Abbey Vocational School, Donegal town news

By Staff Reporter


By Staff Reporter

Abbey Vocational School, Donegal town, news

Talks for Parents on new Junior Cert

A talk takes place in the school on 29th March on the New Junior Cert programme. This talk is open to all interested parents. Ms Jacqui Dillon Director of the Donegal Education Centre, Ms Geraldine Diver Principal and JCT school coordinator Mr Shane O Neill will deliver the talk.   

Talk from Dr Fergus Heffernan on Family Dynamics and Wellbeing: March 22nd at 7.00pm

People travel the length and breadth of the country to hear this very special speaker. We are honored to have Dr Fergus Heffernan visit us here in the Abbey Vocational School. Known for his inspirational talks, Dr. Heffernan holds qualifications as a psychologist, a psychotherapist, a family therapist, a scientist and a biologist, but says in reality, he is an educationalist. “Whether you are a parent trying to cope with young children, a parent struggling with teenagers or a parent whose children have left the nest, this talk is particularly suited to you”

It helps us to make sense of the many life challenging situations that are facing families now and offers simple strategies that can be implemented to create greater balance and contentment in our families.  ”Dr. Heffernan employs a wonderfully honest, heartfelt, practical and often times humorous approach to the subject of mental health and family issues. He provides his listeners with plenty of material for ongoing reflection for family dynamics and emotional well-being. This is an evening presentation of about two hour’s duration, which is suitable for any community or organisation with an interest in family. All welcome.

Our leaving cert students will have a presentation from Dr Heffernan in the afternoon and the staff will also attend a workshop after school on the same day.

Open night for first year students

Our open evening was held in the school on Wednesday 15th February from 5pm to 8pm. It was a wonderful opportunity for our staff and our students to showcase our excellent school. Our incoming first year students attended on the night accompanied by their parents. Each department had textbooks, demonstrations and student work on display. Teachers were on hand to speak about their subject area and answer any questions that parents may have. The principal Mrs Diver addressed the parents throughout the course of the evening. Parents heard about the implementation of the new JCT and the schools approach to it. The introduction of our new subject coding was outlined as was all of the excellent school initiatives that are in place, the assembly area was alive with music on the night with many fine performances from our present students. We would like to thank staff and students who contributed to the success of the evening. We are now looking forward to welcoming our incoming students back to us on Tuesday March 14th for a day in the life of the Abbey Vocational School where they will spend the day taking classes in the school.


Enrolment Deadline – Friday, 24th February 2017

Induction Day for 6th class pupils – Tuesday, 14th March (Approx. 9.30 am to 2.30 pm) 

Information Evening for 6th class parents – Wednesday, 15th March (7.00pm – 8.00pm)

Mock exams

Students in Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate began their mock examinations this week. We wish all of our students well in preparation for these exams in the coming weeks. Following the completion of mock exams leaving cert students will attend a session of review and support in moving ahead from Michael Bond on Tuesday March 7th. This Co. Galway man is known to many for his exploits on the side-line of hurling pitches the length and breadth of the country, success. However his skills extend far beyond the GAA grounds of the nation, he is also widely acknowledged for his skills of communicating with young People. The various seminars held for both sixth year students focused on motivating students on timetabling study for maximum results. All those who had the pleasure on these seminars emerged energised and motivated. We are looking forward to having him back after the mock exams.

JCT Training Day Closure

The staff will take part in a Junior Cert Training day on Monday March 6th. The school will close to students on that day.

LCVP Interviews

LCVP interviews took place in school on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th of February. The interview is an opportunity to prepare students for the world of work. Students must communicate their LCVP activities, experiences and skills gained throughout the two years. The interview is submitted as part of their portfolio. (

Irish aural

Leaving Certificate students completed their Irish aural this week on Wednesday 16th December.

Breaking the Mould, DARE and HEAR Applications

The deadline for Breaking the Mould, DARE and HEAR closes on Wednesday March 1st. DARE and HEAR are completed on the CAO application. Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) “is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had an impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced point’s places to school leavers who, as a result of having a disability, have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education”.

Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a “college and university scheme which offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds”. (

However, Breaking the Mould is specific to Sligo I.T. For further information on Breaking the Mould you can contact:

World Book Day

World Book Day takes place on Thursday 2nd March. In preparation for this special day we are asking students and teachers to bring in any books they no longer want or need for a book drive. Students and staff will be given tokens which will allow them to pick another book in exchange for the text they donated. In addition, we are requesting that all students have a reading book in their bag on World Book Day which will be read in their English class on the day.  


On Friday 17th, the AVS participated in the #SchoolsGoOrange campaign along with a number of other schools around Ireland. Schools turned orange to spread the message that ‘It’s OK not to feel Ok; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.’(  This was to help raise awareness to break the cycle of suicide in Ireland. A number of students donned the colour orange on Friday and took to the school track on the day.

Art Competition

Jigsaw Donegal are currently holding an art competition for T.Y., 5th year and 6th year students to promote positive mental health. The theme of the competition is “sometimes we need to take time to appreciate the beauty in the world around us”. The deadline for entries is Thursday 16th March. Students should see Mr Daly or Mrs Mc Callig for further details.

Healthy Living Photography Competition

Aoibhin Woods, Maria Harris and Laura Taylor ran a photography competition under the guidance of Mr Daly and Mr Murrin to promote Healthy Living. The theme ‘Healthy Living’ was selected due to its connection with the Healthy Schools project. Congratulations to our winners: 1st place – Emily Erskine, 2nd place – Shane Breslin, 3rd place – Eleanor Mitchell and Hannah Crawford. The winners took some excellent shots that linked to the chosen theme well.

Chess Club

Chess club takes place every Wednesday at lunchtime in Ms Mc Loughlin’s room. The numbers taking part in this club are growing. It is great to see so many students participating in this problem solving activity which is also fun.

Texaco Art Competition

Entries are due for the Texaco Art competition on Tuesday 28th February which is also the closing date for the competition.

TY’s - Alan Devine Public Speaking Workshop

Alan Devine will complete a full day workshop with each TY group in March on Tuesday 7th, Thursday 9th, Thursday 16th and Friday 24th. Alan Devine is an actor who has performed in “Glenroe, King Arthur, Hamlet, Veronica Guerin, The Tudors, Vikings and Fair City, Alan has over twenty years’ experience working as an actor in Ireland”. (

Drama club is a programme established to encourage public speaking. The aim of the workshop is to help students:

Find confidence in their voice
Connect with their audience
Understand how to create and deliver short speeches
The workshop teaches students that anyone can speak publically confidently.

Interior Design

A one-day Interior Design course was arranged by the Home Economics Department for T.Y. students on Friday 17th February. The students found this to be an interesting workshop and gave individuals interested in this area an excellent taster of what is involved in interior design as a career.

Law Course

Transition year students attended a Law Course delivered by Barrister James Fahy, from Galway.  He presented his 'Law Education for Schools' course to our students over a two-day period.  The students learned a variety of definitions used in the legal system and how the legal system works in Ireland.  They were also given information on a sample legal case and were set the challenge of settling the problem outside of court.  On the second day, the students received transcripts of a murder trial.  The students spent the afternoon in the Donegal Town Court House and acted out the trial.  Students assumed defense and prosecution roles in the court.  All involved found this a beneficial and interesting experience.  

Work Experience

All TY students after mid-term break will be on their work experience. This will take place from Monday 27th to Friday 3rd March. Thanks so much to all businesses and establishments in the areas for taking on our students and giving them this excellent opportunity.


Five TY students are part of a youth group who will be travelling on a pilgrimage to Lourdes with 56 other young people from all over the Raphoe diocese. We wish Philip Myers, Jamie Crawford, Aidan Mc Hugh, Shaun Campbell and Grace Mc Callig well on this venture.

U14’s Boy Gaelic

The U14 boys played Loreto, Milford in the County Semi Final last Friday and won which now leaves them in the happy position of being in the County Final.  The boys will play in the final after the mid – term.


The 1st year boys played Buncrana College on Thursday 16th February. They beat Buncrana 3-0 with an excellent display of work from the boys. There were two goals on the day from Conor Campbell and one from Mark Jordan.


On Tuesday 14th, 1st and 2nd year girls played Coláiste Cholmcille in a challenge game. The 1st years were victorious on the day putting in a great game winning 43-36. The 2nd years were unfortunately not as successful in their game on the day and lost their match against Coláiste Cholmcille.  All the girls thoroughly enjoyed the day and well done to all of the players involved.