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Off to the Royal Albert Hall, London

While the rest of our pupils will be enjoying their summer holidays next week our school choir will be travelling to London on the 1st July to perform in the world famous Royal Albert Hall. This is the choir's reward for winning the Barnardo's National Choir of the Year competition which was held in the Barbican Centre, London earlier this year.

We wish the choir and all the staff travelling with them a safe a successful journey. We are sure that they will continue to do our school, our parish and our city proud during their adventure.

Thank you to all the various organisations and individuals who have enabled this trip via their sponsorship. It is greatly appreciated.

PTA Disco

To mark the end of term, our PTA will be holding a series of discos during the school day for individual year groups on Tuesday 24th June.This will culminate will an evening disco for the P7 pupils in the school assembly hall.

We hope that all pupils will have an enjoyable day and thank our PTA for all the excellent work that they do throughout the school year. It is greatly appreciated.

Prize giving

This week will see the annual prize giving presentations in the school when our pupils will receive rewards for their success in a plethora of events. The prizes to be awarded this week include:

- Sports Day awards

- Accelerated Reading awards

- Pupil of the Month awards

- Attendance awards

- Indoor football awards

- Star awards

The prize giving will take place in the school assembly hall at the following times:

Monday @ 9.30 - P1 & P2

Monday @ 10 - P3

Monday @ 10.30 - P4

Monday @ 11.15 - P5

Tuesday @ 9 - P6

Tuesday @ 9.45 - P7

Shrek at Holy Family PS


The pupils of Holy Family will have the chance to meet Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey and all the characters from the famous show when our P7 pupils put on a production of Shrek for their summer show.

The show will take place from Tuesday 17th June until Thursday 19th June at 7.30pm in the school assembly hall.  The tickets are currently on sale, Adults £5 Children £3, from 8.45am each morning in the foyer area.  Please purchase your tickets early to avoid disappointment as our summer shows are always very popular.

Fan the Flame


As part of a Diocesan wide programme our P7 pupils, together with all P7 pupils from across the diocese, took part in a special Mass at 11am on Thursday 5th June in Celtic Park.  This Mass was officiated by Bishop McKeown.

Thanks to all our P7 staff, our RE Co-ordinator, Miss McCarron, our parish priests and our parents for their faith development work with our P7 pupils.

First Communion


As a Catholic School, the preparation of our pupils for the sacraments is a very important part of school life.  Currently our P4 pupils are preparing for the sacrament of First Communion.  We wish them every success in their preparation and thank the priests of the parish for their assistance in this preparation.  First Communion will take place at 11am on Saturday 14th June 2014 in Holy Family Church.

Transfer Meeting

A meeting for parents of pupils in P6 will be held in the school assembly hall on Wednesday 21st  May at 7.30pm. The meeting will outline the current procedures in place to manage pupil transfer from primary school to post primary school.

All P6 parents are most welcome.

Marian Procession

As part of the school's RE programme we will be holding our annual Marian procession for all P3 - P7 classes on Friday 16th May @ 1.45pm. The procession will commence at Holy Family PS and conclude with a service in Holy Family church.

Thanks to Fr Paddy, Fr Joe and Miss Mc Carron for organising the event.

Holy Family has got talent

As part of the fundraising drive to assist with the taking our school choir to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, London in the Barnardo's Gala Evening, Holy Family will be holding a "Holy Family has got talent" performance for P2 - P7 pupils on:

Wednesday 14th May @ 7.30pm

Thursday 15th May @ 1.30pm

Tickets are priced at £4 for adults and £2.50 for children. The Wednesday night performance already is sold out. Tickets can be purchased from the desk in the foyer area at 8.45am or 2.30pm.

Parent Information Meetings

In order that parents are fully informed about changes to the annual school report this year, a series of information sessions have been arranged. These sessions will last no longer than 30 minutes.

