Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 12th Oct 2020

5th-11th October 2020

AVS Students Ailbhe Liu & Seoda Wang

Congratulations to AVS Students Ailbhe Liu and Seoda Wang who displayed their amazing talent on An Ril Deal TG4 which was aired  on Sunday night. The show was pre-recorded in July and August in Dublin. 

An Ril Deal is a dance competition which is open to dancers of all ages and styles!

Ailbhe Liu is currently studying for the Leaving Certificate and Seoda Wang is in second year.

First Year Parents Information Evening

We will hold an online Information Evening for first year parents on Tuesday 20th October from 7pm to 8pm. All parents of our present first year students are welcome to attend, we will send you the link to this event in the coming weeks. This will give parents an update on all of the various matters relating to first year students who are new to our school. It will allow us the opportunity to outline the various supports which have and will be put in place to target the varying needs of our first year students. We also wish to complement the students on their very smooth transition and excellent engagement and behaviour in a very challenging time.

If Unwell, Stay at Home

The AVS are operating an ‘If  Unwell,  Stay  at  Home’ policy. Should a  member  of  our community  experience  any  of  the  symptoms  of  Covid-19  –  Cough, high  temperature,  shortness  of  breath, difficulty  breathing,  that  member  of  our  community must stay at home  and  seek  appropriate medical  intervention.  

Parent Teacher Meetings:

At present these are not possible in their usual face to face format. We are currently awaiting direction from the DES on what is required in this regard. We will let you know as soon as we have any clear direction on this area. 


If a student is absent from school then a note for the dates of the absence must be submitted to the office upon the students return. Alternatively we will accept an email to This email must clearly state the name of the student, the year group and it has to state clearly the dates that the email is referring to. The attendance record of the student can then be updated with this information. 

New School Fleece 

‪Have a look at the latest addition to our school uniform. The new school fleece can be purchased from All Sports and Peters Man shop in Donegal town. Junior and Adults sizes are available. This warm and cozy fleece is a great addition coming into the cold winter morning.

Career Guidance

  1. A virtual information evening for parents/guardians of Leaving Cert students will take place on Tuesday, 03 Nov. 2020 @ 7.00 p.m. The presentation will cover all options available to students including 3rd level, FET, Apprenticeships & Traineeships. Parental, financial & other supports will also be discussed.  Log-in details will be communicated closer to the time.
  2. Leaving Certs: 1-1 appointments are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction. 
  3. Our Guidance website is updated regularly. Go to – click on the Guidance button on the far right of the screen.  The Noticeboard has a number of important notices for Leaving Certs.


Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s poetry competition

Ms O’Donnell will be running the Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s poetry competition in the coming weeks. Ireland is renowned for its literary and cultural heritage, as well as for its generosity in supporting those in need around the world. Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s annual poetry competition brings these two elements together in a creative way, using the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time. This competition is unique, because poets are invited to explore a different global development theme each year. The competition is also free to enter.

Student Council

The Council are currently working on preparations for Positive Wellbeing Week.  They will have a meeting early next week.

Music Department

The students are learning to upload their practical work and many are enjoying this way of performing, from the comfort of their own home.

Great Reads Award 

This year students from the Abbey Vocational School will participate in the ‘Great Reads Award (GRA)’. The ‘Great Reads Award’ is an Award judged by students for debut writing for Young Adults. Presented by the School Library Association in the Republic of Ireland and short listed by librarians and teacher-librarians. The short list titles offer a range of reading levels and interests, by authors from a variety of backgrounds, including an Irish language title for which a glossary is available.

Teaching & Learning. Virtual Learning Week 

This week in our school is Virtual Learning Week. Our students should all be in a good place at the end of the week for online learning should there be any year group or whole school closure at any point. Please link in with them in the regard also and see how they are set up for this. Should you have a concern about any of this by the end of the week please let your year head know about this.  We have no plans for this to happen as yet however, should it arise at any stage our students should be ready to transition to learning from home smoothly. 

Our students are already familiar with Google Classroom and they will be further encouraged to use a variety of digital technologies for building their knowledge, to source, critique, and manage information and to reflect on their learning. Examples include using Google Sites to create e-portfolios, digital mind-mapping and working in virtual groups. For further information, please see ‘Learning & Teaching’ on our school website.


Positive Points Initiative

The positive point’s initiative in our school is aimed at promoting positive behaviour and acknowledging the good things that our students do. Students can be awarded points from teachers for things such as good effort in class, co-operation, helping others, contributing to group work, extracurricular contribution etc.

Each monthly class winner will be rewarded. Any individual who is acknowledged with five positive points/comments will be recognised by the school and parents/guardians will be informed by a postcard sent home from the appropriate year head in appreciation for the positive contribution to school life. A big thank you to the facilitator of this initiative, Mr Carty.

