St Mary’s College, Londonderry

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Excellence
St Mary’s College, Londonderry is committed to finding ways of making the curricular provision readily adaptable to the needs and abilities of all their pupils, now and in the future, so that every one of them can achieve their personal best and progress.

The objective of the project was to develop a continuous quest for Excellence, resulting in:
• 134% improvement in GCSE results over an 11 year period.
• 5 Charter Mark Awards and 6 times recognised as Investor in People
• 1st Educational establishment to win the Northern Ireland, the UK and the European Quality Awards.
• Social-related awards such as: Fair Trade School, Inclusion Quality, Deaf Awareness Recognition, etc.

About St Mary's College

St Mary’s College is an all girls’ Catholic all-ability school that opened its doors in 1959, on its original site in the Creggan area of Derry. It served the parish, parents and pupils from a wide catchment area of Derry from this site for fifty years. The challenges faced by St Mary’s ranged from socio-economic issues to outdated and obsolete facilities.

In 2010 the school celebrated its Golden Anniversary and it moved to its new hi-tech campus on the Northland Road, where pupils can have access to state of the art facilities and vibrant learning spaces.

Our Excellence Journey

St Mary’s has been striving to exceed world-class standards since 1991, when it put in place management structures based on Total Quality Management principles. After that further initiatives were established, namely: team based improvement programmes, the HELP and Step Up Programmes and the use of the Balanced Scorecard; that translated into St. Mary’s going beyond compliance and becoming a “Centre of Excellence”. The organisation saw the important link between its commitment to the quality journey it has embarked upon and its commitment to educate and fully develop its learners.

The success of St Mary’s depends on their customers; primarily their pupils and parents, and indirectly the community and society. The organisation realized that pupils are the best promoters of their standard of service and that is why they are involved directly in their own learning in every class. Any change or improvement that could lead to better pupil results will mean that it is worth the expense. The school commitment to customer service has been externally validated through a detailed process of self evaluation, Ethical Trading Initiative audit reports and attainment of Invest in People.

The Culture of the organisation is a “can do” attitude. The Staff is clear on their roles and responsibilities; and their contribution to achievement of objectives within the overall planning process. Everyone has a sense of pride in the work of the school.

Benefits

  • 134% improvement in GCSE results over 11 year period.
  • 5 Charter Mark Awards demonstrating that they are customer-oriented.
  • EFQM Hall of Fame Award.
  • 6 times recognised as Investor in People.
  • Implementation of Co-Operative Learning, an initiative that encourages pupils to take ownership of their own learning.
  • Implementation of Star, a unique initiative to raise standards of achievement based on partnerships with further education, parents and the community.
  • 1st Educational establishment to win the Northern Ireland, Ireland Excellence Award, the UK and the European Excellence Awards.
  • Social related awards such as: Fair Trade School, Inclusion Quality, Deaf Awareness Recognition, etc.
  • Mrs Marie Lindsay, Principal, St Mary’s College

    "St Mary’s College has been a Specialist School for Science since 2006. We are happy to be doing Derry proud and breaking traditional norms as regards careers in the city."