AVS Newsletter – Mon 27th Jan

Abbey Vocational School 20th – 26th January

U16 Girls Basketball Champions!


Congratulations to our U16 Girls Basketball Team who beat Colaiste Muire, Crosshaven by 47-26 to lift the U16 Girls All Ireland Cup at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin on Monday the 20th of January!

2nd Year Parent Teacher Meeting 

Second year Parent Teacher Meeting takes place on Wednesday January 29th. Please attend between 3.45pm and 6.15pm

Information Night on  Ty and LCA programmes and subject Options for students going into 5th year.

This takes place on  Tuesday, 11 February 2020 at 7 p.m.

  1. An overview of the LCA Programme will be given at 6.30 pm for those interested.
  2. Talk for Parents of 3rd year students commences at 7 pm on the TY Programme.
  3. Talk for Parents of TY students takes place at 7.40 pm on Subject Options for 5th year. Parents of 3rd year students can remain seated if they wish to listen to a talk on this area or if their child is progressing to 5th year.

Incoming First Years 2020 2021

A reminder to all parents that Subject Choice forms should be returned to the school office by Jan 31st, with the students name included please.

Subject Options Awareness Week:

For the next two weeks our Tys and some of our 5th years will be thinking about the various subject options available to them and will use the opportunity to speak to teachers on their subject area. The students will be given talks and a presentation on subject options and programmes.

Cycle Against Suicide 2020

Congratulations to Evan Gorrell part of the Abbey Vocational School Staff Community who spoke at the Student Leaders’ Congress Friday the 17th of January in the CityWest Convention Centre, Dublin. 


This event is a contact based education day, where students participate in a day of mental health talks and training in a fun and inclusive environment. Research shows that contact based education is one of the most powerful tools of learning.  Against a backdrop of increased levels of anxiety, self-harm, and suicide, this event will help young people to look after their mental well-being.

This event will educate young people on the mental health continuum. It will address mental health stigma, offer hope and focus on building resilience.

Mental Health Promotional Video

AVS 5th yr student India Kennedy attended the Cycle Against Suicide Student Leaders Congress in Dublin on Friday the 17th of January as a student leader. Our mental health community has been working hard all year to promote positive mental health around our school community, we would also like to thank a number of our staff who have helped to promote the message that “IT’S OK NOT TO FEEL OK: AND IT’S ABSOLUTELY OK TO ASK FOR HELP”.


Teaching & Learning: ‘Students Reflecting on their Learning’

Being able to reflect on one’s learning and learning how to become a better learner are key elements of the junior cycle key skills. When students learn to reflect on their learning through dialogue, writing or using a computer, they are developing many of these skills.

Through reflection ‘in’ and ‘on’ learning students can:

  • become more aware of the knowledge and skills that they have developed
  • identify strengths and areas for development
  • develop and action plan for future learning
  • gain greater understanding of themselves and how they learn
  • take more responsibility for their learning

As “Students Reflecting on their Learning” is one of our school improvement targets, our staff are employing a range of strategies to help our students develop the skills to look at their own and others’ work critically and constructively. Such strategies include peer assessment, exit ticket and reflection sheets. These approaches help our students to develop a ‘nose’ for quality and to begin to understand the features of quality in a piece of work. They see areas where they can improve themselves by recognising them in the work of others.       See: http://avsdonegal.com/student-reflection


Chess Club The Chess Club has resumed on Mondays in room 3 and all new members are welcome! The game of chess is played by millions of people worldwide.  Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game chaturanga some time before the 7th century. If you have an interest in joining our Chess Club please come along to our meetings as everyone is welcome!

The Maths Club    The Abbey Vocational School Maths Club meets on Fridays at lunchtime in Room 30. The Maths Club runs an enrichment programme that focuses on helping Students with Maths.

Drama Club   

AVS Drama Club is buzzing this week as students are involved in auditions for a part in the school’s entry to the Donegal Schools’ Drama Festival taking place at the Balor Theatre in Ballybofey at the end of February. Our entry is a comedy called The Good Doctor by award-winning American Broadway writer Neil Simon. We had lots of students from all year groups attending initial auditions last week and this week the students are working hard to prepare scenes for their second-round audition. The full cast list will be announced soon. We will then be approaching students to help out with stage management, set, props and music. If you are interested in getting involved please speak to Mr Donegan.

Last year our entry Chatroom by Enda Walsh came second overall in Donegal with Robyn Harvey-Moulding (6th year) winning best actress. We will be keen to repeat our success this year with another fantastic show.


The English Department has been working with The PDST ‘Well Read National Award’. This is a national initiative designed and organised by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). It aims to create heightened awareness about the importance of creating a culture of reading in school communities for students as part of their personal and academic development.

