Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 11th Oct 2021

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 11th Oct 2021

AVS Newsletter.jpg

Issue 5: 2020-2021

4th Oct 2021 to 10th Oct 2021

Exciting New Extension for the Abbey Vocational School!

Plans for a 670m2 extension at the Abbey Vocational School have been given approval to proceed to tender by the Department of Education. The new building will include a new Canteen facility and a General Purpose area as well as one general classroom including ensuite toilets, toilet facilities for assisted users. We are delighted with this wonderful news which will enhance our school and benefit our entire school community.


Young Environmentalist Awards


Congratulations to Anna Mitchell and Erin Ryder who were presented with their certificates for reaching the National Finals of the Young Environmentalist Awards this week. Anna and Erin’s exciting and innovative project caught the attention of the judging panel. Their passion for environmentalism and their sense of stewardship for the environment was an inspiration to the entire school community. Any current TY students interested in entering the Young Environmentalist Awards in 2021 please see Mr Clarke in Room 1.

Chess Club

Well done to Eoin Boyle (2F) who represented the AVS at the London Junior Chess Championships Ulster Qualifier round which was held on October 2nd at Methodist College Belfast. Eoin achieved double success, being awarded gold in the chess problem solving competition, and second in the U16 gameplay section. The competition was FIDE rated.


First Year Parents Information Night

Information for parents of first year students took place at 7pm on October 6th2021. Thanks to all of those who attended the evening. Please note that all of the presentations are available on our website under the parent’s tab - presentations for parents 2020/2021.

After School Evening Study

The first term of after school study commenced on Monday 20th Sept and will continue until the 21st October. There are some places left for those wishing to avail of this supervised study session. It is a great opportunity for students to study in a quiet supervised environment.

Joseph Sheerin Maynooth University Accountancy Showcase Prize Winner


Congratulations to former pupil of Abbey Vocational School Joseph Sheerin,who was recently top of his class in Maynooth University. Joseph won the PWC prize for the top Student on the 3rd Year Accounting & Finance Programme in Maynooth University and his prize was presented at the recent 2021 Maynooth University Accountancy Showcase by John Dunne of PWC. Congratulations Joseph!

Science Club

Our Science Club continues every week in the Laboratory room 33 on Wednesday’s at lunchtime, new members welcome! The Science Club is the place for students who are interested in science to learn about all scopes of science from medicine to chemistry to physics to the environment. We discuss how to use this conceptual basis for applications in the real world.

BT Young Scientist

Over the next few weeks we will profile the projects that have been entered into BT Young Scientist. These projects will also compete in the regional Scifest final in LYIT in May.

STUDENT: Bobby Gallagher


CATEGORY: Junior Biological and Ecological

PROJECT TITLE: Creating a commercially viable vegan alternative to steak that satisfies consumer expectations in terms of flavour, taste and texture.

Although I am not a vegan myself, I have a keen interest in veganism as one of the solutions to climate change. After a lot of research into the vegan products that are currently available, I found that the vegan steaks were not really comparable to the real thing and this is why I would like to develop one for my BTYS project. I have carried out a lot of research on Google scholar and have found many studies detailing the health and environmental benefits of pea protein. I have contacted the plant/it factory in Dublin which produces other vegan based foods like chicken-free goujons and meat free burgers. I have had the opportunity to visit their research and development labs to see first-hand the techniques for creating vegan produce. I will also speak to their finance department to gain an insight into the costings and profitability of their vegan range and I am hoping that they will advise me on additives that will promote the shelf life of my vegan steak so that it is a viable commercial product. With the help of plant/it, I aim to develop a vegan steak using pea and some soya protein that has a commercially expected shelf life and an optimum recipe for taste and texture. Once I have developed a product that I am happy with I will get vegan and non-vegan volunteers to test it against other commercially available vegan steaks.

STUDENT: Eadaoin Murphy


CATEGORY: Senior Social and Behavioural Biological and Ecological

PROJECT TITLE: Do subject ambassadors promote uptake of subjects at leaving cert?

APPROACH: After I came up with the idea of investigating if subject ambassadors influenced student subject choice, I found a Masters Thesis by Sinéad O’Sullivan from the University of Limerick which investigated the factors that influence students in their choice of music as a Senior Cycle subject in Post Primary Education. In her findings she quoted parental influence as one of the main factors in deciding leaving cert subjects. I have also discovered that students that study STEM subjects are more likely to have some science capital where they would know someone in a STEM related career and I think it would be interesting to see if science capital also influences subject choice in my secondary level. I intend on surveying all third, TY, fifth and sixth year students to gain an insight into the factors that will influence or have influenced their subject choices. In total I will sample 600 students, consisting of 300 students who have already made their subject choices and 300 students who have yet to make their subject choices, so I will use targeted sampling of all 3rd to 6th year students in my school. This way I will generate a lot of data from a large same size which should reduce bias. Then I will carry out my statistical analysis to see if there is significance in my findings.

