Principal’s Introduction

Dear Parent/Guardian

Welcome to Downshire Community School.

I hope that our website will give you an insight into the life of our school and what we provide for the young people in our care.

Downshire opened in 1977 as a community school and has always maintained a close partnership between home, school and the community. We see our school as at the heart of the community and our young people are the community’s most valuable resource. Their educational and social development is therefore our top priority as they represent the future of our workforce and country.

We believe in the value and worth of every member of our school community and do all we can to assist them in achieving their personal goals. The provision of a wide range of academic and personal challenges and extra-curricular activities allows the balanced development of our pupils, ultimately preparing them for further education and the world of work.

We seek and value parental involvement in the academic and social development of our young people. You are encouraged to attend Parent Information evenings, Distribution of Awards, Interview evenings and to support and join our very active Parent Teachers Association. We ask you to contact us if you have concerns or wish to share information and request that you regularly check homework planners and keep up to date with our activities by visiting our website and Facebook pages.

Our pupils are encouraged to achieve academic success and we offer a broad, balanced curriculum at Key Stage 3 and a wide range of academic and vocational subjects at GCSE and Post-16 level, enhanced by our membership of the Carrickfergus Learning Community. We have a record of sustained success in Vocational and Academic “A” levels with many of our students progressing directly to University or College. Sixth Form facilities include a fully equipped study room and common room. Sixth Form students also access a wide enrichment programme including enterprise activities and learning Chinese Mandarin.

Pupils’ progress is regularly assessed through homework, tracking tests and workbook checks. Study Skills workshops and revision classes are provided to help our young people prepare effectively for examinations.

Downshire is the Borough’s Hub school for the Confucius Classroom Project and we have two Chinese teachers based here offering cultural and language classes across the key stages. This has added an exciting new dimension to our curricular provision.

STEM education and CEIAG (Careers Education, Information and Guidance) are promoted across the curriculum and our young people go on Work Experience to taste first-hand the world of work.  We maintain strong links with local employers and benefit from their expertise inside and outside the classroom.

Our students are encouraged to participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities and competition entry all of which boost self-esteem and confidence. We are proud to have achieved a high level of individual and team sporting success over the years at local, national and international level and have also recorded significant achievements in prestigious competitions including the Diana and Spirit of Praemerica Awards. Teachers too have been successful in the Northern Ireland Teaching Awards.

A school is a living, breathing community and therefore the development of personal relationships is very important. In Downshire School we have a caring atmosphere and promote positive behaviour and a strong work ethic for our pupils. In this environment we seek to fulfil our aim of the promotion of personal excellence, whatever the starting point of each young person, and engender an attitude of mutual respect for all.

I hope that you will visit our school in order to see the quality that we provide first hand.

Yours sincerely J.E. Stewart (Principal)