School children living in the BT14 area of North Belfast deserve the best educational opportunities and that means good schools based in the community, a local headmaster has said.

Martin Moreland, principal of Our Lady of Mercy Girls School, said the quality of education already available in North Belfast cannot be underestimated and urged parents and P7 pupils to take that into consideration when selecting which school to choose next year.

Schools in the parishes of St Vincent de Paul, Sacred Heart and Holy Cross have faced an uncertain time of late. St Gemma’s School on Oldpark has already been recommended for closure while Our Lady of Mercy has been subject to speculation about its future. But Martin Moreland says he is hopeful that Our Lady of Mercy will continue to be a vehicle for post-primary education into the future.

“There are plenty of girls this side of North Belfast to keep the school open,” he said.

“Our achievements speak for themselves and our recent inspection report shows that Our Lady of Mercy is a good school. Sixty six per cent of our Year 12 pupils achieve grades A to C or above. The school also won the Aisling Award for Outstanding Educational Achievement, it got first place in the all-Ireland GLEO awards for Best Practice in Irish and a recent inspection found that the school had a ‘very caring and supportive ethos, evidenced by excellent working relationships between the pupils and staff’.”