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Co. Down Primary is buzzing after winning NI's Best Kept School Award

Sharing their playground with nests of wild bees has helped the pupils of Cumran Primary School in Co. Down clinch the overall top prize at the Northern Ireland Best Kept School Awards, sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport.


It was a first-time win for Cumran Primary as over 100 representatives from 33 schools across Northern Ireland gathered at Stranmillis University on June 13 for the Northern Ireland Amenity Council’s Best Kept School Awards ceremony.


After winning the Best Kept School in its Education Authority category, Cumran PS went on to claim the overall title of Northern Ireland’s Best Kept School.


Speaking at the awards ceremony, Doreen Muskett, President of the NI Amenity Council, said:


“The standard of applications received from all schools this year was extremely high and, with almost 200 applications, our judges faced a difficult challenge in choosing the overall winner and regional winners.


“As ‘Best of the Best’, Cumran Primary displayed a fantastic example of the whole school working as a community for the benefit of the pupils, teachers, parents and the environment around them.


“The entire school is involved in the care and development of the grounds and the pupils are enthusiastic about recycling, and all aspects of the environment. One element which stood out for the judges was that the pupils share their playground with wild bees.


“The Best Kept School initiative is a fantastic opportunity for schools of all sizes to work with their pupils and educate them about civic pride and their environment in a practical way, and we are extremely grateful for the support provided this year by Belfast City Airport.”


Alongside the ‘Best of the Best’ School Award, the inaugural Pupil Achiever Award was presented to Ashling Wojcieszak of St. Ita’s Primary School, Belfast.


This was a special award, with schools nominating pupils who have excelled in their efforts to make the school a Best Kept winner. Ashling demonstrated this by engaging with all projects and encouraging her fellow pupils to take an interest in the Best Kept School activities.


Laura Duggan, Environment Manager at Belfast City Airport, said:


“On behalf of George Best Belfast City Airport, I congratulate every school that has taken part in this year’s competition. The efforts from the pupils have been incredible and it’s a pleasure for the airport to support the Best Kept Awards in its 60th anniversary year.


“At Belfast City Airport, we deliver an award-winning Community Commitment Plan which focuses on Community, Education, Environment and People. We also have six Adopted Schools across the greater Belfast area.


“Thanks to our school partnerships, we know how much of an impact schools working together can have. Providing pupils with information on caring for their local area, and helping to empower them by showing practical ways they can make a difference to their school and community, makes a lasting impact.


“Well done to the ‘Best of the Best’, Cumran Primary School, and huge congratulations to Ashling Wojcieszak of St. Ita’s. The efforts from all pupils nominated for this accolade were outstanding.”


At the awards ceremony, Cumran Primary School was presented with a trophy and cheque for £200. Pupil Achiever Ashling received an individual prize of £50.00 and £50.00 for her school’s eco group.


The Best Kept School Awards is part of the wider Northern Ireland Best Kept Awards initiative, now in its 60th year, which seeks to identify and celebrate Northern Ireland’s best looked-after towns, villages, schools, healthcare facilities and housing areas.


First established in 1957, the competition has grown over the years and now includes 90 awards across six categories.


The full list of 2017 ‘Best Kept’ School winners is as follows;


Education Authority



Post Primary



St. Peter’s Nursery School

Currie Primary School

Victoria College, Belfast


Carnhill Nursery School, Londonderry

Gortin Primary School

St. Comhghall’s College, Lisnaskea

North Eastern

Cuilrath Corner Nursery School, Coleraine

St. Mary’s Primary School, Draperstown

St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt

South Eastern

Barbour Nursery School, Lisburn

Cumran Primary School, Clough

Beechlawn Special School, Hillsborough


St. Malachy’s Nursery School, Newry

St. Colman’s Primary School, Kilkeel

Lisanally Special School, Armagh