Abbey VS Newsletter – Mon 30th Nov 2020

First Year Drumming Workshop

On Monday the 23rd and Tuesday 24th of November all First Year Students took part in a Drumming Workshop with their Tutor Group in the Parish Hall. This was a great opportunity for the students to experience some new instruments and do some bonding and enjoyable activities together!

Parent Teacher Meetings

In light of the current restrictions on face to face meetings, we are not in a position to facilitate Parent/Teacher Meetings during this time.  Following direction from the DES, our plan is to send out a progress report from all subject teachers to you as parents on VSware on the following dates. The 6th year students have at this point received their progress report. The 3rd year progress reports will be available at the end of next week.

        Short Progress Reports in place of PTMs
Year GroupReleased to parents on 
6th 19th November 
3rd 4th December 
1st 15th January 
5th / TY/ LCA1  29th January 
2nd 11th February 

Career Guidance

  1.  CAO 2021 opened on 05 November.  Leaving Certs can apply during Guidance class with their Guidance Counsellor.
  • HEAR & DARE is now open for applications. This was explained during Guidance class.  The student’s Guidance Counsellor is available to discuss further.
  • 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.
  • 1-1 appointments for Leaving Certs are available throughout the week; speak to your Guidance Counsellor for booking instruction. 
  • 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.

December Exams

Whole school exams will run during the week of 7th to 11th of December – please see the timetable below. These exams will provide an excellent opportunity for students and parents/guardians to gauge progress.

AVS Virtual Lip Sync Battle 2021

The Abbey Vocational School will present AVS Virtual Lip Sync Battle 2021. 

This will give our students and staff the chance to showcase their talents while having a bit of fun at the same time. 

The finale will take place on the 29th of January 2021. Everyone who gets involved will be in with a chance to win prizes. On the night there will be Celebrity Judges, Novelty Acts and our final will be streamed online! 

There will be prizes for the best tutor groups, year group and the overall winner of the event. 

The entry fee will be €5 for an individual act or €10 for a group act. 

If you have any enquiries please contact Ms Rooney & Ms Kelly. 

Please sign up by emailing by Tuesday 1st of December. Join in and get involved in the fun!

 Leaving Cert Prefects

The Prefects and Leaving Cert Music classes are also working on the Virtual Christmas Concert which will be streamed on the last day of school before the Christmas holidays.  Any student interested in performing, please see any of the music teachers as soon as possible.

 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. 

Covid – 19

We would like to thank all our school community for their diligence in adhering to protocols regarding Coronavirus. As we are in 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 each week. This information does change weekly but up-to-date information is available from 074-9723513. 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. 


We have purchased a new app which is user friendly and will make communication of attendance notes from parents / guardians to the school much simpler and easier for all! 

The parent/ guardian can record the explanation for this absence online by using our new school app or their own digital device – computer Ipad etc. Please see

for a guide to downloading and installing the VSware app. 

Please ensure that the absence reason is recorded/inputted by the parent/guardian only so that it does not lead to any confusion. 

At the moment we are only recording full day absence on the app. If your son/daughter needs to sign out (eg, for a dental/medical appointment) then they must continue to use the diary for this as is the procedure at the moment where the note is signed by the Deputy Principal and then the student signs out at the office.

Abbey Vocational School Student Council 2020/21

The Student Council has organised the collection of food and care items for Christmas hampers for those in need in our community.  Details of the desirable non-perishable food items – tinned food, jars, packets and care products including wipes, shampoo, soap etc. are on the Student Council Notice Board in the assembly area.

Tristian adding a contribution to the Saint Vincent De Paul trolley!

Please place your contribution in the shopping trolleys in the assembly area any day Monday to Thursday of next week.  The Student Council hopes that all students and staff could contribute at least one food or care item each. Please be sure food has a long sell-by date.  Electrical items, toys, clothes, shoes and blankets will not be collected on this occasion. 

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

Pictured are Mikaela O’Connor, Emily Reid & Marc Bennett contributing to a very worthy cause.

Donegal Youth Council Election

A huge congratulations to Transition Year Student Sarah Canny for winning the Donegal Youth Council elections. She will now go on to represent the school on the Donegal Youth Council. This is a huge honour and the whole school is so incredibly proud. Well done Sarah! 

The Donegal Youth Council is a group made up of young people aged 12 to 18 from each of the 26 secondary schools in the County. They address issues and promote projects to improve the lives of young people living in the county. The Council meets monthly. They plan and discuss issues and how they can address them. They also have smaller Regional meetings at which they discuss and work on more regional issues that may not be on the agenda.

