing the tasks that teachers have set them and are working in a structured way. Well done, boys and girls – I am thoroughly pleased that you are organising your days effectively to ensure that you continue to learn and to make the most of your many talents and skills. Keep it up; I am very proud of you all.
I would remind you all that, should you require any help in connection with either a subject issue or a pastoral issue, you can email staff here using the email addresses on page 1 of the Guidance Booklet issued last week on our website and Facebook pages. Teachers will respond to your request as quickly as they can. If your question is about a subject issue, this will be allocated to a member of the particular department so that responses can be made as swiftly as we can. Likewise, if your issue is of a pastoral nature, our pastoral team will answer any queries that you may have.
There appeared to be some confusion over the distribution of resources to pupils today and as a result, some of the resources that were laid out for pupils to collect, as indicated by specific teachers on SMHW, have inadvertently been taken by parents of pupils who may not need them. In an attempt to remedy this, I have therefore asked all teachers to place PDF copies of booklets for their subjects on SMHW if they are needed by pupils. Therefore, I would stress that there is no need to collect further resources tomorrow as these will be put on SMHW.
School will be open tomorrow to again supervise a small number of children of Key Workers.
In the meantime, I extend to you my warmest regards.
23 March 2020
Dear Parent/Guardians and Pupils,
I hope that you are all well and trust that you are all keeping safe.
Pupils are no doubt working on the many resources that the expert teachers at Lurgan Junior High School have put on ‘Google Classroom’ and ‘ShowMyHomeWork’.
Please continue to treat today as a normal school day, with plenty of structure to it – that way, you will prevent yourself from becoming bored and you will ensure that you continue to learn effectively.
This morning, senior staff are in school and have been working to ensure that all children have access to the resources and to ensure that relevant support is in place for you.
In addition, Mr Logan has put a video on Facebook and on our website which demonstrates to parents and pupils how they can log into Google Classroom. Further videos are in the process of being made to support you. Please keep a close eye out for these.
Early indications are that there has been a lot of interest in the weekly challenge set by Miss Osborne and Mr Lunn and, just to clarify, we have no issue with families taking part in this challenge. Please note, however, that this is not compulsory – it is just intended as a bit of fun for the children.
Pupils who have parents who are key workers have received separate information from school about supervision and we look forward to supporting them from tomorrow onwards.
In the meantime, I encourage all of our young people to engage with their learning and I express my gratitude for your continued support at this difficult time.
20th March 2020
Guidance Handbook link: https://www.ljhs.co.uk/…/500-guidance-handbook-for-online-l…
Update No: 2
Further to my letter this morning, I wish to give you an update on the current situation.
The Guidance Handbook is complete and has now been posted on our School’s website page. It has also been signposted on our Facebook page. Please ensure that you read through this with your child thoroughly so that you are familiar with the provision that has been made for them over the coming weeks.
I would also alert your child to a Monday morning briefing which can be accessed in Google Classroom at 9.30am. This will include important information for the week ahead.
Teachers have placed resources in the relevant location in Google Classroom and work is on SMHW as previously indicated. This will all go live on Monday morning. Should you experience any problems, please contact the IT Helpdesk email address - details of which are included in the
Skeleton Service for children of Key Workers
Many parents working in the identified key workers list may be able to ensure that their child is kept at home.
EVERY CHILD WHO CAN BE SAFELY CARED FOR AT HOME SHOULD BE.
There is no requirement for identified key worker parents to take up this offer or send their children to school if they do not wish to. Any children previously withdrawn from school on the basis of risk should not return.
This facility is designed only for children with both parents working as Key Workers, and only when both parents are working at the same time should their children attend school. In single parent families, the main carer must be a Key Worker and be required at work.
Every alternative childcare arrangement should be explored before deciding to send children to school. School should, in effect, be a last resort. This is in order to comply with general public health advice on social distancing.
Wrap around services will not be available and our school will only be open for normal school hours: 9.00am – 3.20pm. There will be no nurse or medical support available in school.
Provision of any level of service will be dependent on staff availability and the school may have to be closed if this becomes a problem.
Below is a detailed list of the Key Worker categories and some questions that you can ask to determine whether this is a suitable option for you:
Questions for Key worker parents:
Are you a key worker?
What category of key worker are you?
Have you already withdrawn your child for Health & Safety reasons?
Is your family socially isolating?
Is any member of your family exhibiting any symptoms of cough or temperature?
Does your child have underlying health issues?
Do you have family members at home with underlying health issues?
Are you clear that children exhibiting symptoms must be picked up immediately?
Are you clear that that children will be socially distanced in school?
Health and Social Care. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, home carers and staff required to maintain our health and social care sector.
Education and childcare. This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who will remain active during the Covid-19 response.
Public Safety and national security. This includes civilians and officers in the police (including key contractors), Fire and Rescue Service, Prison Service and other national security roles.
Transport. This will include those keeping air, water, road and rail transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response.
Utilities and Communication. This includes staff needed for oil, gas, electricity and water (including sewage) and primary industry supplies to continue during the Covid-19 response, as well as key staff in telecommunications, post and delivery, services and waste disposal.
Food and other necessary goods. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution and sale, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (e.g hygiene, medical etc.).
Other workers essential to delivering key public services.
Key national and local government including those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response.
From Monday onwards, Translink will be operating a holiday timetable. This means that parents/guardians will be responsible for transporting their child to and from school.
Free School Meals
No decision has been conveyed to school from the Department of Education in connection with the provision of Free School Meals. However, we will contact you with further details of this when they are known.
LJHS remains committed to supporting children who are vulnerable. Our Senior Pastoral Team has been contacting families who have vulnerable children to establish arrangements for attending school.
School will continue to update you via our brief text messaging facility which will direct you to messages on our website and Facebook pages. In addition, we would encourage you and your child to check these regularly, alongside checking SMHW and Google Classroom.
Visits to school
We request that there are no visits to school at this time, in order to safeguard our staff. As you know, we have provided two time slots for next week, for the collection of resources, should your child’s teachers deem this to be necessary. We would remind you that this will be indicated on SMHW where appropriate.
Finally, once again, I take this opportunity of thanking all members of our school family – parents, pupils, staff and governors - for their continued support, patience and good-will at this very difficult time.
As we move forward, there will undoubtedly be challenges for us all to face, but I give you my commitment that all of us here in LJHS are working hard to ensure that your child’s learning journey continues and that their spiritual, physical and mental health remain of paramount importance to us.
With renewed best regards and assurances of my thoughts and prayers for you all.
20th March 2020
You will be aware that yesterday evening the Minister of Education, Mr Peter Weir, wrote to schools to advise them that they will close to pupils from the end of the school day on Friday 20th March 2020. It is unlikely that school will open again this academic year.
As you know, we are in an evolving situation and Mr Weir’s letter outlined some of the arrangements that schools should endeavour to put in place, to ensure that all of our young people are catered for over the coming weeks, both academically and pastorally.
During recent days, the staff here at LJHS have been working collegially to provide an online programme of study for all pupils to follow. As previously indicated, the ‘Show my home work’ (SMHW) app will be the main vehicle through which work will be communicated to your child. This app will signpost the work that needs to be completed, but will also indicate other work to be covered through access to Google Classroom. Our children are familiar with both of these platforms and we encourage you as parents, to continue to use the SMHW app to gain an overview of what work your child is completing daily.
A separate ‘Guidance Handbook’ has been compiled and will be available later today. It will be located on the website and signposted on the school’s Facebook page. This handbook contains important information in relation to how work can be accessed, how work can be returned to teachers, along with important information in connection to contacting school should you need to. The handbook also contains details in relation to the pastoral wellbeing of our pupils as they embark on a period of study at home. In addition, the handbook features useful information about Safeguarding and provides numbers for external agencies/bodies. Please take time to read through the handbook with your child as it outlines a clear framework through which your child can engage in their learning without face to face contact, as well as providing answers to common concerns and ways to maintain contact with subject specific staff.
It is our expectation that all pupils will regularly engage with the online learning provided and will complete work and return it according to teacher requests.