ETB Further Education & Training Talk 

ETB’s Further Education & Training Talk held in the Abbey Vocational School on Tuesday the 21st of January for Leaving Certificate Students was the ideal opportunity for Students to investigate what education and training opportunities are available locally and find out how Donegal ETB and other providers can help people to meet their education and training needs.

There are a wide range of options available; part-time and full-time learning, courses to help refresh the basics or develop knowledge in a range of areas of interest, including courses for recreation and courses to improve employment prospects.

Donegal ETB tutors and advisers explained what Apprenticeships, new and exciting Traineeship courses, and industry certified courses are available. Those attending could augment reality welding or speak to current learners to find out firsthand what it’s like to undertake a FET course with Donegal ETB. The ETB’s strong links with universities, ITs and Colleges of Further Education mean progression opportunities for learners were highlighted. Invaluable information such as, Citizens Information, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and SUSI Student Grants were provided also.


  1. Career talks for Senior Cycle students taking place in the school over the coming weeks:
  • Defence Forces – Monday, 27 Jan. @ 2.00
  • Work-Based Degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering – IT Sligo: 29 Jan. @ 10.20
  1. Leaving Cert students should be working on their DARE & HEAR applications. All online requirements must be completed by 01 March 2020 @ 5.15 p.m. and all paperwork must reach CAO by 15 March 2020 @ 5.15 p.m.
  2. The SUSI Grant application system is due to open in early April 2020.  Further info. will be available to students closer to this time. See www.SUSI.ie
  3. Keep an eye on our regularly updated Guidance website. Go to www.AVSDonegal.com – click on the Guidance Guidance button.

Leaving Cert Mentoring Programme:

Leaving Cert Students from the Abbey Vocational School will be completing their Mock Examinations in a few weeks. The Mock timetable is available on the school website. Each Leaving Cert Student has an individual Mentor who had been working with them around the challenges of the Leaving Cert exam and how they individually need to be supported. Thanks to all of the staff in the school who give of their time to become a mentor and to offer such invaluable support to our students at this very challenging time. Mentors will link in with students to see what each student now needs to address in order to be in the best possible place for the exams. Year Head Ms Dillon will be offering ongoing support to all students in her year group also.

French Department

Dimanche 2 février, c’était la Chandeleur en France. La Chandeleur est la fête des crêpes et les Français s’en donnent à cœur joie et dévorent à pleines dents la montagne de crêpes qu’ils ont préparée.


Restorative Practice

On Friday the 24th of January, the Abbey Vocational School welcomed Restorative Practice Advocate Tony Kearney.

Restorative Practices is an approach that offers both proactive and responsive strategies for strengthening relationships. Restorative Practices offers a means to develop relationships that are essential to building community so that conflict is lessened.

Transition Year

Moderate Classroom Mural


Clara Bustard, Eva Jichi and Lucy Monaghan working on a beautiful scene from under the sea for the Abbey Vocational School Moderate Classroom!

AIB Build a Bank

AIB have introduced their Build-A-Bank programme to the Abbey Vocational School. This programme challenges a group of 6 students to create, market & run a bank within their school in conjunction with AIB. The competing team of Aoibheann Gallagher, Emily McNulty, Savannah Timony, Catherine Whiteside, Eilish McGroary & Darcy Neil will be travelling to the National Final in the RDS in March where they will experience an amazing day out, meet other school bank teams, receive proper and professional feedback on their hard work and ultimately be in with the chance of being crowned Build A Bank Champions and win €5,000 for their school.

The bank is required to have a creative & unique theme. The theme chosen by our team is Chitty Chitty Bankers & will revolve around saving up for your first car, driving lessons & paying for insurance. The bank will be open twice per week where students can open accounts, lodge money (the money will be stored in AIB for safety reasons) & withdraw from their account. Our hopes for this service will be to inspire young people to take more control over their finances & begin to save for their future!

Transition Year Foroige Leadership Programme

Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action.

The 2020 Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action will be awarded to young people who have completed all three modules of Foróige’s Leadership for Life programme by June 2020.

Registration for NUIG Foróige Leadership for Life Programme Accreditation is now open.

By registering you are committing to having all three modules of the Foróige Leadership for Life Programme completed by June 2020. It is recommended that all participants should have Module 1&2 complete prior to registering for NUIG certificate. It is important that participants have adequate time in between the modules to use and practice their leadership skills.

All those registering for the NUIG certificate will be asked to provide the name and email address of a mentor. The mentor should have been contacted in advance of registering and be happy to mentor the participant through their Module 3 project. Mentors can be the facilitator of previous modules, a volunteer, Foróige staff member, coach, teacher etc. The mentor should be someone that is familiar with the Foróige Leadership for Life Programme and be happy to grade your module 3 project and work.

