Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 25th Oct 2021

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 25th Oct 2021

AVS Newsletter.jpg

Issue 6: 2020-2021

16th Oct 2021 to 24th Oct 2021


The Abbey Vocational School had a gruesome, scary end to the first term of school as staff and students dressed up for Halloween. Halloween's origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was held on November 1st. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, so people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off spirits and there were many spirits warded off in the Abbey Vocational School!


The corridors of the Abbey were decorated with the amazing talent of the students from the Abbey Vocational School, with writing competitions, the halloween poetry event and the halloween art on display!


The day was packed with many exciting activities as students and staff alike celebrated Halloween.


During Period 1 in the Assembly area there was the Gruesome Dip & Guess the Gunge. Period 2 & 3 saw TYs take part in a Tug of War coaching workshop in the gym. Period 4 & 5 saw students experience the Wicked Walkway with sweets, treats & scares along the way!!! Staff were treated to cakes and buns in the staffroom as a thankyou for all their work and efforts throughout the term.


AVS Students getting into the Halloween Spirit!


Ghouls and Super Heroes roamed the corridors!


Fun and excitement in the AVS with Students dressing up for the special day.

Best Dressed Halloween Costume Competition

There were many funny, interesting and unusual costumes roaming the corridors of the school on Friday and we thank everyone for taking part in the spirit of Halloween! Congratulations to the winners of the Best Dressed Halloween Competition:

First Place:

  • 5th Year Leo Carey McDermott

Runners Up:

  • 5th Year Ewan Campbell
  • 5th Year Nathan Ward
  • TY Lillian Reid


Siobhan Mogan


Congratulations to Staff Winner Siobhan Mogan dressed as an AVS Student pictured below with Ms Bogle, Ms O’Donnell.

Pumpkin Carving Project


As part of the Level 2 Priority Learning Unit ‘Preparing for Work’, students carved pumpkins, inserted tealights and sold them for 5e each. The project was a great success with many orders taken and customers very happy with their purchases. With the proceeds students were able to buy items to fill a shoebox for the Shoebox Appeal!

Student Voice

The first project for the Student Council is The Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, an annual campaign, where thousands of people across Ireland donate shoe-boxes filled with gifts for children affected by poverty in Africa or Eastern Europe. It is an opportunity to share a little joy and excitement with children who live in circumstances where these can often be in short supply. Please see notices around the school for suitable items to put into your shoebox and start putting one together now.

The Transition Years called to several shops in town on Thursday where they were generously given many shoeboxes which they gave to students to fill during the break. Thank you to all the local shops, especially Magees, Shoebox, Footsteps and Elite Boutique.


Photo shows - Jane Faulkner, Katie Furey, Aaron Hughes and Finn McCabe and Tristan Dowd. Centre of photo is Principal Maleficent Ms Diver taken at Halloween dress up day.

Information Night for Parents of Leaving Cert Students

The parents 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.

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.

Success for former AVS Student Paul Cannon

Congratulations to former AVS Student Paul Cannon who has graduated from Dublin City University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics with Biomedical Science. Remarkably, Paul has achieved a First Class Honours Degree, coming top of his class in 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th year! This is a fantastic achievement for the Donegal Native, especially as his road to success hasn’t been without its obstacles. Living with a sleep disorder, Paul has shown great passion, tenacity and absolute dedication to his field which has driven him forward.

Being awarded the Fryar Medal for the best overall performance in the final year project across all three physics degree programmes, highlights the commitment Paul had devoted to his University Journey. Achieving First Class Honours results in subjects relating to Nanotechnology, Microfluidics, Lasers, Optics, Medical Diagnostics, Spectroscopy, Quantum & Statistical Physics, Digital Signal Processing, Image Processing & Analysis, Differential Equations, Biomechanics & Gait Analysis, Biomaterials, Electromagnetism, Physiology and Experimental/Laboratory Physics.

Paul’s journey, through second level education in the Abbey Vocational School and third level education in DCU, was supported and scaffolded to accommodate the teaching and learning. At present, Paul is completing a PHD under the guidance of Assistant Professor Dr Jennifer Gaughran, Chair of the BSc Physics with Biomedical Sciences at DCU. Following on from this success has been the recent official confirmation that he has received an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship for his PhD! Congratulations Paul! We wish you every success in your future endeavours!