Parents are strongly encouraged to attend ONE of these information sessions which shall take place at the following times:

Tuesday 6th May @ 2.15pm

Wednesday 7th May @ 2.15pm

Wednesday 7th May @ 6.30pm

Wednesday 7th May @ 7.30pm

Further details are available from the school office.

Feis Success

Congratulations to Holy Family PS choir on a highly successful day at the Derry Feis. The choir won each competition entered and returned home with:

- First place in the 3 Part competition

- First place in the Sacred Music competition

- First place in the Fleming Cup for best primary school performance

We wish our P4 pupils under the direction of Miss Glenn every success in the Action Song competition which will take place in the Millennium Forum on Friday 25th April.

Accelerated Reading Conference

Holy Family was delighted to host an Accelerated Reading Conference for approximatley 25 schools throughout the region. The conference brought all schools present up to date with the latest developments in Accelerated Reading.

Many thanks to Mr Mc Dermott for overseeing all arrangements in respect to the conference and we hope that our guests had a very enjoyable day.

Stormont Visit


Following the success of the school choir in winning the Barnardo's UK Choir of the Year, the choir have been invited to visit and perform at the Assembly in Stormont, Belfast by the chair of the Education Committee, Mervyn Storey. Accordingly, the choir will travel to Belfast on Tuesday 8th April to fulfil this engagement.

Given that the choir have visited the Westminster parliament in London and will visit our local parliament next week, it would be great if they could make it a hat trick by performing at the Dail in Dublin. So if any parents have any connections that could make that possible, please contact the school.

Eco -School


This year Holy Family under the eco - leadership of Miss N Doherty will be working towards ECO school status. Our aim is to combine learning and action for improvement of the environmental performance of our school. This term we are focusing on three areas:

  • Recycling
  • Energy waste
  • Litter


To help us on this journey we will be holding a number of year group assemblies during April and we will be hosting a guest speaker from Derry City Council who will raise school awareness of our environmental responsibilities and the actions that we can take to realise them.

Thanks also to the F.A.S.T. team who have played a major part in helping us with our improvements and to all the families who were involved in our Big Spring Clean.

Cycle to school day


As part of our health and eco approach to life work, we held a Cycle or Scoot to school day on Friday 28th March. On this day pupils were encouraged to cycle to school or scoot to school. All children who participated in the event were rewarded with:


  • A free high visibility bib
  • A free healthy breakfast
  • A ticket for a special raffle


A large number of pupils took part in the event and thanks go to Mr Murray for organising the day and to Michelle Murphy (Sustrans) for providing the sponsorship.


The event was so successful that we intend to hold another such day during May.

Education Minister praises Holy Family

During his visit the Minister met with pupils, staff and representatives from the Board of Governors. He also visited the school's science and nurture centres and met the school choir who were recently named winners in the prestigious Barnardo's National Choir competition in London.

The Minister said: "It is a pleasure to be here in Holy Family Primary and Nursery School today and I would like to thank the Principal, Garry Matthewson for his invitation and warm welcome."

Congratulating the school choir on their recent success, he said: "As I visit schools across the north I am continually amazed by the talent displayed by our children and young people. That talent has been in evidence yet again here today at Holy Family and I was pleased to meet the 'award winning' school choir.

"I'm aware that the Barnardo's competition attracted over 200 entrants with 18 school choirs selected for the finals. To be named the overall winners of the competition is an absolutely fantastic achievement. I want to congratulate your teacher, Claire Doherty, the members of the choir and everyone who was involved in this great success.

"I also want to wish you the best of luck for your upcoming performance in the Albert Hall in London. No doubt that will be an experience that will stay with you throughout your lives."

The Minister also commented on his tour of the school's nurture centre. He said: "Nurture units can play a key role in tackling under-achievement early in a child's life by providing targeted support where it is most needed. Nurture provision is a relatively new development in the north. However, I believe it has the ability to bring about real and positive changes for some of our youngest and most vulnerable children.

