Academy pupils impress Secretary of State on visit

Gina Woods showed the visitors how to make keyrings � Edward Byrne Photography INBL1426-243EB
Gina Woods showed the visitors how to make keyrings � Edward Byrne Photography INBL1426-243EB

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland took time out from her busy political schedule to visit to pupils and staff at Banbridge Academy, on Thursday June 26.

During the visit which lasted just over an hour, Theresa Villiers was greeted by the Academy’s string orchestra before being taken on a tour of the school.

She met with principal Raymond Pollock, the head and deputy head boy and girl, chair of the Board of Governors and staff and pupils in Home Economics and Technology classes. She was also shown an art exhibition and Young Enterprise display.

Commenting on the visit, Academy principal Mr Pollock said: “It was an extremely good visit and we were very honoured to host the secretary of state, escort her around the school and introduce her to a variety of young people and facilities.

“She was very impressed by the pupils and by the quality of the work.

“Some of our pupils gave her momentos of her visit and she was presented with a small gift produced by the enterprise class, that the pupils had made themselves.

“She gratefully received these,” Mr Pollock added.

The visit followed an Armed Forces Day event in Craigavon Civic Centre which Ms Villiers had been attending, and was facilitated by MP David Simpson.

“It was an honour to welcome the Secretary of State to Banbridge Academy during her visit to the Upper Bann area on Thursday,” said Mr Simpson.

“The hour-long visit showcased the finest elements of the Academy and I commend the students and staff on the professional display that was put on.

“The Academy offers an excellent standard of education for young people and this was acknowledged by the Secretary of State within her numerous comments on the talent being exhibited.

“As we walked around the Academy we were treated to displays from the Music Department, Home Economics, Technology, Young Enterprise and a fabulous art exhibition.

“It is down to the hard work of students and staff throughout the year that such a high standard of work was able to be displayed.

“I congratulate them on their dedication throughout the year and I am most grateful for the gratitude shown towards the Secretary of State throughout her visit.”

Following a signing of the visitors’ book, Ms Villiers was presented with a book on the Academy.

Refreshments were served in the headmaster’s office before the visit was concluded.