Parents Association AGM

The Parents Association AGM takes place on the 10th November at 7pm. We will further update nearer the time.


Big Brother Big Sister Programme

All our leaving cert prefects took part in the big brother big sister mentoring programme. The aim of the Big Brother Big Sister programme is rooted in the most fundamental human relationships: a caring interaction between two people, one older than the other. Out of this interaction young people develop in ways that will make them more likely to succeed in the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

The prefects will use the skills learned to support and guide the young students here in the Abbey Vocational School throughout the year.

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 - 31st

Mobile Phone overuse awareness month



Bullying Prevention Session



International Day against Violence and Bullying at School including Cyberbullying


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:

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.

Anti Bullying Webinar

All first year students will receive two webinars on bullying prevention on the 4th November. The key focus of both thirty-minute webinars is to focus on what students can do to help prevent bullying. Below is a review of what is included in each webinar.

Webinar 1 includes:

  • discussion on what Bullying is and the 8 bullying sub-types (with a focus on Cyberbullying as it has been on the rise during the Covid 19 pandemic),
  • animations which feature the common types of bullying students experience and how they can feel about it,
  • a review of activities that can help prevent bullying in the short and long term,
  • a Bullying Prevention Brainstorm activity where students are asked to suggest and vote on actions to help prevent bullying in their school.

Webinar 2 includes:

  • the roles students can play as Bystanders in the Bullying Circle,
  • resilience building activities that focus on the creation of effective habits to realise personal goals and prevent bullying,
  • animations look at how bystanders can help bullied and isolated students,
  • and finishes with a review of student suggestions to prevent bullying in light of the lesson’s learning.


Congratulations to our first term leaders:


All three classes will be allowed to watch an appropriate film of their choice in their SPHE class. The positive points initiative will be continuing throughout the 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.

AVS Reduce Screen time- Week Two


Week Two: Week two sees our challenge continuing! All students who signed up have started to track their phone use and we hope to see a big reduction next week. Students have received 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 taking part have received 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.

The following shows the results of the 1st year phone tracking so far:




Great to see a reduction so far in the phone usage. Keep it up!

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.

Non-Sport Lunchtime Clubs

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


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.

A poster competition will be held for first years - details will be given to each class group by their class teacher. All entries are to be submitted by Tuesday 8th of November. Mr Hegarty will complete some science demonstrations for first years to show them some of the magic of science and especially of chemistry. A table quiz will be held in each of the second year science classes based on the format used for the Junior Certificate ISTA quiz held annually in Letterkenny.


Spanish Club

Esta semana hablamos del Día de los Muertos. El día de los Muertos es una celebración en la que se celebra la muerte. No es una celebración seria ni melancólica, sino un momento de alegría y de recordar vivencias. El Día de los Muertos se celebra en México, Ecuador, Guatemala y otras áreas del centro y el Sur de América, especialmente las que tienen una etnia latina. También se celebra en zonas del Norte de América, como en California y Texas, dónde existen tradiciones mexicanas/americanas. En el club y en la clase española de primer año decoramos calaveras de papel para celebrar el Día de los Muertos.

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.

Chess Club

The AVS chess club will run on Wednesdays during lunchtime in Room 33. We look forward to meeting all our experienced players and those new students who want to learn how to play Chess are very welcome!

Debating Club

Our Debating Club runs 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. The students are currently preparing speeches for their first debate which will take place after the mid-term break. New members are always welcome, we would love to see you there!

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!

BT Young Scientist

We continue our profile of the projects submitted for consideration in the 2022 exhibition in January.


