Saturday, September 02, 2006

Methody Update

I posted a couple of comments about Methodist College in August. Tonight, the Belfast Telegraph reported on a statement released by its under-advertised head teacher, Cecilia Galloway ...

The principal of one of Northern Ireland's top grammar schools last night assured staff and pupils that she is "very much in post".

Head teacher of Methodist College, Belfast, Cecilia Galloway said she was "very surprised" to hear of rumours that she is set to leave the prestigious post after less than a year.

Ms Galloway issued a statement to set the record straight when approached by the Belfast Telegraph. "I can assure you that I am very much in post. We are all working very hard in Methody to support our youngsters," she said.


Anonymous said...

She's gone now well.. and good riddance.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

As an outsider, with no connection to Methody, that seems a little harsh without any explanation?!

Anne Robinson said...

The Board of Governors should never have appointed Ms Galloway in the first place. Since she arrived in the school, there was a witch hunt on for her. They (teachers and 'influencial' parents) never gave her a chance and made her life hell. It is okay for people to make comments, when they don't know the full facts. There are so many narrow minded people about who are so sucked in by the trash they read in the papers and who don't know firt hand what is going on. I feel so sorry for the women but I know she is a survivor and will get over this, but by God it will leave a pretty bad taste in her mouth of what people from Belfast are really like! She was right when she said if the people of Belfast can't agree on the Belfast Agreement what chance did she had of trying to get the teachers agreeing on running the school. Bringing Dr Mulryne back will not cure the problems of the arrogant teachers!!!

Anonymous said...

"She's gone now well.. and good riddance."

Actually I'm attending methodist college belfast.

I know the inside story (having spoken to teachers, as well as speaking the the women herself)

"They (teachers and 'influencial' parents) never gave her a chance and made her life hell."

I began the year with a very positive view of her. The first decision she made was to scrap the hymns. She also announced in a 4th year assembly "This is a Methodist School and it will Run as one"

She went on to make many more unpopular decisions (The demotion of excellent teachers, the banning of teachers gowns, severe tightening up on freedom of speach) I personally was lambasted for comments I made about my annoyance over the loss of the hymns. I made those comments on a "confidential form".

"narrow minded people about who are so sucked in by the trash they read in the papers and who don't know firt hand what is going on"

I obviously do know what is going on first hand.

" but by God it will leave a pretty bad taste in her mouth of what people from Belfast are really like!"

That is a stereotypical comment, peopel from Belfast are no more aggressive or pushy than people from any other country. By saying this you have proven yourself to be arrogant.

"She was right when she said if the people of Belfast can't agree on the Belfast Agreement what chance did she had of trying to get the teachers agreeing on running the school."

How dare she bring our countries politics into the management of the school. Never have I known any teachers to dissagree over what is happening. She has insulted every person living in northern ireland by saying we are at the same level as those people in stormont.

Whilst Mulryne was at methodist college there was never once a negative press report or dissagreement among staff.

In short, Ms Galloway changed too much too quickly. Methody is a great school and it does not need changing. She made changes just to prove her power and strike fear into the staff and parents.

Your Ignorance of what happened is Shocking!

Anonymous said...

I feel that Mrs Galloway has been treated very unfairly. She was almost bound to fail in such an environment. Everyone in that bloody awful place is obsessed with money, status and image.

She was treated like a foreigner and I think it's about time people in Northern Ireland acknowledged how xenophobic they are. Methody may have people from many different belief systems but are people really taught to respect someone else's right to think for himself? Not on your Nellie. A former senior vice-principal frequently told me that "teaching people to think for themselves" was what a grammar-school education was all about, to him. [That was in the good, old days.] Mulryne would agree but only as long as, having thought for themselves for no more than eight seconds, "people" came to the same conclusions, as he did.

Hey, you members of Wilf's fan club, what about atheists? You wouldn't want to bully non-believers into letting their kids have Bible lessons with members of a far-right cult? At Methody, unfortunately, that's what RE is. No nice, liberal Methodists, these days. Naturally, Free Presbyterians, Jehovah's Witnesses, assorted neo-Nazis, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus and Uncle Tom Cobbliegh were allowed to opt out of assembly, lest the school be shown in its true, tub-thumping light. Meanwhile, agnostics and atheists, who objected to hearing "Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven", for the twenty-sixth time that month, were told to put up with it or find another school.

