Sunday Times Secondary School of the Year 2023

St. Mary's Grammar School


St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has maintained Level 3 accreditation as a Take 5 School.  The accreditation is the highest level available to schools within the Take 5 Schools model.

On Wednesday 7 June 2023, Mr Quinn and Mr McPhilomey attended a Take 5 Schools celebration event in the Tullyglass House Hotel, Ballymena where they received a certificate in recognition of the school’s development as a Take 5 School and the well-being initiatives delivered within St. Mary’s since the launch of Take 5 Schools in March 2020. 

The Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing - Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give - is an evidence-based public health message aimed at improving well-being. Based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by the New Economics Foundation, these simple and effective messages are grounded in solid evidence and draw on a wealth of psychological and economic literature from inter-disciplinary work.  These simple 5 steps to well-being contribute to improving well-being in its fullest sense, both physically and emotionally, where people can feel good and function well.  Evidence indicates that it is individuals who practice all ‘5 steps’ who have the highest level of well-being.

Chris Lindsay, EA Project Officer, who supports schools in their journey noted: “This model provides an excellent framework for schools to build upon and scaffold how they are providing emotional well-being within the school setting.  It is important to note that we don’t forget teachers in the implementation.  Self-care and self-regulation are at the heart of both the Take 5 model and the Solihull approach.  Taking the time to ensure that a teacher/classroom assistant or any staff member in a school is emotionally regulated will allow the space for the young people to be supported in their regulation.”

Hugh Nelson, Head of Community Well-being in the NHSCT, noted: “We are delighted to support and promote the Take 5 Schools Model.  This is a great example of partnership working, where organisations came together to coproduce a model which they then co-deliver in the implementation.  We can certainly deliver more together than we can in isolation.  I look forward to building on this partnership, and continuing to build relationships with local schools, to support them to build and sustain emotionally healthy schools.”