"Holy Family Primary School, and in particular, your principal, Garry Matthewson have been at the forefront in delivering and promoting nurture provision. Last year I was pleased to announce funding of £1.1million to ensure that nurture provision could continue at ten local schools, including Holy Family. I welcome this opportunity to see at first hand the work being done here and to meet with some of the children and staff who are involved in this exciting project."

In conclusion the Minister said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Holy Family today. I was very impressed by the dedication of the staff and the enthusiasm of the pupils. This school is delivering a high quality of education and pastoral care for all its pupils. I would like to commend the Board of Governors, Principal, teachers and all the staff for their continuing hard work."

Holy Family Choir of the Year Winners


Holy Family Primary School Choir secured their greatest accolade to date by winning the Barnardo's School Choir of the year competition in the Barbican Centre in London.  The choir managed to get to the final as part of a group of 18 schools out of over 200 entrants.  At the finals, performed in front of an audience of 5000, the choir performed perfectly to not only win the competition but also record the highest ever mark at the Barnordo's final.

The choir will now return to London in July to perform at the Barnardo Gala event in the Royal Albert Hall.

Well done to all involved especially choir director, Claire Doherty. 

Confirmation Celebrations


Congratulations to all our P7 pupils who made their Confirmation in Holy Family Church on Saturday 8th March at 11.00am.  The service was officiated by Bishop Lagan.  Many thanks go to Miss McCarron (RE Co-ordinator) and the P7 teachers and the parents for all the work that they have done in preparation for this special occasion.

Special thanks go to Bishop Lagan, Fr Gormley and Fr O' Kane for all their help support and leadership.

Thanks to our sponsors


In order to deliver the fantastic opportunity to our pupils in the school choir of going to London to perform in a presitigious competition, it was essential to seek funding from both the public and private sector.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those individuals and organisations who provided financial support to the school choir to enable their participation in the London competition.  Many thanks to St Vincent De Paul, E & I Engineering, Diamond Corrugated, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the PTA and the Outer West Neighbourhood Partnership

Derry District Council Sports Winners

Congratulations to Holy Family PS football team ( 2012 - 2013) on winning the Derry District Sports Council Team of the Year award at the award ceremony in the City Hotel, Derry on Friday 21st February.

The award was richly desrved as the team won every game played last season and this culminated in the team winning the Derry Primary Schools' League and Cup. The award was collected by Cian Harrigan in front of a capacity audience of 300. Upon receipt of the award, Cian delivered a very impressive acceptance speech.

 Well done to all team members and Mr Doherty, coach.

Mid Term break

We wish our pupils and their families an enjoyable and relaxing Mid Term break from Monday 17th February until Wednesday 19th February inclusive.

We hope all pupils return refreshed for the remainder of the term.

Policy Updates

As a self - evaluating school, the staff at Holy Family consistently review and evaluate their practice in order to enhance the outcomes for our pupils. Recently a number of policy documents have been reviewed and updated in order to ensure greatest alignment between policy and practice.

The updated policies include:

Nursery Positive behaviour

Nursery Assessment

Nursery Curriculum

Nursery Child protection

Nursery Health and Safety

These updated policies can be found under the policy section of the website. Other reviewed policies will be available on this website soon.

Catholic Schools' Week Events


As part of Catholic Schools' Week the following special events shall be taking place in the school:

There will be a special themed assembly each morning (Monday -Thursday) in the assembly hall at 9:00am for primary 4 - primary 7 classes.


The themes of the assemblies are as follows-


Monday P.7 - Our Faith Calls Us To Live

Tuesday P.6 - Our Faith Calls Us To Learn

Wednesday P.5 - Our Faith Calls Us To Share

Thursday P.4 - Our Faith Calls Us To Celebrate

In addition, a special Confirmation preparation meeting will take place on Wednesday 29th January for parents of P7 pupils at 7.30pm.

Friday is Grandparents' Day. This will be  celebrated with an assembly at 10:00 which will be attended by all primary 2 and 3 classes. After this assembly the Grandparents will have tea in the canteen and visit all classrooms.


