As Principal of Blackwater Integrated College, I am delighted to welcome you to our College Website. I trust that the website will be a valuable resource to parents and students, both current and prospective.
The College opened in September 2008. Blackwater was formed from two previously existing schools; Down Academy Controlled Integrated High School and Rowallane Integrated College. The College has helped to address a desire for increased numbers of available integrated places in the Mid-Down area.
Blackwater Integrated College offers a truly all ability education that caters for students of all academic abilities. Thankfully the inspectorate agree with my thoughts about Blackwater and in our most recent inspection it was noted that over 90% of the lessons observed were good or better and almost half were very good or outstanding.
Our school motto is Building, Inspiring, Caring and these three words show clearly why Blackwater is an excellent choice for Post Primary education.
Building for the future: As an integrated College we are very proud of the fact that we accept students from the two main religions of Catholic and Protestant in Northern Ireland as well as other religions and none. Integration to us means respecting yourself and others, even when they have different beliefs from yours. We have high standards, asking that everyone works and learns to their full potential, helps those around them to do their best, and develops into a thoughtful, caring member of his or her community. It is widely recognised, with over 70% of people in a recent poll, that Integration is vital in building a new Northern Ireland and I feel at Blackwater we can be a part of that.
Building relationships is also very important when joining a new school and we have a very comprehensive induction program for our year 8 students and any new students joining the College after Year 8. We have started to develop our primary links further in the last few months and a plan is in place over the next two years to further increase the curriculum links with our main feeder primary schools allowing these relationships to grow allowing the transition from Primary to Post Primary to be a less daunting one.
As an integrated College we also take an active role in our local community and work closely with other schools as part of Lecale Learning Community and also with SERC to deliver Vocational Qualifications.
Inspiring success: I am delighted to report that our GCSE results are now above the Northern Ireland average for similar schools for the last two years in a row with an average of almost 70% of our students attaining 5 or more GCSE passes at grades A* - C. We are now in a position to maintain and build upon this success further as we have introduced accelerated learning groups across all KS3 year groups.
Our accelerated learning groups are aimed at students who are more academically able, so they can be encouraged to progress with both stimulation and pace. The intention is to make sure that they are happy, that they feel stretched and that they fulfil their potential. Our current year 8 accelerated group consists of many students who narrowly missed out on grammar school and I am very confident that the environment we provide will allow those students to excel in their studies over the next five years.
As an all ability college we are very proud of the fact that we cater for the needs of all of our students. We have an excellent Learning Support Centre for statemented students who also join mainstream classes for some lessons. We also provide vocational options at Key Stage 4 for students who are looking for a less academic pathway. With a restructuring of our curriculum at both Key Stage 3 and 4 we are now in a position to inspire success in all of our students in the coming years. Realistic targets are set for students at KS3 and KS4 to encourage students to meet and exceed their potential.
The way we inspire success is through an excellent teaching staff who are dedicated to ensuring each and every student in the college is encouraged to succeed. We use technology in teaching and staff have all been trained in the use of Fronter, an online system that encourages a more interactive approach to teaching. We have very recently got IMACs in the Art department and we are hopeful that by next September we will also have IPADs in the college that will be available for student use also. It is important though that when used the primary focus of these technological advances must aid learning.
Caring for all: A child will naturally achieve more and be successful if they are happy in their studies. Our pastoral team, from form tutors to head of Junior and Senior school to Pastoral Coordinator, provide an environment and structure that allows students to be safe, very well cared for and happy. Small class sizes and the relationship developed with the form tutor allow each child to receive the care and attention they need to enable them to achieve their best throughout their time in the College.
As an integrated College parental involvement is very important. We have regular parental consultations and we welcome regular contact with home. The College has an active Parents’ Council which contributes to the life of the College and holds very successful events throughout the College year.
If you require any further information on the College please do not hesitate to contact us on 02844612115 or firstname.lastname@example.org