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Last day for head teacher of troubled secondary Movilla High School

By Rebecca Black

Published 01/07/2015

Movilla High School in Newtownards
Movilla High School in Newtownards

One of Northern Ireland's most troubled secondary schools is now searching for a new principal.

Caroline Karyiannis has been head at Movilla High School in Newtownards for five years.

But it can be revealed that yesterday was her last day at the school.

Movilla has been in formal intervention since last May, when the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) found its performance to be inadequate.

Admissions and enrolment had been steadily dropping over the past four years.

In the 2010/11 academic year, there were 80 new admissions and a total enrolment number of 489.

But new admissions have halved since then - with just 39 new admissions in 2013/14 and a total enrolment of 353. It is understood to have dropped even further in September 2014.

In terms of academic achievement the school was one of the worst performers in the province with just 12% of pupils gaining five or more good GCSEs, including English and Maths.

However, the school has been working to improve over the last year since the ETI report.

Movilla is the only controlled secondary school in the town, which is also home to Regent House Grammar School. Strangford MP Jim Shannon has wished the school good luck and spoken of his hopes that it can rebuild confidence in the future.

His sister attended the school when the enrolment numbers were around 1,000.

"Most important is that the future of the school is preserved," he said. "It is essential that Newtownards retains secondary provision in the town.

"I have visited the school recently and found the pupils fantastic. It has a wonderful history and includes Olympic cyclist Martyn Irvine and Irish Guards Sergeant Major Simon Nichols.

"We need to restore confidence in the school and I wish them all the best for the future."

The school's board of governors was contacted for comment by the Belfast Telegraph.

An Education Authority spokesperson said the principal of Movilla has accepted a new post within the EA and will take it up on September 1. "Arrangements are being made to recruit a new Principal for the school, in conjunction with the school's board of governors," she said.

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