A FORMER Ballyclare High School teacher has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mr Roger George McCune who lives in Ballyclare, is a Qualifications and Skills Accreditation Manager with the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). He has been awarded the MBE for his services to Education in Northern Ireland.
Mr McCune’s present and ongoing work involves liaising with qualification bodies in England, Wales and Scotland to ensure qualifications gained by Northern Ireland pupils are on a comparable level.
“My work involves making sure that Department of Education policy to do with qualifications is adhered to,” he told the Times.
“My current areas of responsibilities cover curriculum, qualifications and skills development across 14 to 19 education, and adult education and training. The work covers all aspects of the development and implementation of the reform programme for vocational qualifications, including CCEA links with Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) and the UK Skills Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).”
Prior to his joining the CCEA in 1996, Mr McCune was Senior Professional Officer with the Northern Ireland Curriculum Council (NICC) and before that he helped promote Science and Technology at the University of Ulster.
But Mr McCune started out his career as a Chemistry teacher at Ballyclare High in 1972, and was the Head of Chemistry when he left the school in 1984.
Mr McCune said he had “a lifelong interest in Science”. He has been a member of the Association of Science Education (ASE) since 1970 and was elected as its first ever Northern Ireland Chair for 1996/97 - the first person from Northern Ireland to hold this prestigious post. He is also currently a member of the UK-wide Programme Board overseeing Vocational Qualifications Reform (VQR).
Mr McCune has fond memories of moving from Glengormley to Ballyclare in 1972 to take up his first job as a teacher at Ballyclare High.
“The first large housing development in Ballyclare, the Grange Valley, was being built at the time. The 2-bed houses there were going for £2,750 and the 3-beds for £3,500 and I remember my father saying there was no way I’d be able to stretch to a 3-bed. It was funny then when I heard recently that a house in the same development was going for £200,000!”
Mr McCune coached rugby at Ballyclare High School and at Ophir and Ballyclare rugby clubs and has played cricket at Templepatrick Cricket Club. In addition, he is on the Board of Governors at both Ballynure Primary and Antrim Grammar schools.
He said he was “delighted” when he heard he was to receive the MBE.
“I’m a Royalist and my wife Deirdre and I are looking forward to going to the Palace,” he told the Times.