Ceara School in Lurgan has been branded ‘outstanding’ in a recent inspection report by the Department of Education.
Despite the school being badly vandalised in August, the school sailed through the latest inspection.
Principal Dr Peter Cunningham said since the attack in August, during which youths rampaged through school grounds and drove a dumper truck over construction work, the school has been overwhelmed with support.
Dr Cunningham said: “The support we had from the local community was absolutely fabulous and the damage has all been made good.
“Obviously somebody had to pay for it and the Education Board picked up a lot of the tab and the builder and all the damage has been made good.
“There is a tendency when things like this happen to become despondent but really it has the opposite effect here because it has made us realise just how well regarded we are in the local community,” he said.
Dr Cunningham explained that it took quite a lot of work to rectify the damage and the project has been put back by several months.
“Hopefully it will be finished by mid-November,” said Mr Cunningham. “Most schools open in September and we still are working in classrooms that are doubled up.”
The report said the ‘school continues to demonstrate its capacity for sustained self improvement’.
“On the day of inspection the quality of the teaching observed was outstanding; the teachers have high expectation of the pupils and meet very effecively their individual needs,” said the report.
Dr Cunningham said: “Outstanding, you can’t really get much better than outstanding. And this is in the same year as we got our Investors in People Award. So it’s been a good year.” He attributes the achievement to a number of things. “An acknowledgement that nobody knows the child better than the parents and when we have a child in Ceara school. When a mum comes across the doors of our school it is vital that we have a relationship with them from the very start. The linkage between the mummies and the teachers and myself is rock solid. I think if you have that sort of relationship with your parents or gardians, if you have highly motivated staff, which is what I have here, outstanding is easy.”