Young Principal in the chair

Thursday, 30 January 2014

ONE of Northern Ireland's youngest Principals has taken over at the helm of Ballyhackett Primary School, on the outskirts of Castlerock. Mr Antoin Moran, 32, from Maghera, follows in the footsteps of Mrs Rita Mellon who ran the small country school from 2004 until December 31 last year.
Ballyhackett currently has 44 pupils who come from as far away as Portrush and a staff of three teachers including Mr Moran who works in the classroom four days a week. There are three classroom assistants, a secretary and site manager.
Mr Moran said: "Our links with the local community are very strong because the school dates back to 1870 and generations of families have sent their children to Ballyhackett.
“We rely on volunteers who give up their time to nurture and help the children achieve, a thriving PFTA who organise a range of fund-raising and social events as well as the Board of Governors who are also very supportive.
“There are many advantages with a small school - the children have more responsibilities such as helping out in the playground and welcoming visitors. Classes are small so individual learning needs can be catered for. Ballyhackett has always been seen as the hub of the community and there is a very friendly atmosphere here. I have been humbled by the welcome I have received.
“My vision for the school is to maintain what Rita had already put in place, through her hard work and dedication. I'm very impressed by the school and hopefully I can use my expertise to ensure that Ballyhackett continues to prosper. I wish Rita well in her retirement, she lives nearby and is welcome to return at any time."
Mr Moran, who won the 2007 outstanding new teacher in Northern Ireland award, is also intending to build on the strong links forged between Ballyhackett and its partner school - Castleroe Primary School.
He added: "The relationship was originally developed through the PIEE project and we have been working together ever since on areas of mutual benefit."
As well as its picturesque setting, boasting stunning sea views, Ballyhackett has its own soccer pitch, grass areas and outdoor learning space with a nature pond. The National Trust Guardianship school actively encourages pupils to foster a greater understanding of their beautiful surroundings.

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