Seachtain na Gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge in St. Catherine's College.


Maighréad Uí Mháirtín, former Principal of St. Catherine's College, launched the school’s annual Seachtain na Gaeilge. This is a national event which gives Irish speakers everywhere the opportunity to use and promote the Irish language and culture.


The week began with a presentation by the Year 13 Irish language committee on Seachtain na Gaeilge to all Year Groups and distribution of 'Gabh le Gaeilge' pocket cards to encourage pupils and staff to try out a 'cúpla focal' during the week. 'A' level pupils were given a greater insight into the history and work of Gael linn later in the day when Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, the regional manager visited. 

The Armagh Rhymers provided a musical and mythical touch to events with their vibrant presentation on Brian Boru to Year 8 pupils. Year 8 and 9 pupils were later treated to a touch of Gael Factor by a very gifted and talented bunch of boys and girls.


At the heart of the week was the annual Irish Mass celebrated this year by Monsignor Ó Muirí and, in keeping with our school goal of social awareness, the Irish language committee organised a cake sale on Thursday, the proceeds of which went to the HUG project.


The week culminated in Maighréad Uí Mháirtín presenting An Fáinne Óir to five Year 10 students and a Líofa badge to some of our administrative staff who undertook the challenge of preparing for a simple conversation in Irish. 

On Friday 14th March pupils in An Sruth Gaeilge had a very energetic start to the day when they participated in Rith 2014, a national relay over 9 days, in support of the Irish language. Finally, our Year 9 and 10 pupils danced the afternoon away at a céilí and enjoyed a special guest appearance by J.J. Ó Dochartaigh, Ireland's answer to Avici, who joined us from St. Joesph's Convent Donaghmore. A thoroughly enjoyable week was had by all in preparation for Lá Fhéile Pádraig.


Presentation of An Fáinne Óir  at Sruth na Gaeilge, Coláiste Chaitríona - Comhghairdeas to Eimhear Ní Dhuibh, Faileann Gaynor and Katie Nic Conmidhe on achieving their Fáinne Óir last week. A special word of thanks goes to An Máistir Séamus Mac Dhaibhéid (Deputy Principal) who conducted the exam and to MaighréadUí Mháirtín who presented the students with their badge and certificate. Also pictured (back left) is Bean de Bléine, co-ordinator of Sruth na Gaeilge.




This year saw the establishment of the first ever Irish language committee in St. Catherine's College. A special word of thanks must go to Coiste na Gaeilge for all their hard work in helping to make Seachtain na Gaeilge a huge success. Back row L-R Alison Caomhánach, Ammie Nic Conluain, Bean de Bléine, Bonnie-Louise Ní Dhrisceoil, Caoimhe Withers, An Máistir Mac Dhaibhéid, Kirsten de Faoite. Front row (L-R) Demi Nic Giolla Aoláin, Eimhear Ní Dhuibh, Maighréad Uí Mháirtín, Katie Nic Conmidhe, Faileann Gaynor and Áine Nig Uidhir. Comhghairdeas libh a chailíní!                                                                                                                               


The Armagh Rhymers brought a musical and mythical touch to Seachtain na Gaeilge in St. Catherine’s College with their vibrant collection of traditional stories through song and dance. They are pictured here with students from year 8, co-ordinator of Sruth na Gaeilge, Bean de Bléine (left) and The Irish Language Development Officer  Síle Uí Dhuibh (right).


Ulster Champions! - These Year 10 students at St. Catherine’s College won the Ulster Final of the Gael Linn Quiz “as Gaeilge” held in January, beating 22 teams nationwide!  l/r: Emma Rath, Caella Casey, Maeve Mc Aleavey and Nicole Kerr, all 10G.  Comhghairdeas libh a chailíní!

Professor Karen Corrigan (Newcastle University), Professor Antonella Sorachi (University of Edinburgh) and Professor Alison Henry (University of Ulster) led the recent Staff Development Seminar held in Saint Catherine’s College, Coláiste Chaitríona, on recent research into the benefits of multilingualism. They are pictured here (middle row) with staff of Sruth na Gaeilge and other delegates at the conference.

Past pupil of Saint Catherine’s College, Professor Karen Corrigan, Newcastle University, is pictured with some of the newcomer and other pupils who are assisting with her research into bilingualism. Front row l/r: Alannah McQuade 9M, Liveta Kivytiate 13R, Evelina Bilvinaite 13B, Niamh Bullock 9M. Back row l/r: Shakira Shahid 13R, Diana Mezanec 13G, Bobo Chui13G, Sophie Taylor 9M.


Saint Catherine’s College Students are Top of their Game! Awards in public examinations, competitions and sport!


Saint Catherine’s College Students are Top of their Game!

Awards in public examinations, competitions and sport! 


