Pearson National Teaching Awards

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 pm on 29th November 2021.

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Photo of Gary Middleton Gary Middleton DUP 12:00 pm, 29th November 2021

Like many people across the country, I tuned in to 'The One Show' on Friday evening in anticipation of hearing the outcome of the national teaching awards lifetime achievement award.

It was, in particular, a great pleasure to see that that award went to Marie Lindsay of St Mary's College. Anybody who knows Marie knows that it is a well-deserved award. She has served over three decades in her career, inspiring many young people and generations across the board. I was particularly keen to see that. Her achievements have rightly been recognised by many not only across the constituency but across the world. Most notably, former US president, Bill Clinton, paid a glowing tribute to Marie and the work that she has done in her career.

Among those congratulating Marie on 'The One Show' was the principal of Lisneal College, Michael Allen. He came on the programme to give his congratulations, but, of course, he too was congratulated and left with an award: head teacher of the year in a secondary school. While, no doubt, it was a shock and surprise for Michael, that is another well-deserved award. Two well-known figures have been congratulated on and received an award that they very much deserve.

It is poignant that Marie and Michael were able to share the awards and go to the special ceremony last night in the City of London with family, colleagues and friends. We are blessed in Northern Ireland to have so many teachers, principals and inspirational leaders in our schools. We have people who have made a real and genuine difference. St Mary's College and Lisneal College, along with St Cecilia's College, have done tremendous work in the shared education programme. It is fantastic to see two of those leaders recognised, particularly from the Foyle constituency. I congratulate both of them and all the winners, particularly those from Northern Ireland. They have done themselves, their schools and, most importantly, all of us in our communities proud.