Abbey V.S. Newsletter – Mon 9th Nov.

02nd November to 8th November 2020

Parent Teacher Meetings

At present these are not possible in their usual face to face format.  We will update you in the coming days as to the plans in relation to arrangements for the collaboration with parents/ guardians during this time.

December Exams

We are planning on holding whole school exams during the week of 7th to 11th of December and we hope to have the timetable finalised shortly. These exams will provide an excellent opportunity for students and parents/guardians to gauge progress.

Career Guidance

School leavers information night for parents / guardians

Parents information night for school leavers took place by zoom on Tuesday night last. Thank you to all those parents who joined us on the night. The areas covered were a presentation from Jim Sheehy psychotherapist on how to support your son/ daughter during these times. Our guidance counsellor Ms Jane Mc Morrow covered the areas for school leavers in terms of CAO UCAS, the SUSI Grant, H.E.A.R., D.A.R.E. and Scholarships. The leaving cert year head also addressed the parents as did the management team. We look forward to further engagement with parents in this format. 

CAO 2021 opened on Thursday, 05 November.  Leaving Certs wishing to apply can do so with their Guidance Counsellor during Guidance class.  A date for registration will be communicated to students in class and/or via Google Classroom.

  1. UCAS applicants are encouraged to complete all parts of their application ASAP. The student’s Guidance Counsellor is available throughout the week to meet and discuss the application and will support the student throughout the process.
  2. Congratulations to Aaron P Sweeney, 5th year; who won a €50 Amazon voucher for taking part in an Ulster University survey during Career Guidance class.
  3. 1-1 appointments for Leaving Certs are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction. 
  4. 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.

School Closure Day

Just a reminder to all that the school will be closed to students on Friday November 27th as part of the school calendar year.  


In recent years the NCCA developed the Senior Cycle PE Framework (non examinable) and the Leaving Certificate PE (examined). Schools were asked to apply to be involved in the roll out of these 2 specifications. 

AVS were successful in their application for both and as result were one of the 40 schools to deliver SCPE and one of 64 schools to deliver the LCPE. This first phase of rollout was introduced from September 2018 and June 2020.

The Physical Education Association of Ireland (PEAI) recently acknowledged all schools’ efforts in leading these changes in PE.

Pictured are management at the school, PE teachers involved in the rollout and LCPE students past and present. Namely: Students: Hannah Shallow, Brídin Murphy (past LCPE students), Thomas White, Niamh Moohan (current 6th year LCPE students). Teachers: Mr. O’Mahony, Mr. Carty, Mrs. Gallagher, Mrs. O’Mahony, Mr. Herron. Principal: Mrs. Diver

AVS Dancing Champions!

Congratulations to Abbey Vocational School Students Ailbhe Liu and Seoda Wang. An Ril Deal Seaimpíní!!! On Sunday night Ailbhe and Seoda took home the RTE Trophy!

NUI Galway Excellence Scholarship

Congratulations to our graduating AVS Students Amy Lorinyenko & Conor McGroary who have been awarded the NUI Galway Excellence Scholarship!

As part of NUI Galway’s commitment to rewarding achievement and supporting ambition, a new scholarship programme, NUI Galway Excellence Scholarship has been created. The new scholarship scheme has been developed to support high achievers in growing their critical thinking, leadership, employability and professional skills. NUI Galway has a long history of excellence and achievement and this new scholarship programme will support and enable the next generation of change makers. 

Awardees of the scholarship will receive €1,500 in recognition of their academic success and will be invited to join a high achiever development programme supported by the scholarship to grow their leadership capacity and to develop the skills they need to excel in their field of study. 

Allingham Arts Writing Competition

Congratulations to our AVS Students who were shortlisted in their categories in the Allingham Festival Schools’ Writing Competitions. Eoin Boyle, Samaire Fern, Cara Coughlan, Maya Lenehan.  Congratulations to them and to everyone who took part!

Credit Union Art Competition

Congratulations to our Artistic Students who took part in this year’s Credit Union Art Competition.

