Continuing an ethos of tolerance and respect will be high on the agenda for the new principal at Carrickfergus Model Primary School.
Jennifer Miller took on the role at the beginning of September following the retirement of former headmaster Gary Hanley.
Mrs Miller has moved to the Model after six years as vice-principal and one as acting principal at Greystone Primary in Antrim.
She began her teaching career in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk after graduating from Stranmillis College, where she specialised in English and Drama.
A native of Glengormley, Mrs Miller joins a teaching staff of 15 at the Belfast Road primary.
Speaking to the Times, the new principal said she was looking forward to building on the Model’s already solid reputation in the town.
“The school has always had very high standards; I met with parents [recently] and the feedback from them was great,” Mrs Miller added.
“The most important thing though is to help a child reach their full potential.
“The Model has always been very involved in the community and I would like to encourage the children to use local facilities, like the library and Legg Park.
“There is a strong Christian ethos here at the school as well and I want to continue to encourage and promote that tolerance and respect.”
One of Carrick’s most historic schools, Model Primary dates back to 1860.
Just under 400 pupils are currently enrolled at the school, with two classes to each year group.
With a large local catchment area, there have even been international enquires over enrolment.
“I had a call a few weeks ago from a family who are moving from Australia and another from Japan who were hoping to get places for their child in the school next year,” Mrs Miller said.
“We also have quite a few newcomer children from other countries; they would get involved in things like World Languages Day when they would tell other pupils about their culture and traditions. The children love learning about things like that.”
One of the school’s successful schemes is its breakfast club, which allows parents to drop children off from 8am to be supervised until the beginning of the school day. “It’s a really good system for parents who are working early,” Mrs Miller said.
Meanwhile, a packed calendar of events lies ahead for the autumn term. “We have Harvest coming up so we’ll be making food-boxes for community groups. This year we’re taking part in a active travel campaign; pupils will be dressing up in bright clothes and it’ll be about awareness of travelling home on darker nights,” the principal added.