Prestigious accolade for Hazelwood Integrated College

Staff and students at Hazelwood Integrated College were today (Wednesday) presented with a Silver Award as part of this year’s Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Principal of Hazelwood, Máire Thompson, pictured with staff and students after the award was presented by Education Minister, Peter Weir MLA.
Principal of Hazelwood, Máire Thompson, pictured with staff and students after the award was presented by Education Minister, Peter Weir MLA.
Principal of Hazelwood, Máire Thompson, pictured with staff and students after the award was presented by Education Minister, Peter Weir MLA.

The Minister for Education, Mr Peter Weir, was in attendance to present the college with the accolade.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Hazelwood Integrated College is one of just 76 Silver Award winners across the UK.

Hazelwood Integrated College was honoured with a Silver Aaward in The Award for Making a Difference - Secondary School of the Year for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day.

Hazelwood Integrated College is a co-educational, all-ability integrated school, situated in, and serving an area of multiple deprivation in north Belfast.

The college has introduced a number of unique initiatives to further enhance both the learning and pastoral experience of all its students, including on-site social workers, staff and student wellbeing coordinators, an LGBTQ+ group and an internship programme for students at Post 16.

Hazelwood Integrated College is now in the running for one of just 14 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC.

A spokesperson for the Whitewell Road school said: “This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country.”

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Principal of Hazelwood, Máire Thompson, said: “We are so excited and proud to receive this award. Hazelwood is a vibrant, inclusive, learning environment. We place our students at the heart of our decision-making.

“This award is recognition of the hard work of students, staff, governors and the whole school community. A great day for north Belfast!”

Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: “Over the past year, we have, all of us, come to appreciate and respect the value of teachers.

“They have so often been taken for granted. Not any more. Parents know now what it takes to teach, and teach well, and how much commitment, dedication and enthusiasm and knowledge and understanding, yes – and patience.

“Children know it too, if they didn’t before. So many missed their teachers as well as their friends. We all honour them today. Let’s now praise them, wish them well and above all, thank them.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, added: “Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners for their commitment, dedication and passion for their work. Despite the incredible challenges they have faced over the past few months, school staff have risen to the occasion time and again.

“It is so important to recognise and celebrate teachers, teaching assistants and lecturers for the impact they have on our young people every year, and that is why Pearson is delighted to support these Awards.”

Lorraine Langham, Chief Executive of Future First, the education charity sponsoring this award, explained: “Making a difference is what our work at Future First is all about. That’s why we sponsored the Making the Difference Award.

“Hazelwood Integrated College has shown just what can be done and our heartfelt congratulations go to all concerned. A young person’s start in life should not limit their future and through our alumni programmes with schools, students can be motivated and inspired to make the difference themselves and transform their own lives.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “My warmest congratulations go to all this year’s silver award winners. They should be proud to receive this recognition of their commitment to the profession, and the outstanding education and guidance they provide for their students.

“Teachers and school staff up and down the country consistently go above and beyond for their students, and this is especially true over the past few months.

“It is down to their hard work that schools have been able to open their gates to all pupils again for the start of the new term, and I cannot say thank you enough for everything they have done.”


A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you.