Principal sets out vision for schools’ amalgamation


A headteacher who helped a shut down and re-opened secondary school to make rapid progress has become principal of Northern Ireland’s newest “academy”.

Matthew Munro is the principal (designate) of the soon-to-be established Breda Academy in Belfast.

The school, due to open in September 2015, will replace the existing Newtownbreda and Knockbreda high schools. It will initially operate on a split site before receiving a new-build.

Education minister John O’Dowd approved the capital project only after the conclusion of a judicial review brought by representatives of Newtownbreda High School.

Parents went to court in an attempt to have the merger plans quashed, claiming their children’s education would suffer in an amalgamated school, but the case was dismissed.

Mr Munro previously taught and led schools in England, most recently as the headteacher of Meopham School, a mixed non-selective school in Kent.

In that role, he led his school through the process of formally closing and re-opening as a new entity when Meopham School joined the Swale Academies Trust.

“The process then was one of recognising and incorporating existing strengths as well as seizing the new opportunities that the change in status afforded,” he said in a letter to parents. “It is that same approach which I intend should steer the formation of the new Breda Academy.”

Mr Munro adds that the key purpose of education is to enlarge the range of future opportunities that young people can access in life and work.

“This involves giving each student the skills and qualifications necessary to fulfil their own individual potential, so that they can successfully pursue their ambitions and make a positive contribution at the highest possible level,” he said.

“I know that students and staff at both Knockbreda and Newtownbreda have made significant strides forward over the last few years. My previous school too has seen a sustained and significant rise in student outcomes.

“There is much to be shared and refined as we make a continued rise in standards of achievement our key priority for the students of the Breda Academy.”



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