"There is no God but Allah" is the inscription on the Saudi flag but it wouldn't be out of place at No 1 Baloney Road. Hallelujah (and fry dem Communists, while you're at it)!

How ironic it is that we should find rampant anti-Englishness in an "export-only" academic factory, whose former pupils move to England and take lessons, in sounding English. For instance, an old acquaintance of mine, originally from East Belfawst, now works for a major multinational corporation and sounds like Inspector Linley, "off the telly". If that's not phoney, then my name's Alistair Campbell.

Mrs Galloway is Scottish, by the way, for those of you who couldn't tell. However, I believe that she first trained at the Liverpool College of Education. Oh my God, Antonia, she's PRACTICALLY a scouser! She'll be wearing shell suits in assembly! Was Supergran simply too "Rab C Nesbitt" for the Fascist College Belfast? Probably. No, make that "undoubtedly". May I recommend Nuala McKeever, as the next headmistress? She does a frightfully good impression of the Nawth Dahn/ Billylisson teeps, sorry "types", who would fit in just fine.

It was Mulryne's vision of the school, and not Galloway's, which was the greatest break in gradual evolution. In the 1960s and 1970s, under Drs. Worral and Kincade, Methody was developing into a reasonably well-run, liberal institution but Mulryne was a throwback to the 1950s, in terms of his old-time religion, croneyism and obsession with trivial details.

Strangely, he was also ahead of his time, although I didn't know it, in 1989. I doubt that the two know each other but T Wilfred Mulryne was certainly as much of a control freak and sanctimonious creep, as Anthony C L Blair. The similarities didn't end there. While Wilf meddled in everything and, until later years, couldn't delegate to save his life, it seemed that he really hadn't much of a clue about what was going on around him. Perhaps, the truth is that he didn't want to know. Any embarrassing problems [bullying, drink, drugs, pregnancy, affairs between pupils and members of staff etc] were swept under the carpet.

His attitude (and, sadly, that of too many members of staff but, thankfully not of all) was that problems were always the sole responsibility of those concerned and that they would have to solve them elsewhere. Boy, what a happy place he made it. Small wonder that a leading educational psychologist in Belfast has described Methody as a "psychologically toxic environment". Maybe not for true-blue, sports-playing, hymn-singing heros but quite possibly for those, who don't conform to the Afrikaner-like mentality of Ulster's middle classes and really do want to think for themselves.

Dr Kincade, Mulryne's predecessor, was derided, by some members of staff, for occasionally practising his putting, in his study. So what? He automatically commanded the respect of pupils, didn't lose his temper, didn't need to shout and knew how to run the school. He was entitled to a few minutes of recreation, here and there. When things went wrong for Wilf, he took out his frustrations on other people, which made him seem like no one, so much as Dick Dastardly. ["Mutley, you've made me look a complete idiot again. Take that, you miserable hound!] He bore grudges too. All in all, he was not the epitome of a good headmaster, a good leader or a good manager.

Some of the comments, posted by current pupils on this web site and others, are personal insults, aimed Mrs Galloway. This is a dangerous road, on which to set out: if we are to start examining the personal appearance or specch of senior members of staff, then very few are going to come out of the exercise well. But, while we're at it [Heh heh], Mulryne looked like Andrew Lloyd-Webber's ugly little brother and frequently stuttered away, in front of a microphone. Give me Mollie Weir [famous Glaswegian actress- it was before your time, darlings], any day. Physical imperfections are not normally worth mentioning but, in a few cases, I can't help remarking on them: some people go out of their way to irritate.

There were one or two dashing rowing instructors and biology [snigger] teachers, in days of yore ["dashing", in their own opinions, at any rate] but their appeal seemed to be limited to some of the less fussy girls in Forms 5 and L6. As Hughie Greene might have said, "And this week's star prize, a raincoat, could be yours." Such romantic gifts revealed an imaginative nature. [Yeah, right.] One of these dandies is reputed to have had an affair with a pupil and THEN her mother. Another character was caught in flagrante with a girl from the College", at party. Tsk! Tsk! And at a "Christian" school too.

Dr Worrall, possibly Methody's greatest headmaster, was a pacifist and refused to fight in the Second World War, a conflict which was one of the few just wars in history. Instead, he volunteered to fight fires, during the Blitz. That showed he was a man of principle, rather than a coward. Mulryne was the opposite: a man, who could never give a straight answer to a question and enjoyed scheming, behind people's backs. He really should have been a senior civil servant.