Congratulations again

Congratulations to our school choir and Mrs Claire Doherty on reaching the finals of the Barnardo's National Choir of the Year competition in London. The choir are delighted to have reached the finals of this highly prestigious event and they are looking forward to competing in the finals which will be held in the Barbican Centre.

The staff, parents and governors wish our choir every success at the finals.

In order to make arrangements for the trip, a meeting of parents will take place in the school on Wednesday 15th January at 7.30pm. All parents of children involved should attend this meetin.

First Communion Meeting

A meeting for parents of P4 pupils who are due to make their First Communion this year will be held in the school assembly hall on Wednesday 22nd January at 7.30pm. This is a very important meeting in the preparation of children for First Communion and it is vital that all parents of P4 pupils attend this event.

Thank you to Miss Mc Carron, RE Co-ordinator, for organising the event.

Holy Family secures dyslexic friendly award again


The staff at Holy Family Primary and Nursery School in Derry continue to be at  the forefront of providing appropriate provision for pupils with dyslexia after being awarded the highly prestigious BDA Dyslexic Friendly School status for the second occasion.

The award recognises the school's success in developing and implementing effective strategies to meet the needs of pupils with dyslexia across the curriculum. The Derry school has long pioneered highly effective teaching and learning approaches for all pupils and particularly for pupils with specific learning conditions.

The success of the school in securing this prestigious award is due in no small measure to the high levels of competence among the teaching and non- teaching staff which ensures the high quality learning experiences of all pupils generally and those pupils with dyslexia particularly.

Principal, Garry Matthewson commented,

"On behalf of Holy Family Primary and Nursery School, we are delighted to be awarded the BDA Dyslexic Friendly School Award for the second occasion. It recognises our positive approach to catering for all pupils consistently and effectively. We believe that all pupils can succeed in every aspect of learning if the provision is appropriately differentiated and the strategies used meet the learning styles of our pupils. The attainment of this award reassures us that we have got both our culture and approaches correct for our pupils. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the excellent work undertaken by our highly experienced, SEN co-ordinator, Delma Boggs and the staff in securing this prestigious award."

The SEN Co-ordinator, Delma Boggs, who was the driving force in ensuring that the school was prepared for the BDA Dyslexic Friendly School assessment, commented,

"I am delighted at the attainment of this award for the second time. It shows genuine recognition for the excellent SEN work that is taking place at Holy Family on a daily basis. Applying for the award really brought into sharp focus the detailed and pervasive work that we are doing each and every day to ensure that our dyslexic pupils make appropriate progress in their learning across the curriculum. The attainment of this award was a huge team effort and all the children and staff deserve credit for this achievement.

As a self - evaluating school, we are now determined to push on from this high standard to ensure that our pupils receive even higher levels of provision in the years to come."

Further details about this highly challenging award system are available from the British Dyslexia Association website, www.bdadyslexia.org.uk


Families and Schools Together ( F.A.S.T.)

Holy Family in conjunction with Save the Children, community representatives and families is currently running a highly successful FAST programme. This programme involves coooking, playing, discussion and friendship.

Thanks to Holy Family PTA for their generous sponsporship of the additional cooking facilities which has enabled the project to be successfully run.

Any parent/guardian who is interested in getting involved in our hard working and very productive PTA is most welcome. Further details are available from the school office.

ICT Success




Children at  Holy Family Primary and Nursery School in Derry continue to be  at  the forefront of using information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance their work after being awarded the prestigious ICT Mark for the second occasion.

The award recognises the school's success in developing the strategic use of ICT in both administration and across the curriculum. The Derry school has long pioneered the effective use of ICT for teaching and learning and currently the pupils have access to computers and interactive whiteboards  in each class as well as a C2K computer suite and an Apple Mac suite.

However, the greatest ICT strength in the school is the high level of ICT competence among the teaching and non- teaching staff which ensures the high quality learning experiences of the pupils.

