New era, new principal: Irish Society has a bright future

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Formerly vice-principal at Macosquin Primary School and before that a teacher at DH Christie Memorial, Chris sits on the committee of the General Teaching Council, Northern Ireland and previously served on the Central Executive Committee of the Ulster Teachers’ Union.

Speaking to The Coleraine Times this week, he said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as principal of The Irish Society’s Primary School.

“It is a real privilege for me to lead the school. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months at Irish Society and have enjoyed a very warm welcome from everyone at the school including pupils, staff, governors and parents.”

Mr Murdock told us: “The school has a real strength in academic achievement, the quality of learning and the commitment of staff.

“ I share their passion to deliver the very best for our pupils enabling them to reach their full potential. My approach to educating young people involves setting high expectations and instilling belief.

“Each child is different which is the beauty in teaching, however each child also has the right to be in an environment where everyone believes they can achieve in their own way to their best ability.”

The future looks bright for the Rugby Avenue school under the new leadership, with new developments sweeping across many areas of school life since Mr Murdock’s appointment giving a taste of the passion and commitment to progress.

Digital learning has been at the forefront of new developments to enhance children’s reading enjoyment and ability as well as online maths programmes in numeracy provision.

The school has also invested in a range of new iPads “The children are very excited about the arrival of our new iPads which will further add to their enjoyment of learning,” says Mr Murdock.

The new technology for learning support has been well received by pupils and parents alike.

P7 pupil Abigail Magee is a big fan: “Accelerated Reader programme is really good. If people don’t like reading it helps to encourage them because of the competitive touch. I really enjoy it.”

Danielle Kher, the mother of P4 pupil, Rohan, appreciates the new academic initiatives.

“The online maths games have sparked my son’s interest and have really supported his numeracy work,” she says.

Mr Murdock adds: “Irish Society seeks to maximise opportunities for our pupils by embedding itself in the heart of the community, contributing, shaping and sharing in its success.

“We have developed strong community links with schools and groups in the area such as Coleraine Grammar School and St Malachy’s Primary School as part of a Mountsandel project. As well as the Museum Services and Coleraine Rotary Club.”

The new Head explained more about the school’s child and family centred approach,

“Children and their families are the main focus at the Irish Society,” he stressed.

“Parents have a real need for their child’s school to help provide support for their busy family lives, so we have launched a Rise & Shine Breakfast Club, where children can come into the familiar, nurturing environment of the school from 8am to enjoy a healthy breakfast and relax before the school day starts. “As we also seek to meet the needs of busy families, we have introduced a 2-3pm club for younger pupils to enjoy fun activities and facilitate a single pick-up time for families with older siblings who are in school for longer.”

The spacious school grounds are an ideal location for pupils to enjoy outdoor learning and various sports. “We have been working hard during my first term here to ensure that pupils fulfil their personal development as well as academic and we now deliver a wide range of after schools activities delivered by our teaching staff and external experts,” Mr Murdock explained.

“Our vice principal, Mrs McKendry, has co-ordinated many diverse activities so that every child has the opportunity to take part in a club that inspires them.

“Popular clubs include tennis, choir, Miniversity, coding using iPads, football, cookery, netball, hockey, gymnastics, Iconic Street Dance and swimming.

“There are opportunities for all pupils in Years 1 to 7. We look forward to growing and developing our clubs in the future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to work with the school’s staff, pupils, parents, and governors to help develop our pupils academically and personally.”

Steven Wilson, the Chair of Governors is thrilled to have Chris on board: “The Board of Governors are delighted to be working with Chris to steer the school through future challenges and opportunities.

“We are confident that Chris’ experience, expertise and knowledge will make a significant contribution to our aim of developing the whole child for their future success.”

The Irish Society’s Primary School is hosting an Open Night on Wednesday, December 5 at 6pm and an Open Morning on Thursday, December 6 from 9.30am and Mr Murdock is encouraging parents and children starting school in September 2019 to visit.

“We are very proud of our school and invite you to join us to find out more about exciting times ahead at our school on our Open Night or Open Morning.

“If you are unable to attend either of these dates we encourage you to contact the school office, on 02870343444, to arrange a tour of the school.”

Further information is available on the school’s website www.irishsocietyps.co.uk or Facebook page @irishsocietypscoleraine