Headmaster looks to future at unveiling of school badge

Headmaster looks to future at unveiling of school badge

5 September 2018

THE High School Ballynahinch needs to change with the times or be left behind, its acting principal has warned.

Paul Marks spoke of the pressures in maintaining the school financially and pressures on exam results as he unveiled the new school badge last week. 

As the school also showed off its new look reception and foyer, he told the 100 guests that a school had been on the Belfast Road site for over 60 years.

“This is a time for change in education, and we here at The High School Ballynahinch believe that if we don’t change with it, we will get left behind,” said Mr Marks.

“There is always a pressure on schools to perform in examination results and we have responded well increasing our examination results consistently over the last four years to be well above the NI average and making us one of the top preforming controlled schools in the region.”

He also spoke how important the school’s community was in helping it to manage financially.

“Despite our school population increasing year on year, we still have to balance our books carefully and without the help of our sponsors we couldn’t operate and give the children the fantastic resources they have today.

“So I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to our sponsors for their help and for them to know the real affect that their help and the impact it’s had on our children.”

Mr Marks also thanked the school’s staff board of governors for their hard work in “making the school one of the best” and told parents that they were the “linchpins of making sure that the learning continues after the children leave our doors in the afternoon”.

He added: “We have been working very closely with the community, which we are active members. We want to ensure we show our pupils that the relationship is a two-way street and how the school is part of and integral to the Ballynahinch community.”

Strangford MP Jim Shannon was the guest of honour at the event which aimed to express its gratitude to local supporters such as Councillors William Walker and Terry Andrews, business people and parents.

He praised the school’s new badge and motto and inspirational quotes which now adorn the walls of the school’s foyer.

“This is a place to learn, not simply academic skills — although these are essential — but further to learn kindness, compassion, forgiveness, gentleness  and how to be a good and decent person in society,” he told the gathered audience.

“I am delighted at the High School Ballynahinch has achieved its best GCSE results in the school’s history, with 81% of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at A* to C.

“I am equally delighted at the school motto and attitude as this is so clear and easy to see. School numbers are up and it’s wonderful to see all that is happening here.”

Senior teacher Mrs Sharon Jess told the Recorder the recent work cost over £8,000 and was funded by the school with the help of local supporters.

The school badge design, and the look of the foyer, had been done in consultation with the school’s 230 pupils, parents and wider school community.

Mrs Jess added that the school intended to improve its general look throughout the school over the months to come, as well as landscaping outside the entrance to include a new ‘chill-out’ area for older pupils.