Like so many products of the Methodist College Belfast and similar, middle-class institutions, Mulryne "believes" whatever will be of greatest advantage to him, at a given moment. For years, he and the staunchly (but very quietly) unionist Board of Governors refused to allow Sinn Fein anywhere near the school, while all other parties were welcome. "Well, they were the political wing of a terrorist army.", you will say. Quite so but why, then, not very long afterwards, was Martin McGuinness greeted like a football team that had just won the World Cup? Er, because he was Minister of Education and thus "one of us"; a perfectly respectable chap, whose past was instantly erased. More recently, Mulryne has, in public, vehemently opposed the abolition of academic selection but, in private, he made favourable noises in the general direction of Castle Buildings at Stormont, as he hoped to receive some juicy QUANGO appointment. In a bad-tempered outburst, shortly before his departure, he said to a pupil [yet again in the Assembly, so revered by pupils] "You're the sort we'll not have, once we go private." I belive that Mulryne is a lay preacher in the Church of Ireland. If he decides to train for the ministry, he will be an ideal candidate for the post of Vicar of Bray, should it become vacant.

Mrs Galloway stood accused of trampling over the teachers. Wilf didn't bother: he forced out (or sidelined) those, who didn't sgree with him. Mulryne forced teachers to resign, left, right and centre, in 1989-90; set about abolishing the houses [Surely a more worthwhile tradiiton than gowns or hymns?]; and redesigned the organisational structures for form teachers, departments and even prefects, until the school resembled a model of a Regional Health Authority. Mrs Galloway was probably trying to undo some of that; trying to make Methody a school once more, rather than "Er, er, the College", as my friends and I, ahem, "affectionately" referred to it.

The pupils, who see Mulryne as some sort of hero, were not even born, when he became headmaster, let alone when he first joined the staff, in the 1960s. The are not able to take a broad view because the timeframe of their experience is very narrow.

Many of them are also tambourine-waving, Bible-bashing, fundamentalist Christians of the very worst kind. It is natural, therefore, that they should side with Mulryne and the groupies he apopinted to senior posts, over a seventeen-year period. [Some of the old liberal element still remains, of course, but most have gone.]

Mulryne was, underneath the public image, a very unpleasant character. He was vain, self-important, snobbish, deceitful, intolerant and part of an old-boy network, which ought to have been scrapped forty years ago. [Some more reasons, why he fits in with 90% of the current pupils and their pushy parents.] It's not hard to see why he behaved as he did: he had a massive inferiority complex because of his lowly social origins his more popular brother.

Ironically, today's "College" brats are almost exclusively from high-income households on the fringes of Lisburn and South Belfast. The days, when a working-class boy from the wrong end of Ulsterville Avenue could make it to the top have gone, partly because Ulsterville Avenue (and everywhere within a mile of the school) is full of "students and young professionals" but mainly because a child's academic success depends, to a large extent, on the wealth and commitment of his/ her parents. Why should anyone be surprised? That's how things work, in the era of New Labour: the children of the Fifties, Wilf's generation, climbed the ladder and then pulled it up, behind them.

Unlike any other "Dr" at "The College" [Mulryne's terminology: it always used to be a "school"], Mulryne's degree was awarded "honoris causa". He didn't earn it but that didn't stop him plastering his title and his photograph over everything he could. These were clear symptoms of his "little man syndrome".

Mrs Galloway has been accused of banning gowns [Gasp!], making sure that people were singing hymns [Shock!] and other such dreadful crimes. However, she did not, to the best of my knowledge, ever fling a pupil down the steps of the gallery in the Whitla Hall, as a certain person did, during one of many "extended assemblies", [extended so that he could rant on about people, who didn't respect Christianity, search for "personal steeereos" and tell them that they weren't welcome. So much for a "college" that respected all beliefs.] in the 1990s. His cultured accent slipped a little, on that occasion. [The problem was a lack of maintenance: the (very loose) back row of seats in the gallery always sounded like bed springs, when it moved. Several "wags" were gently bouncing up and down and that's why we were all laughing.]