  • STUDENT: Michael Masterson
  • CATEGORY:Junior Technology
  • PROJECT TITLE: Ciotach clean

APPROACH: As a leftie I have always struggled to keep my hand clean as I write and through primary school I have used several different types of hand guard to prevent smudging on my hand and on my written work. Currently all commercially available left hand smudge guards are designed to fit on the student's hand which is non-discrete and can be uncomfortable for the student to wear all day. Also, they still cause smudging because they are usually made of a rubber or silicone material. I want to develop an on-page smudge protector that would not interfere with the student as they write from left to right across the page. This on-page smudge guard would allow for more discrete use and because of the smooth finish would eliminate the smudging that still occurs with currently available products. To help me to design and develop my prototype, I have contacted Michael McHugh of Moll Industries Ireland to investigate the materials that I could access through them, to make my device from. I have also asked them for their assistance in using computer aided design to draw out plans for my prototype and they have shown me how to use SCI Solid Works. I aim to create a cardboard model of my design and when I am happy that I have a cardboard prototype that passes focus group testing, I will then make it in plastic and test it again for durability and its anti-smudge effectiveness.


  • STUDENT: Hughie McShane
  • CATEGORY: Intermediate Technology
  • PROJECT TITLE: An app to improve writing in children with dysgraphia

APPROACH: My cousin was recently diagnosed with dysgraphia (along with mild dyslexia), and I want to learn more about the condition and do what I can to help, as there are plenty of resources out there for dyslexia, but barely any for dysgraphia. I have been programming in python and c# for many years. In my spare time I develop games and last year I participated in the All Ireland Programming Olympiad. Preparation for this really helped to develop my programming knowledge so I want to create a program to help develop writing skills in children with dysgraphia. Since my cousin's diagnosis, I have read widely about dysgraphia and computer based methods of improving writing skills. I found an interesting study (from the “Frontiers in Psychiatry” journal) on a very similar idea to mine, however, it was concentrated on one child. It involved bringing in a robot which the child has to "teach" to write. The child sees how terribly the robot writes, and begins to feel better about their writing, and learns by “teaching” the robot over a period of time. I aim to speak to pupils with dysgraphia to gain an insight into the condition so that I can understand the problems that they encounter when they write. This is an important part of the process because if I do not appreciate their difficulty I cannot design an app to help them. I will use C# to write my code to build the app and add in stylus functionality so that children using the app actually develop their writing skills and not typing skills. I will then test the programme with a focus group for problems before testing its functionality, enjoyability and efficacy with a larger test group. Already, I have started programming systems for gathering stylus inputs that the programme will use and now I am using my understanding of dysgraphia to design how the app will be structured.


STUDENT: Robyn Given and Katie Furey

CATEGORY: Intermediate Biological and Ecological

PROJECT TITLE: Treating psoriasis with snail slime

APPROACH: My friend’s parents recently travelled to Spain and while there they purchased a commercial mucin and aloe vera enhanced emollient cream. The sellers told them that it was effective in the treatment of psoriasis so they brought it back to their daughter to see if it would help to ease her skin rash. My friend showed me the cream and I encouraged her to try it to see if it was effective. After a few applications her rash seemed a lot less angry and after a few weeks of treatment the improvement was noticeable.

This led me to research which ingredient, the aloe vera or the mucin was effective in treating her psoriasis. We have conducted a trial on a volunteer using a commercial mucin enhanced emollient cream to see if it is as effective as a topical steroid in the treatment of psoriasis. Our test with this volunteer showed that it is as useful as a prescribed topical steroid treatment in reducing skin inflammation in scaly patches in this volunteer. We now intend on creating our own mucin enhanced emollient cream using comercial mucin and a cheap emollient cream so that we can use the same non-mucin enhanced emollient cream as our control. We then intend to test our mucin enhanced emollient cream on volunteers who have psoriasis patches on their skin to see if the snail slime helps to alleviate/cure any of the scaly skin rash symptoms.

We will compare the mucin enhanced emollient cream with non mucin enhanced emollient cream by measuring the area reduction in scaly skin patches. Additionally, we will test another patch with a typically prescribed topical steroid and we will again compare the plaque area reduction in both the mucin enhanced emollient cream treated patches with the topical steroid treated patches. We will use a ‘t test’ to see if any differences are statistically significant.

