Tue, 31st Mar 2015
Easter Passion Play @8.15pm in Holy Family Church

Thu, 2nd Apr 2015
Easter Holidays

Mon, 20th Apr 2015
P7 Retreat in Iosas Centre for Mr Mc Laughlin's class

:: View All ::


Current Conditions:
Unknown, 8 C

Easter Passion Play

All parents, guardians, grandparents and friends of Holy Family PS are warmly invited to our first Easter Passion Play which will take place in Holy Family Church on Tuesday 31st March at 8.15pm.

The performance will be delivered by our P7 pupils under the direction of Mrs Claire Doherty and supported by Mr Gill.

Thanks to Fr Paddy O' Kane for allowing us to deliver the Passion Play in Holy Family Church.


Health Promotion Week

The pupils of Holy Family are participating in an action packed health promotion week during the week of 9th March. This series of events has been organised by WAU/HE co-ordinator, Mr Doherty.

The week comprises a large number of events for pupils to participate in and these include:

- The Big Shift- a daily walk/scoot/cycle to school event

- Yoga taster sessions

- Cross country challenge

- Boxing Club

- Indoor football blitz

- Muchbox challenge

- Healthy breaks

- IFA football coaching sessions

Thanks to Mr Doherty for organising the events and good luck to all participants.

Industrial Action

Due to industrial action by both INTO and UNISON on Friday 13th March 2015, parents should NOT send their children to school on that day. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Elklan course

The Elklan speech and language course commences for parents on Thursday 26th February 2015 at 7pm in the staff room of the school. The programme will run for 2 hours each Thursday evening for 6 weeks.

We look forward to a great turnout of parents. The course will be delivered by Mrs Caroline Cosgrove and is funded via the Community Education Initiative Programme.

STEM project

Our P7 will be taking part in the second day of the STEM project with staff from the University of Ulster on Tuesday 10th March. During this event the pupils will have the opportunity to develop their computer animation skills with the assistance of experts.

Thanks to the University of Ulster for providing this valuable support.

Junior Warden Bus Tour

The junior warden bus tour for our P7 classes will take place during the week of Monday 9th March. The tour will take place as follows:

- Monday 9th: Mr Mc Laughlin's class

- Wednesday 11th: Mr Herron's class

- Thursday 12th: Mr Doherty's class

We are sure that the pupils and staff will have a very enjoyable and informative week.

I.I.P. Gold Again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Celebrations have commenced at Holy Family Primary and Nursery School, Derry with the announcement that they have secured, for the second time, the highly prestigious Investor in People Gold Award standard. This is the highest level possible in the Investor in People assessment system and is only secured by the top 5% of Investor in People organisations.

The world renowned, I.I.P. system, assesses organisations across 10 different strands with numerous evidence requirements. In fact, to secure the Gold standard, Holy Family had to meet 165 evidence requirements. However, the forward thinking Derry school surpassed even that and met no less than 179 evidence requirements to secure this most challenging award.

School principal, Garry Matthewson explained that it was vitally important for the staff and leadership of the school to continue to develop and reach the highest standards of provision possible so that they could continue to ensure that the pupils at the school make outstanding progress. Mr Matthewson proceeded to explain that this award system was particularly attractive to the school leadership as it was a holistic awards system that measured the school across areas such as:

•·         Vision and values

•·         Stakeholder engagement

•·         Corporate social responsibility

•·         Leadership and management

•·         Rewards and recognition

•·         Performance management

•·         Continuous improvement

"The beauty of this award system is that it provides a detailed, independent and holistic evaluation of the school against criteria that are used by top performing organisations across the world. Accordingly, the evaluation outcomes that we receive are robust and evidenced based and give us great insight to what we need to do to remain at the forefront of educational provision."

An important feature of the assessment system is that it is holistic in nature and looks at the strengths of not only the school leadership but the various teams in the school. The assessor, John Mulholland, noted that "Holy Family is aptly named as there is a true sense of family with successes/highs celebrated and a sense of spirit d'corps during the lows. Staff at all levels look out for one another and there is a very strong sense of kinship."

Furthermore, the assessor noted that "the success of Holy Family pupils extends beyond examination performance and the many extra curricular achievements achieved against All Ireland/UK competition is testament to the commitment, hard work and dedication of staff. These successes clearly reflect the pride staff have in their work and the extent to which Holy Family is an excellent place to work."

Accelerated Reading Wizards

Well done to the scores of pupils who exchanged their AR points for prizes at our monthly AR prize giving assembly on Friday 13th February. This event saw lots of pupils from P3 - P7 being rewarded for the fantastic effort that they have been making this term with their AR activities.

Thanks go to Mr Mc Laughlin, Mrs O' Hagan and Miss Gallagher for all their work in ensuring that the AR programme operates so smoothly and our pupils make such advances in their reading.

Speech and Language Programme

A parents' programme related to speech and language development in young children will commence in the school on Thursday 26th February at 7pm. This programme will be delivered by Caroline Cosgrove, speech and language therapist.

This Elklan programme is suitable for all parents but will be particularly beneficial of parents who have children in nursery, P1 or P2.

A large number of parents have already enrolled in the programme but if you would like to reserve a place please contact the school office ( tel: 02871267798)

Best wishes to Fr Paddy

All pupils, staff and parents of Holy Family wish Father Paddy a quick and complete recovery from his injuries incurred as a result of an accident at the weekend. Fr Paddy can be assured of the thoughts and prayers of the entire Holy Family school community.


The pupils and staff of Holy Family said hello and cead mile failte to our new Italian assistant, Giulia Carlone, who will be working in the school this term. Giulia now brings the number of italian graduates working in Holy Family to three with Simone and Giorgia currently working in Primary Three.

We hope that Giulia has a wonderful time in Holy Family and in Derry.

Thank you

A big thank you to the massive number of grandparents who attended grandparents' day on Friday 30th January. The pupils and staff were delighted with the attendance and really enjoyed your presence in the school on the day.

Thank you once again.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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, www.bdadyslexia.org.uk


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.

design x zoocreative