Abbey Vocational School
Donegal Town

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 8th Nov 2021

Abbey VS Newsletter - Mon 8th Nov 2021

AVS Newsletter.jpg

Issue 7: 2020-2021

1st Nov2021 to 7th Nov 2021

Third Year Parent-Teacher Meetings

This year due to current Covid restrictions we still continue to be unable to carry out the Parent-Teacher meetings in the traditional manner. We understand the importance for staff and parents to communicate and discuss the progress of their son/daughter in school. The Parent -Teacher Meeting for third years and sixth years will take place online using the Google Meet Software. The process in relation to the other meetings will be kept under review. To schedule the appointments for parents to meet with teachers, the school will be using PTM organiser software. There are a few important pieces of information for the PT Meeting;

  • The meeting for parents / guardians of third years takes place on Thursday 11th November 2021 as per school calendar, from 4.15pm - 6.45pm.
  • School finishes at 3.35pm, which should give enough time for students to make their way home and help with setup if required.
  • Should parents require the loan of a school ChromeBook for the afternoon, the student can arrange this through their Year Head, Ms Cunningham.
  • Parent(s) will go to and insert the code provided for each teacher.
  • Meetings are capped at 5 minutes.
  • If a parent misses a time slot it cannot be redeemed later in the evening.
  • Conversations will be focussed on student engagement, progress to date, areas for improvement and steps to take for future learning.

For those parents who cannot attend, we will be sending out our usual school reports in January which will give you all a good insight into how your son/daughter is doing in school.

The dates for the parent teacher meetings are:

  1. Thursday 11th November 2021 - 3rd Year- This will be online
  2. Wednesday 24th November 2021 - 6th Year & LCA 2 .
  3. Wednesday 1st December 2021 - 1st Year
  4. Thursday 13th January 2022 - 5th Year, TY & LCA 1
  5. Thursday 27th January 2022 - 2nd Year

Please see our school website under parents and parent teacher meetings for all of the updates.

Christmas Tests 2021

  • These tests will run the week of 13th-17th December
  • Exams will be 1 hour long for Junior students and 1.5 hours long for Senior students
  • The breakdown of the exam will be 30% for continuous assessment and 70% towards the exam paper.
  • A timetable and further information will be issued shortly.
  • School Reports will be available in January.

UNESCO International Day Against Violence & Bullying at School 2021


This week the AVS embraced UNESCO International Day against Violence and Bullying at School. As the UNESCO Member States declared the first Thursday of November the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School Including Cyberbullying, recognizing that school-related violence in all its forms is an infringement of children and adolescents’ rights to education and to health and well-being.

"Although this violence is not limited to school premises, the education system has an important role to play in teaching students how to navigate safely in the digital sphere. Formal education should provide children and young people with certain knowledge and skills: how to behave with civility online, to develop coping mechanisms, to identify and report online violence and, most importantly, to protect themselves and others from different forms of cyberbullying, whether perpetrated by peers or adults." According to Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, on the occasion of the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, including Cyberbullying.

Social Responsibility

UNESCO International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, the AVS Community were enlightened with a video documenting the importance of social responsibility. Social responsibility means that students, staff and the AVS Community have a duty to act in the best interests of their environment and society as a whole.


The video sends a very powerful message that it is our social responsibility to include others, take ownership for the people around us and respect each other.

LCA2 Contribute to UNESCO International Day Against Violence & Bullying at School

Pictured are LCA2 Students and SNA Rosemary Myers taking part in the UNESCO International Day against Violence and Bullying at School.The students produced a wooden poster ‘STOP BULLYING’ which has been put on display in the assembly area and also created a suggestion box inscribed ‘ways to stop bullying’, as an initiative to support the message of social responsibility.


