New Friends principal excited by challenges and rewards ahead

The soon-to-be new principal of Friends School, Lisburn, said this week he was excited at the prospect of taking up what was sure to be a challenging but nonetheless rewarding role.

Newly appointed Friends School principal Mr Stephen Moore with four Sixth Formers who have received conditional offers from Oxford or Cambridge this year - from left, Head Girl, Brooke Watson (Downing College, Cambridge, Economics), Molly Harte (Pembroke College, Cambridge, Natural Sciences), Deputy Head Boy, Robert Harrison (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, Music) and Jason Steenson ( Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Mathematics).

Come September this year the school’s current vice-principal, Stephen Moore, will succeed Elizabeth Dickson as principal and hers, he said, was a “fantastic” legacy on which to build.

“The fact that the school was the only post-primary school deemed outstanding by the Inspectorate in 2014 is no accident and is the result of many years’ hard work,” he said. “It is evidence not only of academic excellence but also of how we try to make sure that the needs of each individual pupil are central to everything we do. It’s an exciting time for me. I know that this role will bring its challenges, but it will also bring its rewards.”

Resident in Lisburn with his wife Emma and their four children, Mr Moore was educated at Antrim Grammar School and later at Queen’s College, Oxford, where he read French and German, his interest in languages allowing him to work abroad as a foreign languages assistant .

He completed his PGCE at Queen’s University, Belfast before beginning his teaching career in 1996. Mr Moore spent 10 years at Ballyclare High School before joining Friends’ as head of Modern Languages in 2006, progressing to positions including senior teacher and latterly vice-principal.

Grateful, he said, to the governors of Friends for giving him the opportunity to lead what he called a “wonderful” school, Mr Moore said he was looking forward to serving pupils, staff and parents. 

“It’s a real pleasure to see our pupils mature and flourish and to see how much school means to them. Seeing the success of pupils like the four who have received offers from Oxford and Cambridge this year, or those who have been placed first at GCSE and A level, is very pleasing,” he said.  

“Not only that: at our Final Assembly before Easter, we were able to celebrate pupils’ achievements in all sorts of other areas . . . It really is a remarkable privilege to be involved in helping to shape all of this. 

“To add to the excitement, we have building work going on to renovate the upper floors of Middle House, the red-brick building at the front of school, and a second project to provide us with a new Maths and Music block.  

“Whatever happens, I don’t think that boredom will be a feature of the next few months.”