Here is a selection of some of our very talented Art Students’ images. ‘Where all adventures start in the stories which shaped generations’’.

The Journey through lockdown to hope and rainbows!
Company, chat & music, what we value most!
‘Art Connects Us Together’

Jigsaw Art Competition 

Congratulations to AVS students Laura Kelly & Emma Thomas whose work has been shortlisted in this year’s Jigsaw Donegal Art competition. 

As part of the judging process you can ‘like’ their work on the Jigsaw Donegal facebook page from next Fri 13th November!

Positive Points Initiative

Congratulations to our October leaders on the positive points table, 1D and 2F! The positive points 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, extra-curricular 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.


Positive Wellbeing in The Community 

During Positive Wellbeing Week AVS students wrote warm & heartfelt letters to Residents in Áras Mhic Shuibhne Nursing Home and the patients in Donegal Town hospital, last week during the midterm break all the letters were delivered to their destination!

Cycle Against Suicide 

We are pleased and honoured to announce that we have received the Cycle Against Suicide Ambassador School Award for the fourth year in a row. The Ambassador School Programme established in 2013 aims to encourage schools to become actively involved in mental health promotion. The programme provides a framework, structure and incentive for schools to integrate mental health activities into their school planning and rewards schools that go the extra mile. We look forward to taking part in this worthwhile programme again this year.

Leaving Cert Prefects

The run/walk for your wellbeing continues every Tuesday 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 Tuesday lunchtime. 

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. 

Leaving Cert Evening Study 

The second term of after school study has commenced and will continue until the 18th December. This is currently at full capacity for this term but a third term will commence after Christmas. The form will be distributed in December for this session. It is a great opportunity for students to study in a quiet supervised environment. 

BT Young Scientist 2021

This week we profile the Antimicrobial Barks project by Eadaoin Murphy and Joseph Woods, as we wait to see if our four projects are successful in this first round of the rigorous BTYS selection process.

We wish to investigate the antimicrobial properties of different native tree barks on different bacterial cultures using an aseptic laboratory technique. We will use slope agar bacterial cultures and blood and nutrient agar to grow our bacterial cultures on and we will then use bark extract on our lawn plates of bacteria. To measure efficacy, we will measure the cleared area around our bark in our bacterial cultures and we will carry out replicates to reliably establish the antimicrobial value of each test bark. We will then compare the antimicrobial activity of each test bark using mean cleared area and we will use ‘t tests’ to see if differences in the mean cleared areas of each test bark are significant. 

Covid – 19

We would like to thank all our school community for their diligence in adhering to protocols regarding Coronavirus. As we have now moved into Level 5 of the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid – 19 and we would ask everyone to strictly adhere to HSE guidelines regarding social distancing and hand hygiene. 

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.  

School Uniform:

Peter’s Man Shop is open daily from 12 to 3 and The Uniform Shop is open on certain days per week. This information does change weekly but the information is available from 0749723513. The school fleece is available to buy in both stores and with the weather getting colder it will be a welcome addition to the school uniform for the students. 


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. 


All orders for the canteen must now be done through Click on the AVS school crest picture at the bottom of the page and this will take you to the menu that you can order from. The cashless card will then be used to identify the student and you pay by your regular debit/credit card at the moment. Do not top up the cashless card at the moment. The cards are on sale from the chef in the canteen in school. 

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.


A look at ‘Feedback’ from your Teacher.

Feedback to our students relies on clearly defined goals (including learning intentions and success criteria) and on learning tasks or activities to track a student’s progress towards those goals. The information gathered through these activities provides the basis for feedback to a student.

Teaching and learning activities, including formative and summative assessments, provide opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about our students’ progress. This helps us to give feedback to our students about how they are learning and what they need to do next to move forward. Various studies on feedback typically show that the pace of student learning is accelerated by at least 50% because of feedback.

