Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 13th Sept 2021

Abbey VS Newsletter 6th Sept to 12th Sept 2021.

AVS Newsletter.jpg

Issue 1: 2021-2022

6th Sept to 12th Sept 2021

Welcome Back!

The Staff and Management of the Abbey Vocational School welcome you back to a new school year 2021/22, recharged and ready to start the new term. We also welcome our new students who are part of our amazing learning community. We welcome and value your positive energy and look forward to supporting you during the coming weeks, with a dedication to excellence in education.

Leaving Cert Results

Congratulations to our leaving cert class of 2021 of their outstanding results. We are so proud of each and every one of them. So many students now go on to fulfil their ambitions in the next stage of their life and we wish them all the very best along their future pathway.

Well done to Ailbhe Liu who achieved 7 H1s and the maximum of 625 points in her Leaving Certificate examinations this year.


Well done Ailbhe we are so proud of you and all the AVS class of 2021.

First Year Parents Information Night

Information for parents of first year students takes place at 7pm On October 6th2021. This is to update parents of our first years on the various matters relating to the school. It also gives parents a chance to address some of the queries that they now might have now that their son/ daughter has had a chance to experience a month of school life. This session will be online and a link will be emailed to you all prior to the event.

First Year Induction

We welcomed all our new students on Thursday 26th August, where they met their Tutors, Peer Mentors and their subject teachers. They were given a tour of the school, had time to interact with their new classmates and had a little time for some fun and games. On Friday the 27th they returned for another day of fun. They had a fun -filled session in the school gym with Joe Stapleton and our PE department who organised a workshop of fun and games, all designed to help the students interact with the students in their class and help them settle into their new school. By the end of the day the students were very well tuned into their new environment. The students have settled in very well in their new school.

2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1A


2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1B


2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1C


2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1D


2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1E


2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1F


2021-2022 first year class groups at the Abbey Vocational School - 1G


AVS Head Boy and Head Girl

The role of head boy and head girl are very important, where the students serve as excellent role models in the AVS Community, sharing pupils' ideas with the school's leadership, making speeches and representing the school.


Pictured are Vice-Head Girl Ellen Canavan, Head Boy Conor Campbell, Principal Geraldine Diver, Vice-Head Boy Setanta Tanham and Head Girl Savannah Timony.

AVS Leaving Cert Prefects 2021/2022

Senior prefects:


Junior Prefects:


1st year Big Brother, Big Sister Mentors:


Innovative Development at the AVS

Exciting times as the sod has been turned by Anne McHugh CE of Donegal ETB and Principal Geraldine Diver on the new development at the Abbey Vocational School. Construction is led by Michael Kelly and his team at Glebe Builders and will consist of an ASD unit and six new classrooms.


Pictured (above) are Anne McHugh CE of Donegal ETB and Principal Geraldine Diver, Vice Principal Ronan Doherty and Chairperson of the Donegal ETB Geoffrey Browne, Michael Kelly and his team at Glebe builders.


These works consist of the new ASD Support Facility, 6 new general classrooms, a new roof covering for a large area of the school, fire safety improvement works throughout the school and new Tennis/Basketball courts. The new premier model and design will house top of the range facilities for our students in the AVS Community. The development will take several stages to complete such as; Site Establishment, Demolition/Groundworks/Drainage, Build structure/Roofing/External Finishes, Internal Renovation and Remodelling, Services, Internal Fit out and Finishes.


At present the site establishment has been completed. This is the process of assessing and setting up a building site with the correct health and safety measures, signage and barriers. With restricted access to the school car parking facilities, parents and the wider school community are asked to drop AVS Students in the near vicinity of the school to appease school traffic. We thank you for your efforts and patience during this time as we reap the rewards when our new state of the art facility is completed.

Guidance Department

The Guidance Department would like to congratulate the Leaving Cert Class of 2021 on their well-earned results, achieved under challenging circumstances. They have demonstrated incredible resilience and determination throughout their senior cycle.


Round one was issued on the 7th September, with Round 2 due on 20th September. See for further information.

The Guidance Department has been available to support and offer guidance to last year's candidates.


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

Careers talks

Virtual career presentations will continue this year. The University of Limerick have submitted theirs which has been shared with students.


Leaving Cert 1-1 appointments are available. Speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instructions.

Student Voice

image031.pngThe student council at the AVS recognises students as stakeholders, values their views, and ensures their involvement in the operation of the school.

