Less than two weeks into his role as principal of Dromore High, Mr Ian McConaghy has found the school to be friendly and enthusiastic with a family atmosphere and a professional feel.
Mr McConaghy, who previously served as principal of Omagh High School for four years, took up the position at Dromore on April 13.
The well-being of pupils is a priority in Mr Mcconaghy’s vision for the school.
“Ultimately I hope all our pupils will have a sense of me as a Headmaster who cares about them, and have a similar view of our staff,” said Mr McConaghy.
Speaking of the demands placed on schools to address the many difficult challenges society places on the lives of children today, he continued, “There is a crossover between the lives of our pupils inside of and outside of school, and they now face challenges which previous generations would not have faced or which would have been considered the responsibility of some other body.”
“We are expected to do much more to support them in many ways including their emotional development,” but Mr McConaghy warned that schools can only continue to operate successfully if they are properly funded.
Acknowledging the school’s excellent reputation, Mr McConaghy said: “I consider it a privilege to have been given the opportunity to lead Dromore High School. It is a school I have followed with interest for some time and I have been warmly welcomed by the Chairman, Governors, staff and pupils.”
“I hope that I can bring a renewed vision for the school which builds on the tremendous work of my predecessor, Mr Wilkinson, who over many years has developed such a fine school.
“I hope that our school can continue to be a school which has the confidence of all parents, and that the provision here both curricular and extra-curricular is excellent for all pupils, irrespective of their present level of ability.
“I trust that the examination success of our pupils will be a testament to the high quality of teaching provided here and ultimately that we are regarded as one of the top schools in the country.”
Speaking of his predecessor, Mr McConaghy said: “Mr Wilkinson is very highly regarded throughout education in Northern Ireland so I won’t pretend I don’t feel some pressure following after him.
“I know John will always first and foremost want the best for the pupils at this school and in his desire to see continued success here, has already been a most valuable support to me. His support and encouragement is most appreciated.”
“Dromore High School is a larger school than my previous school and this may bring new challenges but there is an excellent school leadership team and staff here so I know there will be plenty of support available.”
Encouraging the pupils, Mr McConaghy said: “School years are often deemed the best years of your life, however school also requires commitment, hard work and a determination to succeed. I hope to offer our pupils an education which has the right balance of fun and hard work, enrichment and enhancement, and curricular and extra-curricular success.
“I want them to have the very best recognising we are all different. I will give it my best for them and I expect the same in return.”