STUDENT: Ciara Cannon


CATEGORY: Intermediate Biological and Ecological

PROJECT TITLE: An investigation into the optimum antimicrobial activity of nanoparticles.

APPROACH: My brother is completing a PhD and currently he is researching silicon nanoparticles and their applications in point of care testing. We discuss this a lot and his research has led me to also be interested in nanoscience. For my project, I will test various sizes and types of nanoparticles on 4 different types of bacteria to see if there is an optimum size and type of nano particle in terms of antimicrobial activity on each of the 4 types of bacteria. I have carried out a lot of research on Google scholar and have found many studies detailing the antimicrobial activity of nanoparticles and in particular the antimicrobial activity of silver nanoparticles. I am interested to see if it really is the best in terms of antimicrobial activity so this is why I would like to investigate a range of metals. Firstly, I will grow my bacterial cultures from slope agars on blood agar and then I will create lawn plates of bacteria on nutrient agar. I will make wells in the agar and I will add the various sizes of each of my test nanomaterials to the wells again using an aseptic technique. To measure efficacy, I will measure the cleared area around my test nano materials to establish the anti-microbial value of each test material and optimum size of nanoparticle. Once I have collected my nanoparticle antimicrobial results, I will then compare the antimicrobial activity of each test material using cleared area and I will use ‘t tests’ to see if differences in the mean cleared areas of each test material are significant.


Ongoing School Wellbeing Plan

Please see below our continually evolving wellbeing plan. Throughout the year more events and incentives will be added to our list.






1st yr bonding



TY internet safety


26th - 30th

European Months of sport


4th - 5th

Mental Health Week



1st yr wellbeing talk


11th - 15th

Anti-Bullying Week



Bullying Prevention Session


1st - 31st

Mobile Phone overuse awareness month


15th - 19th

Respect Week


8th and 19th

1st yr internet safety



Think languages


22nd - 26th

College Awareness Week


10th and 11th

TY Fundraiser ( a donation will be donated to asthma society Ireland)



Xmas Fair



Xmas Concert


1st - 31st

Wellness Month


8th, 9th and 11th



7th - 11th

Safer Internet Week


1st - 17th

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2021



World Down Syndrome



Daffodil Day



World Autism Awareness



World Earth Day


25th - 29th

Active School Week



National Workplace Wellbeing

First year plans as part of Transition programme

As part of the transition process from Primary to Post Primary as well as our mentoring programme we also run many support programmes for the students in first year. The following are planned for the coming weeks.

Zeeko Internet Safety Talk: Zeeko works with Secondary Schools delivering highly interactive and informative programmes aimed at improving student safety on the internet. Zeeko covers topics such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content, social media, digital stranger danger and data privacy.

Fun active and Sports Workshops:

These workshops with Ms Kelly, our Mentor leader and teacher involved in the transition programme will offer a fun session to all of the students in first year. Students will also undertake a fun style active event with the PE Department where they will get a further opportunity to get to know their new classmates

First Year Mentoring Programme:

Our 25 Peer Mentors started their lunchtime sessions with each 1st Year class every Tuesday. 1st Years have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities such as fun Kahoot quizzes, chill out music sessions and a well-being walk around the school. This is an excellent opportunity for 1st Year students to get to know each other in a relaxed setting as well as being able to ask their mentors any questions they may have.


The positive points initiative is continuing this year. It is acknowledged that a positive environment in school helps students to flourish. The positive points help create a healthy class rivalry. Pupils can be awarded points by their class teachers for things such as sustained effort in class, cooperation in group work, contribution to class discussions, contribution to extra-curricular activities helping others and for being polite and mannerly. Teachers like to catch their students “being good”.

Individual students who gain five points are acknowledged by the school for their positive contribution to school life and a postcard is sent home to parents/guardians by their year head. Classes with the most points at the end of each month are rewarded with a class prize e.g. longer lunch breaks, film class, extra PE class etc. This week's leaders are:1A, 2G and 3F.