The real problems lie with the Board of Governors, which is slightly to the right of the late General Franco, and the Department of Education, which adopted Thatcherite nonsense so enthusiastically in the 1980s and 1990s, that people like Mulryne were allowed to create personal fiefdoms and run them, as they saw fit. The school went from around 1600, in 1984 [when there were still Department of Education quotas for intake into Form 1, every year], to 2300 (or thereabouts), in the modern era. It is not simplistic to argue that it has become far too large to manage and control. Like many English public schools (which Methody has always tried to imitate), the Methodist College Belfast is a business first and a school second. Pastoral care and personal development come last, after all the other flag-waving, publicity-generating "priorities", such as rugby, rowing, hockey, choirs and careers conventions. What kind of school is it where, when a pupil is seriously injured (by other pupils), he has to make it to A & E, on his own and then a Vice-Principal tells him off for "looking scruffy"? How many grammar schools have had pupils, who've been arrested for armed robbery after a "formal", or who have pushed people off fire escapes? It's high time that the excesses of such Hooray Henrys were curbed.

Mrs Galloway made many mistakes but all were trivial. She was no diplomat but she was a very good headmistress, before she went to Methody. I don't know all the "ins" and "outs" of the situation but the circumstantial evidence is very much in her favour and the accusations, levelled at her, nothing short of pathetic.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Wow! That could nearly be the longest blogger comment in history. Thanks for your views - your views, just in case there are any lawyers reading!

(And to clarify, I've only ever set foot in Methody once - and that was for a wedding - so I'm no apologist for any of the headmasters, and no first hand knowledge of the school.

But I'll re-read your comment again to better appreciate some of the backgorund.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typos, earlier. I was in a hurry.

I should also point out that Cecilia Galloway didn't go anywhere near Liverpool College of Education. I wondered about that (duff) information and checked which university she attended. It was Leeds.

I feel very strongly that Methody has been dragged down, over the last twenty years. What outsiders, such as myself, dubbed "The Malone Road Squad" finally won: there is no place for people, who aren't fully paid-up "party members".

You'll forgive the reference to the Soviet era: I'm sure you good folks learn about it in history, now. Mmm, good analogy, though. By the time little Methodites (or "Her-methodites", if they're female) get to L6, the "centralised state" has given way to a loose federation of tribes, each with separatist tendencies.

Before I forget, I'd like to correct an error, which another (sycophantic) blogger made. Dr Mulryne did not single-handedly set up the Sixth Form Centre, although he has been known to tamper with elections to the "democratic" [as in "people's democratic", presumably] Committee. It was named the Worrall Centre, in 1973, for some reason. Who can say why? "Doh!", as the young people might put it.

In my time as a pupil, the real trouble [I am not counting water bombs, endemic pilfering by tuck shop "assistants" or the occasional burst of deafening soul music.] was with obnoxious kids (usually the ones with nouveau riche parents), rather than with uppity staff.

Many teachers were decent, hard-working, compassionate people, who had entered the profession for the right reasons. [There were always some exceptions.] Sadly, most of that generation have now gone. Half a dozen of them might even have been described as "inspirational".

Inspiration is something that modern teachers don't understand but it's not really their fault. Those, entering the profession today, are generally science and arts graduates in urgent need of a job. Many of them weren't all that keen on the degree subject, which they chose but, in an age, when 35 or 40% of school leavers are going into third-level education, young people can't afford to be too fussy.

I would guess that less than 5% of teachers felt, before starting their careers, that teaching was a true vocation. That doesn't necessarily make them poor teachers but it does mean that it's unlikely they'll ever be GREAT ones.

Ideally, people should do (a) what they enjoy and (b) what they're good at. Sadly, our top-heavy economy and the refusal, of the government to plan and fund higher education and vocational training to meet the needs of the country, drive would-be students towards subjects with limited potential for application, outside academia. [That's a polite way of describing them.]

In theory, our education system has had three purposes.

1. To broaden minds- education in the true sense.

Not much evidence of that, these days, at GCSE, AS/A2 or even unergraduate level.

2. To give people qualifications.

Has this not become the be-all and end-all of the system? Bureaucrats are obsessed with having bits of paper to "prove" things. But are young people any better trained or educated, today, than they were forty years ago? Very few seem to think so and they're certainly not happier, despite much greater material wealth. [There's a lesson in that for "the College", I think.]

