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School in Focus

07 March 2018

Ballydown Primary, Aboon Them A'

One of the Ulster-Scots Agency Flagship schools, Ballydown Primary continues to implement Ulster-Scots Culture and Heritage right across the curriculum. This dedication, was greatly praised in the last Education & Training Inspectorate (ETI) report; ‘The children’s oral skills and vocabulary are enhanced greatly by their study of the Ulster-Scots language and literature.’ 

Continued help and support by the Ulster Scots Agency has provided excellent educational opportunities for pupils during the academic year. Musician, Keith Lyttle took a number of groups for fiddle tuition. Through his excellent teaching and commitment the school now has an outstanding group of musicians ready to perform at the Spring Concert. Pupils also benefitted from the Highland Dance teaching provided by Kathryn Stewart. Kathryn’s patience and encouragement introduced Highland dance throughout the school involving pupils from P2 to P7. A group of exceptional P6 dancers will perform at the annual Spring Concert.

P7 pupils studied a variety of Ulster-Scots poems and songs, in particular the work of Robert Burns. The interest and enthusiasm shown by the pupils manifested itself at a particularly enjoyable Burns Supper/Assembly attended by both pupils and parents. At the assembly the haggis was addressed in the traditional manner, the audience then enjoyed speeches, poems and songs all performed by the pupils. This event was followed up later in the year when the pupils visited the Burns Museum and Birthplace in Alloway, East Ayrshire. Here they had the opportunity to explore, not only the interactive exhibits in the museum but to dress up, in period costume, as they explored the Robert Burns birthplace.

Later in the year, P6 pupils visited the Ulster American Folk Park where they explored typical Ulster farmsteads emigrants left for their new life in the New World.

The school has also participated in A Kist of Words on BBC Radio Ulster, and have performed two of Dan Gordon’s plays commissioned by the agency; ‘The Boat Factory’ and ‘She was Alright When She Left Us’. 

Ballydown Vice-Principal, Trevor Russell, said “I would strongly recommend other schools to get involved with the Ulster- Scots agency and to utilise the many services and facilities it offers to promote Ulster Scots culture. I would also like to thank the Schomberg Society, Kilkeel for their help and support throughout the year.”