Student Voice


The online Student Council Election took place on Friday 1st October where all students had the opportunity to vote for nominated students within their year group. Congratulations to our newly elected committee:

  • 1st Year: Sean Óg Gallagher & Kate Meehan
  • 2nd Year: Eoin Kennedy & Ava McMonagle
  • 3rd Year: Kevin Muldoon & Aoife Carron
  • TY: Aaron Hughes & Katie Furey
  • 5th Year: Nathan Ward & Emma Meehan
  • 6th Year: Kyle Murray & Aimee Anderson
  • LCA: Adam Bustard & Sara Mia Cooke

The Council held their first meeting on Friday 8th October where they got to know each other over a cup of tea, identified the role of the council in the school and elected some of their officers - Chairperson Emma Meehan, Secretary Aimee Anderson, PRO - Kate Meehan and Kevin Muldoon. The council will begin work straight away to organise the Shoe Box Appeal with the organisation HOPE. They considered issues relating to school life at the moment and have gone away to think about their theme for this year. They will communicate through Google Classroom. The student council at the AVS recognises students as stakeholders, values their views, and ensures their involvement in the operation of the school.

Class Captains

All of our Tutor classes now have two class captains appointed to them and we very much welcome them on board our student voice team for the year 2021/ 2022. All of our captains will work together with our school community to make our school a very special place.

Senior Prefects

All prefects will receive training in the big brother big sister programme this coming Friday. Here they have learned skills to help them mentor and support the younger students in the school. The first incentive that a number of our prefects will lead out this year will be a book club at lunch. They will do this through the guidance of Ms Logue.

Cycle Against Suicide

We are pleased and honoured to announce that we have received the Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School Award for the 5th year in a row. The Ambassador School Programme established in 2013 aims to encourage schools to become actively involved in mental health promotion. The programme provides a framework, structure and incentive for schools to integrate mental health activities into their school planning and rewards schools that go the extra mile. We look forward to taking part in this worthwhile programme again this year.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

The Abbey Vocational School celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week from Monday the 4th of October - Friday the 8th of October 2021. Mental Health Week is a firm fixture in the AVS Calendar as staff and students highlight, discuss and embrace mental health. Positive affirmations, motivational talks, sharing of kindness within our school have embodied Mental Health Awareness Week as the AVS Community join together to celebrate the ethos of the Abbey Vocational School. The Abbey Vocational School is dedicated to the holistic development of students in a caring environment where tolerance and respect are nurtured and valued. Activities from the week included:

Mindfulness Activities for Mental Health Week


This week students had a busy timetable of mental health activities in Wellbeing, SPHE, CSPE and IT classes. Mental health is all about how we think, feel and act. Mental Health Week celebrates our differences and encourages people to be open about their feelings and to understand others feelings and wellbeing too!



Students will:

  • will learn a new skill to enhance our wellbeing.
  • practice this skill throughout the week.
  • encourage us to take some time out for ourselves to stop, pause and relax.



Pictured is the work of students who took part in mindfulness colouring. Students were encouraged to take their time - slow down their breathing, pay attention to the way they are colouring, pay attention to the brush strokes and also encouraged to create their own designs if they wish.


Students engaging in the Mental Health Week workshop.


Ms Rooney is pictured serving up hot cups of tea to hardworking AVS Students.


Pictured are students enjoying a cup of tea and a chat during their wellbeing class.


AVS Reduce Screen time


Pictured is Ms Diver and some of our first year students with their AVS phone sleeping bag.

For the month of October, we challenge all our students to reduce their screen time as much as possible.Students will receive a presentation on the importance of reducing their screen time and they will be shown many tips on how they can do this. All students will receive an AVS phone sleeping big which they can use when they go home from school to put their phone in and leave it there until the next morning.

We are running this initiative to try and encourage all our students to use the time to reconnect with their family and friends, inviting them over to talk instead of using their phones to communicate with them and to encourage them to avoid posting on social media.

There will be a prize for the students that can reduce their screen time the most. If you have not received your AVS sleeping already don’t forget to collect one from Ms Rooney’s office.


First Year Students tell us their first hand experiences of Mental Health Week in the AVS:

“This week was mental health week. We learned lots of things such as how to care for your mental health and how to know if you or a friend are suffering with mental health issues such as depression.”

We also got to do a very interesting two period long zoom call with Evan Costigan where he covered topics such as the changes there are when moving to secondary school and the impact it could have on our wellbeing / mental health.

At the start of the week, in Spanish Class, we did a breathing exercise with a fish video. When the fish inflated we had to breathe in and when the fish deflated we had to breathe out. Here’s the video: Relaxed Breathing Training, Version B

On Tuesday, in Spanish Class, we did another breathing technique called belly breathing. We had to breathe with our belly and keep all the rest of our body still. Here's the video: Belly Breathing: Mindfulness for Children

On Wednesday, we did a zoom call with Psychologist, Evan Costigan. He covered topics such as:

  • The transition from primary to secondary
  • Why we shouldn't be worried
  • How to tackle your homework
  • How to organize your books, lockers and copies
  • Organization
  • Our emotions
  • New teachers

And much more

On Thursday, our class (1E) had a little tea party during our last period with our Tutor Ms O’Donnell, it was really nice to chat and chill with my classmates! By Bella Byrne.