Principal, Garry Matthewson commented,

"On behalf of Holy Family Primary and Nursery School, we are delighted to be awarded the ICT Mark for the second occasion. It recognises our positive approach to ICT and the benefits it brings to our children. We believe that ICT can be used in every aspect of learning and it is essential that our children are equipped for the modern world. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the excellent work undertaken by our ICT co-ordinator, Micheal Mc Laughlin and the staff in securing this prestigious award."

The ICT Co-ordinator, Mr. Micheal Mc Laughlin, who was involved in ensuring the school was ready for ICT Mark assessment, commented,

"I am delighted at the attainment of this award for the second time. It shows appropriate recognition of the excellent ICT work that is taking place at Holy Family. Applying for the award really brought into focus the ICT work that we are doing each and every day. It was a huge team effort and all the children and staff deserve credit for this achievement.

As a self - evaluating school, we are now determined to push on from this high standard to ensure that our pupils receive even higher levels of provision in the years to come."

Thank you

Thank you to all the parents who responded to our Whole School Quality Audit. The information that you provided on the questionnaire is currently being collated and analysed. Once this work is completed, the outcomes will be communicated to all parents/guardians.

In addition, the actions to be taken will also be communicated. Many thanks once again for your assistance.

Religious Education Programme

The details for the various meetings, services and events for the succssful completion of our RE programme for this academic year can be found in the calander section of this website.

Thanks to Fr. Paddy and Miss Mc Carron for organising this programme.

Well done Caoimhe

Congratulations to P5 pupil, Caoimhe Devlin on her fantastic success this year in her Irish dancing endeavours. Caoimhe produced fantastic performances in a range of competitions to win:

- the Great Britain Irish dancing competition

- the All Ireland dancing championship

- the Irish Dancing Championship held in Scotland

Keep up the great work Caoimhe!

Holy Family Researchers

 Holy Family Researchers

A number of our P6 and P7 pupils have been developing their independent learning skills during October. These pupils have been researching questions that have been formulated by staff and the pupils have been left to their own devices to uncover the answers.

A number of great research activities have been undertaken and great credit must go to those pupils who have completed them. A flavour of the research undertaken can be found on our school website under the title Holy Family researchers.


Thanks to Aoife Concannon and Zoe Mac Farland from Foyle College who assisted with elements of the research.

Confirmation date confirmed

Fr O' Kane has confirmed that our P7 pupils will make their Confirmation this academic year on Saturday 8th March 2014. Further details will be released closer to the time.

First Communion 2013/2014

The date for First Communion for our P4 pupils has now been confirmed as Saturday 14th June 2014 at 11am in Holy Family Church.

We look forward to a very special and enjoyable year preparing for this sacrament.

As the decision regarding the dates for Confirmation is made by the Bishop, we await a communication in relation to this. As soon as we are made aware of our Confirmation date, we will inform our pupils and parents.


New School Development Plan 2013 - 2016

Our new school development plan which covers the period 2013 - 2016 can be found in the School Development Plan section of the website. This plan is in line with the Education ( School Development Plan ) Regulations ( NI ) 2010.

Many thanks to all pupils, parents,staff, governors and wider community stakeholders who contributed to the plan in any way. We look forward to bringing this plan to full fruition.

Accelerated Reading Pace Setters

Accelerated Reading is one of the most popular initiatives to be introduced to Holy Family. The pace setters this year are definitely our P4 classes who not only are making huge strides in their individual points totals but they are also well in the lead in respect to their quiz accuracy.

So well done to Mrs Caroline Doherty's and Miss Glenn's classes.

However, a number of P6 and P7 pupils are receiving "luck dip" prizes as well so the P4's may have some close competition soon.

Thanks to Mr Mc Dermott and Miss Gallagher for their organisation of the programme within our school.

Classes for 2013/14

The class and support arrangements for September 2013 can be accessed by clicking the link below. These arangements are accurate currently.

Classes: September 2013

Is your child starting school or nursery in September 2014?