Feedback then is information:

  • for the student and teacher about the student’s performance
  • about a student’s performance relative to learning intentions or success criteria.
  • based on evidence of learning.
  • from the teacher, the student themselves or their peers through peer assessment activities.

Feedback from a Student Perspective.

Effective feedback is designed to achieve improvement in your learning, continuously driving your current performance towards a learning goal.

What then should you do with feedback once you have received it from your teacher following an assignment, essay, or task? It is always good to look clearly at what the feedback is saying. What are the teacher’s comments telling you specifically? What steps do you see that you can take to improve your work? John Hattie and Helen Timperley (2007), offer three key questions for students to think about:

  • Where am I going? … (in my learning)
  • How am I going? … (in my learning)
  • Where to next? … (in my learning)

The following are seven suggested steps you might apply after receiving feedback comments from your teacher on any assignment, whether it be an essay, a project, a CBA, or a piece of homework:

  1. Write down all the suggestions you received from your teacher on how to improve your assignment.
  2. Look at these comments side by side with your overall assignment.
  3. Put numbers by the suggested changes in your list to show the order of importance in which you will address them.
  4. Rewrite or redo your work according to this order of priority / importance.
  5. Read your first draft and then your new draft. See how you feel about the changes.
  6. Make further changes you may feel are needed. 
  7. If your teacher gives you verbal feedback, it is always good practice to write it down and then apply it to future assignments and tasks.

Good feedback will produce two key outcomes:

  1. As teachers, we will adapt and change our teaching strategies to help you make progress in areas identified as needing attention.
  2. As a student, you will change what you do to address the learning goals more effectively.

One final point, never take feedback on your work personally. It is not about you, but rather about the quality of your work. Teachers will always try to provide feedback points as a guide so that you can continuously improve.

Student Voice

Four students from our council attended the Irish Secondary Schools’ Union Regional Council of Schools online on Thursday.  These students were Leo Carey Mc Dermott, Rosin Lynch, Conor Gallagher and Rosie Campbell.  India Kennedy gave a presentation on minding your Mental Health at the meeting. 

The Regional Council of schools brings together students from all over Donegal, to discuss both regional and national education issues. Workshops, discussions and elections took place, electing 2 students as the 2021 Regional Officers.

The Donegal Regional Council included work in the areas of Student Council Skills, Mental Health and COVID Planning.

The council made and completed an online questionnaire in relation to their upcoming project – 

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”

They are organising the collection of food/essential products, etc. to make up hampers for those who are in need in our community.  They will soon publicise lists of non-perishable items and collect from staff and students at school drop off points.  They will have à meeting on Monday next to finalise the arrangements for this project.


Students from each class are recording their choir lines from home which will be taken by Ms Bogle to the studio this weekend to mix and master our first AVS Virtual Choir.  It has been à wonderful experience to follow Ms Bogle’s recordings, record our voices and be part of this project.

The Music students Callum, Alannah, Ruth and Tristan have recorded a song that they composed the CART SONG.  It is a fun song with actions on the theme of keeping safe during these times.


Personal Presentation and Make up Master Class Workshop

Transition Year Students from TYC were treated to a Personal Presentation and Makeup Master Class in St John’s Bosco Centre on Friday 6th November.

Manager of the Marine Spa Karla Lacey treated Students to a master class in makeup, skincare and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Transition Year Students were educated on the benefits of a healthy eating and fitness regime, drinking lots of water and on prepping the skin. Students gained invaluable tips and information and were treated to a step by step guide on how to apply foundation, eye shadow, lipstick and blush. 

Interview skills workshop

On the 5th of November, Sean McGee, who specialised in life coaching, came to the Parish hall in order to deliver a workshop to the Transition Year groups on the necessary skills needed in order to deal with the pressures of interviews and leave a positive lasting impression with the individuals conducting the interview. He covered a variety of areas with the students such as the importance of body language, presentation and eye-contact in an interview situation. The students will carry the skills learned from this workshop into the classroom when they will do a number of mock interviews over the coming weeks. 

