Teacher defends Glengormley High School

Mr Bill Addis.
Mr Bill Addis.

A former pupil and teacher at Glengormley High School has defended the school after claims were made about bullying at the Ballyclare Road school on BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show.

Bill Addis, who is a teacher at Glengormley High School, is currently on a career break in the United Arab Emirates.

He contacted the Times regarding correspondence he had sent to Stephen Nolan, following the controversial show yesterday morning (Wednesday).

The school was heavily criticised on BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show on Wednesday morning when a mother told how her teenage daughter is on anti-depressants after being tormented by bullies at the Ballyclare Road school.

In an email to the radio host, Mr Addis wrote: “I have taught at Glengormley High for 27 years and was a pupil there in the 1970’s.

“I am one of the very few teachers who have been lucky enough to have worked for all four headmasters and was the first pupil from GHS to return as a teacher.

“I am the longest pastoral learning leader in the school. I was contacted today by family and friends telling me about the very one-sided discussion on your show this morning (Wednesday) regarding bullying in GHS.”

The Times understands that Glengormley High School declined to take part in the programme.

Mr Addis wrote that he felt “really annoyed” that teachers from GHS cannot defend the school because of board (Education Authority) rules.

He added: “Bullying is rampant in all non-selective schools and grammar schools in Northern Ireland. The authorities prevent the schools from suspending/expelling pupils and label schools that do as weak schools and send in the inspectors.

“Lex Hayes is an excellent headmaster and does all he can to prevent bullying. The guests on your show are a tiny minority from a school of approximately 900 pupils. It’s a shame that the staff are not allowed to defend themselves.

“Teaching here in the UAE is similar to the UK. There is a huge range of academic ability and yes there are bullies.

“I can send this email because I am not currently employed by the local Education Authority and I’m not sure if I will return, but someone must defend GHS.

“It is a fantastic school with great staff and myself and my siblings received great education there.”

Mr Addis indicated that he would relish the opportunity to speak on the radio show to help defend the school.

Read more: School responds to claim that it has failed to tackle bullying