If your child is due to start either nursery or primary school in September 2014, it is very important that you get an application form from your school of choice and return it by the closing date.

The closing date for nursery applications and P1 applications will be released very soon. Further information is available from our school office, tel: 71267798

School Opening Times

Holy Family Primary and Nursery School opening times for the academic year 2013 - 2014 are as follows:

Nursery 9am - 1.30pm

P1 - P3 9am - 2.30pm

P4 - P7 9am - 3pm

A breakfast club operates from 8.30am until 8.55am in the canteen and all pupils/parents are welcome to utilise this facility.

In order to facilitate parents, pupils can be dropped off in the assembly hall where they will be supervised from 8.30am each day.

Welcome to the Family

Thank you to Mr Doherty and his team for producing an excellent school magazine this year. The production is top class and features colourful photographs, stories, tributes and memories covering the entire school year.

Copies of the magazine can be purchased from the school office ( £4 ) each day from now until the end of June. Limited copies available so purchase before they are all gone.

New Staff for 2013/14

The pupils, parents, governors and existing staff would like to take this opportunity to publicly welcome four new teachers to Holy Family this year. We are sure that they will settle quickly into the Holy Family way and make a significant contribution to the success of the school.

The new staff are:

P2 Miss Breen who previously taught in St. Anne's PS last term.

P3 Miss N. Doherty who taught for a number of years in Portrush.

P4 Miss Glenn who previously worked on a temporary basis at Holy Family.

P5 Mr Gill who previously taught for a number of years in London.

Busy time at the Family

Although the pupils are only back at school a few weeks they have been involved in a number of special events or activities. During September, the following has occurred:

  • The school choir received expert advice and teaching from renowned vocal coach, Kevin O'Carroll. Kevin will be returning to Holy Family in the near future to continue this specialised work.
  • Mrs McLaughlin's P5 class visited Roe Valley Country Park.
  • A number of our P6 and P7 pupils took part in a Lumiére Art Workshop in the Gasyard Centre. Their work will contribute to the Lumiére production as part of the City of Culture event later this year.
  • Some of our current football squad have taken part in the primary schools' small sided games event held at St Columb's College. This is a non-competitive programme which allows more players to develop their footballing skills. Later in the year there will be competitive games also. The best Holy Family performers on the day were Lee Harkin, Tiarnan Devine, Aaron Curran and Niall McCartney.
  • Our P6 pupils have all commenced the Primary Schools' Swimming programme at the City Baths, William Street.
  • The Lifestart puppets, Molly and Harry, visited our P1 pupils.


Child protection

Following Mrs Donaghy's retirement this year, there have been changes to our safeguarding team. Accordingly, our team for this academic year are:

  • Designated Child Protection Teacher: Mrs Linda Parke
  • Deputy Designated Child Protection Teacher: Mr Garry Matthewson
  • Deputy Designated Child Protection Teacher: Mrs Dara Cosgrove
  • Child Protection Governor: Mrs Roisin O'Hagan
  • Chairperson of the Board of Governors: Mr Jim McColgan

If any parent/guardian has any child protection concerns they should contact Mrs Parke.

Mr Neil Carrigan

The school community of Holy Family Primary and Nursery School is deeply saddened today to hear of the untimely passing of teacher and colleague, Mr Neil Carrigan.

Neil taught at Holy Family since 1989 and was a teacher of great wit and talent. Neil was renowned for his artistic ability and he shared this ability and passion for art with all his pupils and the wider community.

The Holy Family community extend their deepest sympathy to Neil's family and thank God for the contribution that Neil made to the life of our school over the years.


Outstanding Inspection

Congratulations to all pupils, parents, staff, governors and wider Holy Family community on the achievement of an outstanding inspection report following our inspection by the Education and Training Inspectorate in November 2010.

An electronic version of the report can be accessed by clicking here or by visiting the Education and Training Inspectorate website at www.etini.gov.uk 

Well done once again.

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