Agricultural Science

Fifth Year Agricultural Science Farm Visit

As part of the specifications of the Agricultural Science programme students are encouraged to visit a local farm to study farmyard layout and environmental sustainability. They also discuss potential hazards on the farm and how they can be managed. A sincere thank you to Mr Quinn from all the students involved for accompanying them on a farm walk and talk around his family farm. They all gained a great insight into the daily practices carried out in managing a beef and sheep enterprise. They also look forward to returning to the farm in Spring for lambing season.




6th Year Investigation Study

This week our Sixth Year Geography students travelled to Rossnowlagh to conduct this years’ Geographical Investigation Study.



The investigation allows our students to experience the practical application of the core geographical skill including: selection and use appropriate methods of gathering and collection of information, analysis and interpretation of results, and drawing valid conclusions. Our students will again this year experience use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) through the ArcGIS for Schools platform.


Allingham Arts Competition

This year, lots of our students entered the annual Allingham Arts Poetry and Flash Fiction writing competition. 10 students have been shortlisted in a variety of categories.

First and Second Year Poetry:

Lauren Mc Nulty - “Lough Eske

Sarah Colhoun - “I’ve Got More for You

First and Second Year Flash Fiction:

Eoin Boyle - “Rubber Duck

Cara Coughlan - “Lost at War

Maya Lenehan - “Hit and Run

Third Year and TY Poetry:

Samaire Fern - “Spider Legs

Third Year and TY Fiction:

Rowan Buchanan - “Memories Cherished

Gabriella Jose Irwin - “Olive

Stephen Meehan - “Jason

Fifth Year / Leaving Cert Fiction:

Sinead Mc Mullin - “The Exorcist’s Mistake

The winners will be announced as part of the Awards Ceremony which will be broadcast on the Allingham ArtsYouTube channel at 7.30pm on Wednesday the 3rd of November. The list of winning entries will be published on their website and social media channels afterwards.

Congratulations to everyone for getting this far and good luck to all for the final!


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.

Shoe Box Appeal

We will be collecting the shoeboxes during the 1st week of November, that is the week we return to school after midterm.

What can I put in my box? The 4 ‘W’s


  • Pens or pencils, crayons, paper or copy books, colouring books, markers, sharpeners and erasers.


  • Soap (wrapped), hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and facecloths.


  • Socks, underwear, flip flops, hat, scarf and gloves.


  • Cuddly toy, skipping rope, a yo-yo, sweets (that do not go out of date for at least 6 months), small musical instruments, a photo of you and your family, toy car, doll, ball and stickers.

What not to include?

If you include objects from the below list, they will be removed. Read it carefully to ensure you make the best box you can eg; Liquids/shampoo, chocolate or food that isn’t sweets, sharp objects eg;scissors, scary items e.g. mask, breakables, mirrors, mugs, books with lots of words, large clothing items.

The Social Committee had a meeting on Wednesday where they decided on themes for our year - Kindness with emphasis on Inclusion and Positive Mental Health. Ms. Mc Carthy made a presentation on Creative Schools and we formed a subcommittee to work with the Creative Schools team. Sarah Canny discussed the work of the Donegal Youth Council and forged a link with our school for 21-22. The committee will be doing training with the Irish Secondary Schools Union in the coming weeks.

Donegal County Council in partnership with HSE Health Promotion, Foróige and the Department of Children Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have also invited our students to participate in the Donegal Comhairle na nÓg Annual General Meeting on Friday the 19th of November online on ZOOM from 10:30am to 1pm.

The Donegal Comhairle na nÓg AGM provides a forum where young people are facilitated to discuss issues relevant to them and their community. The event includes staff facilitated workshops to discuss themes relevant to young people. The themes are Mental Health, Climate Action and Social Media/Body Image. Our aim is to facilitate an event that is inclusive of young people from diverse backgrounds, abilities, gender and age groups.

Leaving Cert Applied (LCA)


LCA 2 enjoyed a day of Go Karting in Letterkenny Race Trace this week. The Leaving Certificate Applied is a two year Leaving Certificate available to students who wish to follow a practical programme with a strong practical and vocational emphasis. It is one of three Leaving Certif icate options offered by the Department of Education and Skills. Students had a great day driving around the track!



