Northern Ireland

NI primary school sends moving letter with children's results

The poignant note encouraged pupils not to feel disheartened if they did not get the news they were hoping for
Image caption The note encouraged pupils not to feel disheartened if they did not get the news they were hoping for

A County Antrim primary school sent a moving letter to children who received their transfer test results on Saturday.

Harmony Hill Primary School in Lisburn enclosed the message within a letter informing pupils of their score in the post-primary entrance exams.

The poignant note encouraged them not to feel disheartened if they did not get the news they were hoping for.

It read: "Inside this envelope is a score.

"It's a score you've been waiting for, but it might not be the score you've been hoping for."

Disappointed

It continued: "If that's the case, it's only natural that you will feel disappointed. We will be very sorry about that and will feel disappointed 'for you' too - but we won't feel disappointed 'in you'

"Unfortunately, in life, things don't always work out the way we want them to and it can take a little time to sort out the feelings and thoughts we can have when that happens.

"We know that each one of you has worked very hard and with a great attitude.

"No score can ever take that away from you. In fact, we believe that your attitude and who you are as a person is much more important than any mark on a test."

Social media

The letter attracted much reaction on social media after a parent of a Harmony Hill pupil posted a picture of it on Facebook.

Principal Harry Greer said staff were bemused but "heartened" by the number of internet users who have been inspired by its content.

Image caption Principal Harry Greer said staff have been surprised by the interest the letter attracted on social media

"We've been really surprised by all the attention," he said.

"It was a simple, personal, but heartfelt letter for our P7 children, inspired by our vice principal, Hillary Johnston."

He said Mrs Johnston proposed the idea on Thursday and liaised with staff about the wording of it.

"We do treasure all of our children," said Mr Greer.

"We just wanted them to know that we were thinking of them today. It can be a time of great excitement, but for some children, it can be a time of great disappointment.

Compassion

"I'm sure the same compassion and sentiment will be evident in primary schools across Northern Ireland this weekend."

The letter communicated to pupils that the kind of person they are is more important than the results they receive.

It said: "Who you are and the attitudes you have will travel with you to whatever school is fortunate enough to have you as one of their new pupils in September.

"That is so important."

Image caption The letter communicated to pupils that the kind of person they are is more important than the results they receive

Mr Greer said the school is fortunate in that their academic record is very good, but that the ethos of the school is to inspire pupils to make a positive input in all aspects of their lives.

"It is vitally important to us that the children are cared for and that the whole child is celebrated, whatever they achieve."

Proud

The letter described the pupils of Harmony Hill Primary as "quite simply unique" and said that the staff are proud of them.

"Make us proud, whatever school you go to," it said.

"Don't give up easily when the going gets tough.

"Grow up to be kind, caring, generous, loving adults, who make a positive difference to this world by how you live your life."

It ended: "Remember, the score in the envelope is just a mark for some tests. It cannot measure how amazing you are.

"So whatever happens in the next few minutes, today you must celebrate you!"

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