27 Sept 2022

News from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town

News from Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town

News for Abbey Vocational School, week commencing January 15th, 2018

AVS TY students take part in CFR Course: TY students from the Abbey Vocational School with Niall, Frankie & A.J. from First Response Safety Training. The students took part in a Cardiac First Responder course

Young Americans

The young Americans will be returning to the AVS on the 26th, 27th and 28th of January. This is a very exciting event for the students of the AVS and we very much encourage all to take part in this event. This is a confidence building workshop where the aim is to enable the students to use the medium of music to express themselves. Students really enjoy these days and there has always been excellent feedback on this event. We are delighted that to have the Young American back to our school

The Young Americans is a performing arts college which tour around the world inspiring students through music. The Young Americans have Completed 134 international tours and have been a huge hit in the AVS for several years. Students who sign up will participate in dancing, singing and acting in the Bosco Centre. At the end of the 3 days the students will put on a show for the public to showcase what they have been taking part in over the 3 days. Students can register in the school office now.

Young American Homestays

Many thanks to all families who are welcoming the Young Americans into their homes for the duration of their stay in Donegal Town. Thank you for being part of our welcome team for this the third visit of the Young Americans. We appreciate your support in accommodating the crew and hope that you will enjoy being part of the experience.

We still require a number of  homes for the Young Americans for the duration of their stay here, anyone that is interested in accommodating any of these young people can contact the school on 074 9721105.

Open Night


Our school will be open to the general public from 5pm until 8pm.  We would be delighted for you to take a tour of our school and see practical demonstrations and displays of students' work from all of our Subject Departments.  I hope that the people of Donegal Town and the wider community will take this opportunity to view our excellent facilities.  We especially hope that all of our incoming students will attend with their parents.  All persons under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

We will have a table set up to facilitate anyone who wishes to return the enrolment form on the night of the Open Evening.  We encourage you to please do this.   Deadline for enrolment is Friday, 9th February 2017.

We will host an Open Day/Induction day for our incoming 6th class students. Our new Video for incoming 6th class students is now available on the website - we welcome you all to have a look at this!

Junior Cert Profile of Achievement

As part of the Framework for Junior Cycle the reporting process at junior cycle has now culminated in the award of the JCPA to our students who completed their Junior Cert State Exams in June 2017.  The JCPA is a new kind of award. It has replaced the Junior Certificate from 2017. The JCPA was awarded by the school to the students for the first time in December 2017.  Each student received a JCPA. . It reported on student achievement across a broad range of areas of learning in Junior Cycle. The JCPA, alongside other reported arrangements in junior cycle, will offer parents/guardians a clear, broad picture of their child’s learning journey over the three years of junior cycle

Leaving Cert Computer Science

The Abbey Vocational School, will introduce Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject in September 2018, one of forty schools in Ireland chosen by the Department of Education and Skills to do so as part of the Government’s overall commitment to embedding digital technology in teaching and learning.

The Abbey VS has recognised the importance of the 21st century learning and taken various measures to develop this area, having developed an E-Learning road map which aims to embed digital technology into teaching and learning practices; it has a very active ICT Committee through which many ICT developmental strategies are progressed; staff have undergone comprehensive training in Google classroom and other Google apps and have been further supported by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) through in school support from one of its past pupils Siobhan O Sullivan, a PDST ICT advisor. A new policy enables students to use their mobile phones as an ICT teaching and learning tool in classes where teachers find it beneficial for them to do so. The curriculum has also been developed with the introduction of Coding as a Short Course for the new Junior Cycle and the creation of an additional computer classroom this year, kitted out with Chromebooks to allow further access to ICT equipment; further trolleys of Chromebooks have also been purchased to enhance accessibility to ICT.

Dr Martin Gormley, Director of Schools with Donegal ETB, congratulated the school management and staff on their foresight in applying and being successful with getting approval to offer Computer Science at Leaving Certificate. Dr Gormley commented, “the addition of Computer Science to the curriculum for the Leaving Certificate in the Abbey VS will build on the existing work in the school with the Coding Initiative at Junior Cycle and will provide the students with an enhanced choice of subjects for their Leaving Certificate. The management and staff are delighted to receive the approval and are already making the necessary plans for the successful introduction of the subject.”

