Sunday 18 August 2019

School principal on leave as 'ongoing issues' probed

College chief believed to have been off since end of November

Jackie Bartley, the principal of St Pius X College in Magherafelt, stepped aside for the probe to be carried out
Jackie Bartley, the principal of St Pius X College in Magherafelt, stepped aside for the probe to be carried out

Cate McCurry

A principal at a top Northern Ireland secondary school is on leave while an investigation is carried out in to what a teaching union described as "ongoing challenges" at the institution.

Jackie Bartley, the principal of St Pius X College in Magherafelt, stepped aside for the probe to be carried out.

It is understood that Ms Bartley, who took up the role in September 2012, has been off since the end of November. 

It is believed that a meeting between the school's board of governors, including chairman Brian McErlain, Una O'Kane, Eamon Lynch and Fr John Gates, about the issue took place on Wednesday evening.

Ms Bartley, originally from Enniskillen, took the position at St Pius X College after moving on from St Cecilia's College in Co Derry, where she spent 18 years.

A staff member at the Magherafelt secondary school revealed to the Belfast Telegraph that the issues were flagged up to the board of governors almost two years ago.

The staff member, who did not wish to be identified, stressed that the development had affected teaching and non-teaching staff.

A spokesman for the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) said: "The NASUWT is aware of challenges which have arisen at St Pius X College. The union is working closely with members at the college and will continue to do so into the new year.

"Teachers remain very much focused on teaching at this time. It is important for the pupils, teachers and other staff at the college that the provision of high-quality education continues to be a priority and, in that context, the NASUWT has no further comment to make at this time."

A spokeswoman for Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), however, said she was not aware of the allegations.

The spokeswoman added: "The CCMS can confirm that it is not conducting any type of investigation in relation to St Pius X College and has not received any complaints in relation to the matter."

The Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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