Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 20th Sept 2021

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 20th Sept 2021

AVS Newsletter.jpg

Issue 2: 2021-2022

13th Sept to 19th Sept 2021

Paralympian Katie-George Dunlevy visits the AVS


Paralympian Katie-George Dunlevy, triple medal winning cyclist in this year's Paralympics 2020 visited the Abbey Vocational School Monday the 13th of September. Katie is pictured with School principal Geraldine Diver, head girl Savannah Timony and head boy Conor Campbell Katie George Dunlevy and her cycling partner Eve McCrystal have been amongst the most successful Paralympic Athletes ever to have represented Ireland having medalled consistently at World and Paralympic Games since 2014.


Katie George Dunlevy is pictured with the Abbey’s Head Girl and Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl and Deputy Head Boy. Based in Crawley, West Sussex, Katie George Dunlevy has been a medal winner in the Netherlands in 2015, Rio in 2016, South Africa in 2017 and a year later in 2018 in Italy.


Pictured are the Abbey’s very successful athletes Tori Murchan and Alex Anderson with Katie George Dunlevy and their mums Connie Anderson and Edel Murchan.


Pictured are AVS Students Tristian Dowd and Head Boy Conor Campbell with Paralympian Katie George Dunlevy. Katie George has had a very successful partnership with Eve McCrystal. The pair have been dominant in tandem para cycling with their greatest success coming at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 as the pair claimed Paralympic medals in both the Time Trial (Gold) and the Road Race (Silver). Also, 2019 was highly productive for the duo with the pairing winning Gold and Silver at the Road World Championships in Emmen in January and they followed up in 2021 with two silvers just one month ago!

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 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.

Wellbeing and Settling into first year Workshop with Evan Costigan:

Evan Costigan founded Brainbox in response to his concern for student well-being. An experienced and innovative educator with a background in psychology, he has worked with thousands of students in over 300 schools and colleges at all levels of the education system.

From the beginning of his career as a physical education and geography teacher through to his training as a career guidance counsellor and psychologist, Evan has always taken a keen interest in his students’ physical welfare and mental health. With over 20 years teaching experience, he understands how issues in young people’s lives can impact negatively on their motivation, their academic performance and their relationships.

His workshops are high-energy, interactive spaces where students are at the heart of the action. He brings an enthusiasm to every group he works with because of his desire to raise their expectations and help them succeed.

Fun active and Sports Workshops:

These workshops with Lauren 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 will begin their lunchtime sessions with each First Year class next Tuesday. First Years will 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 First 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.

After School Evening Study

The first term of after school study is due to commence 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.


Theme 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.

Senior prefects

Our senior prefect teams held their first meeting this week. They are looking forward to developing many new initiatives for the school for the year ahead. They brainstormed the various possibilities that they could look at in terms of delivering a valuable and supportive programme to the whole school community.

Lunchtime Clubs

We have plans ahead for many new clubs at lunchtime. These include a lunchtime book club, a conversational Spanish club, a debating club, an environmentalist club and a coding club. Watch this space and we will keep you all updated.

School Uniform

Have a look at the latest addition to our school uniform. The new school fleece can be purchased from All Sports and Peters Man shop in Donegal town. Junior and Adults sizes are available. This warm and cosy fleece is a great addition coming into the cold winter mornings.



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.


Roald Dahl Day


The AVS celebrated Roald Dahl stories this week with Roald Dahl Story Day. Marked on the 13th of September, we celebrated our favourite Roald Dahl characters, stories and moments!

Guidance Department


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

The 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.

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.

First Year Practical Classes

Under the current Framework for Junior Cycle, students have access to a suite of technology subjects: Engineering, Wood Technology, Graphics and Applied Technology.


Pictured are our 1st year students engaging in metalwork.Metalwork is one of the technology subjects offered at junior cycle. It is an activity-based course focusing on metal, how to work with it and how to assemble different parts. Other materials such as plastics and wood are also investigated and used in project work. Students will also be working with basic electronic components too.


Pictured are first years settling into the AVS academic year working together in woodwork. Junior Cycle Wood Technology aims to develop the necessary conceptual understanding, disciplinary skills, and subject knowledge to investigate and solve real-life problems while progressing the development of a range of manipulation skills through processing wood and other materials.


Pictured are our first year students engaging in H.E. Junior Cycle Home Economics develops the knowledge, understanding, skills and values necessary to achieve optimal, healthy and sustainable living for every person as an individual, and as a member of families and society. It is studied through three interconnected strands: Food, Health and Culinary Skills; Responsible Family Living; and Textiles and Craft.

Transition Year 2021/22

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
  • Creative Workshop
  • Amplify
  • Donegal Castle History Trip

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 of these outings took place at Gartan Outdoor Education Centre between the 7th and 11th of September, where each group took part in a class bonding day which included Kayaking, Wall Climbing, Orienteering and much more.

TY A will travel to Rossnowlagh each Friday for surfing lessons!


TY Work Experience:13th-17th of December 2021 and 14th-18th of February 2022.


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 Year 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.

AVS Sport

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 Rowing

Students engage in an action packed timetable such as rowing, dancing and football. Rowing is a fantastic sport which can improve stamina and overall fitness and strength, including strengthening the heart. It can also boost immune system function, mood, and even provide a calming, meditative effect on the mind due to its repetitive, low-impact movement and sounds.


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, 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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