First Year Zeeko Internet Safety Workshop

On Monday 12th October our first year students will participate in an online workshop delivered by Zeeko. The aim of this workshop will be to target our students’ online wellbeing and promote an environment where they can safely benefit from using the Internet and technology. An online Zeeko Internet Safety Workshop will also be offered to parents of our first years from 7pm – 8pm on the same day. Details and an invite to attend will be sent beforehand.

Leaving Cert Prefects

The run/walk for your wellbeing will take place every Thursday on the school track from 4-5. If you would like to take part in this please give your name to Hannah Crawford, Shane Meehan or Ms Rooney before a Thursday. 

Keep an eye out for more of these initiatives over the next few months and if anyone would like to suggest or assist with an initiative throughout the year please let any of the prefects or Ms Rooney know. 

Student Voice 

Class captains have now been elected.  The Student Council has had 2 meetings in September where they addressed issues relating to school life, uniform and wellbeing in the current climate.  They hope to run events coordinating with Positive Mental Health Week before the midterm break.

Our members of the Donegal Youth Council also met last week. They primarily discussed the end of term showcase, which will now be done virtually.

Those who sit on other committees will remain on the Donegal Youth Council for a bit longer in some capacity, for example councillors such as Frank Duffy who sits on the ETB committee.  

Our students have also offered to stay on with the DYC in a voluntary capacity; this will not affect the elections of students from the school.  Elections will be held virtually in all Donegal schools in November for the two year term of office.  Our students have benefited enormously from their experience and have contributed hugely to the lives of young and others in Donegal during their two year term. As members must be under 18, elections will include students up to 5th year.

Peer Mentoring 

The Abbey Vocational School is very proud to engage in the peer mentoring programme. The programme is run by Ms. Kelly and will involve the mentors meeting with 1st year students during lunchtimes to support them in their transition into the secondary school environment. Activities will include our wellbeing walk, organisational skills, study skills, fun quizzes and games. Peer mentoring is a great way for TY mentors to be positive role models and feel a sense of pride helping 1st Year students. It is also beneficial for 1st year students to have older students to talk to if they need any support. The aim of the programme is to help students adapt and feel content in their first year at the AVS.

Transition Year

Heritage and Creative Workshops

AVS Students engaged in the Heritage and Creative Workshops with facilitator Maura Logue. Maura Logue is an actor, playwright, theatre director and producer from Donegal. She has created many memorable theatre works for Festivals, often on a theme of strong women from times past. Recent highlights have included Síle Molloy (2018), Mother Loss (2016) and Anna Katherine Kelly (2012).

Participation in drama boosts students’ feelings of belonging and helps motivate students at school. It also bolsters their ability to read and understand complex texts. The performing arts training also makes a positive difference in a students’ ability to understand the feelings of others. 

The performing arts are intrinsically valuable for the beauty and fulfilment they bring, but researchers have observed that theatre training and education are also valuable.

When students portray characters onstage, they practice putting themselves in others’ shoes. Children who study theatre tend to display higher levels of empathy later in life. Performing onstage is frightening for newcomers, which is why students feel an immense confidence boost after they practice hard, work together, and successfully stage a play for friends and family. Theatre training helps students gain confidence, build camaraderie, learn leadership, practice teamwork and build a skill set not only for a theatre but for the real world!

Transition Year Surfing

Last Tuesday was the last week of the TY Students introduction to surfing. At the end of this week the students will get the opportunity to sign up for four more sessions to develop and to learn more skills at their surfing school. Thank you to Neill and his team and Finn McCool surf school for providing such enjoyable and safe lessons. The sessions take place on Rossnowlagh Beach and the students get to enjoy the natural beauty of Rossnowlagh Beach and engage in an exhilarating pastime! Surfing provides many health benefits including: cardiovascular fitness – from paddling; shoulder and back strength – these muscles will strengthen from the paddling; leg and core strength – once you’re standing up on the board, strong legs and a strong core will keep you up.


Lunchtime Activities 2020

Students  in  the  Junior  years  who  remain  on  the  premises  at  lunchtime  in  addition  to  their  walks will have  the  activities at lunchtime. Thank you to all the teachers who have volunteered to help run such a large programme.

Our activities programme will run for all junior years from Tuesday, 29th September. All activities will be non-contact and follow current guidelines. Our main priority is the health and safety of everyone involved. 

  • Activities will last 20 minutes in total.
  • Monday to Thursday: 1.02pm – 1.22pm
  • Friday: 12:24pm – 12.44pm

This allows for students to have 10 minutes to eat at the beginning of lunchtime in their base room and 10 minutes at the end of lunch to return to their base room and get organised for the next lesson.

We have tried as much as possible to assign students to their chosen activity. However, due to guidelines and limitations for space, students will not get all their choices straight away.

All other students will have the opportunity to go outside and walk during this time with their base room teacher. Each base room has a list of where students are to go each day.

Please note, students can participate in all activities in their school uniform but are advised to wear/bring appropriate footwear. 

Please see Mrs. Gallagher if you have any questions!

Lunchtime Activities September 2020

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