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Errigal College - Extra Curricular

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 shortlist announced!!!!

Whizzpopping bottoms kick off the giggles on this year's Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlist

A menagerie of yetis, weasels, geeks and losers fill the shortlist for this year’s Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which celebrates the funniest books for children in two categories – for children aged six and under, and children aged 7-14. Six books have been selected for each of the two categories, and the winner of each will receive £2,500, which will be presented at an awards ceremony at the Cambridge Theatre in London, home to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi award-winning production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, on Tuesday 10 December.

The titles in the younger category include everything from weasels with their eye on world domination to a sound button book that leaves nothing about woodland animals’ noisy bottoms to the imagination! The older category includes badly behaved parents, the diary of an accidental nudist, and a geeky teenage girl who finds herself a model. 

Illustrated fiction is not just popular on the 0-6 shortlist this year, as it also features on the 7-14 category, with a title from the David Fickling Comic library, Fish-Head Steve! by Jamie Smart and the illustrations of Jim Smith with his second book in the I am Not a Loser series.

Previous RDFP winner and judge Philip Ardagh is back on the shortlist this year with The Grunts All At Sea, with illustrations from The Gruffalo's Axel Scheffler. Ardagh’s publisher Nosy Crow have an impressive showing on the shortlist, with three entries in total, including two picture books in the younger category.

This year’s shortlist in full:

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under

  • Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)
  • Spaghetti With the Yeti by Adam and Charlotte Guillain, illustrated by Lee Wildish (Egmont)
  • Troll Swap by Leigh Hodgkinson (Nosy Crow)
  • Monkey Nut by Simon Rickerty (Simon and Schuster)
  • Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo by Amy Sparkes, illustrated by Sara Oglivie (Red Fox, Random House Children’s Books)
  • Noisy Bottoms by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Mark Chambers (Usborne)

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen

  • The Grunts All At Sea by Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Axel Sheffler (Nosy Crow)
  • My Parents Are Out of Control by Pete Johnson (Yearling, Random House Children’s Books)
  • Pants Are Everything by Mark Lowery (Scholastic)
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale (HarperCollins)
  • Fish-Head Steve!  by Jamie Smart (David Fickling Books)
  • I Am Still Not a Loser by Jim Smith (Egmont, Jelly Pie)

The Prize will see schools across the country involved in the judging process. Over 200 pupils have been selected to read the shortlisted titles, discuss with their classmates, and pick their favourite funny book in the relevant category for their age. Their votes will then be combined with the votes of the adult judging panel to find the two winners for 2013. Classes who participate can also win a chance to attend the winner’s announcement.  This year’s judging panel included comedian John Kearns, Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre and last year’s RDFP winning author in the 7 – 14 category Jamie Thomson. The Award is as ever chaired by Michael Rosen.

Judge, writer, comics-creator, and illustrator of Oliver and the Seawigs, Sarah McIntyre comments:  I loved the criteria for this prize; we weren't trying to pick the books that were the most clever or wise, but the ones that left us gasping with laughter. Reading through the list, I was struck by the importance of well-chosen illustrations. A drawing has to strike just the right note: hit it wrong, and it can ruin a joke by giving it too much weight or by telling the joke twice and killing its comic timing. But hit it right and it can be a side-splitting joke in itself, a punch-line for a joke, or a hilarious counterpoint to a deadpan phrase. I enjoyed the wide range of humour in our book list; everything from gently rollicking adventures to embarrassing situations so awesomely cringe-making that I wanted to climb under the sofa. I think it's great that funny books can get kids stuck into reading at the same time as helping them learn a skill that helps us all deal with life: learning to laugh at our own foibles.

Junk Conture - Innovative Designs - Transition Year Students & Ms Crossan (Art Teacher)

Pictured are the Errigal College entries to this years 'Junk Kouture' Recycled Fashion Show.  In this competition students are requested and challenged to design and create wearable fashion - taking recycled materials and turning them into wonderful, creative cat walk fashion.

Costume One:  Model: Claudia McLaughlin - 'Lady Gaga' inspired dress made from canvas, wooden floor underlay and paper doilies.  Other student involved Chloe Chan & Shannon Ramsey.

Costume Two: Model Zak Kildea - he models this cutting edge outfit made from recycled computer parts and electrical wire in a military type uniform with robotic features.  Other students involved Joe Quill & Ryan Spencer.

Costume Three: Model Letitia Spratt - she models this Queen of Hearts inspired dress -  made from heavy duty bin bags with CDs, wire and queen of heart playing cards.  Other students involved Mary Gibbons & Shannon Hayes.




