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St Mary's High School Downpatrick
Celebrating 60 years of education 1957 -2017
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Celebrating 60 years of Education

"Your Child is treated with Dignity and Respect"
Learning doesn't just take place in a classroom
Learning doesn't just take place in a classroom
"In St. Mary's Success is a Reality" -Young Enterprise 2016
We encourage cultural educational experiences - London 2016
We encourage cultural educational experiences - London 2016

Principal addresses concerns about an ongoing campaign, regarding the proposed new school

Dear Parent/ Guardian,

I am aware many of you are concerned about the ongoing campaign regarding St Patrick`s position on the proposed new school. Parents have shared their disbelief that one Catholic school now appears to be trying to score points at the expense of other Catholic schools. We must guard against the false notion that pupils attending a grammar school are better than others educated elsewhere. They are not.

I want to reiterate the importance of all of us, as a collective body: parents, staff, principals, pupils and the wider community recognising that everyone is unique and gifted in their own right. Irrespective of the view point you hold, I urge you to help all our young people accept that everyone is of equal importance. We must not attempt to undermine anyone else simply to get our own way.

Dignity, respect and equality are surely fundamental building blocks for every society. We have pupils in our school who did not do the Transfer Test and other pupils who passed the Transfer Test and decided to come here. All our pupils are educated to meet their individual needs, many achieve very high grades at GCSE and A Level. We have past pupils in many walks of life e.g. doctors, solicitors, chief executives, managing directors etc. Success in the Transfer Test is no indicator of success in later life.

Irrespective of anyone’s view on this proposed amalgamation, it is unacceptable to embroil our young people in behaviours that have the potential to destroy friendships, erode family bonds, position pupils against each other and possibly store up other problems for them in the future. Northern Ireland is a very divided place and we certainly do not need one Catholic school, in the words of a parent, “suggesting they are better than the other Catholic schools.”

The truth of the situation is that all 3 schools in Downpatrick accepted the vision of a new school for this area. This was confirmed in a statement issued by the Trustees that was released to the Governors in all 3 schools and through the Principals to the staff in all 3 schools in February 2013. The only outstanding issue, at that time, was planning the steps to take to arrive at the new school.

In the times ahead I am asking the whole community, irrespective of the school your child attends, to recognise the importance of building a society with tolerance, respect and dignity at its core. Where will this end if we are somehow teaching our young people some are more important and deserving than others? Surely, such a misguided view should not be allowed to grow in our society?

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Mrs S Darling


April 20th, 2018

Rights Respecting Schools Award 2018

In this academic year we are working towards the Rights Respecting Schools Award.

We recognise that all our pupils have rights. We want to make sure they know them and they can enjoy them.

Throughout the year activities will take place to promote the articles set out in the UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We need to protect our children but we need to educate them so they know how to protect themselves.

There are four articles in the convention that are seen as special. They’re known as the “General Principles” and they help to interpret all the other articles and play a fundamental role in realising all the rights in the Convention for all children. They are:

  1. Non-discrimination (article 2)
  2. Best interest of the child (article 3)
  3. Right to life survival and development (article 6)
  4. Right to be heard (article 12)

Form Classes are trying to raise awareness on a chosen article, from the 54 Articles stated. They have drawn up class charters which they will follow throughout the year.

Our school motto is "Every Child Matters". All the work that we do in St. Mary's, including the work for the Rights Respecting School Award, help us to ensure this motto is one we live by.

Please visit the Unicef website to learn more about the Rights Respecting School Award.


St. Mary's News

23rd Apr 2018
Recently, as part of our Shared...
16th Apr 2018
We are delighted to announce that...
16th Apr 2018
Recently our Year 8 students took...
27th Mar 2018
Our SHED education Partnership...
27th Mar 2018
“All as one in Christ” Down...

Upcoming Events

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New Term Begins
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Mock GCSE Exams for Year 11
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Mock GCSE Exams for Year 11
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Mock GCSE Exams for Year 11
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Mock GCSE Exams for Year 11
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Staff Day (No Students)
Post 16 Afternoon (1.00pm - 3.25pm)
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