13th March 2023

Dear Parents and Carers,

Welcome to a new week after the disruptions of last Thursday and Friday. Clearly the decisions regarding school closure were out of our hands and although the snow on Thursday came later than the weather forecasters had predicted, it was quite right decisions were taken as early as possible and based on the bleak information available at the time. As with the decisions that we take in school, the primary concern is for the safety of students and staff. Hindsight is a wonderful thing however decision makers are not afforded that luxury. Suffice to say that school closure is not something that anyone would want to happen, and it will always be an emergency measure.

The snow came as quite a shock as any visitors to the school will have noticed the distinctly spring like array of flowers at the front of school; a direct result of the hard work that our gardener, Peter, has put into maintaining and developing our beds and pots. There are some images on the website homepage and below is an amateurish one that I snapped on the way into school on Tuesday.


I'm sure you'll agree that they really brighten entrance to the school and I'm sure there is a metaphor in there somewhere about nurturing, growing and blooming!

We appreciate your ongoing support with ensuring that your child attends school wearing the correct uniform. The overwhelming majority of our students look incredibly smart. I would, however, appreciate your help with the following:

  • Skirts should be of an appropriate length and not made from tight fitting material.
  • Long acrylic nails present a health and safety issue. In addition, they present an issue in practical subjects. As a result, they should be removed or cut to a sensible length.
  • Hoodies and non-school sweatshirts are not permitted to be worn. A plain blue or Ballakermeen branded V neck jumper is acceptable.

I would like to thank those parents who signed up and attended our first Parent Cafe event on Wednesday evening. The intention was to provide an opportunity for some informal conversation about things that we do well and things that we can develop further. A key message was that we can't do this alone and that we are very eager to work in partnership with families. I will not hide from the fact that the behaviour of a minority of students is a cause for concern. As a staff team we have worked hard this year to establish clear expectations, reinforced by behaviour reminders and promoted by our reward systems which provide recognition to the majority. This topic came up in conversation at the Parent Cafe and it is something that the Senior Team began reviewing during our online meeting on Friday morning. I would ask that you continue to support school by reinforcing with your children the need to meet the basic expectations to be ready for learning with all the correct equipment, to be on time to school and to lessons and, critically, to avoid causing any kind of disruption or distraction from learning and lessons. In return we commit to re- emphasising the various approaches that we have in recognising positive behaviour and outstanding achievements. Rest assured that there will be further opportunities to get involved with the Parent Cafe initiative.

At this point I should remind you that the Ballakermeen High School Association (BHSA) is another avenue where you may feel able to support the school and your children. This may be through membership of the committee, involvement with the 300 club or attendance at the various events that they have planned. I will now shamelessly plug the BHSA Bingo event happening on Sunday 2nd April! Tickets, which include a buffet, are available in school. For further information about the BHSA, please refer to the school website.

There really is so much going on at Ballakermeen that is wonderful. I know that I personally must do more to share the joy of working with such great staff and fabulous young people with you. I will be making that my mission!

I wish you all well and look forward to catching up further over the coming weeks. All the very best.

Yours faithfully,

Graeme Corrin, Head Teacher