Outgoing Monkstown principal Nigel Pell-Ilderton and vice principal Raymond Leeman are confident that the new Abbey Community College will be a success.
Both men applied for the top job at the new post-primary school, but were unsuccessful. However, they have wished principal Maria Quinn well in her new role and hope the college, which opens in September, will build on the firm foundations laid by Monkstown Community School and Newtownabbey Community High.
“I hope the college goes from strength to strength because the area needs a controlled post-primary school here with a strong and vibrant sixth form. So hopefully with the two schools coming together there will be sufficient numbers to generate that sort of school,” Mr Pell-Ilderton said.
“This amalgamation provides certainty for people and it will grow in terms of numbers and in terms of what they can offer and it will become a viable seven-year offer in this area, and this area needs a school like Abbey Community College to be successful.”
Wishing Mrs Quinn well for the future, he added: “I have worked with her closely over the past year, helping to support what she’s doing, so hopefully that will bear fruit in the future.”
Mr Leeman, who served as vice principal at Monkstown Community School for 10 years, said he has every confidence that Mrs Quinn will take the new school forward successfully.
“Her drive and her enthusiasm is just phenomenal and I think the school is in good hands; and I say that as someone who didn’t get the job,” he told the Times.
“I hope that Abbey Community College will build on the strengths of both schools - both have a long, positive heritage. The foundations laid by those who have gone before will be built on by those who follow after.”
Abbey Community College, with its motto of ‘Believe, Achieve, Succeed’, promises to be “a school at the heart of the community.”