Respect Week 15th-19th November

Respect Week is being held from the 15th-19th of November with many activities, presentations, displays and initiatives planned. Respect Week will see students analyse an Anti Bullying Awareness Presentation and contribute to many Anti Bullying Activities such as Kindness Bingo, Kind Messages & Emoji Activity. An Anti Bullying session will be run with the aid of the Cyclone Rep Theatre Company and also a Drop In Information Session held with Ms Rooney and Leaving Cert Prefects.

During Respect Week topical issues will be highlighted each day;

Monday- Anti-Racism

The AVS will put racism under the microscope as students learn about racism as: Any action, practice, policy, law, speech, or incident which has the effect (whether intentional or not) of undermining anyone’s enjoyment of their human rights.

Tuesday-Intercultural Day

Students across all classes will mark the day by exploring music, artwork, dance, story, language and food.

Wednesday-Historical Events involving Persecution

Researching anecdotal evidence of persecution, such as the Holocaust and the systematic persecution of six millions Jews during WWII.


Where we celebrate and increase awareness about the diversity of cultures and ethnicities and the positive impact diversity can have on society.


LGBTQA+ Awareness Days serve the purpose of creating visibility of and raising support for marginalized populations within the community.

Anti Bullying Webinar

All first year students will receive two webinars on bullying prevention on the 18th 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:

  • a 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.


On the 22nd of November, in collaboration with BULLY 4 U, 1st Yr and 3rd Yr Students will investigate the topic of bullying and the tools to empower students.

Established in 2008, Bully 4u is a national not for profit organisation with an excellent reputation in the provision of anti bullying / Cyber Bullying services for primary and secondary schools, clubs and health organisations in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Bully4U have supported and guided students, teachers and parents in primary and secondary level schools. Student workshops are extremely effective and produce the following results:

  • Empowering the victims of bullying and cyber-bullying to seek assistance to end the cycle of abuse they are enduring.
  • Assisting students engaged in bullying behaviour to recognise and change their behaviour.
  • Empowering bystanders to support their fellow students and to report bullying behaviour to school authorities.

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.






International Day against Violence and Bullying at School including Cyberbullying


15th - 19th

Respect Week


8th and 19th

1st yr internet safety



Bullying Prevention Session



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.

Positive Points Initiative

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.

Big Brother Big Sister Programme

All our leaving cert prefects are part of 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.

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.


Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge 2021

The Abbey Vocational School is looking forward to embracing the Bebras Challenge this November having had great success in previous Bebras Challenges. Our 1st, 2nd, 3rd and TY students are all registered to take part as well as some of our 5th years who study I.T. The Bebras Computing Challenge introduces computational thinking to students, by allowing them to solve interactive tasks online. It runs over 60 countries and takes place every November. The tasks can be answered without prior knowledge about computational thinking or information and communication technology. The aim is to get students all over the world excited about computing.

The Irish Maths Olympiad

The Irish Mathematical Olympiad (IrMO) is a national mathematics contest for secondary school students.The primary aim of the enrichment classes is to cultivate a love and appreciation for mathematics among talented students - this is achieved by giving such students exposure to deeper, more challenging and more interesting mathematical problems than those encountered on the school syllabus. The performance of students in the IrMO is used to identify a team of up to six students who will represent Ireland at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), a prestigious international mathematics competition.

The Pi Quiz


Junior Cycle Students will be working with their computational thinking this Autumn as the AVS holds weekly Pi Competitions for our students. Pi has been calculated to over 50 trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

The ICT/Coding Club

Our AVS Coding Club is live 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.

Coding & Digital Media Short Course for Junior Cycle

There are many numeracy initiatives in progress in the AVS, one such strand is the Coding & Digital Media Short Course for the Junior Cycle. Students are actively using digital media to participate in social and cultural life. Making and sharing media has become an increasingly important feature of how young people communicate and engage with each other and participate in their communities and socialise with the wider world.

