It was an ‘agonising and soul searching’ decision for the principal of Banbridge Academy but after 40 years of service in teaching, Mr Raymond Pollock has announced his decision to retire in December.
Mr Pollock made public his decision on Friday, April 11 saying: “I feel that the time is now right to hand on the baton of leadership to someone whose energy, vision, commitment and skill will lead this school on to the next level of which it is undoubtedly capable. I should like to inform you therefore with regret, it is my intention to retire from my post as Principal of Banbridge Academy with effect from the 31 December 2014”.
In 1975 Mr. Pollock left a career in the Civil Service to teach in Wallace High School and then The Friends’ School, Lisburn. He went on to spend the past 19 years with Banbridge Academy which he described as ‘the most fulfilling, rewarding, stimulating and enriching of my career’. In 2010 he was awarded an OBE in recognition of his services to education in Northern Ireland.
Speaking of the attributes Mr. Pollock brought to the Academy, Upper Bann MP David Simpson said: “Raymond Pollock processes all the best qualities that one needs to be an effective leader in education. I know that teachers, parents and pupils alike will all agree that during his time at the helm of Banbridge Academy Raymond has shown enthusiasm, impartiality, open-mindedness and courage all of which has contributed to make the school the success that it is today.
“I want to publicly express my personal thanks to him for the educational excellence that he has delivered year on year. He will be greatly missed at the Academy but I wish Mr Pollock a long and happy retirement.”
Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson added: “It was with mixed emotions that I took a call this morning from a true gentleman. Raymond Pollock, who has been the backbone of Banbridge Academy and the inspiration to thousands of young people, rang to tell me that he is retiring.
“As a former pupil, parent of a former pupil, past member of Banbridge Academy Association and now a member of the Stormont Education Committee I have nothing but admiration for Raymond and his monumental achievements at the Academy.
“He will leave massive shoes to fill!”
Mr Pollock concluded by recognising the responsibility of his position: “Ultimately I have always believed that this job is a true vocation and I have always felt a deep sense of unworthiness, so my final expression of gratitude must be to Almighty God who has daily equipped me to serve”.