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St. Patrick's bids farewell to Mrs. Mallon

On Monday 29th June, the staff of St. Patrick's College bade farewell to Mrs. Anne Mallon, who is returning to St. Paul's Bessbrook. Anyone who has been lucky enough to cross Anne's path, knows exactly the sort of person she is and how much she brought to the school and everyone she came in contact with.

As Mrs. Roisin Woods, Vice Principal, said a few weeks ago -'She has given us wings and now we can fly!' A sign of a true leader!

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 Mrs. Anne Mallon with Mrs. Roisin Woods.

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 Anne with Canon Liam Stevenson

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 Anne with Michael Quinn, chair of the Board of Governors.

 

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Mrs. Woods gave a beautiful, emotional speech - see below.

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Mrs. Ann Mallon, as usual, gave a short but brilliant speech.

Every good wish Ann, on your return to St. Paul's and with any future venture you undertake.

 

Mrs. Roisin Wood's speech

Canon Stevenson, Board of Governors, Colleagues, friends, I would like to thank you for attending our mass of thanksgiving this morning.

I would especially like to thank Canon Stevenson for beautiful and meaningful mass this morning, to Angeleen and Fidelma for organising the mass, to Tracey for all her hard work and to Seamus for the music and also for his help with everything.

I would also like to thank Quails for a lovely meal.

So as you all know, sadly Anne is leaving us after almost 4 years to return to Saint Pauls and I am sure you will agree with me when we say she will be sorely missed.

Not that we should dwell on the past but if we all remind ourselves of how we were when Anne first arrived in October 2011, we can then realise how far we have come in such a relatively short period of time under her leadership and guidance.   I remember when we were told that CCMS were seconding someone here to support Paul, speculation was rife; who was this woman; what difference was she going to make; what was she going to do!!!

Anne’s arrival was very inconspicuous; she gradually found her feet, spoke with staff, examined the data and paper work (or lack of it!!!), built the picture, gained our trust and then in January 2012, she launched what I would call the ‘strategy for survival’ or the formal title for that day - rekindling the mission – that really was the start of our journey together!

Since then terms such as success criteria, learning intentions, literacy, numeracy, marking for improvement, effective questioning, formal assessments, summative assessments, bookscoops, learning walks, sharing good practice, monitoring, evaluation, reviewing, IEPs, IBPs, data, data, dat, etc, etc, etc, are now all part of our everyday dialogue in school. Anne has enabled us to see how important examination results are in changing the perception of our school.

The last 4 years have been full of ups and downs, but thankfully with Anne’s support, encouragement and insight there have been more ups than downs and whether she realises it or not, Anne has had many roles here; not only as vice principal and principal, but counsellor, referee, mediator, mother figure, confidant, advisor. She has cajoled, manipulated, challenged, directed, and dare I say it 'demanded' from all of us, but what we all know and are grateful for is that central to everything Anne Mallon does are the pupils in our school. She has reignited in all of us a love of our job (I hope), of our skill, a recognition that each and every pupil in our care are fundamental to everything that we as teachers do or plan to do.

Anne has a unique insight into everything and I mean everything and I can confidently say that she knows everything, and I mean everything! Her knowledge and experience is incredible and the manner in which she conducts her professional duty as our leader has earned her the respect of the entire school, our local feeder primary schools and Banbridge Area Learning Community. Anne Anderson, Andrew Bell, Amanda McCullagh and the recently retired John Wilkinson have enjoyed their interactions with Anne during their meetings and I know that by talking to Andrew and Amanda on a few occasions that not only do they consider her a colleague but also a personal friend and they too will miss her invaluable guidance and cheery banter. Des and Jim, you were very kind to publicly recognise how instrumental Anne was in Saint Mary’s moving to our school site and in Anne’s absence I know that we as a school community look forward to continuing our partnership.

Anne has been an inspiring leader and has enabled all of us to have confidence in our own ability to deliver a high quality and enjoyable learning experience for our pupils. She has encouraged all of us to look deep within ourselves and not be afraid to seek every opportunity to reflect, and improve – and that’s what makes us such as good school, a great school! And Anne, by saying that, please do not panic! We are not complacent – yes, we have come so far, but we still have miles to go and I think we all realise now that that journey for improvement is never ending!

