Drumglass High School, Dungannon celebrates 50 years of greatness

FIVE different names but still the same school.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Drumglass High School in Dungannon.

To celebrate this milestone a number of special events will be held over the months.

The celebrations commence with an anniversary service to he held in St Anne's Parish Church on Sunday 20th April at 3pm.

Friday, June 13th, Armagh City Hotel will host a gala ball which is sure to be one of the highlights of the school year.

Before the end of the school term, on Thursday June 26th, the school will host an Open Day, Charity Auction and Fete.

All past and present pupils, parents, staff, governors and friends are warmly welcomed to these events.

Pupils

Since the school was opened in 1957, many thousands of pupils and hundreds of teachers as well as other staff, who help the school run smoothly have passed through its doors. The school has existed under different names, Dungannon Intermediate School for Boys' and Dungannon Intermediate School for Girls', Dungannon County Secondary School and now Drumglass High School.

Two Intermediate schools on the Carland Road site actually opened their doors on Tuesday 3rd September 1957; one for boys led by Mr W Halliday and one for girls, led by Miss I Crockett. The school catchment area includes the town of Dungannon and extends to Pomeroy, Stewartstown, Donaghey, Newmills, Coalisland, Tamnamore, Killyman, Bush, Moy, Lisfearty, Eglish, Benburb, Moy, Castlecaulfield and Donaghmore. The school is proud to have served such a varied urban and rural community and this has added to the strong family dimension of its intake.

Over the last five years a growing number of children from other countries in the European Community have enrolled in Drumglass High School. These international pupils are well supported by our Polish Teacher Dominika Smerciak who has set up EAL classes, an early morning Homework Support Club, and manages the school Polish Centre all of which contribute to the building of confidence and the steady and systematic acquisition of skills.

Building

In September 2000, a state of the art environment was provided in the new build. Innovative in many ways, the new school was designed by Building Design Partnership (BDP) under a Private Finance Initiative, Campus Ltd and is now part of the large property empire of Land Securities Trillium who also own the Pension Building in London and the British Embassy in Berlin as well as many schools and hospitals in England and Scotland. This means that the day to day running of all non educational services is contracted to Martins FM and Mt Charles Ltd and pupils can be assured of a warm, clean and safe school at all times allowing school management to concentrate on educational excellence. The Mt Charles Team in Drumglass who provide all catering and cleaning services to the school have come top of their company in all competitions over the last three years. The ETI Inspection of March 2002 praised ' the close association with such leading edge companies and the impact this has on the excellent pastoral care, careers guidance and applied curriculum offered by the school'

Quality

Awards

Over the years the school has proven itself through major national awards such as the Schools Curriculum Award acquired in 1987. the Investors in People Award gained in 2005 and now is well advanced in its programme to obtain Employability Status. Such achievements reflect the dedication of staff and their desire to 'go the extra mile' , the continuing importance of citizenship and community links to help pupils acquire the values and experiences needed to succeed in the modern world. We are very proud of our past pupils who have gone on to start up successful businesses in the area or to rise to the top of their chosen profession or field. The present growing Sixth Form can now choose from a wide range of subjects mostly offered by the school but also specialised vocational areas provided through Dungannon Partnership and the South West College.

Exams

Examination results have risen steeply over the last few years. Drumglass High School consistently outperforms most other secondary schools with 57% of Year 12 obtaining 5 GCSES at Grades A*-C in 2007. The NI Average is 45%. The average score per student has risen in recent years particularly for boys, in contrast to national trends. Pupils are expected to sit at least 5 subjects and most will do 8. Advanced level results have been equally pleasing with 100% pass rate for the school compared to NI average of 93%.

Future Plans

Increasingly the school strategic plan reflects the economic plans for the Dungannon and Cookstown area. From the start the new school has been able to enter all its pupils for GCSE ICT and the students are expected to become competent in this key skill.

Subjects

The school is well underway in the introduction of the new subject areas of Learning for Life and Work, Citizenship and Employability. In fact it was a founder member of Dungannon Employability Pilot.

The recent new vocational areas in GCSE Construction and Engineering will help to equip the students for higher standards required in these industries.

There are growing numbers of pupils studying GCSE Hospitality and learning about the service standards required to ensure Dungannon and district is Number One in the service industries.

But above all the school is a friendly and caring place and when staff and pupils move on what they most remember are the people. Through interaction in smaller classes, participation in the many in-house events supplementing the curriculum and pastoral life of the school and by engaging in the varied extra-curricular opportunities, pupils build friendships and relationships which continue long after they have left school.