Educational School Tours

Students have a blast in Barcelona 

Errigal college students enjoyed a fantastic educational school tour over the Easter break, visiting the lovely Costa Dorada region of North Eastern Spain.  The eager and excited students left Letterkenny in the early hours of the morning, accompanied by Mr Mc Fadden, Ms Raine and Mr Molloy.  A fun-filled week lay ahead as the lucky students took off for the city of Barcelona, with its magnificent buildings and thrilling theme parks.

On the first day, the students availed of a guided tour of the city, where they visited Gaudi’s La Sagarda Familia, the Cathedral of Barcelona and Parc Guell.  In the evening, the students enjoyed one of the highlights of the trip when they visited FC Barcelona’s magnificent Nou Camp stadium, the home of the current European champions and the home of Messi, iniesta, Xavi and co.  On Wednesday, the entourage set off to visit Marmagnum shopping centre, before retiring for the evening, in anticipation of Day Four, which was sure to be an amazing day.

Day four was the highlight for many, as they set off for Port Aventura, one of Europe’s premier theme parks, famed for its ‘Dragon Khan’ and ‘Furious Baco’ rollercoasters. While some rides were just too much for the teachers, the students revelled in the adrenalin rush provided by the amazing ‘Tutaki Splash and ‘Stampedia’.

The park was the perfect tonic for the final day of the tour, as it ended a week of Spanish culture, entertainment and fun.


The five day adventure, which was organised by Business Teacher, Danny Mc Fadden gave students a real cultural awakening, whilst providing a fun filled break with their friends. The tour which is in its fifth year continues to go from strength to strength and already the students are looking forward to what 2013 has in store.

The students were great ambassadors for the school but they also had a lot of fun as well. They learned about Spanish culture and history and also got to visit one of the best theme parks in Europe,” Mr McFadden said.  



A number of European and non-European tours have taken place over the years at Errigal College from skiing the slopes in Germany to visiting the magnificent cultural city of Barcelona. 



The Football Association in the School

Mr Joe Boyle“The Football Association of Irish School’s mission is to provide students & teachers with opportunities for continuous development, built on positive values & in an enjoyable learning environment, through participation in football.  The overall aim is to work with schools, to implement football programmes in a complimentary way to their overall goals within the current education system.”

The above paragraphs are taken from the FAI Schools Information Brochure that has arrived in Errigal College on our first day back at school this year.  This booklet outlines the programmes on offer to FAI Schools throughout the country. It is designed to provide an opportunity for all students to take part in physical activity through the medium of football & to support teachers in the delivery of them.  In 2002, I went to the FAI as the National Coordinator for Schools & Colleges under the guidance of the then Technical Director, Brian Kerr. My first project was to develop the FAI Buntús Soccer Programme for Primary Schools, a programme which was aimed at Primary School children and their teachers.  It is organised in partnership with the Irish Sports Council and has been implemented in over 1,500 primary schools in the Republic of Ireland. Over 11,000 teachers have been trained and to date over 180,000 children are involved in the programme.  To supplement this programme the FAI have also developed other programmes to assist teachers at both primary & post-primary to assist & develop football opportunities for all players with a disability. The FAI has taken a leading role in the promotion & development of a clear pathway to participation. 

In Errigal College we use the following programmes in conjunction with the FAI: 


Colin Cooper - Kerry All Star - visits Errigal College



The Irish Dance Club in Errigal College

The Irish Dance Club at Errigal College had major success on their first outing at Mullingar Feis during the midterm break.  On Saturday 18 February 8 dancers and their teacher Ms Hasson made the long trip to Mullingar and came away with 30 medals and 9 trophies.  Ms Hasson, their teacher triumphed in the adult section with wins in the reel, slip jig and championship.  Other first places were awarded to Marli Kerr in the reel and to Charlotte Mc Glynn in the Championship.  Emer Gamble, Naomi Friel, Charlotte Mc Glynn and Rebecca Friel won the 4 hand reel.  The other members of the team are:  Lisa Gallagher, Nadia Mc Gee and Erin Lafferty.  The team gave an exhibition of their performances on Friday afternoon to a number of class groups.

The Annual Sponsored Walk

The Extra Curricular Committee of Errigal College every year organise a sponsored walk in aid of extra curricular activities within the college. Coordinated by Mr. Rodgers and Mr Boyle the proceeds from the sponsored walk assists the college in raising much needed funds for all extra curricular activities. This activity is a whole school approach to fundraising and teaches the students work together in pursuit of their goal.