With regards to Anne and the relationship she has developed with our pupils and parents, it has been very clear, especially over the last couple of weeks just how much she is thought of. Pupils and parents have left in gifts and cards as they send their best wishes but also as a token of their gratitude for everything that Anne has done for our school. She definitely is a ‘peoples’ Principal; she is not afraid of getting to know the community nor is she afraid of them getting to know her; for example, I don’t think there is one person who does not know about Anne’s own personal battle to be ready for Catherine’s wedding in December– while some of us are very supportive, others (Miss  Canavan) are not! Anne enjoys the simple things in life, the chicken and grape sandwiches from the Windsor, the chips in the school canteen on a Tuesday and Friday with lashings of salt and vinegar, and of course the little £1 bags of sweets that are constantly left in the staff room. Even our pupils are aware of Anne’s little vices – in fact our sixth formers arrived to school on Friday to say good bye to her with a bunch of flowers and two packets of midget –gems!

On behalf of the Board of Governors, Anne, I want to thank you for your leadership and guidance in the raising of standards and the improvement in teaching and learning but also for significant role you have played in the refurbishment of our school. Over the last couple of years we have been very proud to open our school to the public on our very successful Open Nights; the refurbishment along with the focus on teaching and learning, the outstanding examination results and the recent increase in our year 8 intake have ensured that we are now a very sustainable school with a very bright future.

On a personal note Anne, I will be eternally grateful for the invaluable experience you have given to me. Many of my colleagues from other schools that I have met are envious that I have been afforded the opportunity to work so closely with you as my mentor. In fact, many people have recognised that it would be very difficult to work under anyone else. I am delighted that you have expressed your desire to still be part of our school community and believe me it is very comforting that you sincerely want to come in and support us and that you are always going to be at the end of a phone. I want you to leave here assured that we can stand on our own two feet and continue to become the best school we can possibly be. On behalf of the entire school community I thank you for everything Anne and I wish you well on your return to Saint Pauls.

 

Mrs. Anne Mallon's speech

When I was at school. in third year we studied poetry from a book called 'Poems of Spirit and Action', and my favourite verse came from 'Naming of Parts' by Henry Reed. It was a poem about World War Two and I was thinking yesterday, if I needed to speak today, what would I say' and the words of the poem came to mind;

"Today, we have naming of parts.

Yesterday we had daily cleaning

and tomorrow we shall have what to do after firing,

but today, today we have naming of parts

Japonica glistens like coral in all of the neighbournig gardens,

but toay, we have naming of parts."

So, a word or two on yesterday's daily cleaning.

Both times I was quietly approached about moving to other schools, I was quite literally terrified.

I had no idea what I was going into; only that things were such that a new face was needed.

And C.C.M.S. had asked me to go.

And that, being an R.E. teacher with the Old Testament notion of 'call', I believed I should always say YES, if I was asked to do something, particularly something I had not sought out for myself.

And so I came.

And then for today; the naming of parts, the calling of a spade a spade; something I often do to my own detriment!

I want to thank each and every one of you for your welcome; your support; your commitment; your faith in me that enabled you to have faith in yourselves, for ultimately, that is what it is about - being able to take the stabilisers off and to cruise away on your own, confident of success.

To go from 17% to 25% to 65% GCSE five A*-C (including English and Maths), with the same staff and pupils cannot say more clearly that the potential was and is there - it only needed directed!

I want to thank the Board of Governors for their support and Michael in particular; such enthusiasm and commitment to St. Patrick's College, Banbridge is quite unique. His work for us all is tireless; do not ever forget that; through the dark days and the bright days, Michael works away for the good of us all.

And then came Roisin!

I came 20th October - almost four school years ago and the first thing needed was timetable issues to fix. I remember the midterm break coming a few weeks later and me having the corrected timetables ready in the wee office beside the Assembly Hall and seeing 'Woods'; the name Woods and wondering who exactly was Roisin Woods. Little did I know how much I would come to need her and to depend upon her in my years at St. Patrick's!

Amd Tracey, whose job description has changed endlessly; who has risen to the change each and every time, giving her  best for us all.

To you all - teaching staff, support staff, canteen staff, friends of St. Patrick's, I say a BIG THANK YOU!

And then, for the third line of my favourite poem; tomorrow we shall have what to do after firing.

Tomorrow you will have our faith in you placed on yourselves; Roisin will lead the team, one person will be successful and will act as vice-principal.

You will all need to pull together

and set out to do

for each and every child

the very best that you would like done for your own.

And if you keep to that principle, all will be well.

I am a few miles away to support you. The Board of Governors have asked me that, especially in the time-consuming role of monitoring and evaluating, to support the evidencing of Teaching and Leanrning and the efficacy of pastoral structures.

And lastly - the japonica glistening in all of the neighbouring gardens.

The summer beckons; enjoy it, return restored and keep up the good work.

Many, many thanks.

Anne Mallon

 

 

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