We would highlight at this stage that not all of the work set by teachers will involve online activity. This is important because we feel that a good range of tasks for your child will ensure that they have a variety of learning experiences. Therefore, some tasks will involve reading, some will involve quizzing, some will involve learning etc.
Sometimes, teachers will request that pupils complete work in their notebooks or booklets. In order to facilitate this, school will open next Tuesday from 12noon – 3pm and on Wednesday from 9am – 12noon for the collection of materials that you will need. Please note that, where this is the case, parents and pupils will be informed by subject teachers to let them know if any hard copy resources need to be collected.
Where pupils have completed assessments in Year 8, staff are marking these and are recording marks accordingly. Reports for these assessments will be made available. These will include marks where assessments have been completed.
Years 9 and 10 Annual Written Reports will be forwarded to parents at a future date. (Year 8 pupils already received their Annual Written Report at Christmas).
I am not unmindful of the revision that Year 10 pupils had been carrying out in preparation for the transfer examinations and I am sorry that, due to current circumstances, the Year 10 pupils were unable to sit the assessments. However, the revision carried out will stand them in good stead as they progress in their educational pathway and further details in relation to the Year 10 Transfer process, will be conveyed to you in due course.
Children’s welfare & in-school provision.
Mr Weir’s letter last night indicated that the Department of Education were committed to continuing to provide for children who may be vulnerable or who currently avail of Free School Meals. Work is going on to put measures in place in this regard by Mr Weir’s department and when more details are known, I will convey these to you. Similarly, the Education Authority and Mr Weir’s department are working on ensuring that children can continue to avail of counselling services. At LJHS, we use a number of counselling and mentoring services and our Senior Pastoral Team is working hard to ensure that these services are still in place, albeit in a different guise, for the period of school closure. Details of how this will work are contained in the handbook mentioned earlier.
Mr Weir’s letter also stipulated that school should provide supervision for children of ‘key workers’. Parents should consult the key worker list and should inform school immediately if they need their child to be supervised in school. I would stress that government guidance emphasises that, to prevent the spread of the virus, minimum numbers of pupils should be in school.
The nature of this provision will be about care, not education. We will be working with feeder primary schools and other organisations such as Translink to provide you with a full picture. This arrangement will commence once numbers of pupils are known and when the details of the provision have been finalised here in LJHS. We will let the parents of pupils who are deemed eligible for this provision, know the starting date as soon as possible.
It is very important that I pass on my sincerest gratitude to all parents in our school family for the support which has been displayed in recent days, in very challenging circumstances. We have appreciated the e-mails and phone calls of support. Above all, your sons and daughters are an absolute credit to school, to their families and – most importantly – to themselves. I have been totally astounded by the resilience and positivity that they have displayed, and it is a sheer privilege to work with such an outstanding community of very fine young people – whether in a face to face context on in an online arena. Without exception, I am extremely proud of them all.
I also wish to pay tribute to the truly expert staff of this great school, who continue to go above and beyond in endeavouring to support our pupils, and who continue to work so assiduously and tirelessly to ensure that the appropriate mechanisms are in place to support our pupils remotely from Monday.
With every good wish,
18th March 2020
The Dickson Plan principals, in consultation with their governors, have agreed steps to safeguard the transfer process in the best interests of all our young people. We are also mindful of the well-being of our families and wider community in these uncertain and unprecedented times.
Given the evolving context, current attendance rates and potential for a protracted period of school closure, the transfer examinations will not take place in any of the Junior High Schools. Arrangements will be in place to ensure that no young person is disadvantaged. It has been agreed, pending approval by the Department of Education, to amendments to the admissions criteria of Lurgan College and Portadown College respectively, that academic evidence from Year 9 (Summer) and Year 10 (Christmas) will be used to inform the transfer process. We trust that this gives you some reassurance at this time.
- J McCoy
16th March 2020
Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus - Update
Following further advice issued to schools today from the Minister of Education, Mr Peter Weir, I wish to update you on the current situation in connection with the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Lurgan Junior High School continues to act on the advice of the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency (PHA) and, consequently, school remains open to pupils and staff until instructed otherwise by the authorities. You can find information on the Public Health Agency’s website found here https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus. Separate updated guidance for educational settings is now being followed by the school in liaison with our Board of Governors.
The PHA has highlighted the new guidance for self-isolation and this guidance requires anyone who displays specific symptoms to self-isolate for a period of 7 days, even if they haven’t travelled from an affected area. People who have travelled from affected areas, and those who have been in close contact with a positive case, should also follow the same guidance.
According to the PHA, COVID-19 appears to affect children less than other age groups. But, it should be remembered that children can pick up the infection and can spread it to others.
Therefore, children should be kept at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise, they should attend school as normal. If staff, or children, become unwell in school with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, then they will be sent home.
Some time will be spent on Wednesday 18th March 2020 reminding pupils of the importance of washing their hands more frequently than normal, for at least 20 seconds. In addition, time will also be spent reminding pupils of the key messages conveyed through posters displayed earlier and communicated to parents on our Facebook page.
In the event of school closing, our priority will be to ensure that learning and teaching continue. As indicated in my previous letter, school will use online platforms to provide a programme of study for all pupils. The advice received by school indicates that this programme of study should be for a minimum of four weeks. Further details of this programme will be conveyed to parents in the event of closure. Staff will use the ‘Show my homework’ app and, where applicable, ‘Google Classroom’ to post work for your child. As you know, pupils have been reminded to update their SMHW passwords. If school closes, your child should structure their day as per their timetable and complete the work set by the teacher for that lesson or for a series of lessons.
If you are concerned about someone in your home displaying symptoms, it is recommended that they do not attend school and that, as parents/guardians, you should contact the NHS 111 helpline.
At present, Year 10 assessments will go ahead as planned and, as a result, pupils are advised to continue with their revision in preparation for them. It is our intention at this stage to try to complete all of the Year 10 Assessments as per the Examination timetable already distributed. Should examinations need to be postponed to a later date, you will be informed of this as soon as possible and as soon as new dates are known.
We will continue to act on the advice from the appropriate government and health agencies, as necessary. As previously communicated to you, any new information for parents will be conveyed to you via text message, through the school’s Facebook page and the school’s website front page. The website can be accessed at https://www.ljhs.co.uk/. Please check these sources of information regularly for updates.
Thank you very much for your continued cooperation and support.
13th March 2020
Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus
I wish to inform you that Lurgan Junior High School continues to act on the advice of the Public Health Agency and other bodies in connection with the above and, consequently, school remains open to pupils and staff until instructed otherwise by the authorities. You can find the most recent update from the Public Health Agency here https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus. Separate guidance for educational settings is also being followed by the school in liaison with our Board of Governors.
This week, time has been devoted in class to making pupils aware of this advice and we have also shown related videos which demonstrate best practice in hand washing. Posters have already been displayed around the school, including corridors and bathrooms, and these have previously been communicated to parents on our Facebook page.
All our sporting matches have been cancelled, as have after-school practices in line with advice from sporting governing bodies. Netball NI have stated that they will continue, however, this will also be kept under review daily.
The PHA update includes the latest advice, as well as general guidelines on approaches that can be taken to prevent the spread of any infection as well as more information on what to do if your child is unwell.
If any member of the school community, whether parents, pupils or staff, has recently travelled to a higher risk area (please see classification of higher risk countries and towns in prior link), the advice is to self-isolate regardless of whether symptoms are present or not.
Anyone who has travelled to a lower risk area (or one of the countries stipulated as lower risk in the prior link with associated dates of travel) does not need to undertake any special measures unless they have a cough, or fever (temperature above 38˚C), or shortness of breath. If you do experience any of these symptoms, please contact your GP by phone and stay indoors.
If you are concerned about someone in your home displaying symptoms, it is recommended that they do not attend school and that as parents/guardians, you should contact the NHS 111 helpline.
In the event of a school closure, staff will continue to work to ensure, as far as possible, that pupils can continue with their learning. Staff members will use the ‘Show my homework’ app and, where applicable, ‘Google Classroom’ to post work for your child. All pupils in school already access SMHW, and where used, pupils are already familiar with Google Classroom. Pupils have also been reminded to update their SMHW passwords today. Your child should structure their day as per their timetable and complete the work set by the teacher for that lesson or for a series of lessons.