Young Social Innovators

This year TYC will be involved in the Young Social Innovators under the leadership of Ms. Kelly. YSI is a nationwide competition for secondary school students that challenges young people to have a positive impact on their community. The purpose of the YSI initiative is for young people to understand that they can be a powerful catalyst for social change when given the opportunity and support to do so. 

This year’s group has decided on the project title ‘Unity in the Community.’  The goal of the project is to combat loneliness and isolation amongst older people which has ultimately worsened due to Covid-19. Inspired by the launch of Captain Tom Moore’s podcast ‘The Originals’, TYC wants to inspire young people to ‘donate their words’ and have meaningful conversations with older people. This is a social issue of concern as a result of Covid-19. Social distancing has become our ‘new normal’ and unfortunately, it has had a major impact on the older generation. Due to government restrictions, many old people do not get to interact with family and friends. This is leading to isolation and loneliness which is a major issue of concern amongst elderly people.

Students in TYC will be carrying out an online survey in school this week to gauge an understanding of our interaction with older people in the locality. They will also be hoping to carry out a survey with the elderly involved in the project to assess their feelings prior to their involvement in our project and a follow-up survey later to judge if there will be a change in attitude. Over the next few weeks, we will be contacting local nursing homes explaining the aim of “Unity in the Community” and what we hope to achieve from the project. We will write letters to elderly people as a ‘pen pal’ activity to establish connections. We will also arrange various zoom activities as a way of interacting with the older generation and reduce the loneliness and anxiety they may feel due to the current pandemic.

We wish TYC the best of luck with this extremely important project!

History walking tour of Donegal Town

On Wednesday 4th November Keith Corcoran guided our students on a historical tour of Donegal Town. They started the tour in the Parish hall where Keith gave the class an introduction to the tour and informed the students of the different landmarks that they would see. During the tour Keith stopped and explained the history behind the different statues and monuments in the town, for example the statue of Red Hugh O’Donnell down at the pier. Keith will be back next week to finish off the tour with TYC and TYD. Students will then follow up on this local history session with further works in their classes. 

GAA Future Leaders Programme 

Ms Rooney is leading out on the GAA future Leaders TY programme. The Future Leaders programme provides advice on curriculum links, ensuring alignment with the TY programme, embedding the core concept of Physical Literacy, developing educational resources and delivering training to the participating schools. The six modules meaningfully relate to several curriculum areas, promoting the development of Physical Literacy in particular and also encompassing the key skills taught at Junior Cycle.  

This initiative provides a unique and creative learning pathway for young people to acquire skills which are both sports related and transferable not only across the curriculum, but beyond TY itself. 

Course Structure:

The programme comprises 8 modules.

All modules are between 6 – 10 hrs long, stand alone and individually certifiable. Pupils will receive a GAA Certificate for each completed module.

A school can choose to deliver one or more modules. Delivering all modules plus the organisation of a GAA Super Games Blitz/Centre through the students, and/or Coaching younger players in their school or community, results in the students being awarded a ‘GAA TY Future Leaders Certificate”.

The programme utilises the Learning Management Software of the GAA Learning Portal ( to share information and provide each student with an online e-Portfolio to store and share documentation and assignments.

This programme will commence over the next month and will continue on after Christmas. 

TY Upcoming activities:

This term will be very busy for our TYs with many trips, workshops and talks, in accordance with health requirements and regulations;

  • Donegal History Walk
  • Influence of Social Media Talk
  • Flair Start-up Business Programme
  • Personal Presentation Workshop with Karla Lacey
  • Cookery Workshop
  • Driver Education Programme
  • First Aid 2020 Course
  • History Talk with Keith Corcoran
  • Cycle Right Workshop
  • Drumming the Beat Workshop
  • Music in Tune Workshop
  • Fitness & Nutrition Virtual Talk with Shane Lyons
  • LYIT Virtual Talk
  • Sligo IT Virtual Talk
  • Rowing Workshop
  • Yoga Session
  • Debating Workshop


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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s