AS we gear up to recognise our teaching heroes at the tenth annual Blackboard Awards, we are pleased to have Woodvale Construction onboard once again as an event sponsor.

Woodvale Construction place five key values at the heart of everything they do – trust, mutual respect, integrity, a co-operative attitude, and a dedication to excellence. 

Founded in Omagh, during the 1980’s the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) chartered construction company is recognised as one of the North’s most respected contractors. Today the award-winning company has an increasing portfolio of projects across Ireland and the UK. 

With a building expertise which spans everything from school and civic buildings to hotels and historic restoration projects, Woodvale Construction's connections to the city of Belfast keep growing having recently completed the construction of Holy Evangelists' Primary School in Twinbrook and St Patrick's Primary School in the New Lodge, alongside the restoration of the historic landmark, Belfast City Cemetery, Falls Road.

St Patrick's Primary School, New Lodge was created through the amalgamation of Edmund Rice boys' and Star of the Sea girls' schools in September 2013, and for many years faced the logistical headache of operating from two separate sites.
Woodvale Construction provided the solution with a Design and Build purpose-built, 21-classroom primary school, which includes two multi-purpose halls, a separate dining hall, a school meals kitchen and stores. 
St Patrick's Primary School principal, Mrs Margaret Neeson said that the school have really enjoyed watching the new building being constructed. 

"We are very grateful to the efforts of all the people who have worked so hard to make it possible," she said.

"Our new school building allows all of our pupils and staff to work together for the first time. We are really excited about this.

"The new building provides a much-improved learning environment for the children of the local community, and I know how excited the teachers and children were when they moved into it in September 2021."

Mrs Neeson said that the new design of the school makes excellent use of natural light and modern materials.

"This provides a creative place for children to learn and play, including outdoor space for sport, games and appreciating nature. Thanks to all those involved over many years and for residents' patience during construction.

"People involved in education are increasingly aware of the link between high quality learning environments and learning," she continued.

"Modern facilities improve not only the school's physical environment but also its learning culture. But the building alone cannot add the vision and passion that guide the school's development.

"It is the interaction between our hard working, committed staff and children which will make the difference and ensure the new building supports higher levels of learning."

Woodvale Site Manager Dermot Corrigan, has witness first-hand the inspiring work of Mrs Neeson and her teaching team, who have supported the pupils as they return to school following the extensive home-schooling and adapt to their new school environment.

“Mrs Neeson has the pupils at the forefront of every decision, determined to provide the best opportunities for her pupils”

Desmond Scott, Woodvale Construction Chairman, reflected on 10th annual Awards.

"As building contractors we have been involved in numerous new school development across the Island of Ireland.

"We are humbled by the dedication and commitment of teachers; we have witnessed their adaption to online learning and their determination to help the children catch-up on lost learning.

"This has inspired the company to support the Blackboard Awards, to ensure that the teachers of Northern Ireland are publicly recognised and appreciated for their devotion to their pupils."

While the Covid-19 pandemic forced the  2021 Blackboard Awards online, we are delighted that an in-person event will return to the Europa Hotel on Friday 4 March.

You can nominate your Teaching Beacon of Hope at the Tenth Annual Blackboard Awards here.

The Blackboard Awards welcome nominations for teaching assistants, teachers, principals and support staff at our schools. In this uncertain time, all deserve our praise.