Depending on the timeframes, Year 10 Assessments may need to be postponed to a later date, however, should this be the case, you will be informed of this as soon as possible and as soon as new dates are known. In the meantime, pupils are advised to continue with their revision in preparation for assessments.
We will continue to act on the advice from the appropriate government and health agencies, as necessary. Any new information for parents will be communicated to you via text message, through the school’s Facebook page and the school’s website front page. The website can be accessed at https://www.ljhs.co.uk/. Please check these sources of information regularly for updates.
Thank you very much for your continued cooperation and support.
11th November 2019
Dear Parent / Guardian,
I wish to introduce myself as the new Principal of Lurgan Junior High School, having taken up position on 4th November, 2019. I am looking forward to building upon the excellent work of the school under the leadership of Mrs Currie, and more latterly Mr Thompson, and above all, to working with you, the Governors and the very fine staff, in order to ensure that your child meets their potential as well as their aspirations and ambitions.
This year marks my 20th year in education in Northern Ireland. I started my career as a Teacher of English & Drama at Integrated College Dungannon in 1999. In 2002, I was appointed Head of Department for English and Drama – a post that I held up until 2007, when I was promoted to the role of Senior Teacher, looking after Curriculum, Assessment, Entitlement Framework and School Cover arrangements. Since 2014, I have had the privilege of being Vice-Principal of one of the country’s top non-selective Controlled Schools, Markethill High School, overseeing all aspects of the school’s Curriculum and Pastoral Care arrangements. I have also worked, at various stages in my career, as an Assistant Moderator for GCSE English and English Literature, assuring the quality of GCSE work completed in numerous other schools in Northern Ireland and England.
I trust that my experience to date, coupled with the very strong and effective transition which has taken place between Mr Thompson and I in recent months, will ensure that Lurgan Junior High School continues to go from strength to strength.
Our focus in Lurgan Junior High will always, without fail, be on the pursuit of academic excellence. In this vein, the school will strive to ensure that it offers all pupils access to a very broad and balanced curriculum underpinned by the highest-quality learning and teaching. Alongside this, we will continue to develop our robust and sector-leading pastoral care system to allow for effective fusion of both the academic and pastoral spheres of school life.
I give you my commitment that I will serve the school and broader community to the best of my ability and consider it an honour to do so.
I look forward to meeting you at some point in the near future.
27th August 2019
Warm, sunny summer weather can mean only one thing - it's time to go back to school!
I hope all our parents and pupils have enjoyed the holidays and are ready to return. Our Year 8 pupils join us for their induction on Thursday and Friday of this week. I am sure there will be a mixture of nerves and excitement at the prospect of moving on from Primary School. I want all those children and parents to know that we recognise this is a big step for you, and we will do our very best to ensure your child settles quickly to enjoying life with our LJHS family. With only Year 8 pupils in school it will be less busy than usual and you will be spending time getting to know the school buildings, your Form Teacher and your classmates. We wish you all the very best for the three years ahead.
As many of you will already know, our Principal Mrs Lynda Currie, announced her retirement in the last term. Mrs Currie was a past pupil of the JHS and then a teacher there before becoming Vice Principal of Tandragee JHS. In 2005 she returned to Lurgan as Vice Principal and succeeded Mr Johnston as Principal in 2013. Pupils, staff and parents have always recognised that Mrs Currie was determined to do the very best for her pupils and her school. Her commitment, energy and drive provided wonderful opportunities for all pupils and staff. She leaves a thriving school which looks outwards to its community and which offers all children a first class educational experience. We wish Mrs Currie a long, healthy and happy retirement with her husband David and her wider family circle.
We also welcome her successor, Mr James McCoy, currently Vice Principal of Markethill High School. Mr McCoy was the unanimous choice of the Board of Governors and will officially take up his post on Monday November 4th. In the meantime, I, along with the Senior Leadership Team, will lead the school through to half term.
Our Year 9 and 10 pupils join us on Mon 2nd September and we look forward to welcoming them back and working hard together to achieve success and make fabulous memories.”
Mr M Thompson
10th April 2019
Dear Parent / Guardian
I am sure you are all looking forward to the Easter Break and hoping for some warm weather in order to enjoy the holidays with your family. There is no doubt it has been a long term and your children are really keen to have a break.
As always we have had a very busy Spring Term with the full range of competitive winter sports for both our boys and girls. This is now over and athletics, cricket and tennis are just starting. Indeed, our teams have been hugely successful during the season and their commitment to training alongside excellent coaching has resulted in numerous successes in hockey, netball, swimming, cross country, rugby and football (girls’ and boys’). They have received recognition through Facebook and assemblies on their wonderful achievements. We are indeed immensely proud of them.
Thank you to all our coaches who gave so much all year round. Special thanks to the core P.E. staff as well as Miss McCann, Miss Bell, Miss Gamble, Mrs Ferry, Miss Reilly, Mrs Beck, Mr Logan, Mr Black, Mr Lunn and Mr Addley. These individuals often provide a full day’s teaching and support our pupils in Sport at all times throughout the year. They are truly amazing! Equal thanks must go to Mr Lennon and Mrs Thompson who support Mrs Quinn and her teams throughout Term 1 & 2, to Mr. McKinley who coaches Girls’ football and also to Mr Keegan and Mr Heasley (Dixie) for their constant support throughout the year.
The support of former staff for the ski trip is also an enormous help to the school and I commend Mr Jennet and Mrs Smith for the assistance they willingly give Mr Black and our pupils every ski trip. Their glowing reports of our young people on this trip are always shared on their return.
Auditions have taken place for next year’s school play, “Beauty and The Beast” and we look forward with eagerness to the Autumn Term to view the polished performance. Final call back for budding actors/actresses will be on Wednesday of this week. Up to 60 of our young people will be involved and this does not yet include stage hands. Thank you to Miss Reilly, Mrs McCrory and Mrs Gilbert for driving this forward. It will be one of the highlights of Term 1 in the 2019-2020 school year.
SCRIPTURE UNION/BIBLE STUDIES
Every week in school, Mrs Kennedy, alongside her regular staff members, ensures that SU runs smoothly for a good number of our pupils with frequent visits from Steve – Crown Ministries, Phil Howe SU and Wilson Archer. They provide spiritual guidance and support throughout the year in an informal and fun way and we are indebted to them for their support. Your children are so blessed to have such role models within our community.
Thank you, too, to Pete Wright, Mark Hand and Michael Frazer for their wonderful serene manner and their commitment to Bible Studies in our school. These gentlemen give back so much to LJHS and are a fabulous support to our children. We cannot thank them enough. I would like to take the opportunity to ask you to encourage your children to attend both SU on Thursday and Bible Studies on Wednesday lunch time. It is Christian fellowship at its best.
A number of our pupils continue to benefit from the Homework support run by Aspire members, Matthew Turner and Mark Knox. As teachers, we regularly see the benefits in the classroom and at assessment time of the work that they do. We are very thankful for your help and support.
In truth, I don’t know what LJHS would do without the REACH TEAM. This group of young people offer mentoring, leadership and friendship to many of our pupils. This term, they have supported Year 9 in VALUES lessons as part of the PD programme and next term, they will continue their excellent pastoral work with our Year 10. As a school leader who appreciates the mammoth task of reaching out to 11-14 year olds and building their sense of belonging and self-esteem in a positive and affirming way, LJHS is incredibly proud and privileged to have them as part of an integral part of our pastoral provision. Thank you to Jamie Stoddard and all at REACH. Their genuine care and compassion for our young people does not go unnoticed or unrecognised.
Our Shared Education Signature Project continues to develop with involvement from a wide range of subjects which include Art, English, Drama, R.E., Science, Maths, History and Geography as well as interested specialist teachers from these learning areas and also pupils from 8A1, 8A3, 8A7, 9A5, 9B2, 10A1 and 10A6. Mr Addley provides inspirational leadership and support in his role as Coordinator of this project. He, with his St Ronan’s College partner, has organised a shared Sport’s Day and BBQ for those Year 8 pupils involved and their parents. This will take place at the Toberhewny Site on the last week of June.
