Mon, 2nd Feb 2015
P7 Parents' Meetings

Wed, 4th Feb 2015
P5/P6 Setting and Transfer Meeting

Fri, 6th Feb 2015
L4 Elklan Training

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Current Conditions:
Light Rain Shower, 4 C

Grandparents' Day

All grandaprents are invited to attend our special ceremony in the school assembly hall at 10am on Friday 30th January 2015. This assembly will involve a performance by our award winning choir and pupils from various year groups.

Following the assembly, grandparents will receive refreshments and have the opportunity to visit the pupils in class.

Catholic Schools' Week

This week is Catholic Schools' Week when the school community has the opportunity to celebrate all that Catholic schools have to offer pupils and families. The theme of this week is "Called to serve". This week pupils will have an enhanced chance to explore how we can serve others.

Special events have been organised each day this week including:

- assemblies each morning

- Confirmation meeting on Wednesday at 7.30pm

- Grandparents' Day on Friday at 10am

- Holy Family pupils taking part as readers and gift carriers at 11am Sunday Mass

Thanks to Mrs Mc Carron, RE co-ordinator, for organising all events.

School Reopens on 15.01.15

The school reopens on Thursday 15th January 2015 at the usual time for all pupils.

Extension to application date

Due to the school closure on 14.01.15, the closing date and time for the reciept of nursery and primary one application forms has been extended to 12 noon on Thursday 15th January 2015.

All application forms must be returned to the school office by that date/time.

Holy Family Choir on UTV

Holy Family PS Choir will be performing on UTV Live at 6.20pm approximately on both Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd December 2014. We wish our award winning choir every success with their performances and thank them for their great work this term.

Magical nativities

Many thanks to all our pupils and staff for providing such magical Christmas nativity performances during the month of December. Pupils from Nursery to P7 ensured that their parents and the wider Holy Family community were treated to top level productions.

Thanks to all parents and wider family for the huge turnout at all performances.

Nursery/P1 closing date approaching

Parents of children due to commence either nursery or Primary One in September 2015 will be able to collect an application form from the school office on Monday 24th November 2014. Those pupils currently in Holy Family PS Nursery Unit who wish to continue their education at Holy Family must complete an application form for a place in Primary One.

Advice is available from the school office about the completion of any application forms. Completed applications must be returned before noon on Wednesday 14th January 2015.

Good Luck to All

Good luck to all our pupils as they begin their Christmas Nativity performances. The children have prepared well for these and look forward to greeting as many parents and family members as possible. The dates and times for all nativity performances can be seen in the calendar section of the website.

Thanks to all staff and parents for their work in preparation for these special performances.

A Big Thank You

A big thank you to Rev. David Latimer of the First Derry Presbyterian Church who invited our school choir to perform at a special event in his church on Sunday 7th December. Our pupils and parents had a wonderful evening of song, music and scripture. Thanks to the congregation of First Derry Presbyterian church for their hospitality.

Many thanks also to our school PTA and the Holy Family community for a great evening of excitement at our annual Rickety Wheel and Christmas Fair on Wednesday 10th December. There was a fantastic turn out and some great prizes were up for grabs. All funds raised will make a huge difference to provision at Holy Family.

Open Day

All parents, guardians, prospective parents and guardians are invited to attend our Open Day which will be held on Friday 5th December from 10am until 12 noon. During this day parents/guardians will be able to visit the classes, meet the staff and pupils and hopefully have a very enjoyable morning.

In addition, the principal, Mr Matthewson, will outline briefly what Holy Family has to offer all pupils. Before the Open Day parents/guardians can gain more information about the school by visiting this website, reading  our newsletters or  our most recent inspection report by clicking here. Application forms for both nursery and P1 will be available on the day.

Any prospective parent/guardian who is unable to visit on 5th December can contact the school office on 02871267798 and arrange an alternative time to visit.

Another honour for Holy Family

Holy Family PS has been honoured again by having the school choir invited to perform at the switching on of the Christmas lights at the Irish parliament buildings ( Leinster House ), Dublin on Tuesday 2nd December. 

This will complete a triple for the choir as last term they also visited the Houses of Parliament in London and Stormont Building in Belfast.

Good luck to all involved.


Well done to all pupils, parents, staff and governors of Holy Family  in securing the Investor in People Gold standard for the second successive occasion. This highly challenging level is only awarded to 5% of Investor in People organisations.

The attainment of this standard is great recognition for the entire Holy Family community and the statements of the IIP assessor best sums up why the school attained this much sought after standard again, when he wrote "Holy Family is blessed with a hard working and committed staff who share experience, knowledge and resources." Furthermore, "Holy Family is very aptly named. Holy Family is a very strong pupil centred school with the key focus on helping pupils and staff to achieve their full potential."

Well done to all.


Sacramental preparation

Our P4 and P7 pupils will begin a programme of sacramental preparation in the near future. This preparation is for the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation respectively. We encourage all parents to engage in this preparation work fully so that their children get the maximum from the process.


Miss Mc Carron, RE co-ordinator, will be circulating dates and times related to the parents’ meetings associated with the preparation in the very near future.


