Movilla High School celebrates 90 years

THE chair of the Governors of Movilla High School, has marked the school’s 90th birthday by congratulating the school staff on their achievements, and noted the school may be oversubscribed for year eight this autumn. Mike Nesbitt, who is also a UUP Assembly candidate for Strangford, commended the staff, teaching and nonteaching, for the remarkable journey the school has undertaken in recent times. “Six years ago, Movilla High faced a deeply uncertain future,” said Mr Nesbitt. “I shall take to the grave the shock of discovering there were those in the Education Authority who wanted to close the school and – here I quote – ‘disperse’ our children. “We fought first on the basis that Newtownards is far too large a town not to offer families the choice of a nonselective post-primary school. Having won that argument, we then worked hard to prove Movilla was the best option to deliver that service. Under the leadership of principal Ian Bell, we have succeeded. “If you look at the Department of Education’s six criteria for a sustainable school, Movilla now ticks every box. We offer an excellent educational experience, our finances are under control and within limits, we have strong leadership, the school is accessible, we have strong links with the community and enrolment is stable. “In fact, enrolment is such that we may be oversubscribed for year eight this autumn. So we are preparing to use our entry criteria for the first time in many, many years. “Despite these successes, Movilla is not complacent. Finding the spark of ability, creativity and talent in our children is a never ending challenge and I applaud our staff who retain the appetite to accept that challenge and deliver a quality non-selective education in Newtownards,” said Mr Nesbitt. Strangford MP Jim Shannon also offered his congratulations to the principal, the staff and the school’s Board of Governors. Speaking after attending the afternoon tea held to mark the 90th anniversary, Mr Shannon said: “It was great to hear of the school going from strength to strength and with the information that indications are showing that the school will be applying entrance criteria for the first time. “As you looked around, and saw past pupils who are now staff members it was so heartening and with my brother and sister both attending Movilla, I can testify to the wonderful legacy that is left and will be left. “The battle for Movilla has been hard fought and the victory of a thriving school is a sweet victory. Thank you to all involved with this wonderful event and here is to the next 90 years of Movilla High School.”