New-Bridge Integrated College welcomed Mr John O’ Dowd, Minister for Education to the College today, Wednesday 16th October 2013. Mr O’Dowd was greeted by Mrs Anderson, Principal, Mrs Hasson, Vice Principal, members of the Senior Management Team, Mrs Harbinson, Mr O’Kane and Mr Tate, Head Boy, David Taylor and Head Girl, Tara Curran and a small cohort of Year 8 students.
The College choir greeted Mr O’ Dowd with a beautiful rendition of an African community song ‘Sinje’. The song was chosen because of the relevance of the lyrics to our integrated ethos. ‘We are all part of one community where everyone is welcome regardless of their background or culture and we give thanks for every person here’.
During his visit the Minister was given a tour of the school and met with representatives of the Board of Governors. He also had the opportunity to meet with sixth form students to give them an insight into his role as Education Minister.
The Minister said: “It is a pleasure to be in New-Bridge Integrated College today and I thank the Principal, Anne Anderson, for her invitation to the school.
“New-Bridge prides itself on being ‘The school for all the family’ and is committed to ensuring that all pupils are provided with the opportunity to achieve their full educational potential. Integrated schools have an important role to play in education and my Department has a statutory duty to encourage and facilitate its development. Evidence shows there is a demand from parents in the Banbridge area for integrated education and that is why earlier this year I approved a development proposal to increase the enrolment at New-Bridge Integrated College.”
New-Bridge Integrated College was recently mentioned as an example of good practice in an Education and Training Inspectorate report. The report highlighted 11 schools with relatively high levels of free school meal entitlement who achieve good results in English and maths at GCSE level.
Continuing the Minister said: “As well as learning through the core curriculum and achieving very high academic standards, I am pleased to see that New-Bridge offers a range of extra-curricular clubs and activities. These include homework clubs and a STEM club as well as a range of musical and sporting activities.”
In conclusion the Minister commended the Principal, teachers and all the staff for their hard work and commitment. He said: “Having met with many of the pupils here today, it is clear that they are thoroughly enjoying their educational experience which is strongly influenced by Mrs Anderson and her team. I wish everyone involved with the school well for the future”.