THE PRINCIPAL of Malone Integrated College, Maire Thompson, has scooped the Head teacher of the Year award 2017 at the prestigious Pearson Teaching awards in London.

The 43-year-old from the Glen Road was only made aware of her nomination by parents, pupils and staff at the school when the judges phoned to congratulate her on making it into the final ten earlier this year.

Senior teacher at the school, Pat Cavanagh, said it’s “a very proud day” for the school.

“This is a fantastic achievement for Maire becoming Head Teacher of the Year 2017 for all of the UK,” he said. “She has been an inspiration as principal and the driving force behind many initiatives that have resulted in a positive change to the learning and development of all pupils. Her passion and dedication to provide the best possible future for all students is relentless. She works tirelessly with local community leaders, politicians and businesses to ensure students have opportunities to succeed in school life and beyond. This is a very proud day for Malone College and the board of governors, staff, pupils, parents and all stakeholders wish to congratulate Maire on her success.”

The organisers said that Maire Thompson had transformed the school since taking over as principal almost four years ago. The modest mother-of-two previously told the Belfast Media Group that her nomination was a recognition of the dedication and hard work of the whole school.

“A report published in June said that the improvements were a result of a whole school working together relentlessly, this is not just an award for me,” she added, “It is also for the hard-working parents, pupils and staff behind the growing success of the school. I may be the figurehead but the award represents far more than just me.”