Bangor school principal praises pupils' success after 'difficult' year

A County Down principal has praised the efforts of her GCSE students, who were among the first to sit formal examinations since 2019.

Ninety-two percent of pupils' grades at St Columbanus' College in Bangor were A* to C.

Maria Flynn said the school was celebrating a positive day after the past couple of years.

"Last year was difficult for both teaching staff and pupils," she said.

"There was a lot of absenteeism because Covid as rife but we managed and worked with our pupils and their families."

In 2020 and 2021 both A Level and GCSE pupils across the UK were awarded teacher assessed grade because of the impact of the pandemic.

Mrs Flynn says she and her staff worked hard to ensure young people felt supported sitting their first formal exams this summer.

"Mental health last year was a massive priority.

"We wanted to make sure that our pupils were strong, confident and resilient to be able to cope with whatever they were faced with."

Beaming with pride, Mrs Flynn said she looked forward to welcoming a full cohort of pupils back for sixth form.

The Education Minister, who was in Bangor on Thursday morning, also paid tribute to all those sitting GCSEs this summer.

"The success of our students is well-deserved and testament to their hard work and resilience following three years of disrupted learning," said Michelle McIlveen.

“It is also important to recognise the incredible work of teachers across Northern Ireland in helping students prepare for examinations in a challenging learning environment."

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