This activity also highlights to the students the importance of working together in pursuit of a greater goal, which in turn adds to a more positive atmosphere within the college.  On receiving sponsorship cards students engage in fundraising for a four to five weeks period and partake in the walk at the end of the collection period.

On the day refreshments are provided by the college for all participants after the commencement of the walk as a token of gratitude for collecting funds. The monies raised yearly assist in the payment of buses for extra curricular activities and for other similar activities. 

Errigal College would like to thank all our students in advance of this year’s sponsored walk and would like to take this opportunity to remind them to keep collecting.

                                                                 TY Mini-Company

The aim of this programme is to enhance the teaching of business and entrepreneurship in Errigal College by combining classroom learning with real life business experience. The  enterprise module works to develop skills and attitudes, which will enhance students to become active participants in enterprise education.

The mini-company acts as a bridge to help students make a transition from a highly structured environment to one where they will take greater responsibility for their own learning and decisionmaking. There are many benefits for the students involved in this programme.

AIB Build A Bank

This is our third year involved in the competition. This year was an extremely proud moment for the school as TY students were the regional winners of the Build A Bank Competition. Competing against 185 schools we were selected to go through to the National Final in Dublin in May. This competition gives TY and 5th year students an opportunity to run their own school bank with the support of AIB. A team of six students are involved in the setting up, running and day-to-day management of a bank in their school. The school bank team has an opportunity to be involved in all aspects of banking from sourcing new customers to opening AIB accounts and encouraging regular savings and new ways to bank such as AIB phone and Internet banking.


Gaisce - The President's Award

Errigal College prides itself on encouraging students to take part in extra-curricular activities and challanges and one of the most prestigious of these is the Presidents's Award - Gaisce. The school has an impressive history of students participating in this worthwhile scheme.  Gaisce - the President's Award is Ireland's National Challange award, The country's most prestigious and respected individual award programme, and a challange from the president of Ireland, to the young people between 15 and 25 years of age. The award is a personal challange; you are not competing with anyone. Each challange is a completely personal and individual - the only person you are competing with is yourself.

There are four different challange areas. To earn an award you will need to participate in each of the four challange areas. You might decide to build on an activity you've tried in the past. Each participant muct participate in at least one new activity to earn an award. There are three different types of award that you can earn - bronze, silver and gold.  Our four challange areas are: Community Involvement, Personal Skill, Physical Recreation & Adventure Journey.  The President Award Learders at Errigal College are Miss Cullen, Ms O'Reilly and Mr Doherty, all of whom are more than willing to help in any way.


TY go Surfing !


Music has enjoyed a prominent and significant place in the life of our school since its inception in 2002/2003 when it was decided that a number of classes per week be dedicated to the study of music. The following year we had 4 students in 1st year and each year thereafter the uptake continued to increase. We went from humble beginnings out in the "prefab" to the salubrious room with a view - Room 2. Now, first years are offered Music as a taster subject, with every student getting to experience the subject, regardless of experience or ability. It is a popular choice for students for the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate examinations, where they study composition, listening skills and performance.  Aside from preparation for State examinations, music outside of the classroom takes on a life of its own, allowing our students to shine and reinforcing cross-curricular links.  In the area of drama, we at Errigal College have yet again excelled. In the past, we have staged a number of plays set to music such as ‘Adrian Mole’ in 2002 and ‘Our Day Out’ in 2003. These were cross-curricular productions, produced and directed by Mrs. Gorman (English Dept.) and the musical numbers were directed by Ms. McAteer (Music Dept.).  In 2007, we had our first Variety Concert held in the An Grianán Theatre. This was an excellent event, consisting of Dance, Solo and Choral singing and instrumental performances.  In the same year, Errigal College was the winner of the northern heat of ‘Stars in Yer eyes’ and the school was represented by Aine Boyle in Belfast at the finals.  2008-09 saw what must have had the best and busiest year yet in terms of Music. We put on two shows, a Christmas Talent Show and just months later, a magnificent rendition of ‘Oliver’. Again, An Grianán theatre was the venue for this musical in March 2009. Mrs. Gorman produced and directed and Mrs. Hasson choreographed a most memorable performance and many new talents were discovered.

Liturgical Ceremonies throughout the school year have been enhanced by the beautiful voices of the students. The Religion department steers the way for the school community to gather together at three celebrations throughout the school year; a November ‘Service of Remembrance, an annual Christmas Carol Service and the Graduation service in May for our Leaving Cert students.