Catherine Marley achieved joint 2nd place overall in G.C.S.E. Learning for Life and Work. Catherine enters the LW Department Hall of Fame as the fifth student to come Top in Northern Ireland in recent years.




Nicola McNeice & Orla Rodgers came joint sixth in Northern Ireland in CCEA A-Level Geography - a proud moment for Orla’s Dad, Paul, who is Head of Geography and Senior Teacher in the school.




Sixth form student Eimear Hayes has been awarded a 2014 Ulster Camogie All- star!  Eimear is also County Minor player of the year, Armagh Premier Division player of the year, Minor club player of the year and Senior club player of the year!



Yet again, year 13 ‘A’ Level Business Studies students have won Best Overall Marketing Awards in the Young Enterprise trade fair competition. Well done to the budding entrepreneurs!


Successful Sister Act!!!

Saint Catherine’s College student Catherine Marley was joint 2nd in N.I. in CCEA GCSE Learning for Life & Work. Catherine is pictured here with her sister Caoimhe Morgan (PE Dept.) who was her teacher and Head of LLW, Mrs Blaithín Doonan.

Sixth form students Aine Loughran and Aislinn O’Hanlon were awarded Nuffield Research Placement Bursaries for summer work placements. The girls are pictured here with Mr Ciaran Connolly (Head of Science) and Mrs Fionnuala Tennyson (Senior Teacher & Head of Sixth Form).


Sixth form student Eimear Hayes has been awarded a 2014 Ulster Camogie All- star! Principal of Saint Catherine’s College, Mrs Deirdre McDonald, and staff from the P.E. Department share in her delight l/r: Ciara McGahan and Fionnuala McGrath (Head of P.E.)



Well done to Saint Catherine’s College year 13 ‘A’ Level Business Studies students for winning the Best Overall Marketing Award in the Young Enterprise Trade Fair 2014. Back row l/r: Roisin Corrigan, Eimear Grimley, Mrs Therese Donnelly (Head of Business Studies), Siodhna Woods, Shauna McCullagh, Clare Marley. Front row l/r: Alison Cavanagh, Ammie Cauldwell.

Congratulations to Megan McShane who came second in the Ulster Schools’ Cross Country competition. As well as being a competitive young athlete the Saint Catherine’s College pupil is an accomplished swimmer. The Cross Country team from the school is pictured here: Back row l/r: Catherine Comiskey 8G, Megan McShane 8G, Mr Kevin Kelly (Coach), Megan Hamill 10R, Mrs Caoimhe Morgan (PE Dept.), Lauren Breen 8G. Front row l/r: Aisling McGrane 8R, Eimear Casey 8H


This group of Sixth form students at Saint Catherine’s College achieved an amazing 4 or 3 Grade ‘A’s at AS Level. Front Row l/r: Nicole Dunleavey, Maeve O’Hagan, Fionnuala Daly, Mrs Edel McKenna (Year Head), Daire O’Dubhthaigh, Mrs Fionnuala Tennyson (Senior Teacher & Head of Sixth Form), Ally Lamb, Lauren McMahon, Chloe Flynn. Back Row l/r: Hannah McGee, Jane Toner, Lauren Toal, Emer Smyth, Hannah McCann, Amy Phipps, Laura Duddy, Emma Moore, Claire Donnelly. Absent from photo: Aicha Jbara, Aimee McVeigh.


Budding Bards @ St Catherine’s College.


The creative achievements by St Catherine’s College Key Stage 3 pupils in Speaking and Writing have been recognised both in the recent Inspection and in local and national competitions. Inspired by voices from the past, pupils challenge themselves to develop voices for the future by a range of events and clubs: the School Council, Poetry Week, Shakespeare Day, Scribblers Creative Writing Club and Readers Anonymous, the school's fun extra-curricular library club. 

Amy McGleenan and Emer Rooney, both year 9 pupils and members of Scribblers, successfully showcased their creative talents in external competitions: Amy was awarded 3rd place in the prestigious All Ireland Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Writing Competition.  Amy and her parents were invited to a celebration evening where she recited her winning entry, ‘Winter’.

Emer was one of ten pupils short-listed for excellent creative writing in a national writing challenge, the National Literacy Trust’s Descriptosaurus Challenge.  Her entry ‘Winter White’ was chosen out of 5,000 entries and she received a personal letter from award-winning author Alison Wilcox. Emer’s winning piece has been published in the National Literacy Writing Gallery online.

Writer-in-waiting Alice Gallagher, year 8, scooped the ALL-SCHOOLS Poetry Week Award. Alice and the other winners attended the celebration evening in November at the Navan Fort Centre.

Budding bard, Alex Connolly was Runner-Up in the national Poetry Aloud 2013 Competition.  Alex recited several poems and was awarded a cash prize, together with books and a certificate.  The final of the competition took place on December 6th in the National Library of Ireland. 

