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Education Minister Visits Down High

11th Nov 2021


We were delighted to welcome the visit of the Minister of Education, Ms Michelle McIlveen, to the school on Wednesday 10 November.

On arrival, the Minister was greeted by the stirring sound of the bagpipes, played by Year 9 pupil Alex McSpadden, followed by a lovely rendition of The Parting Glass by Isabella Kelly (harp) and her sister Maya (violin).

After meeting informally with the student leadership team over refreshments, the Minister discussed a range of issues with the Chair of Down High School Board of Governors, Mrs Avril Heenan, Principal, Mrs Perry, Deputy Principal Mr Dawson and Vice-Principal for Pastoral Care Mr McKillen.

Among the items discussed was the recent progress in Down High School’s new build. Enabling works, halted during the pandemic, resumed in April 2021 and the project was issued for tender in October. After a tour of the school site, the Minister appreciated the urgent need for state of the art facilities for the pupils and teachers for a school that is thriving despite the condition of the premises.

Ms McIlveen also discussed the ongoing impact that the pandemic is having on qualifications and the mental health of young people. Speaking of the meeting, Mrs Perry said, “It was lovely to meet with the Minister today. We are all very grateful that she took time out of her busy schedule to connect with our school first hand. At a time when uncertainty surrounds so many aspects of education it was obvious that the Minister listens, shows empathy and has the interests of young people at the core of what she does.”