Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 27th Sept 2021

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 27th Sept 2021

AVS Newsletter.jpg

Issue 3: 2021-2022

19th Sept to 25th Sept 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 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 1st Year class next Tuesday. 1st 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 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.

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.

Sponsorship of AVS Athlete by Hotelier Paul Diver


Pictured are Ms Gallagher, Tori Murchan and the Proprietor of the Sandhouse Hotel, Paul Diver who has very generously sponsored our high jumper Tori Murchan. Tori is going to represent the AVS on the Irish Athletics team which is competing in Derby next week.


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.

Non Sport Lunchtime Clubs

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


Outdoor seating areas:

We have introduced a number of seating areas outside the school building where all our students can sit and have lunch with their friends. More areas like this will be added around the school over the next few months.


Picture of the seating area outside our practical corridor.


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.


This week our students partook in the Allingham Arts Festival Secondary School’s Writing Competition 2021. For more than a decade the Allingham Arts Festival has organised Poetry and Flash Fiction Competitions for Primary and Secondary Schools with the aim of encouraging creative writing in our young people. A shortlist of the best writing in each section will be compiled and published on their Facebook, Twitter and Youtube platforms. All those shortlisted will be contacted individually. The winners will be announced in a streamed event on Thursday, 4th November 2021.

Guidance Department


  • 15th October 2021: Deadline 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 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.

Please view our Career Guidance website, as part of the AVS website

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.


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.

A Message from our Head Girl & Head Boy

“Welcome back everyone!,

Our names are Conor Campbell and Savannah Timony and we are this year’s Head Boy and Head Girl. We are delighted to see everyone back for what we hope to be a more normal school year compared to the challenging times we have faced during the last eighteen months. I’m sure you’re all feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement for the year ahead, we know we certainly are!

Starting off on a new school year can be hectic so don’t be afraid to reach out to us or any of the prefects if you have any concerns or would just like a bit of advice. With the relaxation of Covid restrictions, the Management and Staff have many fun sports and activities during lunch or after-school such as Coding Club, Rowing, Science Club and Drama! We really encourage you to take the opportunity to get involved with as much as you can. We hope you can have as good of an experience as we have for the past five years and we wish you all the best for this term”.

Positive Points

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 in first, second and third year. 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 eg, longer lunch breaks, film class, extra PE class etc. This week's leaders are: 1A, 2G and 3F.

First Year Dance Classes

This week our first year students enjoyed a Dance Workshop with Ms Kelly!

“Today we did a Dance Workshop. We missed out on CSPE but I think it was worth it! The name of the Teacher that was teaching us the dances was Ms. Kelly. She was an amazing Teacher. She taught us two dances. The first dance was for all first years and the second was for just our class! - 1E. I am not going to lie, I was nervous. They were going to take a VIDEO! I am not that great at dancing myself but I got on great. It was so fun and I am very excited for the next activity in school! By Keeva Ward.

“Today after lunch, we had a dance workshop with Ms Kelly and some of the TY students in the library. I am in 1E and loving first year so far! We had to learn a dance and it was fun because we kept bumping into each other. All the lines of people rotated so if you were at the front you would go to the back after a while. On Friday we hope to get outside to record the video of all First years doing the dance on the all-weather pitch.” By Shaun McGroary.

Coirneál na Gaeilge

I mbliana beidh grúpa daltaí ón idirbhliain ag scríobh giota do choirneál na Gaeilge gach seachtain bunaithe ar imeachtaí na scoile. Tá grúpa curtha le chéile anois agus beidh an grúpa ag cur iad féin in aithne daoibh go luath. Tá go leor smaointe acu cheana féin agus iad ag tnúth go mór leo a chur i gcrích agus os bhur gcomhair.

Ceardlann Tiomána don Idirbhliain


Ar an gCéadaoin agus ar an Deardaoin, bhí ceardlann tiomána ag na daltaí idirbhliana. Bhí gníomhaíochtaí éagsúla ag gach rang sa bhliain. Shiúil na ranganna go dtí an tIonad Bosco. Nuair a schroicheamar an tIonad Bosco, bhí trí ghníomhaíocht éagsúla ar siúl. An dtús, bhí carr dubh Volkswagen ag fanacht linn. Duine ar duine, chuaigh muid isteach sa charr. Thiomáinemar i gciorcal timpeall an charrchlóis. Bhí an fear cairdiúil sa charr ag cabhrú linn. Bhí am iontach againn ar fad.


Congratulations to Grace Masterson on achieving the Runner-up Best Project and the Business Excellence Institute Award and to Joseph Woods and Eadaoin Murphy on achieving the Accenture Maths in Science Award at the Northwest SciFest @ Letterkenny 2021 competition.





On Tuesday TY A participated in the Aware Workshop in the Library. Aware is the national organisation providing free support, education and information services to those impacted by anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and related mood conditions. Founded in 1985 by Dr. Patrick McKeon and a small dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom had their own personal experience with depression, or bipolar disorder. The organisation developed in response to the clear need for information, understanding and support, both for individuals who had a diagnosis of depression or bipolar as well as family members supporting a loved one. Transition Years gained an insight into facilities available with Aware and the challenges faced by people. The three pillars of Aware’s work are information, education and support.

TY Theatre 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’.

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.


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. 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. Workshops for the week 20th - 27th of September - include the Drivers ED Ireland TY Driving Workshop. This was a hugely popular workshop last year amongst the students where each student got the opportunity to drive a car, change a tyre, and investigate insurance and tax prices.

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 School Musical.

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.

Surfing - TYA took part in surfing lessons in Rossnowlagh last Friday. Conditions were perfect and all students really enjoyed the trip. TY B will travel this coming friday.



Surfing provides many health benefits including:

  • cardiovascular fitness – from paddling.
  • shoulder and back strength – these muscles will strengthen from the paddling.
  • leg and core strength – once you’re standing up on the board, strong legs and a strong core will keep you up.


Rossnowlagh beach caters for all surfers, from first time beginners to intermediate experienced surfers. With gentle crumbling waves and occasional punchy beach break, Rossnowlagh has the perfect beach to start surfing!

Transition Year - Castle Visit

TYA visited Donegal Castle last Thursday with their Teacher Ms Logue and SNA M Crawford. They were given a talk on the antiquity of the site and the castle and manor house and enjoyed exploring the site. The visit will aid in project work involving research on their local area.


Donegal Castle is situated in the centre of Donegal Town. The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. TYA enjoyed their castle experience!


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

Under 17 International Schools Competition

The Abbey Vocational School wishes TY Student Tori Murchan the very best of luck this weekend. Tori has been selected for the Irish Schools team in 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. 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.

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 Plan


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