ANTI BULLYING AMBASSADORS
I have also been incredibly impressed by the initiative taken forward by both Mr. Logan and Mr. Guy. Both gentlemen have recently attended the Princess Diana Training Course with 15 of our young people to create within the school a body of anti-bullying ambassadors. These young people had a fabulous 1-day course alongside students from many different school types and of all ages. They have a myriad of ideas to promote their role and the new Anti-Bullying Policy which will be in place from September 2019.
YEAR 9 SUMMER EXAMINATION
Revision Booklets will be given out today (Wednesday 10th April) and timetables will be placed on Show My Homework
At this stage of the year, I wish to remind you once again of the Assessment procedures for Year 9.
30% of their Summer Examination will go towards their Transfer Examination in Year 10.
A number of pupils whilst in School Uniform have been vaping in school, at the school gates and just outside school. They have been reported to me by Year Heads and Senior Teachers within the school. Besides the health implications of which we are not wholly aware, this brings disrepute to the school and as is stated in our Positive Discipline Policy, these same pupils will be suspended.
JAY WALKING AT SUPERVALU
A number of our pupils have been struggling to cross the road at Supervalu and their behaviour has been reported to school. As parents, I would respectfully request that you advise your children about taking great care when crossing the road and being respectful and considerate to members of the public both inside and outside shops. Naturally, when assemblies begin again following exams we will reinforce this in school.
As a proactive measure, Dfl Southern Division – Traffic Management have been contacted and a request made that they survey this part of the road in order to ensure our children’s safety.
Recently, a bus driver returned to school after leaving the pupils to their homes. He had been quite disturbed at the noise, the throwing of pencils and drinks that had taken place. There was considerable evidence of this on the bus. When our pupils are on the bus, they are responsible for their own behaviour. Such behaviour could quite easily cause an accident. Once again, I would ask for your support in this matter.
Daily at 3.20 p.m. our young people are exiting school to return home. Many of our children are transported to and from school by bus and we have always conveyed the message that buses have priority over cars. When parents park in the school car park, there are times when the children unthinkingly rush over to get into their cars. We will continue to warn our pupils about their safety and the attention they must give to buses and all other traffic.
Please continue to be vigilant at all times when entering the school by car. With the extended car parking facilities, it is important that you as parents park in an allocated car parking space rather than block the thoroughfare adding to the visibility and congestion problems for bus drivers and staff.
Following half term, a number of girls were wearing fake tan. They were asked not to wear it in school and that to do so would mean an afterschool detention. In the majority of cases, the girls have respectfully complied. This is just a reminder that such a sanction is still in place.
Enjoy the Easter break. I am looking forward to seeing all of our children return safe, sound and re energised for learning as we enter the Summer Term.
Mrs L Currie
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
28th February 2019
Dear Parents and Friends of Lurgan Junior High School
We are very blessed in Lurgan to have so many high performing Primary Schools whose pupils transfer into L.J.H.S. Equally, when our children transfer at end of Key Stage 3, many go on to achieve so much. I have the greatest of respect for my colleagues in other teaching establishments but I totally believe that ALL of our young people should be educated in our town by those who know them best of all.
Many of you will have heard me say and it bears repeating that "There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”— Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
My letter to the Lurgan Mail this week hopefully illustrates the thoughts that many in Lurgan hold. Please read it and understand that your child, regardless of their ability, is as important as any other. Our children are the future. We must support them!
Mrs L. Currie, Principal
“Dickson Plan worked well but not for All,” says LJHS’ Principal.
The Dickson Plan was an educational experiment introduced only into the Craigavon area in the early seventies and has worked very well for some of our children but, unfortunately, not for all.
Logic and common sense dictate that any new system would be run for a trial period before a review to identify success or failure. Positives would then be ‘banked’ and negatives would be addressed and improved.
Some commentators would have us believe that, along with the Ten Commandments, Moses descended from Mount Sinai with ‘The Dickson Plan’ engraved on a tablet of stone.
Peter Weir, the one-time Education Minister who is often quoted, has clearly stated recently that his support for the current system was then and not necessarily now. His position then, he says, is NOT to be used today in support of The Dickson Plan
I am less concerned with a name, a building or a dogma than I am about ensuring we have an education system in our area that offers equal opportunity for all our children and leaves none behind.
The current system has cracks and some of our children are destined to fall through them – Otherwise, after all these years, would it not have been rolled out across the country?
The current debate on the future of Craigavon Senior High School Lurgan Campus has created a febrile atmosphere and passions are running high, as they should be, for nothing is more important than the future prospects and wellbeing of our children, to help them become the best they can be.
My proposal that, instead of transporting our children to CSHS in Portadown, those who would have been attending CSHS in Lurgan should be accommodated on Lurgan Junior High School site in an 11-16 school through a merger with CSHS Lurgan is a practical solution which has merit and would best meet their needs. (As a short-term measure, these pupils could be catered for in temporary accommodation on the LJHS site.)
In support of this proposal, I would make the following observations:
- LJHS has a very competent, well qualified staff who have regular Continuous Professional Development in order to engage, motivate and ensure the needs of all pupils are met
- A significant number of staff have experience of teaching GCSE and equivalent qualification and would see this as an opportunity to provide positive and productive outcomes for all
- LJHS has always taught the full range of ability
- For those Year 10 pupils not selected by the Grammar School remaining for GCSE can be the preparation for Key Stage 4 carried out in Term 3, so this time is productive
- With pupils remaining in Lurgan, it demonstrates a sense of belonging and being valued that we have always tried to engender in our children
- There would be a continued loyalty to the various sporting organisations in Lurgan town. Many representatives of these have expressed concern that, once the talent has left the town, that may dilute their Lurgan identity and it may be lost. This may be down to poaching by Portadown clubs or weariness caused by extended travel times.
- Continuity of location and teaching on the LJHS site would benefit pupils greatly, as any transfer can be a disruption and often months can be wasted while children settle in to a new environment with unfamiliar teachers, systems and accommodation.
- Performance could be measured by results of GCSE examinations which would provide focus and stimulation for both children and teachers alike. Our teachers, comprising current LJHS’ and CSHS’ staff would have a direct input right up to GCSE and enjoy the fruits of their labour as they share in the outcomes.
- Pupil’ outcomes in the non-selective system (The Dickson Plan) are well below N.I. average and this under-achievement is particularly true for boys. For the future of all in our area, this needs to be addressed and would not be helped by bussing children out of their town to a two-year school in Portadown, whose financial viability is questionable.
- Parents of prospective pupils of LJHS, residing outside of Lurgan may feel that their children may be more comfortable going to Lisburn or Banbridge rather than having to be transported to Lurgan and then on to Portadown. This would have a major impact on intake numbers to LJHS and consequently to Lurgan College and CSHS if it were to go ahead.
- Those who express outrage at the very notion of tinkering with The Dickson Plan tend to be from the Grammar School lobby so I repeat – I do not propose we abandon what is working well. The children who qualify for Lurgan College will continue to receive a first class education and nothing would change that – in fact, if we were to have an 11-16 school (call it Lurgan Academy) I believe more pupils would be attracted to it which in turn would serve to enhance Lurgan College as well, for, although it was envisaged that only 30% of LJHS pupils would be taken by the College, currently the figure is 50%+.
I know that all those involved in education and extra-curricular achievement in Lurgan have the same objective – to protect, support and motivate our children and prepare them for the future. In that belief, I ask that parents, relations, sporting organisations ,church and youth leaders and politicians re-double their efforts and build a momentum, a critical mass to send a clear and unambiguous message to the Education Authority that forcing our children to leave their home town for the sake of their education, when a local solution is viable, practical and preferable, is not something we are prepared to accept.
I commend all those who have engaged with the Parents’ Forum for their time, talent and endeavour and would invite all who have a stakeholding in our community to come together and unite in this common cause. Our school is your school, your children are our children. Let’s do it.