Nomination forms for a position on the AVS Student Council can be picked up at the office and returned to the Student Voice Box in the assembly area. Once nominations have been accepted, students can then begin their election campaign. Two students from each year group are elected each year onto the Council, one boy and one girl. Class Captains are also included on the ballot paper. The election will be online during the final week in September. Every student in the school will have the opportunity to vote.

Transition Year 2021/22

“The mission of Transition Year 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” (Transition Year Programmes Guidelines, DES 1994).

The TY Leadership Team for the year is TY Coordinator - Mr C Hegarty, TY Core Team and Tutors - Ms P Rooney, Ms L Kelly, Mr S McFadden, Ms F Bogle, Ms L O’Donnell and Ms E O’Mahony. During the year the students will take responsibility for their learning and will develop strategies in active and experiential learning which will help them to become better students. There are many aspects to the AVS Transition Year Programme.

Teaching and Learning

It is our intention to make every effort to bridge the gap in learning for students in TY this year due to the Covid period and a strong emphasis on academic work will also be very much part of the programme this year.

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 to when they return in September.


The Transition Year Programme is diverse, inclusive and engaging. TY students take part in workshops, talks and courses ranging from public speaking to Fintech (financial technology). AVS Students are encouraged to participate in many activities such as:

  • Young Social Innovators
  • Music Production
  • Architect in School Programme
  • Active Schools Training
  • Mini Company
  • Foroige
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Environmental Project
  • Surfing
  • Yoga
  • Fitness
  • Zeeko
  • Creative Workshop
  • Amplify
  • Gartan Trip
  • Donegal Castle History Trip
  • Bluestack Walk

Transition Year Trips

Students will take part in a number of trips throughout the year where it is possible under the current guidelines. The first trip to Gartan Outdoor Education Centre took place on 10th of September for TY D and the 11th September for TY C. This week our students head away on the 16th September (TY B) and the 24th September for TY A.


TY Work Experience:13th-17th of December 2021 and 14th-18th of February 2022. The Gartan Bonding Trip: 6th,7th, 8th and 9th of September. (Class Groups)


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


Returning to start the new school term, TYs engaged in the Zeeko Workshop. Zeeko is an Irish company whose mission is to teach Internet Safety to Children, Parents, Teachers. Zeeko is an innovator in this field with experience and expertise in Children’s Internet Safety, successfully managing the online risks young people face every day. Transition Year Students studied Internet Safety and the importance of awareness.

Gartan Trip

This week the Transition Year of 2021/22 enjoyed their bonding trip to Gartan Outdoor Education & Training Centre


Set in the heart of the ‘coolest place on the planet’ on the shores of Lough Gartan in County Donegal and a stone’s throw from Glenveagh National Park and a short drive to the stunningly beautiful Donegal coastline and the Wild Atlantic Way.

“On the 6th of September I travelled to Gartan Outdoor Education Centre with my peers. When we arrived we had a short briefing with the group leaders outlining the day ahead. We split into three groups of three and did our activities in those groups in accordance with Health & Safety Regulations.

My group began the action packed day with indoor rock climbing. There were four different walls that got harder as they went on. We were harnessed in and went one at a time. It was challenging, exhilarating and fun!

Our next challenge was Orienteering around the Gartan Adventure Centre Boathouse. During the first round there were six posts we had to find. In the second round there were 10 numbers we had to find, we were tested to our limits!

After lunch, we changed into our wetsuits and went kayaking. It was amazing! Gliding along through the still water, listening to the sound of nature, we bonded as a class, looking forward to our year ahead! It was such a good day out!”by Hannah McCaughan

“With great excitement on Monday the 6th of September, my class and I went on our first TY trip of the year! We went to Gartan Adventure Centre based in Letterkenny. We got on the bus in the morning and due to covid restrictions, we had to wear our masks and sit on our own. Travelling to our destination, everyone was so giddy with excitement! My group started off kayaking so we changed into a wetsuit, lifejacket, and helmets. Walking out to the water's edge, the water lapped at our feet and the birds sang in the trees. Instructors gave us direction and we were shown how to paddle and what to do if we fell into the water!

We paddled to the other side of the lake, with a gentle breeze to our backs and as we hit the other side of the lake we pulled the kayaks up onto the rocks and went in for a swim. It was magical!