Making a CD and the ‘Full Tilt Studio’


Transition Year classes go to the ‘Full Tilt’ studio to learn the craft of making and producing a CD from scratch. The ten week programme involves practical application of music software, learning how to build up a backing track and recording voice and instrumental players. The other half of the Transition class are led in music media, animation and video production by Jeremy Howard. At the end of 10 weeks, both projects will amalgamate and with the help of the Art Department, will make a CD/DVD.  This is a most exciting adventure and a learning experience for all of us involved.  Two of our Leaving Cert Music students who have a keen interest in music technology are also involved in the project and their involvement is of benefit to us all.  We will continue to build up the department through applying where and when we can for resources of value and by being a visible and effective partner in the education of students at Errigal College. The arrival of new technology such as a data projector, and the Music Room being kitted out for I.T. 2020 has given teaching a ‘Borocca’ kick into the I.T. century and already the teaching of music has had a renewed impetus and is definitely of a more professional and relevant standard, allowing Music to move forward despite the recession!

LET and KEY Programmes

Errigal College is one of the few schools in the Border area to be involved in both the Learning and Educate Together (LET) and the Knowledge through Enterprise and Youth(KEY) programmes.  The LET programmes is a cross-border initiative available to 10 lucky first year students and there is alwaysa huge interest in getting on the programme. this year Kilrea Co. Derry, where they took part in activities such as canoeing, kayaking, raft building and laser questing with students from two other schools.  However, it is not all about outdoor activity; students get the opportunity to learn about the practical, everyday side of the business, from working within a budget to giving presentations. Students go away on 3 three day residentials, accompanied by the LET co-ordinator, Ms Markham, and are fully supervised during all activities by the experienced and motivated staff. They come back tired, more confident in their abilities and maybe one step closer to independence.

The KEY programme is a similar initiative, but for older students. Typically, it is students from Ty/5th Year/LCA1 who attend this series of residentials and this year, 10 students were brought to the Share Centra in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, accompanied by the KEY co-ordinator, Miss Cullen. Like the LET programme, the KEY programme combines outdoor activities and business skills. At the end of the programme, students set up their own business and design and market a product to the general public. They learn skills for life which will no doubt be invaluable to them in the interesting economic times ahead. At the end of the programme, students are nominated by the KEY personnel to be in with the chance to win a ten day trip to Canada where they will meet with other young people from al over the world.  Often, it is only a few yeards after these programmes that the full effects become clear. Teachers regularly comment on the notable improvements in the students' self confidence and speaking skills. All students attending Errigal College have a chance of being chosen for these exciting free of charge and worthwhile programmes.

Green Schools Programme

In May 2009 the school was awarded its first ever Green Flag, which was raised by An Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan, TD. Plans are in full swing for a College Garden which will be located in a secluded courtyard at the school.  Staff and students designed the area which includes a stage area, water features, areas for vegetables, herbs and flowers and seating to enhance the space as a quiet, reflective area.  The College has committed to a programme of energy saving in conjunction with SEI and has already made a start on water conservation measures in line with current DES guidelines and initiatives.

Girls Active

Girls Active is a joint initiative between the Health Service Executive West (HSE West), Sport and Recreation Partnership (SSRP), Donegal Sports Partnership (DSP) and Youth Sport West (YSW). The programme aims to increase the number of teenage girls involved in long-term regular physical activity through developing more supportive enviroment in schools. Girls Active commenced in 2003.  Characteristics of the programme include consulting with participating girls, providing non-traditional and non-competitive activities such as Tai Chi or dancing as an extra-curricular basis.  The aim of the Girls Active programme is to: "To increase the number of teenage girls involved in long-term regular physical activity through developing more supportive enviroments for teenage girls' physical activity"

The objectivies of the programme are:
1. To Increase the number of oppertunities available to teenage girls to participate in physical activities in the region.
2. To increase the number of girls participating in extra-curricular activities.
3. To raise awareness of the issues for teenage girls participating in physical activity.


Each year, a set of Girls Active activities takes place in every participating school. Three different activities are provided for five 1-hour sessions making a total of 15 phsyical activity sessions spread throughout the year. In addition, day-long activity Festivals are held on an annual basis for all the local participating schools to attend. This provides a taster of many different activities for the girls and allow them to meet ad share experiences with participants from other schools.  In each participating school an appointedco-ordinating teacher takes responsibility for recruitiing and organising the participating girls, supervise the activites undertake and liaises with the steering group. Early in every school year, the co-ordinators attend an in-service day where the previous years's work is evaluated, airising issues discussed, and plans are developed for the coming year.


