New-Bridge celebrations

New-Bridge Integrated College recently celebrated their successes at their annual prize night.

Drawing on the inspiration of Nelson Mandela and his drive for peace and reconciliation, Mrs Anderson opened by expressing hopes that the Haas talks might also bring about resolution to current political issues and enable us to build a better future for our young people.

Inspiring pupils with Mandela’s belief that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, Mrs Anderson said that the power of education gives choices which can set everyone on a path to change the world.

Mrs Anderson then went on to say that New-Bridge strives to develop a wide range of pupils’ talents and to praise pupils for their successes in both GCSE and A Level results.

“This has been another exceptional year with results significantly higher than the NI Average for non-selective schools. This year our Year 14 pupils achieved the best A Level results the school has ever had - 100% of our students left with a minimum of two A Levels and again results were well above the NI average for a similar school,” said Mrs Anderson.

Identified as an example of good practice in raising standards in English and Maths by the Department of Education, Mrs Anderson congratulated the relevant staff on their efforts.

She then went on to reiterate Education Minister, John O’Dowd’s message that, ‘No longer are grammar schools the exclusive pathway to an academic education and non-selective schools a purely vocational offering. The international evidence shows that mixed ability schooling can deliver better outcomes for everyone.’

Noting a highlight of the year as their invitation to the Waterfront Hall to meet President Obama and the First Lady, Mrs Anderson said: “We were whisked off to the Waterfront by the US Consulate and were one of only three schools in Northern Ireland who got to actually shake hands with both the President and his wife.2

Outlining some of the achievements of the school, Mrs Anderson said that during the year they were delighted to secure a grant of £75k from the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) to set up a new multi-media suite enabling them to offer BTEC Media courses at GCSE and A Level. They are also in the process of securing a £4m grant to replace mobiles on the lower site with a new permanent 10 -classroom building and sports hall, and hope work will start on this in 2014.

It is also hoped land for new sports facilities and a library will be purchased, and that a new library and additional science room will be in place by March 2014. Mrs Anderson said: “We are excited at the prospect of financial support from Department of Education to facilitate our growth and improve our resources.”

Mrs Anderson concluded by thanking parents for their support and reminding all young people to be proud of their achievements at the College: “‘As Mandela said, ‘sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom’,” she told the audience.w