Access Keys:

St Mary's High School Downpatrick
Celebrating 60 years of education 1957 -2017
open new window

Open Night 2018

17th Jan 2018

We would like to extend a big thank you to all P6 and P7 girls and their parents, guardians and family who came to visit us on our annual Open Night. It always gives prospective pupils a flavour of what we can offer as a school and visitors were not disappointed. From 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' in the Maths rooms to making keychains in Technology and gingerbread men in the Home Economics rooms there was plenty to see and do. Many thanks also to the staff and pupils of St. Mary's who organised the evening. Together it was a very enjoyable and informative evening for all involved.


Extract from our Principal's address:

"St Mary’s is a caring school, a school in which every young person is cherished and supported to be the very best they can be. In St Mary`s the staff enjoy working with our young people; they care about them and go the extra mile on a daily basis to ensure everyone  is supported to experience success.

The school motto “Every Child Matters” is lived in this school.

We want every child in our school to feel safe, to feel happy and to know that they matter, whatever difficulties we encounter we will work with you to find a solution, but we will expect everyone to work hard and to engage positively in the work and the life of the school.

In this school we are making a difference, we are helping every child to learn and parents, and grandparents are actively supporting us and helping our students to value learning and make excellent progress.

We have former pupils enriching society in every walk of life across Northern Ireland and indeed further afield e.g. areas such as Medicine, Law, Finance, Business, Education, Criminology, Graphic Design, Social Sciences, Human Resources,Art, Musicetc. All are building on the high quality education they received here in St Mary’s.

Incoming year 8 students will need more than good GCSE and A-Level grades; they will also need to have a wide range of key skills.  They will need to know how to think creatively, how to solve problems, how to communicate with clarity, both through the spoken word and through digital media.  They will need to be able to work as part of a team and know how to lead a team.  A Director of the Chartered Management Institute recently said “Skills will be the global currency of the 21st Century”.

In St Mary’s we work hard to secure the holistic development of very child, to develop key skills alongside a high quality academic education for every child.

St Mary’s offers a full range of GCSE courses for every child to choose from.  They are the same examinations that are done in all other Post Primary Schools including Grammar Schools.  They are taken on the same day and at the same time as pupils in all other schools including grammar schools.

Following GCSE examinations our school works in partnership with De La Salle and St Patrick’s Grammar to provide a wide choice of 30+ subjects at A-Level.  The delivery of these subjects is shared across the 3 schools with many pupils from the other 2 schools gaining their A-Level qualifications by being taught here in St Mary’s. 

In recent examinations 100% of our pupils gained GCSE qualifications and 100% gained A-Level qualifications, testament to the high quality education provided for our students here in St Marys

No doubt many of you will recall articles in the local papers last November about a proposed merger of our 3 schools to form a new school able to meet the needs of all pupils currently attending St Mary`s, DLS and St Patrick`s. The vision of the Trustees is for a co-educational voluntary grammar school, and as CCMS confirmed to local media in November 2017 they are committed to consulting with stakeholders by March 2018”. When the new school is formed the pupils currently attending the 3 contributory schools will be entitled to transfer.


What are the year 8 experiences like here in St Mary`s

Let me chart the route for you ----

  • The year 8 journey begins as far back as P6 when we host pupils from primary schools to a day in St Marys, this helps bridge the gap and makes it easier for the students to settle in when they eventually join us after P7.
  • Our teachers then visit the primary schools so your child will see afriendly face when she comes in on open night
  • Senior teachers go back out to Primary schools before the summer term ends to meet the pupils transferring, to speak to their P7 teachers and to help ease any stress for the pupils in moving to what the children call big school
  • When pupils are accepted into our school we arrange 1:1 meeting for Parents and their daughter with the Principal in June each year, this is an opportunity to hear about your child, to understand your personal situation and to provide support for her to join us in September.
  • Over the last few years we have been fortunate to have been able to work with local Youth Services to provide a summer scheme here is school each August to help our New Year 8 pupils make new friends before starting school in September. This has proved invaluable and hopefully we will be in a position to repeat this again in August 2018
  • Each year 8 class is assigned a senior prefect to support them to make a successful transition from Primary School
  • The pupils meet a designated form teacher every morning for 15minutes before lessons begin, this also helps ease the transition from primary school

I believe every child learns better when they feel happy, when they feel safe and when they feel valued.  In St Mary’s that is our core philosophy.

 Your child matters here.

We work hard in partnership with families

  • to provide a high quality education for every child
  • to ensure every child is valued, and feels valued
  • to create a sense of belonging and purpose for every child
  • To provide the care and support every child needs to be safe and happy in school
  • to support each child to empathise with others and be a force for good in the world
  • to make a positive contribution to the life of every child
  • to open doors for your child in her future life, so as to increase life chances of leading a happy, productive life.

Thank you for being here this evening, P7 pupil I hope to see you all in September."