Take 1 Programme

Some of our AVS staff recently participated in a training session provided by ETB Ireland focusing on embedding Sustainable Development Goals in Teaching and Learning. The aims of the Sustainable Development Goals are to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. There are 17 SDGs which address the global challenges we face including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. 

Take 1 Week took place from the 23rd – 27th November and involved students learning about the SDGs across various subjects such as SPHE, CSPE and Personal Development. Each student took one SDG each and made a poster encouraging people to tackle that particular SDG. Some examples of students’ work below.

Teaching & Learning: A look at Study Planning

Christmas house-exams are approaching. Shortly after the Christmas holidays, Leaving Certificate and Junior Cycle Mock Examinations will quickly draw near.

Juggling your classes, homework, and other commitments such as extracurricular activities and sport, managing your time to study can be challenging. An effective way to achieve your own learning goals is to implement a study plan. There are many ways to plan your study, from monthly, weekly or daily timetables, priority lists, and checklists. However, do not get overwhelmed in trying to perfect the ideal plan! One key advantage of a study plan is that it will help you to avoid stress in that you will have a clear plan of what you will be doing each week.

Two useful approaches include:

  1. A Weekly Study Timetable will outline specific times for study and when you need to take time off.
  2. A Subject Planner will provide you with an overview of what is needed in a particular subject.

Weekly Study Timetable

Creating a weekly study timetable is one of the most important things you can do to study effectively. With the aid of a template:

  1. Shade-in times for extracurricular activities such as sport, music lessons, gym etc.
  2. Shade-in the times you really don’t want to study!
  3. Pick the times you will study
  4. Write in the subjects you will study in each available time slot.

There are many templates and even apps available online, however, we have placed an editable MS Word Version on the Teaching & Learning section of the school website for handiness. A link is also available on the digital version of this week’s newsletter. 

Subject Planner

The subject planner will contain a list of all the topics in that subject and will provide you with a broad outline of what needs to be done. Your teacher may provide this list and in some subjects, the chapters of your textbook are also useful. Alternatively, many of the exam papers contain ready-made topic lists. You might also add a column in your plan to rate the difficulty of each topic in order to identify topics requiring further revision. Once again, we have placed an MS Word template on the Teaching & Learning section of the school website. (

Some further points to note:

  1. Creating a lovely colour-coded plan in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word document is all well and good, but if you can’t see it on a daily basis, it can easily start to slip your mind. Either write or print it out and stick it up on the wall at home or around your desk to remind you what you are due to cover each week.
  2. Discover what works for you. Keep your plan flexible. If you have scheduled an hour of study at 8 pm every evening but find you are not being productive, then make a change. For example, try getting up an hour earlier to see if morning-study works better for you.
  3. Break subjects/topics down into small chunks. Assess how familiar you are with each topic and focus on your weak areas.
  4. Wellbeing: It is important to take regular breaks when you are studying to ensure you don’t burn out. Include 5- or 10-minute breaks in your study plan; It is also important to make time for the things you like to do such as meeting with friends, going for walks, running, cycling, etc. Ultimately, this will better prepare you mentally to achieve your study goals. Well-balanced meals and adequate sleep are also vital.….. And finally, don’t get disheartened if you break the timetable! Forget about it and focus on the plan for the following day.

Teaching and Learning: A look at Study Planning Apps

In addition to our Study Plan templates referred to in last week’s newsletter, many student study planning apps are becoming increasingly popular.

As well as saving on paper, many student planner apps also send reminders and alerts straight to your phone or device. Three such apps include ‘Timetable’, “iStudiez” and ‘Todoist’

‘Timetable’ is an intuitive app on Google Play for managing your study planning. Students can save their timetable and all tasks from homework to exams. You only need to enter them once because Timetable syncs across all your Android devices. 

iStudiez allows students not only to create a study timetable but also tracking of daily tasks, upcoming homework assignments and project deadlines. It is available for iOS, Android and Windows platforms.

Todoist is a planner and to-do list all in one, and is widely used by business executives as a project planner, Todoist is an app that can carry you through school and beyond.

