Cherishing the Past and Shaping the Future: Portadown College Speech Day 2016

The Portadown College community gathered in the splendid surroundings of St Mark’s Church on Friday 28 October to celebrate Speech Day 2016.   Guest of Honour on this special occasion was former pupil Mr Roy Turkington, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, accompanied by his wife, Mrs Evelyn Turkington.  In a particularly warm, humorous and life-affirming address, Professor Turkington entertained his audience with tales of the high jinks he had enjoyed during his College days, affectionately recalling PC friends and teachers alike.

College Principal, Mr Simon Harper, highlighted an array of impressive student achievements in the preceding academic year and paid tribute to the unique advantages afforded to all young people within the Two-Tier Dickson Plan system:

Our local primary schools and junior high schools, namely Clounagh, Killicomaine and Tandragee, provide a first class education and the stepping stones for further success. Our contributory Junior High Schools provide a unique and invaluable environment in which young people can develop, flourish and reach their full potential. They provide a steadfast foundation upon which further successes can be built.

Articulating the need for significant capital investment in Portadown College, Mr Harper reflected:

The successes of our current and former students, alongside meeting the needs of future generations, are reason enough for provision of a new school build. The case for such investment is all the more compelling when other factors are considered. Our “Very Good” inspection report from February 2014 clearly endorsed the excellent performance of the College and its capacity to deliver a quality educational experience for all young people. Achieving such a high outcome brought with it the expectation that the Inspectorate would visit again within 3 years to conduct a School Improvement Inspection or SII. I am delighted to report that this SII was completed only last week with a resounding affirmation of our work from the Inspectorate. The conclusion stated, and I quote, “Portadown College continues to demonstrate a high level of capacity for sustained improvement in the interests of all learners”. This is the highest outcome that a school can receive. We are, needless to say, utterly delighted with this clear endorsement of our work and standards. Congratulations and thank you to everyone for achieving this superb outcome.

We are driving forward with renewed determination, confidence and vigour. We are creating opportunities for our students and planning for further success in the future with some imaginative thinking. PC is a remarkable school. Today we celebrate this fact and look forward, with due optimism, to travelling the road ahead in partnership with our Dickson Plan colleagues.

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