CAT Testing and Academic Tracking

First year students took part In CAT tests this week. These are assessments of reasoning ability can identify where a pupil’s real strengths lie, free from the constraint of the curriculum and unencumbered by learning barriers. The results of these tests from first years and for second years will inform  a tracking system for the school whereby we will have the necessary data to support those who are under performing as well as encourage those students who should be at a certain level of learning.

Mock Exams

The students have received their Mock Examination Timetables which are available also on the School Website. Our Exam students now prepare for these exams which are very important in the overall preparation for the State Exams in June. Note Evening study continues for students and we now have arrangements in place for lunchtime study groups for leaving certs in the library.

Career Guidance

1. A HEAR & DARE Application Advice Clinic for Leaving Cert students will take place in the Villa Rose, Ballybofey and the Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo on Saturday, 20 January 2018 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. See for further details.

2. An NUI Galway Information Evening for Leaving Cert students and their parents will be held in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny on Thursday, 18 January 2018 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

3. A very informative Apprenticeship talk took place in the Library on Wednesday, 10 January, presented by the Donegal ETB Apprenticeship Department. Thank you to all of the 5th and 6th year students that attended. Thank you to Lorraine Murray for an excellent presentation.

4. The Guidance Department have set up a Google Classroom for Apprenticeship information provision.  Please ask your Guidance Counsellor or one of your practical subject teachers for the code.

5. Ms Mc Morrow & Ms Faherty would like to remind 6th year students that they should be making their 1:1 appointments as soon as possible.  The Guidance Department are here to help in any way we can over the course of the next very important couple of months.  5th year students are also welcome to request a 1:1 appointment.

Sligo IT Talk

Thank you to Corina from Sligo IT who came into talk to our 6th year on Friday. Corina is the student ambassador for Sligo IT. She gave a superb talk on the different course available in Sligo IT and also an insight into the college lifestyle.

Senior Cycle Options Night

The Senior Cycle Options Night for parents of those students going into TY or fifth year will take place on Tuesday Night 6th February in the school. The talk will cover the Transition Year Programme and the subject choice available for 5th year.

Talk for Parents on Moving on to College and College Life

LYIT will present a talk to parents on “A guide on third level education’ in the school library on the 25th January at 8pm. During this talk parents will get an insight into the people within third level education, the opportunity for students, the different options available to students and the key to success in third level support services.

Healthy Schools

The Health Promoting Schools committee are selling tickets for a Phaser bicycle.  Raffle tickets are one euro each and can be purchased at lunch time in the Assembly area.

Defib Awareness and location App

Our Health promoting schools committee have been working on a plan in order to raise awareness in the community of the importance of a defibrillator.  Defibrillators strengthen the Chain of Survival. They can restore a normal heart rhythm in victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Staff have undergone an overview of how to use a defibrillator in case of an emergency. A number of students have attended a certified Cardiac First Responder Training. The training comprised of CPR, Choking, Recovery position and the use of a Defibrillator.  Before Christmas a number of our students fundraised in Donegal Town, thanks to the generous donations of the public the committee have now been able to order an outdoor defibrillator which will be placed outside on the school grounds in the coming weeks. The final phase of the project will be to develop a mapping system where all the defibrillators in the Donegal Town area can be found with a click of a button.

Couch to 5k

The couch to 5k programme begins on Monday, January the 15th for staff and 6th year students. There are many mental health benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal. This is important as our 6th year students prepare for their mock exams in the coming weeks. Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression. The programme will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after school on the track.

Healthy Eating Initiative

Our healthy schools committee are commencing work on the development of a survey to distribute to our students and staff to see what healthy options they would like to see served in the school Canteen. Our committee believe this is a pressing matter because healthy eating for adolescents is extremely important.  The school environment is a key setting to address healthy eating, because students spend a large part of their day in school.

PE Xpo

The TYs are currently working in class on their PE Xpo project which is due at the end of the month. The PE Xpo is a competition that examines the science behind sport. It will take place in the sport facilities of Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun on the 7th March.