Errigal College Site visit to Glenveagh with Mr Hannigan

School Community/Healthy School

“A healthy school seeks to make school life a positive experience for all who learn, teach and work in it”.  The Healthy Schools Scheme in Errigal College is promoted in a meaningful way and is actively promoted by students, teachers, ancillary staff, parents and management. We have identified goals which enhance the health and well-being of all people in the school community. 

A range of activities have been organised as part of the Healthy Schools Scheme; Girls Active for the first and second year girls, students have the opportunity to take part in physical educational activities such as walking and   dancing.   The school is committed to continue implementing this programme to encourage young teenage girls to be more active and to make decisions about their own health.  

Both ancillary staff and management have worked tirelessly to promote a healthy canteen where students are provided with healthy options at both break and lunch.  It is not just physical health that is important, but mental health also; students are currently designing a garden for the school. The garden will be used as an area where students can retreat during the stressful time of their exams. They will be responsible for caring for the plants and growing vegetables. By promoting a healthy school students are given the confidence and support to make healthy lifestyle choices which will benefit them now and in the future.

Outdoor Education

As part of the School Completion Programme, Errigal College has a regular pool slot in the Aura Swimming Pool. This gives all students an opportunity to develop their kayaking skills in the warm environment of a swimming pool which can then be transferred to the river environment. The school holds regular river trips for more experienced canoeists. These river trips are held in conjunction with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology Canoe Club. The fostering of links with the local 3rd level college is seen as a valuable exercise and encourages the transfer from second level to 3rd level student. The high points of the canoeing year are the annual river races which take place on the Finn and the Mourne. These races prepare the students for the Schools Junior Liffey Descent.  The school regularly sends a team to this event each year and pupils have finished in the top 10 in both the girls and boys sections. Paddy Mc Fadden has the distinction of being the first Errigal College student to win a medal in this event finishing in 2nd Place in 2008.  

Errigal College is fortunate to have at its disposal the facilities of Gartan Outdoor Education Centre. The school regularly uses these facilities and takes part in archery, hill walking, kayaking, rock-climbing, orienteering, camping and field studies.  Students in Transition Year and the Leaving Certificate Applied classes use the centre on a year-round basis and develop a high skill level in all activities undertaken. These groups also take part in the Gaisce award through the centre.

Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement Ireland encourages young people to remain in education and teaches them the skills they need to succeed in a changing world.  Without the business volunteers from supporting organisations i.e. Pramerica, this programme would not be possible.   A business volunteer comes into the school and delivers several programmes to both Transition Year and Leaving Certificate Applied students.  These programmes run for five to eight weeks, some lasting thirty five to eighty minutes once a week. There are programmes to suit all age groups e.g. last year the students took part in a programme that gave them the insight on how to start up their own business.  Each lesson is hands-on and activity based. Some of the programmes include Bank Your Future and Company Programme.

Junior Achievement delivers high-quality learning experiences for young people of all ages and abilities, from primary and secondary school pupils.  At the heart of this programme the Curriculum lies an explicit emphasis on the development of skills and capabilities for life-long learning and for contributing effectively to society.  The aim of this programme is to ensure that all people develop the personal qualities, skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes which will give them a strong foundation for lift-long learning and work in a rapidly changing economic environment. 

Creative Engagement

Creative Engagement’ is a project proposed by the Arts and Culture Committee of NAPD. It aims to encourage and foster imagination and creativity in our young people in order to enrich the quality of their lives.  This project enriches a partnership approach to the promotion and development of the arts in secondary schools, based on positive interaction between the artist, the teacher and the students.  In the first year of ‘Creative Engagement’ it distributed over €70,000 to 22 arts projects across 10 counties in all three sectors i.e. secondary, vocational and community/comprehensive schools. The quality of our students’ artwork meant that Errigal College was one of the 22 schools lucky enough and good enough to be chosen.  Errigal College continues to be involved in this initiative. 

Our school has implemented the following Creative Engagement projects:

Teenage Kicks – Phase 3: Students made a DVD on awareness of alcohol. This partnership involved Errigal College, Letterkenny Arts Centre, Health Service Executive, Donegal Youth Council and the Art Facilitator.

The Big Arts Week: Five local artists were invited into the arts classrooms in our school. The artists shared their skills and talents with the students, giving them in insight into how to begin, produce and complete their artwork successfully.

Whole School Production in An Grianán Theatre: ‘Theatre of the Absurd’.

Whole School Production in An Grianán Theatre: ‘Oliver’.

The Creative Engagement project has been developed by the National Association of Principal & Deputy Principals, in partnership with the Dept of Arts, Sport & Tourism, the Dept of Education & Skills and the Arts Council.