This short course offers students opportunities to explore and discover the information and knowledge accessible online, enabling them to pursue their interests, to express themselves online and solve problems relevant to their lives. In studying digital media, students learn to use digital technology, communication tools and the internet to engage in self-directed enquiry. As students develop their digital literacy skills, they improve their capacity to know what they are looking for, what information to ignore or discard, and how to identify what can be useful or significant. They learn to discriminate between the multiple sources of information available online and to challenge the views they find there. They learn how to create, collaborate and communicate effectively and to understand how and when digital technologies can best be used to support these processes.

Computer Science

The Numeracy Department is delighted to be working in collaboration with Keith Quille. Keith is a lecturer of computing in the TU Dublin, Tallaght Campus. Keith's primary area of teaching is in Software Development and applied machine learning but has also delivered a wide range of other modules. In addition to his current role in TU Dublin, Keith delivers computing camps in primary and secondary schools around Ireland, promoting computer science to all students. Keith has also been commissioned to develop resources by the NCCA for the new leaving certificate computer science subject. Engaging in the Post Primary Computing Camp will see AVS Students receive certification for completing each module in computer science.


Allingham Festival 2021 Winners


The Allingham Festival celebrates literature and writings of local and national writers through seminars, writing workshops and talks. The Allingham Festival includes competitions for adult writers of poetry and flash fiction, and also competitions for children. The top prize in both Flash Fiction and Poetry is €300. Winners will be invited to read their winning entries at an awards ceremony as part of the main festival.

Congratulations to our AVS Students who took part in the Allingham Festival Secondary Schools Awards Ceremony which was broadcast on the Allingham ArtsYoutube Channel on Wednesday the 3rd of November.

First & Second Year Flash Fiction:

First Place-Eoin Boyle

Third Year and TY Fiction:

Third Place-Rowan Buchanan

Congratulations to everyone who was short-listed, an amazing achievement by our literacy scholars!



The MS Readathon is in full swing in the Abbey Vocational School and a big thank you must go to Ms Canning for coordinating the readathon. The MS Readathon inspires children to read as much as they can, all for an incredible cause. The rules are simple. Read whatever you like, as much as you can, in November. This year’s MS Readathon kicks off on November 1st and wraps up on November 30th. Children can register with their school (teachers, you can register your class) or individually. Best of all, by joining our quest, not only will you awaken a love of reading, you will also be helping make a difference to the lives of those living with multiple sclerosis.

Funds raised from the MS Readathon will help fund vital support services for people living with multiple sclerosis and their families. Services like our Information Line, which is often the first point of contact for people newly diagnosed with MS.

Credit Union Art Competition

Each year the students of the Abbey Vocational School relish the opportunity to take part in the Credit Union Art Competition. The theme for the Credit Union Art Competition “Imagine”, encourages people to explore their thoughts, hopes and dreams, and portray them on paper or canvas.

To quote Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Imagination is a powerful tool which helps people escape from reality. Imagination can also be the start of a brilliant idea which could change the world.

Art plays a critical role in enriching the lives of everyone and is central to sustaining, and increasing connections. Entrants are urged to reflect on the crucial role that the arts play in Irish society and how they help bind communities.





Some of the AVS entries for this year's Credit Union Art Competition pictured above.

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.

WorldWise Global Schools, Ireland’s Global Citizenship Education programme for post-primary schools

The Abbey Vocational School is delighted to be engaging in the WorldWise Global Schools. WorldWise Global Schools (WWGS) was established in 2013. Since then, the programme has worked with 350 schools nationwide, in an effort to integrate Global Citizenship Education into all aspects of teaching and learning at post-primary level. By providing a comprehensive range of support and interventions for schools — including grant funding, training, events, resources and personalised support from the WorldWise Team.


Global Citizenship Education (GCE) is a powerful vehicle through which we can better understand the world we live in, and take action to change it as informed global citizens. It equips both educators and learners with the knowledge, skills and values to act ethically and sustainably in a world that is both complex and highly interconnected.