6th Year Geography Trip

Two Leaving Cert geography classes travelled to Bundoran. Here they carried out their Geographical Investigation by observing and measuring coastal erosion landforms, such as; caves, sea cliffs and lines of weakness. The trip was supervised by the class teachers Mr O’Neil and Ms Gallagher, and Rosemary Myers who was a great support. Fieldwork is an essential part of Leaving Cert Geography, representing 20% of the marks. In general, the fieldwork is done as whole class activity when the class go to a particular area and carry out the fieldwork. Each student then writes up their own report booklet based on the information they gathered during the fieldwork.

Motivational Talk

Huge thanks to Jason Quigley, who delivered a motivational talk to our Leaving Cert students. The talk was very engaging and enjoyed by all. It’s a challenging year for our students who are juggling deadlines, career options and impending exams therefore, an inspiring and uplifting presentation should give them a boost to tackle this challenging year. Jason Black will visit the leaving Certs at the end of this month which should help in keeping them on task as well as having a positive perspective on matters in general.

6th Year Business Trip

Leaving Cert Business students attended a trip to the ‘Coca Cola’ Factory on Tuesday 19th December. The factory opens its doors to visitors to share a glimpse into the production, history and marketing of the great products made at our Knockmore Hill plant. We are sure it will be an exciting and enjoyable day with hopefully a few freebies thrown in!

School Tour Abroad

The School Tour abroad takes place from 26th March to 29th March. Students are travelling to Italy.  Thanks to Mr Leyden for all of his work in planning this Tour.

John Paul 11

Ms Feeney will accompany 20 TY students and one fifth year to Letterkenny on Thursday 18th January. Mass will be held with Bishop in Cathedral at 11.30 as part of the John Paul 11 Awards.

Fundraising Events

Defibrillator Fundraising

Thank you to members of the community who supported us in to raising funds in order to purchase a second defibrillator for the school and the community. We are now in a position to purchase this defibrillator which will be placed outdoors beside the track, for emergencies. Thank you to all those who have made this possible,

Gambia Fundraising

Thank you to Alec Reid who works so hard in supporting Gambia fundraising events.

Cancer Fundraising Support and Activities Fundraising

A Christmas themed day before the holidays assisted us with the collection of funds which will go towards the activities fund in the school. Half of this collection was given to a cancer support fundraising event in conjunction with Donegal ETB.  Thank you to all who supported us.

Bluestack Foundations

Thank you to Mr McLoone's level 2 class who made a presentation to the Bluestack Foundation of 380 euro from the proceeds of their vintage tea party.

TY News

Cardiac First Responder Training

On the 11th and 12th January three local paramedics came in to the school and held a Cardiac First Responder Training for the TY students. It was held in the library and groups of 20 did the training throughout the two days. The training comprised of CPR, Choking, Recovery position and the use of a Defibrillator. The students watched a clip to guide them while the paramedics showed them what to do. The students practiced the different ways to save a life using manikins and a defibrillator. The course is certified by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council. The students all learned a lot from the training and hopefully someday this training will save a life.

TY Activities

For the next three weeks, the TY activities are as follows:

4A - yoga, 4B - self-defence, 4C - aqua aerobics, 4D - surfing.

The TYs are currently working in class on their sports leadership and also their PE expo project which is due at the end of the month. TY students will be attending the primary schools to coach students in the coming weeks which will also be part of their Sports Leadership.

A number of TY’s are taking our students swimming once a week as part of their activity; some TY students are also involved in this as part of their Sports Leadership Program.

Good luck to the TY athletic coaches who will be hosting the small primary schools athletics competition on the 2nd February.

TY Chess Competition

All classes in TY took part in a chess competition in the school. TY classes have been practicing chess in their math classes since the start of the year. Class 4A competed against 4B and 4A won the most games therefore, gaining the most points. 4C then played against 4D and 4C won the majority of points. The overall winners of the competition were 4A.