The following dates have been communicated to the school by Fr. Paddy for the sacraments this year:

First Communion      Saturday 30th May @ 11am


Confirmation             Sunday 10th May @ 3pm.

Visitors to the Family

The staff and pupils of Holy Family were delighted to host researchers from Queen’s University, Belfast on Tuesday 4th November. The researchers, Dr Seaneen Sloan and Aideen Gildea visited the school to find out more about nurture education so that they can conduct their research in to the effectiveness of nurture education throughout N. Ireland.

We wish them well in their endeavours.

Thank you

A big thank you to all staff and governors who took part in our two day Investor in People assessment on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th October. Thanks also to our assessor, Mr John Mulholland for his professionalism during the assessment. 

We will not receive the official feedback from the assessment until November at the earliest but trust that it will assist us in our never ending school improvement journey.


Good Luck

All at Holy Family wish our school choir every success at the City of Derry International Choral festival which will take place this week in St. Columb's Hall on Thursday 23rd October at 10am.

The choir will be performing in two competitions at this highly prestigious event.

Well done

Congratulations to all the P5 pupils who took part in the Neil Carrigan Art competition which this year had the theme, "Autumn." All entrants can be seen this week on the dipslay board outside the principal's office.

The winning painting as judged by Mr Carrigan's daughter, Dearbhla, was created by Shania Coyle. Shania recieved her prize at the Neil Carrigan Exhibition in the Playhouse Gallery on Saturday night.

Thanks to all who took part and to Dearbhla for organising the event.

Neil Carrigan Memorial Art Exhibition and Competition

The Neil Carrigan Memorial Art Exhibition and Competition  will be held in the Playhouse, Artillery street, Derry at 7pm on Saturday 18th October.

In memory of Neil, his family have decided to hold an Art exhibition and as part of that there will also be an Art competition for P5 pupils from Holy Family, as Neil spent many years teaching P5 classes. The children are working hard at their art work and pupils, parents, friends and former colleagues are most welcome to attend this special event.


Congratulations to the following members of staff who have commenced new roles this term:

Mr Micheal Mc Laughlin who takes over the role of literacy co-ordinator

Mr Gavin Doherty who takes over the role of World Around US/ Health Education co-ordinator

Mr Patrick Gill who takes over as ICT co-ordinator

We wish all every success in their new roles and look forward to the developments that they bring to their new areas of responsibility.

Opera comes to Holy Family

Our P7 pupils will have the opportunity to learn more about opera when they take part in an opera workshop run by N.I. opera on Friday 17th October. This event is the second day in a series of events aimed at raising our pupils appreciation and understanding of opera.

Thanks to Mrs Doherty for organising the event.


Holy Family will welcome two Italian students to the school on the week of 13th October when Giorgia Bommarcho and Simone Guzzan join our school for a 6 month work placement. The two students will be working in our P3 classes and they travel to us from a University in Venice.

We hope that they enjoy their stay with us and contribute fully to the life of Holy Family.

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

Holy Family will commence our second FAST programme on Tuesday 14th October in the school. This is a fantastic programme that brings families, teachers and commuhnity volunteers together in the best interest of the children.

Any parent/family that is interested in registering for the programme should contact either Mrs Parke ( room 2) or Mrs Houston ( room 7).

Good luck to all involved.

Parent/Teacher Meetings

Our first series of parent/teacher meetings for the new term are commencing soon. These meetings are vital for developing good communication between parents and teachers in order to ensure the maximum happiness and progress of the children. Accordingly, we would encourage all parents to attend the meetings at the allocated time.

Monday 6th October 7 - 9pm

Monday 13th October 3.15 - 5.30pm

Wednesday 15th October 3.15 - 5.30pm


Opera comes to Holy Family

In July 2014 the Holy Family choir visited the Royal Opera House in London,  for a wonderful tour and the opportunity to perform in the Crush Room. However, this week performers visited the school to work with our P7 pupils who will get a chance to perform in the Opera House in Belfast, later this term.

Thanks to Mrs Claire Doherty for organising these opportunities for our pupils.

Keeping pupils safe

In order that our staff are best positioned to keep all our pupils safe, the following training event s will be taken place in school this week:


•1.       Epilepsy Training

Epilepsy training will take place in the staff room at 1.30pm on Tuesday 23rd September. This training will be provided by the school nurse and will involve all the P1 teachers and CA's. In addition, Mrs Barr, senior supervisor, will be in attendance.

•2.       Epipen Training

Epipen training will take place in the staff room at 2.30pm on Tuesday 23rd September . This training will be delivered by the school nurse and will involve the following staff: Mrs Higgins, Mr Gill, Mrs Claire Doherty and Mrs Mc Crory.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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,


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

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."

World Peace Day


Well done to the school choir and Mrs Claire Doherty on their excellent performance at the World Peace Day event held in the Guildhall on Sunday 21st September in front of the Mayor of Derry, the Mayor of Belfast and our MP, Mark Durkan.

New School Development Plan

Our new school development plan for the period 2014 - 2017 has just been completed and can be accessed by clicking on the links on the school development plan section on the left.

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