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New badge rumours false, says chair of governors at Model School for Girls

Integration claims also ‘untrue’... and ex-DUP MLA going nowhere


Belfast Model School for Girls

Belfast Model School for Girls

Belfast Model School for Girls

The chair of the board of governors at a Belfast school has written to parents to criticise “false rumours” circulating online.

The letter, sent yesterday, relates to claims around plans for the future at the Belfast Model School for Girls.

Jacqueline Weir, the chair of the board of governors, said false claims spread on social media had caused “upset and anxiety” to pupils, parents and staff.

She denied a former DUP MLA was to be moved from his position on the board of governors and also quashed rumours that the school was to be integrated.

Other claims spread on social media suggested that the school badge, in particular the red hand emblem on the crest, was to be changed and the school’s name changed.

Mrs Weir rejected all of these rumours as false.

Her letter, posted on the school’s social media account and website, read: ‘As chair of the board of governors of Belfast Model School for Girls, I have become aware of false rumours and fake news being circulated on social media platforms.

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‘There is concern that this is causing upset and anxiety amongst students, their parents and staff.”

The note went on to “reassure” pupils, parents and guardians on a number of points.

“Mr William Humphrey [former DUP MLA] is remaining on the board of governors,” it said.

“He has no plans to be leaving this position anytime soon.

“He is not being replaced by any other person.

“There are no plans to change the school badge. The school badge has been the same badge for more than 70 years.

“We are very proud of our school identity.

“There is no plan to change the school name. We are very proud of our school identity.

“There is no plan to make Belfast Model School for Girls an integrated school.

“Belfast Model School for Girls will remain an all-girls, non-selective controlled school which aims to be sector-leading.

“I hope [this] factual information brings clarity to this situation and dispels any false rumours and fake news.”

The Belfast Model School for Girls was approached for comment but at the time of going to press had not responded.

On the school’s website, a vision statement says the institution is a “vibrant [and] inclusive learning community”.

“Wrapped within a culture of care, support and challenge, all [pupils] are safe, happy, respected and valued,” the statement continues.

“We are committed to delivering progressive, personalised, high-quality education and opportunities to empower all to become the very best that we can be: model citizens; model learners, model professionals.”

The school enrolled its first pupils in 1954, three years before the Belfast Model School for Boys was officially opened.

In 2006, it was granted specialist school status for ICT, one of only 12 schools in Northern Ireland to achieve this.

In 2020, the school was a recipient of a donation of 45 laptops from the Belfast Charitable Society, jointly supported by the Halifax Foundation and the Irish National Lottery Community Fund.

The computers were donated during the coronavirus pandemic to help pupils with studying from home.

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