AVS Reduce Screen time Initiative- Week Three

Week Three: Week three sees our challenge continuing! All students who signed up have been tracking their phone use. 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 bag 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:




Non-Sport Lunchtime Clubs


There are many clubs available for our students to join such as drama, debating and Spanish club!

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 9th 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.

BT Young Scientist


Congratulations to the following students for getting through to the BT young scientist 2022 exhibition.

First year students Micheál Deely and CJ Burke and their project, a dyslexia light with a difference and Michael Masterson with his project Ciotach‌ ‌clean, a left-handed anti smudge guard will both display at the event.



In third year, Grace Masterson with her project on a personal mobile device holder for medical environments will display at the event for the second year running.


In TY, first time competitors Ciara Cannon with her ‌investigation‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌optimum‌ ‌antimicrobial‌ ‌activity‌ ‌of‌ ‌nanoparticles, Hughie McShane with an app to improve writing in children with dysgraphia and Robyn Given and Katie Furey with their project on treating psoriasis with snail slime will all be participating.




Returning participants Jane Faulkner, Jayne Glenn and Amy McGroary will present their project on the most effective method of reducing anxiety in secondary school students post covid.


Finally Eadaoin Murphy in 5th year will showcase her project which investigates if ‌subject‌ ‌ambassadors‌ ‌promote‌ ‌uptake‌ ‌of‌ ‌subjects‌ ‌at‌ ‌leaving‌ ‌cert. Jane Faulkner and Eadaoin Murphy have both participated in the young scientist exhibition for three consecutive years which is indeed a remarkable achievement.


In total more than 1400 projects were submitted nationally and only 550 of those projects have been selected to display at the event. With our 8 qualified projects from the AVS we are making up more than half of the entire projects that have qualified from county Donegal and almost 1.5% of the projects that have qualified nationally. Very well done to all involved!

Spanish Club

The Spanish club is on every Thursday at lunch time in room 33. Come along to improve your spoken Spanish and to learn more about Spanish culture. The club is open to all junior students, and new members are always welcome!

El club español continúa esta semana el jueves a la hora del almuerzo en la sala 33, el club está disponible para todos los estudiantes menores. ¡No dude en unirse!

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. Our members are currently preparing speeches for their first debate which will take place in the coming weeks. We will also be giving members the opportunity to enter the Action Aid National Speech Writing Competition. 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!


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.

Student Voice

The Student Council organised a very successful campaign to collect Shoeboxes for the TEAM HOPE APPEAL. Over 50 boxes were put together from staff and students of the school. The TY members of the council, Kate Furey and Aaron Hughes assisted by Lilly Reid, worked hard with promotion and preparation. The boxes were collected on Wednesday and will be delivered to children in Africa, and Eastern Europe. Thank you to local shops and members of the community for donating empty shoeboxes. The council would also like to thank all of the staff and students for their generosity. Those who took part felt that they found it very rewarding.


Putting the final touches to a shoebox


Students Aoibhe Sweeney, Jane Faulkner, Aaron Hughes, Finn McCabe, Lilly Reid, Student Council Chairperson Emma Meehan and teacher Eileen Carr



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 date for course applications


  • 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.


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

The Teaching & Learning Committee at the Abbey Vocational School has immersed itself in the The Learner Voice Framework. The Learner Voice Initiative is a self-assessment and development tool that enables organisations to identify, measure and improve the quality of their learner voice practice..

The framework offers space for a shared understanding of what a learner voice is and what effective learner voice looks like in practice. It guides a conversation about the value and importance of empowering learners to shape their education and be active citizens in their community. In turn, we can support students with tools to aid their study. How best do I study, make notes, such as students preparing work in their own words as a revision tool.

Teaching & Learning: A look at Study Planning

Christmas house-exams are approaching. Shortly after the Christmas holidays, Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle Mock Examinations will quickly draw near.

