Head Teachers Hold Conference To Plot Route Out Of Covid

Conference for School Leaders to Learn from Covid Pandemic

Conference for School Leaders to Learn from Covid Pandemic

Secondary Head Teachers from right across the South Eastern area attended a two day conference in Newcastle (3 and 4 February) to focus on leadership, building resilience, promoting health and wellbeing amongst staff and students, child protection issues, and supporting children and young people to get the best educational start in life.

A core theme of the conference was on ‘restarting, rebuilding and adapting’ our education system coming out of a global pandemic.

Paul Marks, Chair of the South Eastern Secondary Heads Association (SESHA) and Principal of The High School, Ballynahinch, said the conference was a really important opportunity for school leaders to reflect on the challenges and key opportunities of the last two years.

“It is so important that principals meet to discuss our recovery out of the Covid-19 pandemic and how we can continue to best support all of our pupils to realise their full potential.”   

Pictured in attendance at the South Eastern Secondary Heads Association (SESHA) Conference are Down area Heads: Ciaran Maguire, De La Salle High School Downpatrick; Rosemary McLaughlin, St Mary’s High School Downpatrick; Sarah-Lucy Hynds, Saintfield High School; Paul Marks (Chair of SESHA), The High School Ballynahinch; Maud Perry, Down High School Downpatrick; Sara Long, Education Authority Chief Executive and Michele Corkey, Education Authority Director of Education. (Photo by Aaron McCracken).

Opening the conference, Chief Executive of the Education Authority (EA), Sara Long paid tribute to the leadership and tireless efforts of all school principals and staff throughout the pandemic.

“I want to extend a very sincere thank-you to you all for your outstanding commitment, dedication and resilience in the face of the most difficult of circumstances, where children and young people, your staff and school communities remained steadfastly at the heart of everything you did and continue to do,” she told the conference.”

The EA Chief Executive added: “You transitioned seamlessly to remote and blended learning; prepared for a number of school restarts; navigated through ever changing public health advice and policies; managed very high volumes of Covid-19 cases in your schools against the backdrop of significant staffing shortages; and ensured that all young people received the appropriate grade at GSCE and A-Level through rigorous assessment, due diligence and hard work by you and your teaching staff.

“We should also acknowledge how difficult the journey has been and that in re-starting we cannot and should not ignore the impact that it has had, including on you personally. That is why I want to stress my commitment in continuing to look at how we can best support school leaders, build strong partnerships and networks and to promote and champion health and wellbeing.”