27th February 2019
Following the consultation, LJHS Parents’ Forum has been formed and the election of positions of Chair and Vice Chair have taken place. They are a very passionate group who support our young peoples’ desire to remain in Lurgan. They have had a very busy three weeks and have organised meetings with 2 Unionist parties. There has also been a meeting arranged with the EA representative, Mr M McConkey.
The Chair of the Forum has written to you…
LURGAN SCHOOL for LURGAN CHILDREN
As part of the consultation process set out in the document by EA the parents forum wish to put forward our position on this matter.
There are two points we wish to make at the outset
- 1. We agree with the principles of the Dickson Plan i.e. those attending the L.J.H.S transfer at 14 to a Grammar School or transfer to a Senior High School.
- 2. It is not our intention to answer all of the points raised in the article in the Lurgan Mail from Mr Robinson. To do so would be in no way productive and we believe would not address the real problem which is
“What do we do in the best interests of pupils? “
It is true to say in many respects the Dickson Plan as a principle has served the people of the Lurgan and district well in their educational pursuits. However, we are all well aware that the Dickson Plan has not been able to deliver an acceptable level of education to those wishing to transfer to C.S.H.S which has failed over 40% majority being boys.
This has gone on unchecked for many years and we the parents believe the time is now right to improve and update the Dickson Plan.
In the past there have been times, in the interests of good education for more children, where the Dickson Plan has been modified.
When the Dickson Plan was first implemented the numbers transferring from LJHS to Lurgan College was to be approx 30%. That has gradually been changed over the years to around 57%. This modification is right and proper as it has given more pupils the opportunity to go to Grammar School and this we whole heartedly support. Of course this decision has had consequences. While, Mr Robinson has been happy to have a larger intake thereby making his school more sustainable it has had adverse effect for C.S.H.S in Lurgan. Therefore, some modification or change must be accepted so that all pupils are treated equally and are given equal opportunity. To that end we believe that Option 4 of the Consultation paper should be adopted, instead of continuing on with the Lurgan S.H.S presently being classified as unfit for purpose.
It is of the utmost importance that the necessary upgrading of the Dickson Plan should take place as soon as practical. We therefore believe that the Lurgan and district children should be educated at the Lurgan Junior High site operating as an 11 -16 school with the option to transfer to grammar provision at 14. If this is done it will allow the full range of subjects to be taught in co -operation with LJHS. This will give a better identity for those attending this institution and we believe the standard of education will greatly improve as there would be continuity of Principal, teachers, ethos and pupil self esteem.
We believe if this option (Option 4) was adopted it would ensure the pupils would have a high standard of education in their own town as was originally anticipated within the Dickson Plan. We reject totally those who would simply bus the children over to Portadown and sweep the problem under the carpet without due regard for the pupils wellbeing. In other words out of sight out of mind. This is the easy option for those who have no real concern for the future education of Lurgan children who do not travel the path of Grammar education or the Lurgan Community. Could it be there is another agenda? After much deliberation and consideration we believe the arguments put forward by Mr Robinson and Company are weak, uncaring, and selfish and not in the best interests of the children who will be effected the most. The phrase comes to mind “I’m alright Jack”.......
We, representing the parents, would advise strongly that you listen to Mrs Currie. The Principal
of LJHS who knows these children working with them on a daily basis both caring for their well being and academic requirements when she supports Option 4 as the best way forward.
This will give a continuity of education up to 16 and therefore the advantage of no regression caused by the move to Portadown.
This should be perfectly acceptable as the consultation document on page 4 paragraph 3 states
“The Dickson plan has evolved since its introduction “
The fact that Peter Weir who made comments sometime ago about the Dickson Plan has now clarified his position by saying, “The verbal remarks he made several years ago should not be used in the current consultation exercise”
Therefore this should be deleted as an argument or excuse for not providing the appropriate education at LJHS site.
It must be stated there is no evidence that by bussing the children to Portadown that this would enhance their educational standards. Bearing in mind enrolment at the LJHS is rising and will be maintained over the next 7 years and as a consequence there will be approx up to 300 pupils to be bussed to Portadown. This would entail at least 6 buses in transit to Portadown and back everyday with all the pollution and parking problems in the centre of Lurgan and not to mention £100,000.00 per year on the bus fares. We would suggest this money would be better spent on their education,
In light of the above our advice to all parents whether your aspiration is to send your children to Grammar school or Senior High school would be to:-
DISAGREE with the proposal
I disagree with EA recommendations and I support Option 4 thereby maintaining a high standard of proven education in Lurgan that is sustainable.
WE THEREFORE STATE:-
WE WILL NOT SEND OUR CHILDREN TO PORTADOWN AS THE SOLUTION LIES IN LURGAN!!!
"Dear Parents & Friends of Lurgan Junior High School
Find below a letter from Mr. McKay, Chair of Lurgan JHS Board of Governors. He wishes to share with you his perspective concerning recent correspondence relating to the future of Craigavon Senior High School.
I am writing in response to the “public statement” recently issued by the Principal of Lurgan College on the future of Craigavon Senior High School.
I was very disappointed by the negative, aggressive, and sometimes insulting manner in which he characterised those who hold views on this matter which differ from his.
Our guiding and only motivation in this important debate has been to try to ensure that all the school-going children in Lurgan and not a part thereof, should be able to access a high quality education in their own town. This noble motive should not have words like “dishonest”, “disingenuous”, “dysfunctional”, “misguided”, “failed” and “harmful” applied to them or their beliefs and arguments.
The personal attacks on the former Principals of Lurgan Junior High and Craigavon Senior High (and on myself) are unnecessary and unworthy, and have no place in a civilised educational debate. Both of the gentlemen referred to are men of the highest integrity whose only motive was to explore every option to try to avoid the desperate and unhappy situation in which we now find ourselves.
I also regret Mr Robinson’s reference to the 11-16 option as “the failed model now being abandoned by the maintained sector in Lurgan”. Such gratuitous insulting of another sector within the community is deplorable. I am quite sure that the good people who worked with in that sector would not see their efforts as “failed”; rather they would argue that they have moved on from a system which served its purpose well for many years to one which they see as a future improvement.
I am pained to observe that Mr Robinson’s “public statement” shows very little respect for some of his fellow professionals, or for that cohort of young people (and their parents) who will be the real losers in what he proposes by having to be bussed out of their hometown half way through their educational experience. Sadly, no care for, or understanding of, these young people is demonstrated by Mr Robinson in his letter.
I read with disbelief his melodramatic concern that “the loss of our most academically able pupils from the Craigavon area to Armagh, Banbridge and Lisburn would be disastrous for the cohesion of the local community in every way, not least of which, economically”. Is it only the cohort of pupils with which he works which must not suffer relocation? If Lurgan College were to be subsumed into Portadown College, for example, and moved to their site, would Mr Robinson be so unmoved by the plight of the young people involved and their families?
When Mr Robinson says in his letter “the question for the community is not primarily do you want children to be transferred by bus to a single site, or not”, he completely fails to understand that for those pupils and parents involved, this is the key question! Furthermore, this form of provision is not consistent with a “top class education” as he states – they are not mutually exclusive.
I am also bemused by his bland assumption that bussing almost half of the children from Lurgan to Portadown would be accompanied by “provision of a brand new school in due course” for them. Does he have access to information or decision-making that the rest of us do not?
Mr Robinson’s high-handed assertion that an 11-16 school would be “dysfunctional” and would “signal the end of the Dickson Plan model of education” needs to be challenged, as does his enlisting of the support of former Education Minister, Mr Peter Weir, who recently indicated that verbal remarks he made when visiting a rural primary school several years ago should not be used in the current consultation exercise.
Finally, I would like to conclude by clearly stating that since the community overwhelmingly demonstrated their desire to retain the Dickson Plan, I support the formation of an 11-16 school on the Junior High School site. The term Dickson Plan means selection at 14 and I see no reason why this process cannot continue in the same way as it has done over the past 50 years. As a parent, I was proud to send my children through the school system in Lurgan and I would ask that the Education Authority would listen to the strength of feeling expressed by those who advocate educating children in the community and providing schools that serve their community as outlined in the document “Every School a Good School”.