Juggling your classes, homework, and other commitments such as extracurricular activities and sport, managing your time to study can be challenging. An effective way to achieve your own learning goals to implement a study plan. There are many ways to plan your study, from monthly to weekly to daily timetables, priority lists, and checklists. However, do not get overwhelmed in trying to perfect the ideal plan! One key advantage of study plans is that it will help you to avoid stress in that you will have a clear plan of what you will be doing each week.

Two useful approaches include:

  1. A Weekly Study Timetable will outline specific times for study and when you need to take time off.
  2. A Subject Planner will provide you with an overview of what is needed in a particular subject.

Weekly Study Timetable

Creating a weekly study timetable is one of the most important things you can do to study effectively. With the aid of a template:

  1. Shade-in times for extracurricular activities such as sport, music lessons, gym etc.
  2. Shade-in the times you really don't want to study!
  3. Pick the times you will study
  4. Write in the subjects you will study in each available time slot.

There are many templates and even apps available online, however, we have placed an editable MS Word Version on the Teaching & Learning section of the school website for handiness. Please click HERE for link.

Subject Planner

The subject planner will contain a list of all the topics in that subject and will provide you with a broad outline of what needs to be done. Your teacher may provide this list and in some subjects, the chapters of your textbook are also useful. Alternatively, many of the exam papers contain ready-made topic lists. You might also add a column in your plan to rate the difficulty of each topic in order to identify topics requiring further revision. Once again, we have placed an MS Word template on the Teaching & Learning section of the school website. (

Some further points to note:

  • Creating a lovely colour-coded plan in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word document is all well and good, but if you can’t see it on a daily basis, it can easily start to slip your mind. Either write or print it out and stick it up on the wall at home or around your desk to remind you what you are due to cover each week.
  • Discover what works for you. Keep your plan flexible. If you have scheduled an hour of study at 8 pm every evening but find you are not being productive, then make a change. For example, try getting up an hour earlier to see if morning-study works better for you.
  • Break subjects/topics down into small chunks. Assess how familiar you are with each topic and focus on your weak areas.
  • Wellbeing: It is important to take regular breaks when you are studying to ensure you don’t burn out. Include 5- or 10-minute breaks in your study plan; It is also important to make time for the things you like to do such as meeting with friends, going for walks, running, cycling, etc. Ultimately, this will better prepare you mentally to achieve your study goals. Well-balanced meals and adequate sleep are also vital.
  • And finally, don’t get disheartened if you break the timetable! Forget about it and focus on the plan for the following day.

Next week, a look at study planning apps.

Transition Year 2021/22

Transition Year Mission: 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 Aims

The following aims are interrelated and interdependent and should be strongly reflected in every Transition Year programme:

  1. Education for maturity with the emphasis on personal development including social awareness and increased social competence.
  2. The promotion of general, technical and academic skills with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and self-directed learning.
  3. Education through experience of adult and working life as a basis for personal development and maturity.

TY Diary for the week 1/11/21 - 5/11/21

  • Musical Auditions

This week has been the start of a very exciting week for Transition Year students as musical auditions began with our musical director Rachel O’Connor and assisted by our performing arts teachers Ms. Carr, Ms. Bogle and Ms. Kelly.

Our musical this year is Guys and Dolls. All TY students were involved in the early audition process in which they had to give an example of their singing voice and read part of the script in their best New York accent! Anyone who was absent had the opportunity to submit their audition online through Google Classroom. It was a great experience which students really enjoyed. We look forward to the casting of roles in the coming weeks.


Guys and Dolls is a musical romantic comedy involving the unlikeliest of Manhattan pairings: a high-rolling gambler and a puritanical missionary, a showgirl dreaming of the straight-and-narrow and a crap game manager who is anything but. Set in the Manhattan of Damon Runyon’s short stories, Guys and Dolls tells of con-man Nathan Detroit’s efforts to find new life for his illegal, but notorious, crap game. When their trusty venue is found out by the police, Nathan has to find a new home for his crap game quickly - but he doesn’t have the dough to secure the one location he finds.