“Yesterday we had a Mental Health Week Zoom Class with Evan Costigan from Dublin. We started it in S.P.H.E and ended it in Information Technology Class. They were the first two classes of that day. Mental Health Week started 21 years ago. It runs from the 4th of October until the 8th of October in the school. The theme this year is Mental Health in an Unequal World.

We also had slides for Mental Health Week in our Wellbeing class with Ms. McGee. First I will talk about Evan. He started off with a quiz question which we would do more along the day. The question was “Which county am I from?”. The answer was Dublin. He then talked about our timetable and how to use it. We then had a break for ten minutes. After our break, we talked about a daily planner which he told us was helpful. Then we had a couple more questions, such as “which country has the fastest wifi?”. Which was South Korea and “which was the deadliest animal last year?”, which was a mosquito. He also showed us how to make notes. We had a great time!

Then in Wellbeing we looked through slides for Mental Health Week with Ms. McGee. First we started off by saying what we already know about Mental Health and the symptoms of it such as depression or stressing out and mood changes. We also looked at ways we can help people and support each other. It was a very productive exercise. I took away a lot from Mental Health Week and I will use what I have learned to help me and my friends moving forward”. ByLewis McCalmont (1E)

Wellbeing Poster Competition 2021

The Abbey Vocational School Wellbeing Poster Competition 2021 invites students to design a poster around our school theme of RESPECT and BE KIND. Students can use their creativity, talent and vision to create a poster which embodies the values of RESPECT, highlights the importance of BE KIND and encourages students to think of others and support each other.There will be a prize for the winning posters. All entries must be left into Ms Rooney's office or to the main office on or before the 22nd Oct 2021.

Wellbeing Theme for the year for 2021/2022 - Respect - Here in the AVS we believe and encourage everyone to Respect everyone and everything around us. Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they're different from you or you don't agree with their beliefs Wellbeing Slogan for the year for 2021/2022 - Be Kind - our mission is to inspire our students and staff to create a kinder world both inside and outside our school community.

Happy World Teachers Day


Pictured are the wonderful ‘Happy World Teacher’s Day’ Posters given to all Teachers in the AVS. The theme of World Teachers' Day 2021 is 'Teachers at the heart of education recovery'. It aims to recognise the tireless efforts of teachers to keep lessons going and ensure minimal disruption to pupils' learning over the course of the pandemic. Pictured are Mr Young and Ms Rooney receiving their accolades from our TY Students.


Anti-Bullying Week 2021

Next week sees the launch of Anti Bullying Week 2021 in the AVS. The week will include many different events such as workshops, talks, presentations and activities. Keep an eye on our social media and our school notes to get a full report on all the activities throughout the week.

Level 2 Learning Programme

This unit is concerned with the personal development of the students. It dealswith their health and wellbeing covering areas such as healthy eating habits and healthy lifestyles. It is concerned with enabling students to be as independent as possible in catering for their personal care needs. This includes becoming aware of their sexuality, managing stress, and knowing how to stay safe in a range of contexts.

Non-Sport Lunchtime Clubs

Our non-sport lunchtime clubs have commenced. Check out the different club’s below:


Spanish Club

El club español continúa esta semana el jueves a la hora del almuerzo en la sala 33, el club está disponible para todos los estudiantes menores. ¡No dude en unirse a nosotros! Esta semana vamos a practicar algunos ejercicios en Linguascope, que es un sitio web muy útil y dinámico con muchos ejercicios. También vamos a seguir hablando el idioma a través de una variedad de actividades de conversación.

ICT/Coding Club

Our AVS Coding Club is starting this week in room 47 on Mondays at lunchtime, please join us! Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, and this website – they’re all made with code. Coding, in the simplest of terms, is telling a computer what you want it to do, which involves typing in step-by-step commands for the computer to follow.

Debating Club

Come join our Debating Club every Tuesday in room 33! The debate club gives our students a fun way of developing their oracy skills. The club also helps students to become more informed about political and global affairs.

Book Club

Join us every Friday in the Garden for our AVS Book Club! Our book discussion club is a group of students who meet to discuss a book or books that they have read and express their opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. We would be delighted to welcome new members as we delve into the world of our favourite authors!

