Top educationalist joins Carrickfergus Grammar School

A leading thinker and writer on English education has been welcomed as a member of staff at Carrickfergus Grammar School.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 12:59 pm

Mark Roberts, who joins the North Road-based school to teach English and as Northern Ireland’s first director of Research, is a regular columnist for the Times Educational Supplement (TES) and author of two best-selling books, with a third nearing completion.

Carrickfergus Grammar School principal James Maxwell described the appointment as “exciting and ambitious for both students and staff”.

Mr Maxwell said it reflected the school’s clear vision to pursue the highest standards and outcomes, and the highest quality learning and teaching, for its students, with the aim of becoming a regional and national centre of excellence for learning and teaching, professional development of staff and educational research over the next years.

Mark Roberts.

Last year the school noted record results, with 100% of its girls attaining 3 A*-C passes at A Level, and over 92% of boys.

First and foremost, Mr Roberts describes himself as a classroom teacher. He said: “Nothing still gives me greater joy than standing in front of a room of young people, teaching them Shakespeare and creative writing, poetry and rhetoric.”

In June 2020 he released a best-selling book ‘You Can’t Revise for GCSE English! Yes You Can and Mark Roberts Shows You How’, published by Collins.

As an English literature obsessive, Mr Roberts has also written introductions to the Collins classroom classics version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’,and ‘Frankenstein’.

“When we are once more in school, I very much look forward to returning to the classroom and getting to know the students and parents of Carrickfergus Grammar School.

“I look forward to finding out more about the local community. And, most of all, I look forward to doing all I can to help every young person strive for future success,” Mr Roberts continued.

In his previous role as assistant principal at a large school in Devon, Mr Roberts led on staff professional development and teacher training, with a specific focus on using educational research to enhance teaching and learning.

Previously, he worked as head of English at a school in Manchester.

This experience prompted an enduring fascination with boys’ academic performance, culminating in the release of his best-selling book ‘Boys Don’t Try? Rethinking Masculinity in Schools’ (co-authored with Matt Pinkett), which was published by Routledge in April 2019. It was featured in The Guardian, The Irish Times and gained a 5-star review from Schools Week.

He also contributes to other education publications, including writing a regular column for TES on subjects including pedagogy, behaviour, leadership and educational research.

Mr Maxwell added: “These are exciting times for Carrickfergus Grammar School. Whilst the school rightly looks forward to a £4 million pound renovation to include state-of-the-art facilities, it is the quality of what happens in the classroom which matters most.

“I have no doubt that Mr Roberts will add great value to the experiences and ultimate outcomes of many of our students.”

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