Mini Companies - Christmas Fair

On Thursday the 21st December a Christmas fair was held in the Main Assembly area of the school. It was really enjoyable and you could feel the festive atmosphere in the school. All TY’s had their mini-companies for sale along with some LCA companies. There was a variety of items for sale, such as delicious food, homemade picture frames, Christmas decorations and there were also some games for students to play. Each year group was given a time slot to experience the fair and what it had to offer. It was a lively event for staff and students which created a sense of Christmas spirit! All the students did very well on the day. Prizes were given out on the day the winners were, best costume - David Keeney, Best display LCA cakes, most fun game - pie face and most popular ‘oh crepe’.  Well done to all the students who took part in the fair.

Work experience

The 2nd week of work experience for our TY students will take part on the week of the 14th February.

LYIT Taster day

20 Ty students will travel to Letterkenny for the LYIT taster day. Students will get to experience lectures in nursing, science or computers. The cost for the trip is €8

Debating Workshop

A number of our TY students will take part in a debating workshop on Thursday the 18th January. In this workshop the students learn a variety of debating skills and techniques and will partake in debates on various matters.


Nominations - Donegal Sport Star Awards

Congratulations to all in the school involved in sport as the AVS was nominated for a Donegal Sports Award in the category - best sports school. Congratulations also to Michelle Harvey and Orlaith Carr for their nominations as Beat Sports Teachers. Good luck to Mia McCalmont our students as she has been nominated for the best Donegal sports girl award, in recognition for her international achievements this year in the area of athletics.


Training continues every Tuesday after school for all age groups. Cross country training is on Friday at lunch time.  Cross country season kicks off this coming week with the team travelling to Gweedore for the Donegal schools final. We have a large team travelling, this will be good preparation for the Ulster schools competition which is happening in the coming weeks.

Our 1st year girls Sportshall Athletics team are training hard for the county final, this takes place on the 1st February in Gweedore also.

Good luck to Mia McCalmont at the Donegal sports star award. She has been nominated for the best Donegal sports girl award, in recognition for her international achievements this year.

Training continues every Tuesday after school for all age groups. Cross country training is on Friday at lunch time.     

Our first years had a very busy few weeks in the run up to Christmas.

They participated in a Sportshall Athletics festival and a Rowathon event.

Well done to all students who competed in such an enthusiastic and positive manner. There were some outstanding performances in both event. In the Sportshall Athletics 1D were the overall winners with exceptional performances from Dylan Barrett and Sarah Donovan.

Top 3 classes on the day:

1D - 125 points

1A - 108 points

1C - 91 points

In the Rowathon 1B came out on top on the day. Well done to Emma Kee and Stefan Parajka who were the top rowers in the event. Well done to Sofia Maziri who raised the most money in the fundraiser. Thank you the Tir Chonaill AC, Donegal Bay Rowing club and our TY Sports Leaders who assisted with these events.

Girls Basketball

1st year girls training continues every Wednesday after school in the school gym. The 2nd year girls training has been moved to Monday after school in the school gym.

The U19 girls will have basketball training this Sunday at 7pm. Good luck to the senior girls who play away in Mullingar next Saturday in the All Ireland qualifiers.

Boys Basketball

1st and 2nd year boys basketball training has moved to Thursday after school with Mr McHugh and Saturday morning at 9-11 in the school gym. The 1st and 2nd year league will start in the coming weeks.

U15 soccer

Good luck the U15 boys who play St Eunans in the Donegal minor league final in Killygordon at 11:30 on Monday.

1st year boys’ soccer

Good luck to the 1st year boys who play Buncrana on Tuesday in Buncrana.

Senior Boys Gaelic Football

Well done to the AVS boys’ Gaelic team who performed very well throughout the year. Unfortunately it was a toss between us and Dungloe to go through to the semis and Dungloe won the toss.

Ladies Gaelic Football                                                                    

U14 and U20 girls training will continue after school every Tuesday.  Please bring runners, a warm top, water and a gum shield. The U14 league will start in February. Good luck to the U20 who have progressed to the Ulster stage in their computation. Details of their next game will be available in the coming week.


U16 hurling training continues Tuesday at lunch time.

Lunch time activities

Lunch time activities continue as normal. Please check the notice board in the gym. There is a least two activities a day.

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