TY Community Care

The Transition Year programme provides a major opportunity to reinforce and build upon the work of Civics in the Junior Cycle. In particular, the main aim of Civic, Social and Political Education is to develop active and participatory citizenship in pupils with regard to human rights and social responsibilities. The full range of issues involved may be usefully explored at a number of interconnected levels: · the individual · the community · the state · the global.

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.

Transition Year Drama Workshop

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. Each student’s ePortfolio is personalised to their own TY experience. It will include a section on trips, activities, workshops, guest speakers, work experiences and individual subjects. Students will have 3 pieces of work for each of their subjects to show work that they have completed to a high standard throughout 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 mannequin 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


Sports Psychology Workshop


On Friday the 5th of November 5th and 6th Year Leaving Cert P.E. Students engaged in a Sports Psychology Workshop to support the teaching and learning. Sports psychology is the study of how psychological factors influence sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity. Sports psychologists investigate how participating in sports can improve health and well being. They also help athletes utilize psychology to improve their sports performance and mental well-being.

Contemporary sports psychology is a diverse field. There are a number of different topics that are of special interest to sports psychologists. Some professionals focus on a specific area, while others study a wide range of techniques.

Attentional Focus; Attentional focus involves the ability to tune out distractions, such as a crowd of screaming fans, and focus attention on the task at hand. This allows athletes to manage their mental focus even in the face of other things that are vying for attention.

Visualization and Goal-Setting; This involves visualizing performing a task, such as participating in an athletic event or successfully performing a particular skill. This area of sports psychology is centered on helping athletes mentally prepare for a performance or competition.

Motivation and Team-Building; Some sports psychologists work with professional athletes and coaches to improve performance and increase motivation. A major subject in sports psychology, the study of motivation looks at both extrinsic and intrinsicmotivators.

Anxiety; Professional sports psychologists often help athletes cope with the intense pressure that comes from competition. This often involves finding ways to reduce performance anxiety and combat burnout.

Rehabilitation; Another important focus of sports psychology is on helping athletes recover and return to their sport after an injury. A sports injury can lead people to experience emotional reactions in addition to their physical injury, which can include feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness & fear.

Congratulations to former AVS Student Niamh Moohan


Congratulations to former student and International Schools athlete, Niamh Moohan, who was awarded a Sports Scholarship at LYIT. Niamh is currently studying Higher Certificate in Health Science in Physiotherapy Studies

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 team will play their first game against Colaiste Cholmcille this coming Friday and the U20 team will have their first this coming Wednesday against Dean Maguirc College. 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.

Senior Boys GAA

Senior boys GAA training will start this Monday after school in Tir Conaill Park at 4:15.

U14 Boys GAA

U14 Boys trials took place this Thursday after school. Training will start from this coming Thursday after school on the school pitch.

U14 Boys Soccer

Training will start this Wednesday after school on the all weather pitch.

Basketball U16 and U19 Boys

U16 and U19 Boys training takes place every Wednesday after school in the school gym from 4-5:45. All players are welcome.

Athletics Training

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

Cross Country Training

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

TY Coaching

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

Covid Learning and Support Scheme (CLASS)

This scheme has been introduced by the Department of Education to help schools mitigate the adverse impacts of Covid-19 on student learning loss and wellbeing arising from the periods of school closures in 2020 and 2021.

Information has been gathered from parents, staff, students, guidance counsellors, year heads and prefects on what could be included in this scheme. Based on these recommendations, a plan has been put in place for each year group. The plan includes:



● Homework club

● Catch-up club

● Spoken languages club

● IT skills

● Study skills/plans

● Young scientist

● Team building activities

● Anxiety management/techniques

● Girls Active

● Drama/Singing/Music club

● Motivational talks

● Tea/Coffee during catch-up club

● Yoga/Pilates

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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