Student Voice

Meeting next week with the Student Council and Donegal Youth Council to inform the Youth Council of issues relating to students in our school that they will bring to meeting with councillors during the 1st week of February.

Students are reminded to use the Student Voice Box in the assembly area if they would like to communicate anything with the council, particularly any issue relating to them or their year group.


Technology mock exams for Leaving cert music classes begin next week followed by performance practical the following week. Good luck to all.

TY up and coming events:

Over the next few months our TY students will take part in many activities, a sample of some of these activities and listed below:

  • Killybegs Tourism College taster day
  • Tourism Training Programme
  • Sports leadership
  • First Response Course
  • Personal safety workshop
  • Balmoral Shows
  • Lough Key Maths Trip
  • Make up workshop
  • Personal Presentation Workshop
  • Ambulance crew visit and defib overview
  • Internet Safety video production workshops
  • Young Social Innovators competitions and attendance at event
  • PE Expo
  • ETB Awards
  • GAA Future Leaders


U16 Girls Basketball

On Monday the 20th of January the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, beat Colaiste Muire, Crosshaven by 47-26 to lift the U16 Girls All Ireland Cup at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin!


With great excitement and trepidation the Abbey Vocational School Girls under 16 Basketball Team made their way to the Tallaght Arena in Dublin. The National Basketball Arena, also known as Tallaght Arena is an indoor sporting arena located in Tymon Park, Tallaght, South Dublin, adjacent to the M50 motorway. The capacity of the arena is 2,500 people and it opened in January 1993.

With fantastic support from the Abbey Vocational School, the Donegal Girls led by 11-5 at the end of a tense first quarter. The Abbey held on to a 4 point lead leaving them 16-12 ahead against the Cork side at half-time. In the third quarter, the Abbey girls turned on the style showing the power, strength and agility needed to move into a commanding 37-18 lead. The AVS claimed an amazing win, 47- 26, winning a comfortable victory! Months of training, hardwork and dedication lead to the Abbey Vocational School claiming victory, with a powerful, talented display on show! Congratulations to our students, we are so proud of you!




First Year Boys Soccer

First Year Boys Soccer on their way home after a hard fought 3-2 victory over Loreto Milford. Goals coming from Lee McNamara and 2 from Turlough Carr, including a header!


Second Year Boys Basketball 

Well done to Mr Mc Devitt and our 2nd yr Boys Basketball team who won their first game of the season against Summerhill College, Sligo on Tuesday the 21st of January. 29-19 


Donegal Sports Star Awards

Congratulations to Niamh Moohan and Shane Breslin who have been nominated for the Donegal Sports Star Awards in the Secondary School Categories.

Both students have represented the school at the national and international level in athletics in the past year. The winners will be announced at the banquet on the 31st of January. They are both fantastic ambassadors for sport at the AVS and we are very proud of all their achievements. Good Luck on the night!


Well done to Ava Anderson, who is a member of the U-13 Donegal Sportshall Athletics team. They won the Ulster final on Thursday in Magherafelt. Ava competed in the Shot putt. She has now qualified for the British finals in Manchester in April.


Our cross-country team are preparing for their first competition of the season in the coming weeks. The Ulster Schools District Cross Country will take place in Necarne Centre, Irvinestown on Tuesday 4th February. Good luck to all involved.

Athletics training continues every Tuesday after school in the gym. This training is for all students wishing to compete in track and field events as well as cross country.

Leaving Cert Physical Education


LCPE explore benefits of Technology in sport for spectators. 

Students who take the new physical education (PE) exam in the Leaving Cert are to be given digital devices to submit videos of themselves taking part in an activity – such as athletics, rugby or ballet – for examiners to grade.

More than 60 secondary schools are piloting the new subject from next year, as it is set to become a full, examinable Leaving Cert subject with CAO points.

In a first for the Leaving Cert, students will be asked to submit a recording of themselves demonstrating their skills and techniques in a chosen physical activity. This will account for 30 per cent of marks.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton has announced that schools offering the subject will receive a grant towards the purchase of digital devices for use by students in completing the course assessment components.

Lunchtime Activities:

Our lunchtime SPORTS FOR ALL programme is running every day. Thank you to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme.

There are at least two activities on each day, indoors in the sports hall and outdoors on the tennis courts. The timetable is posted on the notice boards around the school. ALL students are encouraged to come out and get active during their lunch break. Students can participate in their uniform but must wear proper footwear/runners.  Please see Mrs. Gallagher if you have any questions.


Lunchtime football activity.



Students enjoying lunchtime Zumba in the library with Ms Kelly.

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