Post 16 December Newsletter

Post 16 December Newsletter

Debating Matters!

Debating Matters…
The Loreto Debating Group was formed in September this year by Mrs McGirr, who has a long-standing interest in debating stemming for her own involvement in a debating society at school some years ago…!  She has experienced many long-term benefits from having participated in debating as a school-girl and is keen that the pupils at Loreto also have the opportunity to try it out.  Put simply – debating matters because ideas matter. Debating is a skill that fosters intellectual curiosity, encourages rigorous research and creates an environment which encourages deeper levels of knowledge and understanding about political, social and cultural issues.  It also develops high-level communication skills, building confidence to speak in public and developing the art of persuasive writing and speaking.  These skills are prized by universities and employers.
The ‘Concern’ debating competition, in which the debating team are currently participating, is organised by the charity ‘Concern’ and is a well-established all-island debating competition, running for over 30 years.  The girls compete in teams of four speakers in each debate, on rotation, and are supported by the other members of the debating team, as researchers.  The motions for debate are set by Concern and explore issues relating to development education, poverty, environment and security, and foster active citizenship principles.  The preparation for the debates is carried out at after-school meetings, and also at home by the girls involved.  There is usually a flurry of emails coming up to debate nights!
Since September, the girls have participated in two workshops – one on debating generally and the other on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – and in two ‘away’ debates and one ‘home’ debate, against St Patrick’s College, Maghera, Finn Valley College, Stranorlar, St Columba’s College, Stranorlar, respectively.  The debates take place in the evening time; we have really enjoyed the ‘craic’ on the bus to the ‘away’ debates and it has been a lovely opportunity for the girls to meet pupils in other schools.  Our dedicated core members are drawn from year 11-13: Beth Johnston, Ella Duffy, Saoirse Armstrong, Niamh Curran, Niamh Cullinan, Eimear McElduff, Eadaoin McKiernan, Cora McCabe and Orla Browne.  Our next debate will be held at ‘home’ against Thornhill College, Derry on Wednesday 4th December at 7pm.  Please feel free to join us in the Assembly Hall – ‘volunteering does more harm than good’ is a controversial motion that is sure to get you thinking.

October Newsletter

Loreto Omagh Newsletter October 2019

Loreto Rumbek Newsletter October 2019

International Fashion Stylist, Caroline Baxter, Visits Art & Design Department

We were delighted last week to welcome past-pupil & internationally acclaimed Fashion Stylist, Caroline Baxter, to the Loreto Art and Design Department.  Caroline was invited back the our school by Head of Department, Mrs McGuigan, to deliver a Careers’ Talk to a group of students from Years 10-14.  Caroline was taught A’ Level Art & Design by our Principal, Mrs O’Hanlon, who instilled in her a passion for the subject.  This led to her embarking on her career path by studying ‘Illustration and Graphic Design’ at degree level in England.

Caroline is now an award-winning stylist with over 25 years’ experience working in the fashion industry.  She has held senior positions on glossy magazines, including Fashion Editor of both Cosmopolitan and Zest, Executive Fashion Director at New Woman and Group Fashion Director of Essentials, Woman and Woman Fashion.  On being awarded the  BSME Stylist of the Year title back in 2017, the judges said “This stylist combines the most accessible models, best-in-class photographers and stunning locations to create simply sumptuous images – all on a miniscule budget. Her styling is immaculate and inspirational and goes to show that models don’t need to be scowling, pin thin or expensively dressed to create a truly memorable fashion image.”

Throughout her visit Caroline kept her young Loreto audience captivated with stories from her extensive career portfolio. Although Fashion Styling is now her main career, she has also worked as an Art Director and Fashion Editor.  She explained to the students that her career keeps evolving.  She talked about working on an animation project with Steven Spielberg in the 1990’s, styling photoshoots with supermodel Karlie Kloss and working with the 1960’s icon, Twiggy, for a magazine cover.


