All Saints College Belfast
Subject: Law and Politics, Head of Learning for Life and Work.
Your place of birth: Belfast.
Studied at: CBS Glen Road, Belfast; Queen’s University Belfast.
First job: Royal Mail Return Letter Centre.
What it taught me: This job was a massive learning curve for me. Having to get myself into town on time every morning and not getting home to six was a great culture shock. However, it taught me two key lessons in life which I still take with me today: My time management skills and how to handle myself in the staff room. Being able to interact and build positive relationships in this environment has been crucial for me in my life as a teacher as positive relationships for me are everything in education. Pupils thrive and succeed if they have that positive relationship with their teacher.
Family/status: Married eight years to Niamh Thompson. Two children: Laochra aged 6 and Aibreann aged 2.
Best advice anyone ever gave you: I have been lucky to be involved in sport all my life and worked with some great managers. A colleague of mine, Peter McKeever, who also managed me in Gaelic once told me: "Regardless of the result don't get too high or too low, focus on what you learned.” This is something that I have now applied in my career. In the workplace, someone who inspires me has always been my VP Damien Coyle and he has always told me "Be yourself and tell your story no matter what situation you are in.” This is something I have taken with me all of my life.
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Do it. Teaching is a wonderful and rewarding profession. If you enjoy your job you will never have to work a day in your life. That's how I feel about teaching. I could not reccomend it highly enough.
I am a local lad who has spent the majority of his life in education. I went to CBS Glen Road and since qualifying as a teacher I have worked in CBS all my life. CBS is now All Saints College which is an amalgation of three local West Belfast schools. This newly-formed school is and will be for many years the heartbeat of West Belfast with a new building to look forward to.
My job has played and always will play a significant part of my life. I am passionate about the pupils from West Belfast. I was one of them and I faced the same barriers as they did. I feel it is my job to inspire and support these pupils to be able to manoeuvre around these barriers and achieve their full potential in their education, personal and family life and how they contribute to society.
I have been married to Niamh Thompson for eight years and we have two wonderful kids, Laochra who is 6 and Aibreann who is 2 with baby number three on the way in six weeks.
My family is the most important thing in my life, although my wife would say my love of sport is! I am an avid sportsman. I am the current manager of Sarsfields GAC senior football team and I am a member of Ford FC, although I have been pushed into the over-35 team recently!