Iconic News titles in Donegal are running Donegal’s Next Superstar competition through the Donegal Democrat, the website and our sister publications, the Donegal Post and Inish Times.

The prize package is worth well over €1,000 for the winner so they are on the lookout for some hidden talents in the county. Whether you can sing, dance, tell a joke, read poetry, dance or juggle, they want to hear from them.

The deadline for entries is this Sunday, October 17 but entering could not be easier using a dedicated Whatsapp number.

All the details on how to enter, prize pack and terms and conditions are in link below:



There is a free online event happening on 27th November for students with disabilities. Click HERE for further information and to register for the event.


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 parents information night will take place on Tuesday 2nd Novemberat 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 - Student Support tab - click on Guidance/Counselling

Teaching & Learning

A look at ‘Feedback’ from your Teacher.

Feedback to our students relies on clearly defined goals (including learning intentions and success criteria) and on learning tasks or activities to track a student’s progress towards those goals. The information gathered through these activities provides the basis for feedback to a student.

Teaching and learning activities, including formative and summative assessments, provide opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about our students’ progress. This helps us to give feedback to our students about how they are learning and what they need to do next to move forward. Various studies on feedback typically show that the pace of student learning is accelerated by at least 50% because of feedback.

Feedback then is information:

  • for the student and teacher about the student’s performance
  • about a student’s performance relative to learning intentions or success criteria.
  • based on evidence of learning.
  • from the teacher, the student themselves or their peers through peer assessment activities.

Feedback from a Student Perspective

Effective feedback is designed to achieve improvement in your learning, continuously driving your current performance towards a learning goal.

What then should you do with feedback once you have received it from your teacher following an assignment, essay, or task? It is always good to look clearly at what the feedback is saying. What are the teacher’s comments telling you specifically? What steps do you see that you can take to improve your work? John Hattie and Helen Timperley (2007), offer three key questions for students to think about:

  • Where am I going? ... (in my learning)
  • How am I going? ... (in my learning)
  • Where to next? ... (in my learning)


The following are seven suggested steps you might apply after receiving feedback comments from your teacher on any assignment, whether it be an essay, a project, a CBA, or a piece of homework:

  • Write down all the suggestions you received from your teacher on how to improve your assignment.
  • Look at these comments side by side with your overall assignment.
  • Put numbers by the suggested changes in your list to show the order of importance in which you will address them.
  • Rewrite or redo your work according to this order of priority/importance.
  • Read your first draft and then your new draft. See how you feel about the changes.
  • Make further changes you may feel are needed.

If your teacher gives you verbal feedback, it is always good practice to write it down and then apply it to future assignments and tasks.

Good feedback will produce two key outcomes:

  • As teachers, we will adapt our teaching strategies to help you make progress in areas identified as needing attention.
  • As a student, you will change what you do to address the learning intentions or success criteria more effectively.

One final point, never take feedback on your work personally. It is not about you, but rather about the quality of your work. Teachers will always try to provide feedback points as a guide so that you can continuously improve.

Transition Year 2021/22

TY Diary for the week 11/10/21- 17/10/21

  • 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 School Musical.
  • Surfing along the glorious coastline of Donegal at Rossnowlagh Beach is an amazing experience our TY’s will cherish!

TY Community Care

The Community Care programme affords our TY students the opportunity to directly help the community. During the course of the year, students seek out community projects in the vicinity and volunteer for 20 hours.

‘I am completing my community care in Drumbar U8, U10, U12s football. It is interesting and really enjoyable helping students perfect their skills. We completed a training session, warming up and doing drills. We get together every Sunday morning from 11-12 at Drumbar United Football Club and a lot turn up to training, roughly forty players each week. It is so rewarding. I look forward to the training sessions each week!’


Surfing @ Rossnowlagh


TYD Students enjoying the surf!


Located approximately 8 kilometres south of Donegal Town, Rossnowlagh is renowned as one of Ireland’s surfing beaches.



Each Friday TY Students enjoy the wind in their hair, spray of the atlantic on their face and the giggles of laughter as they engage in the exhilarating activity of surfing on the Wild Atlantic Way!