Returning to the Gartan Centre, we got changed, had lunch and were split into two groups. One group went rock climbing and the other went orienteering. My group started off at the orienteering and we participated in two different trails. It was a fantastic day, full of adventure, excitement and fun! I really enjoyed the day and would love to go back again!”. By Ava Kennedy

Greatest Showman Musical Dance Workshop

This week AVS TY Students enjoyed a dance workshop based on the film ‘The Greatest Showman’. ‘The Greatest Showman’ is a 2017 American musicaldrama film directed by Michael Gracey in his directorial debut, written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron. Students moved to the beat and danced the morning away!


Peer Mentoring Programme

This year, 26 of our TY students are involved in the Peer Mentoring programme under the guidance of Ms. Kelly. They were involved in the First Year Induction process ensuring that all first years settled into their new school environment during their first two days at the Abbey Vocational School. The peer mentors helped first year students understand how to manage their new timetable, how to organise their locker and discussed what equipment they might need for certain classes.

Over the next weeks, peer mentors will host lunchtime sessions with each first year class and carry out a range of activities such as fun quizzes, chill out music sessions and a well-being walk around the school. They will also have an opportunity to carry out an organisation workshop with first years before the end of the first term.

AVS Sport

The Abbey Vocational School is looking forward to a visit from Paralympic Medal Winner Katie George Dunlevy on Monday the 13th of September.


Pictured Paralympic Winners Katie George Dunlevey and Eve McCrystal

Ulster Schools Team

Congratulations to Tori Murchan and Alex Anderson who were members of the Ulster Schools team that competed in the Tailteann Schools Interprovincial Games on Saturday 11th September.


Alex, a 5th year student had a busy day competing in three events (Hammer, Discus and Shot putt). In the Hammer throw, he won a bronze medal, throwing very close to a personal best of 46.62m. Later in the 1.5k Discus, with a best of 34.22m, Alex finished 5th and added two more valuable points to the Ulster Boys team total and with a 12.07m/5k Shot best throw gained a very busy Alex a 7th place finish.


Tori, a TY student was involved in a nail-biting High Jump competition, eventually winning with a personal best jump of 1.68m. This winning performance has gained her selection onto the Irish Schools team for the upcoming Under 17 International Schools on Saturday 25th Sept in Derby where she will compete against the top athletes from England, Scotland and Wales. Well done both athletes on their magnificent achievements and a special word of thank you to all of the coaches from Tirchonaill AC for their hard work behind the scenes.



Lunchtime Physical Activities

Please see below the plan for lunchtime activities for this term. Note we will follow up next week with a further list of clubs such as coding club. A science club, drama club, debating club and a book club.

Lunchtime Physical Activities

Session Plan

P Mc Devitt



1st Year Soccer - Boys & Girls

Just turn up

J Daly


All weather pitch

2nd year soccer - Boys

Just turn up, possibility of a league

K Mullenly


Sports hall

Fitness Circuit - All Senior Students

Just turn up

L Kelly



Dance Club - All Students

Just turn up

I Mahony


Sports hall

2nd year games - Girls

Divided court games

G Gorman


All weather

3rd year soccer - Boys

Small sided games, 5 aside, round robin format

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

Technique training on an erg machine

P Rooney



Table Tennis - All Senior Students

3 tables running - 2 students at time playing at each table.

E O’Mahony


Sports hall

1st Year games - Boys & Girls

Fun games, skipping, dance

S Mc Fadden


All weather

1st year soccer - Boys & Girls

Soccer with 1st year group, 5 aside

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

Technique training on an erg machine

K Mullenly



Sports Yoga - All Senior Students

Just turn up

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

Technique training on an erg machine

C Hegarty


All Weather

3rd year soccer - Boys

3rd Year Soccer League 5 a side.

P Rooney


Sports hall

Unihoc - Junior girls

Just turn up

K Mullenly



Senior Students - Yoga

Just turn up

C Herron


Sports hall

3rd year games - Boys & Girls

Ultimate Frisbee. Sign up at the first session.

P O Donnell


All weather

2nd year soccer - Boys & Girls

Fun football, relaxed atmosphere, non-competitive

K Mullenly



Pilates - All Senior Students

Just turn up

S Maguire



Rowing - All Students

Technique training on an erg machine

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, i.e. 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 9:00am, 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 Plan


Jan 27
P/T Meeting 2nd year
Feb 07
Mock Exams
Feb 14
TY Work Experience
Feb 14
Mock Exams
Abbey V.S. Newsletter - Mon 24th Jan 2022
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)
The Glebe, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, F94A409.
074 97 21105
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