Mr. T. J. McKay
Chairman of the Board of Governors LJHS"
Wednesday 16 January 2019
Dear Parents and Friends of Lurgan Junior High School
Firstly, a resounding thank you for your attendance at Monday evening’s meeting when EA representatives shared the consultation document with everyone. (embargoed until after the LJHS meeting) Your responses were strong, child centred and focused on the needs of Lurgan children and those who travel into Lurgan from the outlying areas. As parents of our children, you ably demonstrated our solid community links, your concern for the young people in our care and for prospective pupils coming to LJHS. I applaud your commitment, the manner in which you so competently and respectfully expressed your viewpoints and your ability to see that all that was on offer were bus passes and modular accommodation (porta cabins) to extend teaching space at the Portadown Campus of Craigavon Senior High School.
As Mr. Michael McConkey and his colleagues went to great lengths to assure us that this was only the beginning of the process, it is now time to take them up on one of the strategies they repeatedly recommended in order to take the process forward thus reflecting community feeling. As such, I would like to facilitate you in setting up a Parent Forum for all interested parents.
To many present, it would have appeared that the proposal was very much a “fait accompli” but we received several reassurances that this was not so, that it was not a numbers game but instead an opportunity to listen to your views and give you time to find your voice and use it to bring about the best educational outcomes for all our children. Therefore, a Parent Group will provide the opportunity for you to move forward as one body in the best interest of your children.
Earlier on the 14th January, Mr. Michael McConkey delivered the same presentation to the staff of the school (Teaching and Non-Teaching) and their views mirrored those of both parents and community. This is not an attempt to wreck the Dickson Plan “by stealth” but a real opportunity to right the wrongs that have been allowed to go on within our community for 24 years and in line with the opening sentence of Minister Weir’s remarks about the Dickson Plan originally made in 2016 which bears repeating,
"It is important that lessons are learned to improve our system, but also that we protect what is working within our system…"
As parents, you made it clear that you will continue to support Lurgan College and appreciate the efforts and dedication of the staff there who have supported many of our young people at both Key Stage 4 and at AS and A level providing an excellent pathway to third level education and into the world of work. Equally, you recognise the same professional commitment from the staff at Craigavon Senior High and have an understanding of the difficulties, financial and otherwise that have befallen the school in more recent times.
However, with their move to a single site school in order to address the issues facing them, the detrimental impact this would have on our young people has to be acknowledged. To this end, you are invited to Lurgan Junior High School on Tuesday 22 January at 7.00 p.m. in order to form the Parent Group and decide on what action is required in the coming days and weeks.
Mrs. L E Currie
25th October 2018
Dear Yr 8 Parents and Friends of the school
Thank you for encouraging your young people to dress as their heroes. This was an opportunity to raise funds for the British Legion Poppy Appeal and at the same time allow our pupils time to consider and value those individuals from the past and the present.
Some chose family members, whilst others chose professions and a number recognised relations who had fought in previous wars and battle grounds in the defence of freedom and democracy.
Special thanks to Ms Roberta McNally who regularly attends our annual assembly in the promotion of Heroes Day. Her story was as always thought provoking and entertaining.
Mrs. L. E. Currie
10th October 2018
September is now behind us and all of our young people are well settled into the first term of the school year. Already so much has happened and I’m certain your children have kept you informed about their activities. Remember, there is always the school Facebook page to let you see the myriad of events that have taken place.
We had a wonderful Prize Day on Friday 5th October and were delightfully entertained by the School Choir and Band under the tutelage of Mrs. McCrory and Mrs. Moorehead. It was wonderful to see the Hall filled to capacity with pupils, supportive family members, governors, principals and friends of the school. Our former pupils returned proudly wearing their new uniforms and looking so mature and grown up. There was a great atmosphere which just added to the entire afternoon.
On Monday 8th October, we had our first Parent Forum. We very much appreciated their attendance and the high level of participation by all present. This was an opportunity to consult with a random selection of Year 8 & Year 9 parents regarding developments in Assessment, Reporting and ICT. Miss Osborne, Mr. Logan and I are looking forward to the next meeting in the Spring Term.
Next Friday, 19th October is our Primary School Sampler Day. This is a major event for us when we will host P6 classes from our contributory primary schools to let the pupils see first-hand exactly what the BIG school offers. To ensure that our P6 children have an enriching experience, our Year 8s and Year 9 pupils will not attend school on this day. Year 10s will attend as usual and a Careers Day has been arranged for them. The main reason for this is to support the Key Stage 2/3/4 transition. In previous years this has taken place over 5 days and involved significant financial investment for substitute teachers and for transport. We are no longer in a position to cater for our P6s in this way and as a result we have had to be creative and bring them all in on the same day. We genuinely appreciate the support of our Primary schools and our current and prospective parents for making this possible.
BEHAVIOUR into LEARNING POLICY
There are a few other areas relating to LJHS’ “Behaviour into Learning Policy” that I wish to highlight in this letter. Firstly, the Health and Safety of our pupils. Yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a pupil ran across the road to Moutray’s shop to join her friends. She did not look where she was going and almost caused a fatal accident. Apparently, a number of our pupils congregate around Moutray’s shop. Please advise your children to take the utmost care when crossing roads. They need to be vigilant at all times. There is a lot of traffic along Millennium Way and I would urge the greatest of care when walking to school. I am very grateful to the gentleman who contacted the school to advise me of this situation.
Secondly, we are very grateful to the majority of our parents who always use the front entrance to the school and call in at the front office or telephone to make an appointment with staff members. We are always more than happy to talk to parents and sort out any issues as they arise. However recently, parents used the Mourne Road entrance to come into the school. We would discourage this at all times as we require all parents to sign in if they are visiting the school or a member of staff. This procedure is for the safeguarding of both our pupils and our staff.
Thirdly, the Conduct Card. This has been an amazing success. As parents, you can be genuinely proud that there are well over 500 pupils who have yet to receive a signing. Our Year Heads and Form Teachers have noticed a significant improvement in uniform, corridor behaviour, timekeeping and litter. This initiative is working and with your continued support, behaviour, uniform, punctuality and the absence of litter should continue to improve.
Finally, the development of resilience in our young people. Many of you will already be aware that we are striving to ensure the growth of our children’s level of initiative and independence. We are encouraging every child to take and accept responsibility for their learning and their equipment. As educators, we want to be enablers rather than disablers. This improved ethos can only work when parents support their children by supporting us. However, I am reliably informed that there are still a number of parents who regularly bring in late home works, forgotten PE kit and other materials in order that their child does not need to take any level of responsibility. I am respectfully requesting that this stops. If your children are to become resilient adults, they need everyone’s support.
Last year, all our Year 8 pupils (currently Year 9) and their parents were informed that 30% of their overall Year 9 marks would go towards the Year 10 Transfer Examination. This is a positive move and one that is supportive of the child. It ensures a consistent and constant approach to learning. At the moment, a number of teachers report that some pupils still need to improve the quality of their work if these marks are going to benefit their final examination in Year 10. Teachers are expecting focused and quality written and oral responses at all times.
On TUESDAY 16 OCTOBER at 7.30 p.m. our Year 10 pupils have been invited to Lurgan College. It is important that parents attend with their Year 10 children so they are aware of subject options and also the process of transfer. Mr. Guy and I will be present. This has always been an informative evening and there will be opportunities to listen to the principal, Mr. Robinson, and the 2 Vice Principals as they talk about pastoral and curricular provision.
On WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER at 9.00 a.m. Ms. Harkness, Principal from Craigavon Senior High School will attend LJHS to speak to all Year 10 pupils.
Also on this SAME DAY, the SUBJECT TEACHER MEETINGS will take place from 1.10 p.m. These meetings will end at 3.20 p.m. and Ms. Harkness will hold a Transfer Meeting in the Senior Assembly Hall for Year 10 Parents from 3.30 p.m. All Year 10s are welcome to attend. ALL PUPILS WILL LEAVE SCHOOL at 12 MIDDAY. Please organize transport for your child as there will be no buses at this time.