Coirneál na Gaeilge

Lúb Log Thamhnaigh


Ar an Cháadaoin chuaigh rang 4D agus 4C ar shiúlóid ag fánaíocht sna sléibhte Na Cruacha Gorma ar “Lúb Log Thamhnaigh”. Thosaigh siad ag Halla Log Thamhnaigh. Shiuil siad thart ar an fheirm ghoaithe. Bhí na muilte gaoithe an-scanrúil ach bhí gach rud eile go hálainn. Ba siúlóid 8 gcileméadar é agus bhi leath den siúlóid suas an cnoc.

Roimh an tsiulóid, fuair an rang taispeántas cocaireachta leis an cócaire áitiúil iontach Zach Ó Gallachóir ar conas tósta Francach agus anlann imreoige a dhéanamh. Nuair a thainig muid ar ais go dtí an halla d’ith gach duine tósta agus d’ol siad tae. Bhí sé galánta!

Mhair an turas ar feadh ceithre uair an chloig agus bhi gach duine ar ais ar scoil faoi a haon a chlog. Lá baistí a bhí ann ach chuaigh an turas ar aghaidh mar is gnáth.

Bhi an Máistir Ó hEagartaigh, Máistreas Ní Cheallaigh, Máistir Mac Daibhéid agus Máistir Mac Eoin ag siúl fosta.


Ceisteanna faoin turas a cuireadh ar an Mháistir Mac Daibhéid

  1. Ar bhain na daltai taitneamh as an turas?

Gan aon amhras, bhain na páistí sult agus tairbhe as an turas. Bhí sé maith don tsláinte mheabhrach agus fhisiciúil agus bhí an tósta francach agus tae go hálainn ag an deireadh

  1. An ndearna tu aon rud eile ar an turas?

Chonaic muid na muilte Gaoithe ag barr Log Thamhnaigh. Bhí siad ollmhór agus ag bogadh go gasta mar bhí gaoth ann ar an lá.

  1. Conas a bhi an aimsir?

Bhí sé go deas ar dtús ach d’éirigh sé rud beag fliuch ansin. Ní raibh sé rófhuar, áfach, agus ba mhaith an lá é do shiúlóid.


  • Muilte gaoithe - Windmills
  • Cócaire áitiúil- Local Chef
  • Anlann imreoige - Butterscotch Sauce
  • Sláinte mheabhrach agus fhisiciúil- Mental & Physical Health
  • Sult agus Tairbhe- enjoyment and benefit


All orders for the canteen must now be done through Click on the AVS school crest picture at the bottom of the page and this will take you to the menu that you can order from. The cashless card will then be used to identify the student and you pay by your regular debit/credit card at the moment. Do not top up the cashless card at the moment. The cards are on sale from the chef in the canteen in school.

Guidance Department


  • 15th October 2021: Deadlin
  • e for application to all Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine courses and all courses in Oxford and Cambridge
  • 26th January 2022: Deadline for all other courses


  • 5th November 2021: CAO opens for registration.
  • 1st February 2022: CAO closes for applications.
  • 1st March 2022: Closing date for online completion of HEAR/DARE forms
  • 15th March 2022: Latest date for submitting HEAR/DARE supporting documents to the CAO office
  • 5th May 2022: Online for facility for Change Of Mind becomes available
  • 1st July 2022: Change Of Mind Facility closes

Please click HERE for further details.

Parents Information Night

The parent’s information night will take place on Tuesday 2nd November at 7pm. Topics covered in the presentation will include CAO, UCAS, Study Abroad, HEAR, DARE, Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Further Education and Grants.


  • Leaving Cert 1:1 appointments are ongoing.
  • Please see your Guidance Counsellor to book an appointment.


Please keep an eye on our guidance website. Go to and click on the Guidance logo.

Teaching & Learning

During the 2020-2021 academic year, much was done by our staff to support students in the progression of their learning in socially distanced classrooms and the unusual circumstances of teaching & learning online. Our teachers and SNAs explored and used a range of digital technologies and strategies to create new opportunities for learning, teaching and assessment.

During 2021-2022 we will continue to focus on developing our school improvement targets:

  1. Ongoing sharing of learning Intentions and further of development of success criteria.
  2. Providing effective and timely feedback to students which identifies targets for future improvement.
  3. Encouraging students to reflect on their learning, on feedback given by the teacher or that given by peers.

Over the next few weeks in the Newsletter we will explore these concepts and how they act as a vehicle to enhance our students’ learning.

A look at Learning Intentions & Success Criteria

A learning intention for a lesson, or a series of lessons, is a statement, created by the teacher and their students, which clearly describes what the teacher wants the students to know, understand and be able to do, as a result of learning and teaching activities.

