Pupils and staff at a tiny rural school in Co Tyrone are celebrating after winning the top title in a prestigious environmental awards scheme.
Denamona Pre School, Fintona, was on Tuesday named the overall winner in the 2012 SuperValu Best Kept School Awards organised annually by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council (NIAC).
The accolade acknowledges the school’s outstanding commitment to green projects and environmental education.
Almost 200 schools from across Northern Ireland entered the awards this year and NIAC judges have been travelling the country for months in search of the cleanest, tidiest and most environmentally active schools.
Denamona Pre School, which has only 18 pupils, was chosen to receive the overall Best of the Best title out of a shortlist of 15 schools — winners in pre-primary, primary and post-primary categories in each education board area.
Judges rated its environmental projects, including a pond, raised vegetable beds, bird watching facilities and a clutch of free range hens, the best in Northern Ireland.
NIAC chairman Doreen Muskett, MBE, said: “The aim of the SuperValu Best Kept School Awards is to acknowledge the environmental work being done in schools across Northern Ireland, which, in turn, will help children to develop an interest in the environment as a whole.
“As part of the judging process we look for evidence of pupil participation in environmental projects, and, of course, clean and tidy school grounds and Denamona Pre School sets a great example in all of these areas.
“The judges commented that the school has, within a limited space, achieved a wide range of interesting, stimulating and educational projects in which the children fully participate.”
Nicola McCormick, from Denamona Pre School, said: “We are delighted to have won the top SuperValu Best Kept School Award.
“Everyone at Denamona gets involved in creating our school environment, including the kids, and although it involves a lot of hard work we believe it helps our pupils learn valuable lessons about their surroundings and, of course, they have great fun enjoying the spaces, plants and wildlife. We are all very proud of this achievement.”