School will end for Half Term on Friday 26 October 2018 at 3.20 p.m. and resume on Monday 5 November. I wish you all an enjoyable Halloween.
Mrs. L. E. Currie
29th August 2018
Dear Pupils and Parents,
There is only one sleep left until our Year 8s join the Lurgan Junior High School family and staff in school are very excited about your arrival on Thursday morning. We have been very busy making sure we are fully prepared for your learning as we want to make Year 8 as productive as possible. We will see you at 8.50 a.m. and there will be lots of staff members about to guide you into the Junior Assembly Hall so you can meet your Form Teacher.
This is the second year in a row that we have been oversubscribed in Year 8 and we are genuinely delighted that you have chosen LJHS for the beginning of your post primary education. In the last 4 years our numbers have grown immensely and we have an additional 170 pupils in our school. Isn’t that wonderful?
Many of you, I have no doubt, are equally enthusiastic and happy to start your new school. Mums and Dads have been investing in school uniforms and all the things necessary to ensure you have the best start possible at LJHS. Take pride in your uniform. When you wear it appropriately, you send out a message of self-respect to everyone. What you look like on the outside is a reflection of how you feel on the inside.
Of course, it’s normal to feel a little nervous and you will not be on your own in this. One thing that has worried previous Year 8s is that they may not know others in their class. Everyone is in the same boat and I want you to use this as an opportunity to get to know as many young people as possible. To have good friends, you need to be a good friend, so talk to the pupils in your class, find out what they did during the summer, ask them questions about their interests and see if they want to join any of the after school clubs. Include everyone, don’t leave anyone out.
It’s a really good idea to join a club that will develop your own particular interests. This is a great way to make friends and also allows you to see your teachers in a different environment. Our teachers are amazing and will want you to participate in as many clubs as possible. Mrs McCrory has put the after schools’ clubs on our Facebook page so you can easily see what might interest you.
Another little worry is homework. You definitely don’t need to be anxious about this as we have a homework app called “Show My Homework” (SMHW). Most teachers will put their homeworks on this and you can see it on your mobile phone or your PC. Teachers will provide lots of guidance to ensure you can be successful. Mums and Dads can also see what homeworks teachers are giving and the specific deadlines for handing them in. It’s a good idea to be organised and get your homeworks done as soon as possible. Remember, they may not be for the next day so you will need to look at your timetable every night to make sure you have the right books, equipment and homeworks. We are really trying to develop your independence, so start off with the right habits now and you will be fine.
Getting lost is also a concern for new pupils. Everyone gets lost now and again, even new teachers. Just stay with your class as you move from classroom to classroom over the next couple of weeks and before you know it, you will feel totally confident about the location of all your classrooms.
On Friday, Mrs Kerr and I will be going to the canteen with you. Our 2 supervisors there, Mrs Cassells and Mrs Tolland are really helpful and will make sure you get the lunch you want. The dinner ladies work very hard to provide nutritional meals for you on a daily basis and they will get to know the food you like very quickly. We have already informed the canteen of anyone who has specific dietary needs but it does no harm to make yourself known to the ladies if you are gluten free or have any allergies. If you could bring your packed lunch or your money for the canteen in change that would speed up the process.
On the first 2 days you will be in school without Year 9 & 10 pupils. This will give you time to get to know the geography of the school and to see the way the canteen operates. Lottie, our Head Girl and Leon, our Head Boy, have organised prefects to come in on Thursday and Friday to support you. They are 2 brilliant young people, respected by their teachers and peers, who, with their team will continue to look out for you during your first year. They have also organised a prefect rota for playground duty in the first few weeks and will be available for any questions or concerns you may have.
Your Form Teacher will be with you all of Thursday morning and will explain your timetable and show you around the school. They will provide guidance and advice on absolutely everything. They will be in your corner at all times throughout the year ensuring you are working to your potential and encouraging you to give your absolute best in all you do. The Year Heads, Mrs F Kennedy and Mr R Logan, will also be working hard to get to know all of you as the year progresses. There is healthy competition for Year Heads to have the best year group and this is evidenced by achievement points, attendance and participation in House events. So get active and get involved. We really want you to feel you belong!
Roll on Thursday! I can’t wait to meet you all. Have an early night, sleep well, there is no need for any anxiety. We will look after you tomorrow and you will be home by lunchtime. Mums and Dads can collect you at 12.30pm.
Mrs L E Currie
18th April 2018
Dear Parents and friends of LJHS, join with me in celebrating our win today. Our boys are Northern Ireland Champions. I want to thank all parents who travelled down to Ballymena and the boys who were absolutely terrific, as well as Mr J Guy their coach, Dixie and Billy. It was wonderful that almost 200 of our pupils attended to support the team. I am incredibly proud of all the boys. Well done!
22nd March 2018
I hope this letter finds you all well and looking forward to the Easter break with your family. The beautiful sunshine this week has been encouraging and after such a long winter, we are all due some good weather so we can have some outdoor time with our children.
NON UNIFORM DAY - Friday, 23rd March 2018
£1 non uniform money is for Cameron Truesdale. Cameron is currently receiving treatment for his condition and all funds raised will support this.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
We have had another busy term at Lurgan Junior high and were delighted with the School Performance, High School Musical. Our pupils and staff put their whole heart into it to make it such a success for everyone. I’m sure that as parents you were proud as punch.
WINNERS of THE HIGH SCHOOL CUP IN RUGBY
We have also had a tremendously busy sporting season with weekly practices after school and competitive matches on going throughout the term. Our pupils performed well and we were absolutely thrilled when just last Tuesday our U12 boys’ rugby brought home the silver in the High Schools Cup.
NAVAL CADETS STARTING SOON
Next term, we are adding another extracurricular activity to provide another outlet for our young people. Mr David McCausland has talked to our pupils about Naval Cadets and is hopeful that he will have a company of our pupils to participate in canoeing, hill walking and other equally rewarding outdoor pursuits. He is keen to commence this after Easter and it would be such a positive and rewarding experience for the children. There will be permission letters going home this week. Do return them at the earliest opportunity.
Shared Education classes continue to play a big part in Lurgan JHS and this has done much to develop our pupils’ thinking skills, creativity, oracy and problem solving as well as their self-esteem and confidence. The classes – 9A6, 9A1, 8A5, 8B1 - have enjoyed their shared experiences at both St Ronan’s College and Lurgan Junior High School. Mr Addley, as coordinator, has successfully extended the programme to include History, R.E., ICT, Maths, Art and Music. It was so empowering for our 2 Shared Education Ambassadors, Lucy McBride 9A6 and Cameron McLean 9A1, to provide the Project Coordinators with worthwhile and evaluative feedback. We are indebted to all our staff and pupils for their enthusiasm, involvement and participation in the project.
KEY STAGE 3/4 TRANSITION – YEAR 10 NEWS
On Thursday 22 March, Mrs R Harkness, Acting Principal of Craigavon Senior High School, attended Year 10 Assembly to inform our pupils of future pathways for them as they go forward in their education. Other activities have been arranged by Mrs Harkness to ensure a smooth transition from LJHS to CSHS. There will be a Subject Fayre and 3 days of Induction at the end of June to support them into GCSE and other appropriate courses.
Likewise, Mr D Bell, Vice Principal, Curriculum and his team from Lurgan College will be arranging pupil/ parent interviews in May to finalise Option Choices. Induction will also take place at Lurgan College for Year 10 pupils. Additional advice and guidance by Subject Leaders takes place in specific subjects. Indeed, Mr Reavie, HoD I.C.T. has already spoken to Year 10 pupils regarding I.C.T. courses available for G.C.S.E.
WINNERS OF THE SEMI FINAL NI CUP
On Wednesday 21 March, the U12 Boys’ Football Team played in the semi-finals of the NI Cup against Integrated College, Dungannon. It was such an honour for our boys to play at Mourneview Park and we very much appreciate the kindness of Glenavon staff in making us welcome. All in all, it was a wonderful game and we have much to celebrate with the skill, talent, persistence and team work shown on the day. The match went into extra time and then on to nail biting penalty kicks with LJHS winning 4 goals to 1. Simply, a beautiful game. Thank you to all of the proud parents, staff and pupils who supported them at the match. The boys will now go on to play in the finals on Wednesday 18th April at Ballymena. We wish them every success.