  • Learning Intentions are descriptions of what learners should know, understand and be able to do by the end of a learning period or unit.
  • They are the basis for tracking students’ progress, providing feedback and assessing achievement.
  • In addition to learning intentions, students may also have individual

learning goals that they address in their learning.

Success criteria are linked to learning intentions. Success criteria summarise the key steps or the ingredients the student needs in order to fulfil the learning intention. Success criteria can be developed by the teacher and/or the students and describe what success looks like. They help the student and the teacher to make judgements about the quality of the student's learning.

Success Criteria are most effective when:

  • They are closely linked to the learning intention.
  • They are specific to the activity/task and will vary with each activity/task, even if the activities/tasks share a common learning intention.
  • They are agreed/developed with the students in advance. This discussion of success criteria is particularly important in the classroom.
  • They encourage responsibility and independence by developing our students’ ability to do self-assessment.
  • They are revisited and used to provide students with feedback on their learning. This feedback can be provided by both you and the students themselves.

Teachers will from time-to-time provide exemplary samples of work to help clarify and communicate what quality looks like. For example, some teachers may use WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like)collection of worked samples. These might be on a classroom wall or shared through Google Classroom. Students are encouraged to refer to the WAGOLL while assessing their own or their peers’ work. In many instances, work samplesare provided to students at different levels of quality to provoke a class discussion on success criteria, and strengths and weaknesses of the work.

Why Learning Intentions and Success Criteria? They ...

  • ensure all students know what they are going to learn and where they are heading.
  • provide guidance to teachers on what their chosen teaching and learning activities are seeking to achieve.
  • provide the basis for feedback and help reduce any inconsistency between current student understanding and intended learning.
  • assist students and teachers in tracking and assessing student progress.
  • help teachers to understand the impact of their teaching and learning activities, and when they may need to adapt or change these.
  • help our students understand what improved performance looks like.

For more on Learning Intentions & Success Criteria, please see the Teaching & Learning section of our school website.


TY Diary for the week 4/10/21- 11/10/21

  • Mental Health Week
  • Public Speaking Workshop with Actor Alan Devine from ‘Fair City’.
  • TY Peer Mentors peer teach Organisational Skills to first year students.
  • Also taking place is the Theatre Set and Costume Design workshop which gives students an insight into the backstage management of a theatre production. This will help prepare students for working on the Abbey Vocational School Musical.
  • TYC and TYD Leghowney loop walk and cookery demonstration workshop.
  • Surfing along the glorious coastline of Donegal at Rossnowlagh Beach is an amazing experience our TY’s will cherish!

Mental Health Week

On Tuesday Transition Year Students engaged in a workshop looking at Mental Health. The Learning Objectives of this workshop were:

  • Core: Describe what we mean when we discuss ‘Mental Health’.
  • Challenge: To identify some of the causes and symptoms of mental health.
  • Aspire: Identify strategies for recognising, preventing and addressing these in themselves and others.


A big thank you must go to the Wellbeing Committee and Ms Rooney who organised a phenomenal timetable of events for the AVS Community this week. Part of these events was an important PowerPoint which encompassed all the values of Mental Health Week 2021.

The values of Mental Health Week include:

Connect with the people around you

With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

Take Notice Be curious

Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Capture the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Be Active

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Express yourself

Some people like to read to learn about the world, or escape into other worlds. Some people like to express their feelings through art, some like talking things through with others. Whatever your style, make sure you do express yourself - it will help you to stay connected, to discover more about you, your identity, and the person that you want to become.

Distract yourself

When you are feeling immersed in a problem, let yourself switch off from it and go and do something completely different. When you return to it at a different time it may seem more manageable. Distracting yourself is not a cop-out, but can be a reliable way to stop overthinking a problem when you are feeling stuck.

Food and mood

Changes in blood sugar levels are linked to changes in mood and energy. Eating regularly maintains blood sugar levels. Not eating regularly can make you tired, irritable, anxious and cause poor concentration. Good tips include eating breakfast, eating every 3-4 hours, avoiding junk foods, eating plenty of fruit and veg and drinking lots of water.

Ask for help

How would you feel if a friend asked for help, advice or just wanted to talk things through? Many of us would be pleased to be chosen to confide in, it might make us feel valued. When you are feeling low in mood, or anxious, it is easy to think negatively about yourself and be less likely to seek support from others. Try and beat this feeling and approach people that you trust to talk to. You may be surprised at how much better you might feel and how they have responded positively to you, as you would if the situation were reversed.

TY Peer Mentoring Session - Organisational Skills

This week our TY’s were involved with the teaching of organisational skills to first years. Peer teaching occurs when students, by design, teach other students.