Caroline also gave a general overview of career paths within the Creative Industries and highlighted what websites students should look at to get a grasp of how the digital sphere is evolving in today’s marketplace.  She concluded her talk by telling the students that having a grounding in Art & Design is crucial to working in this sector.




International Show-Jumping Sensation


We are immensely proud of Niamh, our champion Year 12 Show-Jumper, who has had phenomenal recent success in her sport.  In August she represented Ireland at the European Championships in Poland, where she and her teammates won team Gold. Niamh was the only girl on the team and she also finished 9th individually.  Following her top 10 finish at the Europeans, she was invited to compete at the Longines Masters show in Paris and the World Cup show in Lyon in December. She has also been selected to compete on the Irish team in Belgium later this month for the final of the Nations Cup Series, which Ireland are leading.  Niamh most recently returned from the National Championships in Mullingar,  where she won the u16 National Champion title.
Niamh’s mum thanked Loreto for all their support.  She offered a special word of thanks to the PE department who she said “continue to foster and encourage a love of sport and physical activity in all the young girls that they teach”.


Camps International – Cambodia Expedition 2019

Pushing their comfort zones to the outer limits, six of our students travelled to Cambodia in July 2019 to take part in a Camps International 4-week expedition. Casey Devlin, Bronagh Leonard, Zara McGrath and Lisa Denton, Year 13, along with Lauren Gaynor and Caitlin Houston, Year 12, were led by Dr Laura O’Dolan on this incredible trip. The girls formed part of a composite travelling group with three other schools from Northern Ireland and when on expedition, joined a wider range of teams from throughout Ireland and the UK. They engaged in a range of exciting initiatives to assist local communities through wildlife, environment and community projects. Some of the life changing projects that these amazing students threw their hearts and souls into were:

  • Making concrete rings to sink into the ground for the drainage chambers of toilets and wells for local villagers
  • Hand mixing tonnes of concrete to make giant water storage pots
  • Building/improving houses for families living in deplorable conditions
  • Helping local school children with their English lessons
  • Building a safety wall in a local school to combat flooding and soil erosion in the playground
  • Maintaining the village dam walls to ensure the water supply for local farmers’ fields
  • Starting work on a path for a local school so the students don’t have to walk through mud in the rainy season
  • Building chicken coops for local families so they can have a source of income and food
  • Planting banana trees at a local school to provide shade and fresh fruit for the students
  • Replanting Mahogany and Teak saplings to combat mass deforestation and illegal logging activities

Julie Lax (Schools Support Coordinator) from Camps International visited our school on Monday 9th of September to formally acknowledge the work of these students. She was full of praise for their endeavors and said, “Their work ethic and determination were an inspiration to everyone.  They helped make a huge, lasting and positive impact on the lives of many people in rural communities and worked tirelessly to help protect our embattled environment”.

Whilst in Cambodia the students learned about the Khmer Rouge regime by visiting the S21 Prison and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh. They got to explore the wonders of Angkor Wat Temples and challenged themselves by completing the PADI Open Water Scuba course. They learned how to cook sticky bamboo rice, overcame the ‘shock’ of cold-water bucket showers, squat toilets and creepy crawlies and mastered the skill of hand washing their clothes and hanging them on a line to dry. Other highlights included receiving a water blessing from the local monks and watching and joining in with the traditional Aspara Dancers

Being co-located with many of the rural communities enabled the girls to fully immerse themselves in the local cultures. They saw first-hand the daily struggles some people experience in order to go about their normal lives and the limited options young people have to develop their education and career prospects.  The girls returned with a renewed and heightened sense of the opportunities available to them, thankful for their homes that have electricity and hot and cold running water; their school with all the modern technology and facilities, and their families who have supported them so far. The lessons these brave girls have learnt from their expedition will be carried in their hearts and minds, to be used and adapted throughout their lives.

