Principal to ‘challenge everything’ to improve children’s life chances

Monkstown Community School's new Principal, Mr Nigel Pell-Ilderton.
Monkstown Community School's new Principal, Mr Nigel Pell-Ilderton.

STAFF and pupils at Monkstown Community School welcomed their new Principal to Bridge Road last month.

Mr Nigel Pell-Ilderton takes over as Headmaster following the retirement of Mr Dennis Harvey earlier this year.

Speaking to the Times this week, the 51-year-old Maths teacher explained how his hyphenated family name comes from a Mr Ilderton and a Miss Pell who married in the mid 1800s and decided to put their names together. But he expects that a lot of people will find it a bit of a mouthful and will probably just refer to him as ‘Mr PI’.

Originally from Manchester, Mr Pell-Ilderton qualified as a teacher at Durham University before going on to serve in the Royal Army Educational Corps during the 1980s and working as a secondary school Mathematics teacher in the 1990s. More recently he worked for a local authority in Darlington before taking voluntary redundancy and moving with his wife and one of their four grown up children to Coleraine at the end of 2010.

Since their move to Northern Ireland, Mr Pell-Ilderton has been keen to get back into teaching, and was delighted when he was appointed Head Teacher at Monkstown.

As a trained Ofsted Inspector, the new Principal is determined to see standards at the school improve, building on what Mr Harvey and his staff put in place over the last number of years. His motto: “Challenge everything.”

“If it isn’t a challenge then I’m not doing enough and I’m not being challenging enough myself. I believe that a Principal should challenge all sorts of stuff around the school. I want to challenge everything that’s here. If things stand up to the challenge then fine, but if they don’t then we either need to not do those things, or replace them with something better,” he explained.

Full story and Monkstown Prize Night coverage in this week’s Times...