Amy McGleenan, a year 9 student at Saint Catherine’s College, was awarded 3rd place in the prestigious All Ireland Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Writing Competition. Her winning entry was entitled ‘Winter’. Amy is pictured here with Mrs Sheila McCoubrey, Head of English.

Pictured with Mrs Helen Donnelly (English Department) are Saint Catherine’s College Year 8 poetry writing winners:  l/r: Sarah McCann, Hannah Moore, Alice Gallagher and Ellie Traynor. Alice scooped the ALL-SCHOOLS Poetry Week Award.

Alex Connolly, a year 9 student at Saint Catherine’s College, was Runner-Up in the national Poetry Aloud 2013 Competition. Congratulations also to Alex’s classmates, Hannah McLernon, who got through to the semi-finals, and Sophie Doran, who got as far as the regional heat in Belfast. Alex is pictured here with Mrs Monique Rennie (English Department).


Emer Rooney was one of ten pupils short-listed for excellent creative writing in the National Literacy Trust’s Descriptosaurus Challenge.  Emer is pictured with Mrs Sheila McCoubrey, Head of English in Saint Catherine’s College.


Colourful Shakespearean characters kept P7 visitors guessing on Saint Catherine’s College Open Night. Students from the A-level English class are pictured here with p7 visitors and staff from the English Department in the school.


Saint Catherine’s College School Council members explain their work to p7 pupils on Open Night. Harpist Clodagh Hart entertained visitors while Head of Year 14, Mrs Edel Mckenna looks on.

Outstanding School

Verdict of Recent eti Inspection in Saint Catherine’s College –

“The quality of education provided by this school is outstanding.”(eti)


(Click above to read full report)

        In November 2013,a team of eti inspectors spent a week in the school monitoring lessons and examining procedures. They also carried out extensive interviews with staff, pupils, governors and parents. Schools are rated on a 6-point scale ranging from Unsatisfactory to Outstanding and St. Catherine’s College was deemed Outstanding in each of the six areas inspected!


Area 1: Achievements and Standards – Outstanding!

“By the end of KS3, KS4 and post-16, the pupils obtain excellent standards”. (eti)


       The inspectors found thatThe school fosters an atmosphere of openness, enquiry and intellectual challenge to support pupils’ development as knowledgeable and reflective individuals.”

        The report also referred to “the high achievement of pupils” derived from scrutiny of the data on public examination results- “Standards in almost all of the GCSE subjects are more than ten percentage points above the N.I. average.”



Area 2: Learning, Teaching and Assessment – Outstanding!

“vibrant and inspirational teaching leading to engaged and sustained learning.” (eti)


The inspectors commented on “teachers’ excellent planning” and saw evidence that “teachers use pastoral and performance data adeptly.” They also commended them for “excellent use of ICT to enhance learning and teaching.” The pupils’ consistently high success rate was the fruit of “engaged and sustained learning” observed in the classrooms.



Area 3: Care, Guidance and Support– Outstanding!

“..the highest standards academically, spiritually, socially and emotionally.” (eti)


The inspectors were very impressed by the Sacred Heart ethos of the school:

“The educational tradition and ethos of the Society of the Sacred Heart is alive in promoting pupil action to redress social injustice…”



Area 4:– Curriculum - Outstanding!

“The Curricular Provision for the Pupils at KS3, KS4 and post-16 is outstanding.” (eti)


Regarding subjects on offer in the school, the team acknowledged that pupils in St Catherine’s College enjoyed: “a broad and balanced curriculum across the school, well-planned and adjusted annually to match pupils’ abilities, interests and aspirations.”



Area 5:– Leadership and Management - Outstanding!

“Visionary, collegial leadership” (eti)


Leaders at all levels in the school were praised for their:

 “relentless drive and motivation to keep improving the provision in the interests of the pupils.”

The inspection team concluded: “The parents, staff and school community can therefore have a high degree of confidence in the effectiveness of both leadership and governance.”



Area 6:– Pastoral Care - Outstanding!

“Pupils benefit from the tightly fused integration of pastoral care and academic aspiration.” (eti)


The school, through its: “highly supportive pastoral provision, demonstrates a strong commitment to the inclusion and welfare of all its pupils.”



        It is to their credit that, in 1973, the congregation of the Sacred Heart here in Armagh took the daring decision to merge their Grammar and intermediate schools to create one non-selective secondary school - Saint Catherine’s College. Today, we applaud the foresight of these courageous ladies who created a school which has long been promoted as a model for secondary education in the north.


        This excellent inspection report endorses the commitment of the staff of this Sacred Heart school to enable all our pupils to achieve their potential and to become confident, responsible members of society.







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