Going from strength to strength

May 27, 2013

Over the past eleven years as Principal of St Joseph’s High School, Kevin Scally, along with his dedicated staff, have propelled the non-selective school to the forefront of Catholic education in the province.

The school is now one of the most academically successful schools in Northern Ireland, consistently achieving GCSE and A level results well above the national average.  Last year’s league tables placed the all-inclusive school in an impressive sixth place in the Irish News poll of schools, with the highest percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, and the 2013 results are expected to follow suit.

The proud Principal is keen to point out that being a non-selective school is an important part of St Joseph’s ethos.

“Every pupil is valued irrespective of their level of perceived ability,” says Mr Scally adding,

“St Joseph’s passes every benchmark used by the Department of Education to measure the success and viability of post-primary schools, with enrolment increasing since the introduction of sixth form studies in 2003.”

Despite being in the middle of a demographic downturn and with grammar schools now accepting more and more students who do not score ‘A’ grades, the enrolment for St Joseph’s is consistently increasing, with 630 students expected to enrol in the new term.

This growth in numbers as well as the high level of academic excellence has led to a campaign for a new build for the school, with early indications that some £4million may be earmarked to build a separate building at the rear of the school, which will be dedicated to the creative arts and music as well as housing a new careers suite and other facilities for the ever growing student population.

In addition to the academic excellence of this all-ability, co-educational school, St Joseph’s has notched up an impressive array of footballing achievements down through the years including claiming the Herald Cup in 2008 and the Ulster Colleges Ennis Cup for under 14’s in 2010.  The girls too have fared well in sport, becoming the under 14’s ladies football champions in 2006.

With the musical and dramatic talents of its pupils also showcased in spring concerts each year, it’s fair to say St Joseph’s has become an all-round centre of excellence for secondary school pupils which continuously demonstrates its high standards in all aspects of school life.

For Mr Scally, who approaches retirement this year, he will leave behind a legacy of inclusion which embraces the long-term educational potential of all children and upholds the belief that every child is capable of an academic education.