This Organisational Skills workshop took place in all 1st Year classes on Monday. Peer Mentors helped students to colour code their timetables which were displayed on the inside door of their locker. This makes it easier for them to organise themselves in terms of what books, copies and equipment they may need for each class.



Pictured are Anna Bustard, Emma Sweeney and Meabh McNamara who are part of our Peer Mentoring Programme and this week were teaching organisational skills to first year students. Helping students to settle into their new timetable and classes.


This week TY Mentors were teaching organisational skills to first year students and helping students to settle into their new timetable and classes.

Alan Devine Public Speaking

This week Transition Year Students engaged in an interesting and inspiring workshop on public speaking with Alan Devine. Alan Devine graduated with honours from Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied philosophy and sociology. He has since pursued a career of acting in both film and on the stage. There his credits include numerous stage roles, including various works of Shakespeare.


Alan Devine engaging with AVS Transition Year Students in a Public Speaking Workshop.

The Mission of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is ‘To promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative, and responsible members of society’.

The benefits of public speaking are many, effective public speaking skills can help with career advancement, as they indicate creativity, critical thinking skills & leadership abilities.

Public speaking can significantly boost your confidence. Overcoming the fears and insecurities that accompany public speaking is empowering. Public speaking is an excellent way to build critical thinking skills. Writing a speech requires a great deal of careful thought, from the audience analysis to the closing sentence. It's not enough to have a message, you also need to figure out how to tailor the message to fit the needs of your audience.

Communication skills are crucial for personal and professional success and improving this area is one of the greatest benefits of public speaking. Preparing a speech forces speakers to take a step back and think critically about effective ways to communicate. In everyday life, it’s easy to fall back on communication habits we formed many years ago.

When you write a speech, you have to think carefully about the best framework, persuasive strategy, and diction to communicate your message to the audience. This type of thinking can help you improve your communication skills in other areas of your life.

Transition Year Drama Workshop

Pictured are TYB students who enjoyed the Drama Workshop this week. Transition year affords pupils the opportunity to try out different skill sets that they would not normally get a chance to do during the other school years. The TY Theatre Workshop focuses on developing the individual, and in teaching the skills of working as a team, encouraging and helping each other.


The benefits of Theatre Workshops are:

  • Improved self-confidence. Firstly, musical theatre workshops push students out of their comfort zone.
  • Problem solving skills. In drama, students are required to communicate the who, what, where, when and why of a scene.
  • Teamwork and trust.
  • Social Awareness.

ActionAid ActionTalks National Speech Writing Competition

As part of our Literacy Module Transition Year Students are taking part in the ActionAid Action Talks National Speech Writing Competition. This is a great opportunity for students to work on their writing skills, and develop their speech writing talents!

The role of ActionAid is to empower local women to take control over their own lives, support them with education and training, for example: literacy, numeracy, work skills, leadership skills, and how to achieve their rights to healthcare, work and education.

Each TY Student can pick one of the following topics:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of unpaid work in the home (e.g. childminding, caretaking, household functioning) with women often bearing the brunt of this work. How can we redistribute unpaid work in a way that is fair for everyone?
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, incidences of gender-based violence rose, both in Ireland and internationally. What can Ireland do?
  • Unfair access to vaccines has meant that those living in the poorest countries will suffer the worst effects of the pandemic. The inequalities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of global solidarity and international aid. Discuss.

Work Experience

During Transition Year, the students will gain some valuable insights into the world of work through our work placement programme. The work placements take place over two separate one week slots. Each student is expected to find his or her own placements with an employer in a suitable area of work. This should be done in consultation with their parents and the Career Guidance team. Every effort should be made to find work placements which are relevant to any plans for a future career. Students are encouraged to start planning for their work placements and have an idea of where they might like to apply. The dates for the TY Work Experience are 13th-17th of December 2021 and 14th-18th of February 2022.


The Transition Year Programme is diverse, inclusive and engaging. TY Students take part in workshops, talks and courses ranging from public speaking to Fintech.

Transition Year Trips

Students will take part in a number of trips throughout the year where it is possible under the current guidelines.


An eportfolio is an electronic portfolio, which the students will use to keep a record of all their work from the year. They will design their own web page containing all their work and then summit it to their tutor at the end of the year.


Students will be assessed on an ongoing basis throughout the year by their class teachers. Assessments in line with best practice will be blended and may consist of project work, practical assessments or class tests. Students will receive a report from their subject teachers as part of their Christmas assessment. The final TY assessment will include an interview and a presentation of each student’s ePortfolio. Students will receive details of expectations and success criteria for this assessment in due course.

