History & Ethos

Core values

We believe in:

  • Our Catholic ethos – supporting and guiding us
  • Valuing ourselves
  • Valuing others
  • Personal responsibility and independence
  • An orderly environment facilitating learning
  • Pride in our environment
  • A sense of community
  • Allowing everyone to realise his/her potential
  • Commitment from all
  • Achievement for all

We believe that we are all members of a learning community—everyone is a learner that we will achieve best if all concerned work in partnership. Success requires high expectations on the part of everyone, consistent effort and a continual search for excellence.

We believe in only the best from and for all.

School History

St. John’s opened its doors in September 1965 as a co-educational school for boys & girls aged between 11-15 years, increasing to 16 with the raising of the compulsory school age in 1973. On 18th March 1974 the school was bombed in an attack by the UVF, causing extensive damage that took until September the following year to complete rebuilding.

During the 1990’s two new extensions were added with a new Technology & Design suite opened in 1994 and a Science suite opened in 1997.
2006 saw St. John’s go in a new direction by becoming the first school in Northern Ireland to specialise in Business & Enterprise.

January 2008 saw the official opening of the Dromore Sports Complex. The complex lies within college grounds and is used by the college during school times while being open to the public at all other times.

In college sport, St. John’s has a proud history in Gaelic Football winning the Ulster Vocational Schools’ Arthurs Cup (U16) in 1967, 1974 and 1999, and the McDevitt Cup (U14) in 1977. A combined team with St. Mary’s Irvinestown known as “Rural Academy” won the Ward Cup (U18) in 2014. Most recently the college U16 team reached the 2016 Ulster final of the inaugural JJ Reilly Cup but lost out narrowly.

  • Hugh James Colton (September 1965 to August 1986)
  • John McCusker (September 1986 to August 1991)
  • Eugene McGrade (September 1991 to August 2003)
  • Aidan Taggart (September 2003 to August 2006)
  • Christine Doherty (September 2006 to present)

School Aims

  • To provide an environment in which pupils will be enabled to reach their full potential in Academic, Cultural, Physical and Spiritual aspects of life.
  • To develop a pupil’s self-esteem and confidence so as to ensure that he/she leaves school equipped as far as he/she is personally capable with skills, values and attitudes necessary for the future.
  • To encourage the pupil to have a responsible attitude towards himself or herself, to work, authority, the community and to property.
  • To maintain and develop the creative and secure educational partnership between the Catholic Church, the school, the home and the community.
  • To provide a relevant curriculum to fulfil the individual needs of all pupils to help them reach their full potential.
  • To help each pupil to mature as an independent, understanding, tolerant and responsible person.
  • To develop an environment where the pupil is a participant in the development of school practices, procedures and values which promote the existence of a just and tolerant school community.
  • To provide opportunities for experiencing enjoyment and to celebrate achievement.

Specialist School

2006 saw a change of direction for St Johns as we successfully bid to become the first Business & Enterprise College in Northern Ireland. We took this step because we know that in this ever-changing and more challenging world that we live in qualifications alone are no longer enough.
In this school model, as well as extending our present range of subjects, there is an added emphasis on enterprise activities, work experience, career education, core skills, personal and social effectiveness as well as on developing relevant business and enterprise content in different curriculum areas.
What is a Specialist School?

Specialist Schools are at the forefront of educational developments by raising standards and improving the learning experience for students.
It provides real life contexts and situations for teaching and learning so that students are more engaged in the learning and have deeper understanding within their subjects.
A Specialist School seeks to works closely with employers, with its partner primary schools and to collaborate with neighbouring post primary schools to the mutual benefit of all the students.
An entrepreneurial focus in teaching has been shown to improve the quality of student engagement in their learning.
What is Enterprise in Education?

  • A Business & Enterprise College will:
  • Emphasise core skills and the need to relate teaching in all subject areas to real life experiences.
  • Embed careers education within personal & social development programmes.
  • Ensure that students experience a range of enterprise activities.
  • Develop and understanding of the world of work including business, enterprise & self-employment.
  • Nurture entrepreneurial qualities and skills including self-confidence, leadership & organisational skills, initiative, creative & innovative thinking, self-discipline and flexibility.

It also impacts positively on the standards of student achievement whatever the future career path of the student, whether they choose university, further education, job related training or direct entry into the world of work.