Congratulations also to the team who travelled to Strathern with Mr Black on Tuesday to take part in the Techknow Challenge. A great result for Noah, Simon, Louis and Nathan who built a website, under timed conditions. Well done boys’.
SCHOOL FACEBOOK PAGE
I know many of you keep abreast of all school news on Facebook. I would just like to say a huge thank you to Mrs McCrory for keeping you informed about the many and varied activities that go on in LJHS. We couldn’t do without her!
This year, for the first time, Lurgan Junior High is changing its Annual Prize Day date. This is in line with all the other schools in the Dickson Plan system of education. It will give our Senior High School principals an opportunity to know those prize winning pupils and share in their success. It will also afford our own LJHS pupils opportunities to participate in events right up to the end of the school year. We are looking forward to this celebration of success in September of Term 1.
YEAR 9 EXAMINATIONS
Following robust and rigorous monitoring of data, it was clear that pupil attainment dropped in Year 9. After discussion with pupils, staff and governors it was felt that Year 9 outcomes would be considered more purposeful if a percentage of marks was carried over to the Year 10 Transfer examinations. This will be in place for our current Year 8 as they move into Year 9. It will ensure more consistent effort and progress by pupils. It will also provide a stepping stone to Year 10 and as pupils move forward in their education, they will not be as stressed regarding the final examination.
END DATE AND TIME
School ends on Friday 23 March 2018 at 12 midday. There will not be school buses at this time and parents are responsible for ensuring their children are collected from school.
On behalf of all staff, I wish you all a restful and relaxing Easter break. We look forward to seeing all your children return safely to us on Monday 9th April 2018.
Mrs L Currie
23rd January 2018
Good morning everyone,
15th December 2017
What a busy day at LJHS! Firstly thank you to all participants and Mrs Graham who ensured that LJHS Bake Off was a huge success. Special thanks to Mr Sydney McCormick, former governor and proprietor of The Kosy as our expert. Also thank you to Chairman and to so many talented pupils who performed so well under pressure. Well done to everyone!
Thank you also to the Barcelona Fundraisers - adults and pupils for all their efforts.
Super to see and hear the contributions made by Year 8s in the TPV elections- a talented and enthusiastic group of young people, a credit to our school.
Year 10 Career talks have gone on all week and we hope they have proved beneficial to our pupils. Thank you Mr Guy for arranging them.
The generosity shown by all families in providing for the Food bank is really appreciated.
Also impressed by the hard work of Young Enterprise in making the most beautiful Christmas gifts.
Thank you to the Misses Cardwell's for the bun sale to support their charity.
Thank you too Mr Lunn for Wednesday night’s disco. Our children loved it.
And last but not least a wonderful warm thank you to all those who supported Miss Hanna and Mrs McCrory in the Christmas Assembly. The pupils were absolute stars. It was also lovely to have Mr Peter Wright from Hill St Presbyterian Church to support this occasion.
Parents be proud of your children. They have given a lot this week. We too are proud of them and wish them a wonderful weekend.
L E Currie
28th September 2017
Aspire comes to Lurgan JHS!
Mrs Rhoda Kerr, Pastoral V.P. invited 2 inspirational young people and past pupils of our school for an evening meeting with parents and pupils for an incredible opportunity to raise engagement and attainment.
Mark and Matthew, Aspire Leaders, spoke to all informally over a cup of coffee to raise awareness of the possibilities to improve pupils’ learning by providing support, resources and free tuition.
From next week, 10 of our pupils will be able to avail of the after school club for homework support and downtime. This runs on 3 afternoons when volunteers will make themselves available to support our young people both academically and pastorally.
We are delighted that they can provide such a wonderful service and on behalf of all pupils and parents present on Wednesday evening, I wish them every success. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be involved in such a worthwhile community project.
A big thank you to the ASPIRE Team!
Mrs L Currie
27th September 2017
Congratulations to our Under 13s Hockey Team who had a great 2-0 win against Killicomaine JHS at the weekend. Goal scorers were Danielle Ervine and Sophie Wylie. Well done to all our girls!
The under 14s had a good game against a very strong Killicomaine team. They performed so well and worked hard right to the end. We wish them well as they continue through this season.
I was absolutely delighted to hear about Saturday’s achievements regarding the Equestrian Team. There was a huge number of competitors but Lurgan JHS did themselves proud with Daniel Moore riding a double clear and securing 2nd place time wise, Callum FitzGerald with only one pole down and Ellie Leathem – out for the first time with her new pony – a tremendous start!
Outside of school, as members of Lurgan Town Juniors, six of our boys, Kristian Cassells, Patryk Suchonski, Dylan Alexander, Jamie Stokes, Dylan Emerson and Luke Vennard, alongside their team had a wonderful 3-1 win against Windmill starts on Saturday. Well done to all of them!
Today I am looking forward to the U13 Rugby match against RBAI. I wish the boys every success.
Mrs L Currie
26th September 2017
On behalf of staff members who attended the Modern Languages/History Trip to Paris and Normandy, I want to say a huge thanks to all parents and pupils involved.
Your kindness and appreciation of staff members and the contribution they made to the trip was overwhelming and all staff benefitted from the treats and eats you provided. The teachers and non- teaching staff involved could not have felt more valued.
Thank you for taking up this wonderful and enriching trip for your children. They will have many memories of this for years to come.
Mrs L Currie
9th September 2017
Good to see the Under 14 and Under 13 Hockey Teams in action this morning in their first match against Royal School Armagh. The U14 team gave their best efforts and also battled against the relentless rain to finish with a scoreless draw. Thanks to the parents who gave their support. It is so motivating for your children.
The Under 13s played against a tough Armagh side and by the time I left Kathy Thompson had scored the first goal.
Despite the bad weather, the girls showed great character and persistence.
Mrs Sue Gibson was there to offer, as always, her constant encouragement to the teams and it was just super to welcome back Miss Chloe McCann to LJHS, this time as staff member and umpire.
The girls looked smart in their new all weather coats purchased from The Gordon Group.
Well done, girls. I am looking forward to your next matches.
LJHS pitches were very busy this morning. As I was leaving, I met 3 very happy Glenavon players. (U18 team) They had finished their match with a 3-1 win. Congratulations boys. A good start to your season.
Mrs L Currie
8th September 2017
As you can see, your children are looking happy and confident. The majority have settled so comfortably to BIG school and appear to be enjoying their first days. This is one of our biggest year-groups and we are at our maximum numbers. I continue to enjoy seeing them respond to the routines of LJHS.
I just love the photograph of our PE Boys in their new kit. They know they look good!
Mrs L Currie
1st September 2017
Dear Former Pupils of LJHS,
All staff are delighted by the great A level results. We wish you well as you continue your educational journey. We invite you to return to LJHS at any time to keep us informed of your progress.
Well done to those who have completed their As examinations and other courses. We wish you well as you continue your studies.We in LJHS are absolutely delighted by the outstanding GCSE results. Keep studying and give your best as you return to do your As subjects and other courses.
31st August 2017
30th August 2017
Good afternoon, Year 8s,
All your teachers are feeling excited and genuinely looking forward to your arrival tomorrow morning. There is no need for anyone to feel worried or nervous as it is a similar experience for everyone. Form Teachers will be present in the Junior Assembly Hall to greet you and they will be supported by some of our Year 10 pupils. Many of you are already familiar with the school due to your attendance at Open Evening or at Taster Days and the fact that your brothers or sisters have been former pupils at the school.
Have a good night’s sleep and we will see you at 8.50 a.m. on Thursday morning. On arrival, just make your way to the Hall and take a seat. Your Form Teachers will have lots of useful advice and information for you. They are keen to give you the best start possible. Hopefully there will be time to visit the many classrooms where you will be taught a variety of subjects. And before you know it, it will be 12.30 and your parents will be waiting to collect you.See you all tomorrow. Enjoy your evening.