Although you can pay to upgrade, the free version offers more than most students are likely to need. Todoist includes several student friendly features:

  • Jot down important details or things to do before you forget them
  • Set up projects for each class and any other activities or extracurricular activities you partake in. 
  • Add “next action” items, so you can always be looking ahead to your next assignment
  •  Check items off your list without losing them for good


Preparations for our next virtual choir Christmas song featuring students and staff are now underway. Students are busy submitting their parts to the Virtual Choir Google Classroom. The deadline for submitting your video is Wednesday 2nd December. Please see Ms. Bogle if you would like to get involved.

Preparations are also underway for our Virtual Christmas Event – A Christmas Light which will replace our usual Carol Service. 

Students who are interested in performing on the Diamond this year on the first Saturday in December as part of the Business Focus Groups weekend of music and celebration, please go to Ms. Carr or see Madeleine Begley in Begley’s Pharmacy as soon as possible as places are almost full at this stage.  This is a great opportunity to showcase your talents – solos, upcoming bands.  There will be a full PA (Sound system), piano and marquee provided.

Coirnéal na Gaeilge

I mbliana, tá an scoil ag glacadh páirte i mBliain na Gaeilge atá á reachtáil ag Bord Oideachais agus Oiliúna Éireann. Tá coiste curtha le chéile sa scoil againn, le daltaí ó gach rang idirbhliana. Go dtí seo, ghlac daltaí idirbhliana páirt i dtráth na gceist le Feachtas agus a d’eagraigh An Máistir Mac Pháidín. Tá tús curtha le nuachtlitir Ghaeilge agus tá go leor á phleanáil don chuid eile den bhliain fosta. 

Mar a deir an seanfhocal: ‘Beatha teanga í a labhairt’ ☘️

Na srianta Covid 19 sa scoil:

Bainimid úsáid as maisc agus fainimid dhá mhéadar óna chéile. Ag am sosa agus am lóin, téann gach duine go dtí a mbunsheomraí. Tá córas aon-treorach i bhfeidhm sa scoil freisin. Faigheann gach duine aer úr ag amanna difriúla i rith an lae freisin. Caithfimid a bheith airdeallach san am i láthair – ‘ní neart go cur le chéile’.

The AVS Cookbook

In the coming weeks we are hoping to design and publish the AVS Cookbook, just in time for Christmas as that extra little stocking filler! We want to gather as many recipes as possible from students, parents, staff and past students, as well as some favourites from local chefs. 

If you have a delicious recipe you want to share please contact Ms.Mulhern for more information on this exciting project. 


Influence of Social Media Talk in the Parish Hall

On Wednesday the 25th of November all of our TY students attended a Social Media Workshop in the Parish Hall with Breda Canning. Breda is a personal trainer and an influencer. The workshop focused on the issue of social media having a detrimental impact on people’s mental health and body image. Breda spoke about her personal experience with fat shaming and body dysmorphia. Celebrities/influencers tend to display the filtered version of their lives on social media so Breda suggested that we unfollow anyone on social media that makes us feel insecure about our looks. She also showed various videos on topics such as fat shaming and the power influencers have over their audience. It was a very insightful workshop that ensured students understand that social media sets unrealistic beauty standards and that we should love and accept ourselves the way we are. 

Zumba Workshop

This week Transition Year Students enjoyed the exhilarating & inclusive Zumba Workshop with Ms Kelly in the Parish Hall. Zumba is an aerobic fitness programme featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music. It is a great way to keep fit and healthy and there was a fantastic uptake on the initiative – well done to all students involved! 

 Cycling Workshop

  ‘On Monday the 23rd of November our class, 4B, took part in a cycling workshop which took place in the tennis courts outside of our school. We first met the Instructors and we were given a bicycle and safety helmet. We made sure our helmets fitted us correctly by tightening and loosening the straps of the helmet. The Instructor advised us to make sure the bike worked to the best of its ability by checking the brakes, tyre pressure and seat level. We then were taught how to fully stop at stop signs and the hand gestures needed when making a turn on a road. The workshop was excellent as we played a variety of games like a slow bike race, it was great fun!’ Ciara Gllespie Cassidy. Transition Year 4B enjoying the Cycling Workshop on Tuesday.

Amplify in association with Foroige

Transition Year Students took part in the Amplify Workshop this week. Amplify is part of Youth Work Ireland and is the largest youth organisation in Ireland. The organisation is made up of 21 Local Member Youth Services and support members to deliver an Integrated Youth Services Model to young people and this means that young people around Ireland can avail of a whole range of services and supports if and when they need them.