The girls are extremely grateful to all who supported them in their fundraising events prior to departure. They also received much appreciated sponsorship from a number of businesses: Barry Curran Optometrist, First Trust Bank, Calvert Office Equipment, Woodvale Construction Company, Dessie Collins Electrical, Icon eBusiness, and Eugene Donnelly Painter and Decorator.  They would also like to acknowledge McCullagh’s Spar for street collection, B&M Bargains for bag-packing opportunities, Dr Kevin Moore / Order of Malta for providing the required First Aid Kit and Stamina Sports for sponsoring personalised expedition jerseys.





Justice and Peace Review

Justice and Peace Review

Dates for the Diary 2019

Dates for the Diary 2019

ICT Excellence Awards 2019

ICT Excellence Awards 2019

We were delighted to be shortlisted in the ICT Excellence Awards 2019 in conjunction with Capita; C2K and the Education Authority. These Awards celebrate the innovative and collaborative use of technology in schools across Northern Ireland and the positive impact on students and their wider communities.  In the category of Overcoming Barriers to Learning by Empowerment through Technology, we received a visit from 6 Judges in May 2019 to discuss how our Use of Technology enhances Teaching and Learning and is employed to enable all pupils to access the curriculum and achieve their full potential.  We then proceeded to the Finals in The Merchant Hotel in Belfast on 24th June 2019 and were honoured to receive a certificate in recognition of our work with ICT to date.




The Pastoral House System encourages pupils from Years 8, 9 & 10 to get to know and work alongside one another, thereby fostering co-operation and nurturing a sense of service, camaraderie and healthy competition.  The House System promotes good work and behaviour, teamwork and opportunities to take on responsibilities.  The House System celebrates Mary Ward’s Value of Joy and the nurturing, inclusive Ethos of the school.

Points are awarded for:

v  Attendance; Positive Referrals; Meeting your Target Grade; Extra-curricular involvement; Participation in Competitions, Initiatives and Events; Exceptional acts of Kindness and Good deeds; Endeavour and Effort.

The Houses are as follows:

HOUSE ONE-DERFUL                  8A1, 9A1 and 10A1

HOUSE TWO-ERRIFIC                 8A2, 9A2 and 10A2

HOUSE THREE-MENDOUS         8A3,9A3 and 10A3

HOUSE FOUR-TASTIC                 8A4, 9A4 and10A4

HOUSE FIVE-ABULOUS              8A5, 9A5 and10A5 

All classes receive a HOUSE PIN, with their own specific colour – pink, green, yellow, red and blue respectively.  This badge becomes a sign of identity and can open up conversations, in a way to get to know new people, outside your Class, but within your House. 

Year 14 pupils are our 5 House Captains and play a pivotal role on our Health & Wellbeing Prefect Team.  This innovative and energetic team run a Weekly Wednesday Wellbeing Club. We have 15 Key Stage 3 House Vice-Captains, who are appointed based on a Letter of Application.  The Captains, Vice-Captains and Head of Pastoral Care, Mrs M. Gavin,  meet regularly to discuss ideas for our House System and to share progress. 

We run a highly successful House Motto Competition; House Poster Competition, judged by the Art department, and House Points are also accrued from events such as Loreto’s Got Talent Show; Christmas Carol House Challenge; Public Speaking and Debating House Challenge; Choir and Sporting accolades… to name but a few examples. Monthly Rewards & Prizes are enjoyed. All Houses keenly await details of the Winning House MysteryTrip at the End of the Academic Year.  In June of the academic year 2018-19, House FOURTASTIC won the trip to the MILLENNIUM FORUM in Derry and enjoyed a beautiful dinner in ARBUTUS restaurant followed by HAIRSPRAY THE MUSICAL.  A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all! 

 Pupils must stay tuned to our weekly Newssheet, our House Noticeboard, Parent Newsletters and our Twitter Feed for House Updates.




YEAR 13 – 9:15

YEAR 14- 1:15