Year 8 Induction
Registration Night in June
Incoming Year 8 pupils and their parents visit the school; they meet the Principal, vice-principals, senior teachers, assistant senior teachers and the Head of Year 8, Mrs Lilleker. The head boy and girl and their deputies will outline for the pupils what to expect in their first few days in September and allay any worries they may have about starting a new school. Pupils are given a copy of the Year 8 Handbook, which provides an introduction to life in our school. Parents will also receive an Information for Parents booklet.
Seal Scléipe – or ‘period of fun’ is organised in June, when in-coming pupils have an opportunity to meet form tutors and class members on an informal basis. Pupils will be asked to bring an introductory letter to their form tutor to help him/her become familiar with the members of his/her form class.
When assigning pupils to form classes, we attempt to ensure that, as far as possible:
- Each pupil already knows someone in his/her class. ‘Single’ pupils from small primary schools are placed in the same class to facilitate the making of new friends.
- No large feeder primary school dominates any class.
- Each class has an equal number of boys and girls.
Towards the end of the summer term, pupils from feeder primary schools are invited to participate in a football blitz at the Academy. This allows the children involved to meet pupils from other feeder primary schools.
First day of Autumn Term
Year 8 only come to school on this day – this allows the new Year 8 pupils to find their feet when the school is comparatively empty. A carefully devised induction programme forms the basis of the day’s work. Pupils remain with their form teacher and participate in a variety of activities designed to help them get to know their classmates and their form teacher. Their form teacher will show them around the school, paying particular attention to the classrooms that they will be using.
At the end of the day, pupils are escorted to the bus waiting area in plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the bus queuing routine. A bus-duty team supervises the bus waiting area and remains there until all pupils have boarded.
Year 8 Information Evening
Towards the end of September, when our Year 8s are settled in, all parents will have an opportunity to come in to school to find out more about our Year 8 programme and clarify any issues that may arise in their son or daughter’s first few weeks in the Academy
Remainder of the year
The form tutor meets his/her class daily at registration, and follows a weekly programme during Personal Development class. Year 8 pupils get out five minutes early at lunchtime to help them get served first in the canteen and five minutes early at home time to allow them ample time to get to the bus waiting area.
Our first year in the Academy – by Katie Cullen, Cara Gildernew
“When I was in primary school, I always dreamed of going to the Academy, just like everyone else in my family. Like most of the pupils in my class, I was worried about who would be in our class and whether the teachers would be nice or not but, at the same time, excited about all the new friends I would make and the opportunities I now had to learn new subjects. I realised that by going to this school, it would help me become a primary school teacher, a job I always wanted to do. Based on past pupil results I knew I could make this dream come true. The school is really friendly and if you abide by the few basic rules you will do well and succeed. I felt safe because I knew that fighting and bullying was not tolerated. I believe the most important item you will need is your homework diary, which you will get in your first week. It is so important because it includes the Code of Conduct, a map of the school, names/numbers of the buses, a list of staff and prefects, a space for you to write in your timetable and, of course, space each day for you to write down your homework.
There are so many extra-curricular activities and clubs to participate in, including football, netball, basketball, Gaelic football, hurling/camogie, arts and crafts, cookery, choir, traditional group, astronomy and many, many more!. As a member of Miss Killen’s science club I got the opportunity to take part in a science competition at Queen’s University, Belfast, where we competed against other schools in a crime scene investigation. We had a brilliant day and were allowed to work in the university chemistry labs and were helped by the university students.
Now I will leave things to Cara.”
“Katie has started off explaining life at St. Patrick’s Academy. Unlike Katie, I came from a very small, rural primary school called St. Francis’, Derrylatinee in Eglish. Before starting St. Patrick’s Academy, some Year 8s seemed to be particularly worried about the canteen and getting the correct bus. However, Year 8s get out five minutes earlier than all the other year groups at lunch time, ensuring they get into the canteen and are first in the queue for lunch. Within our canteen there are so many choices on offer; sandwiches, wraps, chicken curry, pizza (at breaktime) and also some desserts if you have chosen a hot meal. The school does operate a healthy eating policy, so as well as being tasty the choices are all healthy! You don’t have to carry money around to pay for your food, we have a system called sQuid, where you can top-up your account online or through one of the machines located in the corridors. It works by scanning your finger on a machine, so mistakes are avoided, and the money goes into the correct account. If you’re worried about the buses there’s no need. Year 8s get out ten minutes earlier in the first week, giving you plenty of time to walk down to the bus area. Mr Wray manages the bus area, and calls out the name of each bus as it arrives so everyone boards the right bus. It’s great as you get the best seats on the bus! Now I couldn’t really leave out the school trips/fundays. At Halloween, you have a fun day where you dress up and have a Halloween concert. There are lots of prizes to be won and it was definitely one of the many highlights in Year 8. At Christmas time, you then visit Carrickfergus Castle, where you will get a taste of how the Normans lived. You even get to try on some of their armour! There are additional trips you can go on like a trip to Rathlin Island. I went there and it was amazing! We went over on a boat and had a great day. Another trip on offer is the kid’s LIT quiz in Wellington College, Belfast where you compete against other schools. It is a brilliant day that I would highly recommend to everyone.
I know that if you came here to St. Patrick’s Academy, you would love it! It’s a great school and both Katie and myself, just like everyone else here, would love you to come. Slan!”