General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Dromore Leader

DROMORE Nursery School principal Mrs. Sharon Beattie was awarded a distinction in this year's Northern Ireland Teaching Awards.

Mrs. Beattie had been in the running to pick up a 'Plato' - the Teaching Awards symbol of excellence in education - after being nominated in the 'Headteacher of the Year in a Primary School' category.

At last week's awards ceremony in Belfast's Waterfront Hall, however, she was pipped to the post by Mr. Frazer Bailie of Bangor's Bloomfield Primary School, ironically Bangor native Mrs. Beattie's old school.


She emerged instead as a runner-up with distinction, a significant achievement in itself and one with which the Dromore principal said she was "very pleased".

This year's Teaching Awards nomination was Mrs. Beattie's third. The Dromore Nursery Board of Governors nominated her in 2007, when she was named as runner-up.

Then, in 2008, she was nominated by the Psychology Service for her work on special needs inclusion; she was awarded a distinction on that occasion too.

But she was particularly pleased to be a finalist this year, having been put her up for the award by a past parent.

"It's not an individual thing," she said ahead of the awards, "it's very much a team effort - but it's lovely to know people appreciate the work of the school. It's very humbling that people think that much of you."


Mrs. Beattie was seconded by Board of Governors chairperson Moira Alexander; there followed a visit by the awards judges, who interviewed Mrs. Beattie and watched her teach; they also spoke to parents, professionals and members of the wider community.

Nine years-old this January, Dromore Nursery is a comparatively young school which has nevertheless made a positive mark on the community and achieved recognition for its efforts.

Every year, said Mrs. Beattie, had brought different things, and this year had been particularly good for the school and the community.

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