‘Best Kept’ 2015 School Report

This year’s Open+Direct Insurance ‘Best Kept’ School Awards were a roaring success, with Ballycraigy Primary School upping the stakes and taking the ‘Best of the Best’ crown for the first time!

With the awards now behind Ballycraigy 2  us and many teachers jotting down a few notes for their 2016 school calendar, there’s no better time to list the winners and provide some feedback from the visiting judges.

Remember folks, applications for the 2016 ‘Best Kept’ School Awards will open again in September. We look forward to seeing some familiar faces as well as new!

If you have any questions about entering the Open+Direct Insurance ‘Best Kept’ awards contact us through Facebook or Twitter @BestKeptAwards

A few quotes from our judges;

North Eastern Education Authority

Winner in the Pre Primary School Category is Earlview Nursery School. This is the first time Earlview has won the competition and the judge was particularly pleased with the enthusiasm in the school community.Ballycraigy 3

Ballycraigy Primary School, Antrim won both the Primary School category and Overall ‘Best of the Best’ School 2015. 

The judges both mentioned how much they enjoyed their visit and what a pleasure it was to be shown around such a well-developed and improved school with such an enthusiastic Eco Club. The garden area to the side of the school was a real treat and the pupils and staff should all be very proud of this area.

Ballyclare High School won the Post Primary School Category for their fantastic pond, herb garden and vegetable plots which the judges called brilliant.

Southern Education Authority

Tandragee Nursery School won the title for ‘Best Kept’ Pre Primary School in the Southern Education Authority with the judge stating it provided a most fantastic experience for pre-school children.Tandragee Nursery

Winner in the Primary School Category, Blessed Patrick O’Loughran Primary School, won the title for the first time with the judge commenting on the pristine order of the school and the lovely sensory garden which included a water feature powered by wind energy.

Sperrinview Special School won the Post Primary School Category for its lovely grounds which incorporate woodlands and a stream with a variety of trees and plants.

South Eastern Education Authority

Winner in the Pre Primary School Category, Downpatrick Nursery School, displayed a range of activities within an “outstanding” compact site.

St Joseph’s Primary School, Carryduff won the title of ‘Best Kept’ Primary School for a third consecutive year!  The judge was impressed again by the enthusiasm, knowledge and drive displayed by pupils and staff, mentioning that their efforts were “just exceptional.”

Beechlawn Special School, won the title of ‘Best Kept’ Post Primary School Category winner, bringing their total wins to five!  The judge was particularly amazed by the school’s up-cycling design projects which included recycled materials being used to enhance the schools garden.

Western Education Authority

Pre Primary School Category winner, Denamona Pre School, Fintona impressed the judges with their bird watching box and the activities which allow children to watch the different species of birds that visit the garden.

Jones Memorial PhotoJones Memorial Primary School, won the ‘Best Kept’ Primary School title for a fourth time. The school attracted the judge’s attention with its use of water butts, which have been placed to collect rain water, which is then used to water the plants around the school being colourful with lots of bright flowers is lovely but being ‘green’ is even better.

Winner in the Post-Primary Category, St. Comhghall’s College has not entered the ‘Best Kept’ Awards since 1997. The judge said the school has a very good Eco Council to make sure the school is recycling and being energy efficient. They are currently developing a farm area which presently consists of a donkey, ducks, goats and hens.

Belfast Education Authority

Last year’s runner up, Matt Talbot Nursery School showed improvement this year and won ‘Best Kept’ Pre Primary School.  Improvements included water butts which are used for watering plants, old wellington boots used as planters and a wonderful wild flower area.

‘Best Kept’ Primary School winner, Harberton Special School, collected an award for the sixth time. The judge was impressed with the beautiful sculptures along the tree trail and the several examples of sustainability on show.

Victoria College collected the ‘Best Kept’ Post Primary Award for the tenth time! The judge highlighted the mature trees with nesting boxes and the lovely wild flower area.

Overall it is important that ‘Best Kept’ schools demonstrate strong ‘green’ credentials and showcase their energy efficiency systems, however, this is just one part of the judging criteria and schools will be expected to have high levels of cleanliness and evidence of staff and pupil participation.