Performing Arts

Transition Years students are undertaking a module in Performing Arts as part of the TY curriculum. They are currently participating in a 3-week rotation amongst the 6 teachers who are delivering different aspects of the course including music, theatre studies, dance, event management, costuming and set design.

This module allows students to develop their creativity and prepares them with the necessary tools and skills needed in preparation for the school musical.



Well done to all our junior athletes last Friday at the school cross country event. Pictured are first year boys team won gold with Jack Glapa (1st), Gethin Mosby (2nd), Mark Henaghan (6th), Thomas Lenehan (7th), Oran Boyle (9th), Jude McNamee (10th) Second year boys Conor McCahill won gold.

Other top ten performances from Jamie Kennedy Zoe Murray, Mary Kate McGarrigle, Sarah Colhoun, Grace Gallagher and Sarah Thomas




Girls Gaelic Training

“This week there was Girls Gaelic Training after school on Tuesday. Girls Gaelic Football is still recognised as one of the fastest growing female sports in Europe, with over 1000 clubs in Ireland and membership growing by the day, Girls Gaelic is reaching women and girls from all over the country.

On Tuesday there was U14 & U16 & U20 training with a lot of students turning up! All the girls want to play Gaelic and want to represent the school in Gaelic Football. The training was so good, with Ms Rooney doing a lot of warm ups and then we played a match against each other. I think the girls team will do well at the Gaelic if we work hard and keep training!”. By Megan Murphy(1E)

Athletics Training

Training is starting back on Thursdays from 6.45pm - 8pm in the school gym. This training is for all club and school students training for cross country and track & field. Please see Mrs Gallagher (PE Dept) if you have any questions.

Cross Country Training

Our Cross Country training is on every Thursday at lunchtime on the track for all students. This training is open to all students who want to improve their fitness and will cater to all fitness levels ranging from walking level up to running level. Students must wear runners for the training and can meet on the track at the beginning of lunch. Training will last 20/30 minutes every day.

TY Coaching: A large number of transition years have volunteered to coach athletics on Thursday evenings. They will gain valuable experience coaching primary school age children for the year. They will also be responsible for organising various athletic events throughout the year.

Lunchtime Physical Activities

Please see below the plan for lunchtime activities for this term.

Lunchtime Physical Activities

P Mc Devitt



1st Year Soccer - Boys & Girls

J Daly


All weather pitch

2nd year soccer - Boys

K Munnelly



Fitness Circuit - All Senior Students

L Kelly



Dance Club - All Students

I Mahony



2nd year games - Girls

G Gorman


All weather

3rd year soccer - Boys

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

P Rooney



Table Tennis - All Senior Students

E O’Mahony



1st Year games - Boys & Girls

S Mc Fadden


All weather

1st year soccer - Boys & Girls

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

K Munnelly



Sports Yoga - All Senior Students

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

C Hegarty


All Weather

3rd year soccer - Boys

P Rooney



Unihoc - Junior girls

K Munnelly



Senior Students - Yoga

C Herron



3rd year games - Boys & Girls

P O Donnell


All weather

2nd year soccer - Boys & Girls

K Munnelly



Pilates - All Senior Students

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

Health and Safety

Covid-19 Protocols

In order to ensure the safety of all the school community we would ask everyone to please adhere to the following protocols:

  • If feeling unwell, do not come to school.
  • It is imperative that students wear a cloth face covering when a physical distance of 2m from staff or students cannot be maintained. Masks MUST be worn correctly, ie. cover nose and mouth. Put this on before coming into the school grounds please. It is necessary to wear your mask in the school grounds also where you cannot maintain a distance of 2m from others.
  • Cloth face coverings act as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. Cloth face coverings are therefore intended to prevent transmission of the virus from the wearer (who may not know that they are infected) to those with whom they come into close contact.
  • Students should go straight to their assigned base room, if before 9:00, otherwise go straight to class
  • Students should not congregate in groups
  • All students should follow the usual hygiene protocols in classrooms
    • use hand sanitiser
    • wipe desks and chairs with the wipes provided
    • do not move the desks from their set position
  • Wash your hands correctly and often

Traffic Management


Jan 18
Subject Choices Parents (incoming 1st yr) 7-9pm
Jan 27
P/T Meeting 2nd year
Feb 07
Mock Exams
Feb 14
TY Work Experience
Abbey V.S. Newsletter - Mon 17th Jan 2022
Updated HSE guidelines regarding Covid-19 and isolation for Adults and Children from their 13th Birthday. (5th Jan 2022)
Abbey V.S. Newsletter - Mon 20th Dec 2021
The Glebe, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, F94A409.
074 97 21105
© 2022 Abbey Vocational School