For the first time Limavady High School held two Open Nights on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 January. Over both evenings 750 pupils and their families had an opportunity to hear opening remarks from the Principal, Mr Mornin along with Alex McMichael and Abbie Bellingham, current Year 8 pupils.

Mr Mornin explained, “Over the past number of years, we have been overwhelmed by the number of families who have attended our Open Nights; last year we had over 700 people who attended. It comes as no surprise that the school has now been oversubscribed for the last three years which affirms the excellent work and care that we provide as a school for all our students. We do hope this new structure will enable you as a family more time and space to get a flavour of our school and an understanding of what LHS Life is all about.”

Mr Mornin continued, “The school Mission Statement encapsulates what this school is about. We believe that each individual is unique and valuable and we do our very best to provide a secure, caring, happy and yet challenging learning environment in which each person is encouraged to respect other people and to develop to their maximum potential as members of the school and indeed the wider community. We try to live this Mission Statement on a daily basis, firmly underpinned by sound values. At our school, we really put our young people first; it is a school that cares always to provide the best education and best opportunities for all its students.

“This evening you will meet staff across the school and see their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to our students. I am sure by the end of the evening you will agree that there is an excitement and energy here that is tangible. I hope you will see a school in which our young people enjoy their learning, the extensive range of wider experiences and, above all, you will see and feel the sense of pride our students have in their school. I believe schools should be happy, vibrant and forward-thinking learning environments where all children are nurtured, encouraged and supported to achieve the highest standards and develop as young people. All of this is supported by a vibrant, engaging, committed and highly professional community of amazing teachers and students who empower each other to achieve success. We would love for you to be part of our family and community.

“Our motto here is simply ‘Making Connections Shaping Futures’ and our underlying values are that: we care, we aim high and we learn and achieve together. These aren’t empty strap lines – our motto and values guide everything we do. We value the relationship that develops between teacher and student and so we create lots of opportunities for this to be fostered. The school places particular emphasis around the development of making positive connections between students, between teachers and students and we ensure that the students feel connected with school and that they are valued as an important member of the Limavady High School family. The school is passionate about instilling sound core values in all of our students: Respect, Integrity, Personal Responsibility, Teamwork, Fairness and High Expectations. We want our students to feel happy and secure in their classroom and so ready to learn.

“My message to all students is very simple “Work Hard Be Kind”. There is no escaping that hard work underpins academic and personal success. We constantly look at utilising learning opportunities that will keep students engaged through the Key Stages 3, 4 & 5 so that their skills continue to grow. Limavady High School is a school for the community, one that reflects the standards and aspirations our parents and neighbours have for their local school. We demand the highest standards of behaviour, courtesy and respect towards all members of the community. Taking pride in appearance is an essential part of being an LHS student”.

On results Mr Mornin stated, “The results our students have achieved year in year at GCSE show that we are on the right track…and each year an increasing proportion of our students are accessing University courses. You will no doubt have heard about the fantastic GCSE examinations results here this year. 100% of pupils achieved five GCSE passes at A*-G grades which is above the Northern Ireland Average for like schools with an amazing 97.87% achieving five GCSE passes at A*-C grades, again 20% above the Northern Ireland Average for like schools. 77.66% of this year group also achieved 7A*-C. The school continues the upward trend when it comes to pupils achieving five A*-C grades including English and Mathematics with a further 10% increase to 52.13% which is in line with the Northern Ireland Average for like schools. Over the period of the last School Development Plan our Post 16 students have continued to show a clear trend of improvement. This year 59.38% of students achieved 3A*-C grades, an increase of 13% from last year; this result is again above the Northern Ireland Average for like schools. This school in my view has a proven track record of encouraging and drawing out the talents that each and every child has.

“I do hope that by experiencing the school and getting a feeling for our culture and ethos it will ratify your decision and give you peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that you have made the right choice to become part of the LHS family. Tonight, you will be given a guided tour by staff and pupils and I would encourage you to ask as many questions as you can about our school. I would urge you to gather as much information as possible, visit our website, have a read through our prospectus, speak to other parents who have their children here currently and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. These are the best ways to make sure you make an informed decision and one that best suits your child and their interests.

Alex and Abbie, former pupils of Cumber Claudy and Central PS, spoke about their experiences. Alex stated, “Every Wednesday evening I come back into school to attend our brilliant Youth Club - it's the best way to get to know people outside of your own form class. This year we have done lots of great things, but the highlight so far was probably going to the Maize Maze at Carrowmena. Yes, some people got very mucky, but we all agreed that it was worth it! Youth Club starts up again next week and I can't wait!”. Abbie spoke about her experiences when it comes to being part of the school choir “I have also loved being part of the school choir this year. I never sang much before, so I have really enjoyed this new challenge. The choir were very busy last month with performances in Drenagh and at our shared carol service with St.Mary's. We also sang at our own carol service on the last day of term. It was beautiful listening to the Year 12 soloists. Maybe there's a future singer in our P6s here tonight! Also on the stage, lots of our Year 8 pupils got to take part in our production of Oliver in December. This is always lots of work but also lots of fun and, if you saw it, I am sure you'll agree it was something special.”

Mr Mornin congratulated Alex and Abbie for their input and went on to say, “In closing I want students to feel positive and energised when they are in school; this way they are more likely to be successful students, aware of their social responsibilities and able to contribute positively to society, so if you are up for Hard Work and prepared to be kind to others you will be made very welcome as part of the Limavady High School family.” He thanked everyone for attending both evenings and showing an interest in Limavady High School.

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