MP praise for retiring principals’ contributions to education in Derry

Mr. Martin Coyle, retiring Principal, St. Patrick's PS, Pennyburn, with a selection of pupils from each year group at the school yesterday afternoon. Front from left, P1s Aidan Doherty and Aoife O'Neill, P2s Grace Moran and Mark Chester, P3s Sean Doherty and Hannah Roddy, P4s Eimer Wilson and Niall Fullerton. Back from left, P5s Alexi Hebor and Peter Boyle, P6s Eve Bradley and Barry Gallagher, and P7s Chloe Brown and John Nixon. 3003JM31

Mr. Martin Coyle, retiring Principal, St. Patrick's PS, Pennyburn, with a selection of pupils from each year group at the school yesterday afternoon. Front from left, P1s Aidan Doherty and Aoife O'Neill, P2s Grace Moran and Mark Chester, P3s Sean Doherty and Hannah Roddy, P4s Eimer Wilson and Niall Fullerton. Back from left, P5s Alexi Hebor and Peter Boyle, P6s Eve Bradley and Barry Gallagher, and P7s Chloe Brown and John Nixon. 3003JM31

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Foyle MP Mark Durkan has heaped praise on two Derry school principals who announced their retirements last week.

Mr Durkan said it was important to recognise the “important contribution to education in the city” of St Patrick’s Primary School Principal Martin Coyle and Foyle College Headmaster Jack Magill.

Mr Durkan said: “I would like to recognise the important contribution to education in the city of both Martin Coyle and Jack Magill. Martin was the headmaster of my old school and presided over the new build of St Patrick’s whose staff and pupils have excelled and impressed us in so many ways. Both principals should be very proud of their school’s achievements.”

Mr Magill stated “it’s the right time to go”, adding that he was disappointed that the planned move to a new school site at the old army barracks at Clooney had come to a standstill.

Mr Durkan said: “I regret that Jack retires with a sense of frustration around the failure to secure the long-planned build of the new Foyle College. I sympathise with the disappointment he feels not for himself but for the college and the wider city because of the big opportunity cost involved.”

Mr Magill has been headmaster of the local grammar school since 1994. He said he “enjoyed” his time at the school.

Mr Coyle is due to step down in August after 19 years in the job. Having chalked up 38 years in the teaching profession, he said that the highlight of his career was the opening of the new St Patrick’s PS, which saw the amalgamation of St Patrick’s Boys, St Patrick’s Girls and St Patrick’s Infants schools in 2004 - 50 years after the schools first opened their doors.