Transition Year Drama Workshop

‘On 19/10/21 we had a drama workshop with Rachel O’Conor. Rachel is an esteemed Director and Actor who has many years of experience. Our first activities related to drama and confidence. We were split into two groups. The first group went for the first 3 classes. My group went for the final 3.

When we arrived, we had to walk around the room with our speed being chosen by a randomly selected number. 1 being the slowest, 10 being the fastest. The next thing she had us do was a game called Zip, Zap, Zoom. If one person said Zip, you’d point to the right and the person to your right would continue. Zap had you point to the left and the person to your left would continue and Zoom had the person facing across us in the circle continue.

After lunch, we had to throw a ball to the person we looked at and the person to the right had to catch it. This was so much harder than it seems like it would be. It was still fun however and I had fun. We then had to walk around the room again and we all had to get up and walk around the room at the same pace.

The final things we did was read an excerpt from our play called ‘Guys and Dolls’ to get used to speaking in front of others and also do a fake New York accent. In the final ten minutes we had a game where a random number was called and the person assigned that number was chanted and they had to reply. At the end of their replies, they had to call another number. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great fun running around playing games with friends’. By Stephen Meehan.

‘On Tuesday the 19th of October we had a workshop in the library with Rachel O'Conor. Rachel has directed and acted in many plays and has only recently completed two nights in the Ballyshannon Drama Centre with the John McKenna play ‘Faint Voices’ The play portrayed the doomed relationship between the WW1 soldier-poet Francis Ledwidge and his lover Ellie Vaughey, and the impact of his death on family and friends.

During the workshop we spent 3 classes in the library playing coordination games and learning how to display different emotions in our voice and body language. It was fascinating and really took us out of our comfort zone.

After the break, we took part in more icebreaker/confidence building games. It was a great bonding experience.

In the last part of our session we read the script for our much anticipated TY Musical ‘Guys & Dolls’. We read through our lines, attempted our American Accents and got a feel for the musical and its themes. I really enjoyed the workshop and I am excited to start the musical process’. By Maeve McCauley.

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.
  • Fun.

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.

CPR 4 Schools

A number of teachers of TY students have received training from the Irish Heart Foundation. These teachers have been guided through the process of how to deliver CPR 4 Schools training in the classroom to the students. The course uses a mixture of videos, lesson plans and worksheets to ensure ease of access within the classroom. As AVS is a new school to the programme we have received a free manikin kit and training worth €1,000.

The programme provides students and teachers with the skills and confidence to recognise cardiac arrest and perform hands-only CPR.

Following training students will know:

  • How to recognise cardiac arrest and perform CPR
  • How to use an AED
  • How to assist someone who is choking
  • How to perform CPR on a child
  • The difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack
  • How to recognise a stroke


We look forward to introducing this programme as part of our students’ TY experience over the year.

For information from the Irish Heart Foundation on public courses available etc please see here


Extra-Curricular Sports Teams

Girls GAA

It is great that we can start to welcome back our extra curricular sports teams. The first group back was our girls Gaa teams. They will be training for the next couple of months on Tuesday from 4pm - 5pm on the school football and all weather pitch. When training please bring football gear, boots, runners and a bottle of water. The U16 and U20 games will start after the mid term break and the U14 games will start after christmas. Anyone that would like to join can give your name to Ms Rooney or Ms Sweeney. We welcome all new players.


Other team sports

Other team sports will start over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out on our newsletter for all updates.

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

Well done to First Year and Second Year Boys and Girls who took part in Cross-Country. Congratulations to everyone who took part and everyone who got a medal. A special congratulations to the First Year Boys who won their race as a team by having four students in the top ten from the AVS - Jack Glapa 1C, Marc Henaghan 1E, Thomas Lenehan 1E, Gethin Mosby 1A. Conditions were very tough and that was not easy. Well done!

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. The benefits of coaching are immense as it will prepare students for eventual roles as players, coaches, and administrators in the future and ensure students gain lifelong skills that are transferable to many aspects of academic and social situations both inside and outside the school.

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



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
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