The organisation have developed highly innovative services, supports and programmes for young people between the ages of 10-25 years, including mental health supports, resilience building, anxiety programmes, drug and alcohol supports, LGBT+ youth work, club development, employability programmes, counselling services, rural outreach and fun safe spaces for young people to gather. 

Aware Workshop

This week was the last week of the Aware Workshop in the Parish Hall for TYA. The objectives of the workshop was to inform and educate the students on the topic of depression. To provide emotional and practical support to those affected by depression, bipolar and related disorders. To provide positive mental health and resilience training, and to support research into the development and treatment of depression and related issues.

Aware was founded in 1985 by Dr. Patrick McKeon with a small but dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom had their own personal experience with depression, or bipolar disorder. The organisation developed in response to the clear need for information, understanding and support, both for individuals who had a diagnosis of depression or bipolar as well as family members supporting a loved one. Since then, what began as one support group in Dublin has grown and flourished to become a nationwide presence which has saved many lives and has, for countless others, eased the suffering and distress that depression can bring. 

The Interactive workshop aimed at educating and empowering the AVS Students to look after their mental health and is an integral part of Aware’s work. 

TY School Digital Champion

The Programme aims to promote digital adoption and encourage the productive use of technology by students. Our school has selected a team of 5 students to act as leaders/role models in completing a project showing how technology can be used to find a solution to day to day problems. 

Sarah Donovan, Odhran Gallagher, Matthew McGroary, Matthew Byrne and Eoin Meehan have been selected from AVS. The students can look forward to training and workshops on video editing, web design, coding and App design, as well as on communications and presentation skills. Also included are workshops on coding with microbits and an introduction to infographics. We look forward to seeing this project develop over the next few months. Many thanks to Mr. O’Mahony on facilitating this project going forward.


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!

Covid-19, Lockdowns, zero Christmas Markets and Craft Fairs weren’t enough to stall our enterprising 2020 Transition Year students!

They have been busy creating products.

Welcome to our virtual Xmas market. Browse the following pages and see if anything catches your eye

Clean Green is a sustainable and cruelty-free handmade soap business

We are selling high quality scented soaps for €4 each or 3 for €10

A third of our profits will also be going to a local charity –  Animals In Need 

Contact info: @CleanGreenSoaps on Instagram 



Gone Haywire

We make handmade framed Wire Art with designs such as

  • Silhouettes
  • Flowers 
  • Symbols i.e coffee cups 
  • Words and/or phrases

 All are decorated with elements of nature, watercolour and other materials

We are raising awareness of climate change through our designs. We are giving a % of our profits to a non-profitable organisation called “Start the Wave” focused on creating positive waves in communities all over the world who are in need.

For more information Contact:

Large Frames : €22.00            Small Frames : €15.00

Irish Tweedscapes

 Irish Tweedscapes specialises in unique hand – crafted Magee Tweed frames, capturing the heritage of our country. 

Price- €15

For more information or to place an order contact me through my email address: — 

Calm Bam

The BAM that Calms

€3 for one unit 

Two units for €5

No one likes stress do they? Unless you’re rare.

“Calm Bam” is a panic or stress reliever. 

It is made up of essential calming oils such as: rosemary, chamomile and lemon. You apply this balm to your pressure points – wrist, neck, under your nose.Calm Bam” contains: Sweet almond, coconut oils blended with chamomile, rosemary, lavender and geranium essential oils and beeswax pellets.

Contact: for further information  

G&C Sweets are selling small paper bags filled with sweets and chocolat

They are the perfect stocking filler or treat for everyone

€2 each

Contact us through Instagram; @gandcsweets 

Hello my name is Enda McGready and my company is called “Pretty Plaques.”

I make high quality wooden plaques that are customisable and environmentally friendly 

Only €15 a plaque

Here is a sample product:-


False eyelashes in multiple styles. All packages put together by hand. Lashes range from natural to as big and fluffy as you’d like. They come in a goody bag with sweets and accessories 🙂

€5 per pack 

Contact us: 

Bree’s Homemade Creations 

Made By Bree Hanna 

For my mini company I am making handmade personalised decorations and gifts

  • Personalised hanging ornaments – €5 each or 5 for €20
  • Let it Snow hanging ornaments – €4
  • Oh Holy Night or ant personalised picture – €12

Snowman, small €3 big €5

Santa’s €3.50 each 

Reindeer €12

Log €10

Log with candles €15

To order contact Emma Meehan TYA

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