3. To train people for the world of work and help them develop specific skills.

Methody would point to the Gestapo-like "clocking-in" system for latecomers, as evidence of preparation for the daily, nine-to-five grind. Brilliant!

It's unlikely that such academic institutions will ever embrace vocational training but what about preparing people for life outside work? Only lip service is paid to that. The one practical thing I did, in seven years, was to change a plug and that was only because we had a very sensible, down-to-Earth Physics teacher. I don't even need to do that, any more, because everything comes with a plug attached!

How about showing people how to run their bank accounts [without the help of one of Wilf's corporate sponsors, thank you]; invest money; take out a suitable mortgage; change the oil, filter, spark plugs, wheels and light bulbs on a car; change a nappy; cook a meal, using fresh ingredients; do all the housework properly [Have you ever lived in a student house?]; fill in a tax form; stay healthy, avoid various diseases and check for symptoms; transfer property [the basics]; make a will; take out life insurance; arrange a pension; travel overseas in safety; and so on; and so on. 99% of people, who go to Methody, will do all these things [OK, maybe not the indicator bulbs] but no one learns how to do them, while at school. If the reasoning is "They'll forget it all, anyway.", then why bother teaching anyone anything? I couldn't conjugate any French irregular verbs, in 2006, but I know where to look them up and I understand how the language works.

Teachers can't be blamed for what's going wrong, in schools. "It's the system" sounds like a cop-out for people, who are weary of problems in the public sector. [I'm including all secondary education in the public sector because almost all grammar school places are funded by the taxpayer.] The expression usually is a cop-out but there's also an element of truth, in most cases. The NHS and the education system are great examples. How can teachers hope to turn the tide, on their own?

One teacher trying to change things, without any support, would be a bit like someone trying to raise the Titanic, using one of those cuddly-toy grabs that they once had in Barry's Amusement Centre, at Portrush. If Methody was a "Titanic", which needed to be rescued, it seems that those, who were quite happy living on the floor of the North Atlantic, somehow re-started the engines, in an attempt to drag her under.

Add (to a teacher's underlying lack of job satisfaction) ["I could have been a lumberjack..."] the decline in standards in universities; modern educational theories; bad parenting and out-of-control children; endless government meddling with exams and curricula; and masses of bureaucracy and assessment, which teachers face, every single day. What's the result?

No one is properly prepared for the job and few have the energy for it. Methody might not be a run-down Comp in Hackney but teaching there is still tough.

As for the veracity of my claims, well, it might take me a while to round up the witnesses but my sources are usually very reliable.

Anonymous said...

Some time ago, in this discussion, a Methody girl said that Belfast people were no pushier or more aggressive than those in any other city. She also berated another contributor for his "arrogance" in implying that Belfast people were pushier and more aggressive than others.

This girl may have been right, if one is comparing Belfast with Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Bristol and so on. [Wegies and Scousers have always been good to be, I might add.]

However, I think she is missing the essential point that Cecilia Galloway's doughty defender was making. No reasonable and impartial person, who has a good knowledge of what has happened at Methody over the last thirty years, could argue that the school's pupils, parents and (a proportion of) the staff are not, in general, pushier and more aggressive than the bulk of the population.

Those qualities (coupled with connections through school, university and family,) have helped Methody pupils get to the top in business and academia. Today, the Old-Boy networks have largely disappeared (within Northern Ireland at any rate) because of the "Protestant Diaspora", which began in about 1971. When 65% of professionals [doctors, dentists, opticians, chemists, teachers, social workers etc] on "Planet Ulster" are Roman Catholics, a Collegians' tie doesn't count for anything [and it's quite right that it shouldn't].

The public school atmosphere probably helped toughen them up too but I have seen it do a lot of damage to people, as well. For every pupil, who rose to the challenge, beat the bullies and kept fussy teachers happy, there was one, who had the stuffing knocked out of him (or her).

Now, it's true that young people, anywhere, can be very nasty to each other [Grosvenor is another example of a Belfast grammar school, which was somewhat out of control, in my day, and its exam results weren't terribly good either. It has since improved, in many respects.] and other schools [such B.R.A. and Inst] have much the same attitude to pastoral care, that Methody had, until the beginning of the "Noughties" ["Sod off!", in other words].

However, at Methody (where one might have expected people to be more civilised), feuds, division into cliques and vicious "hate campaigns" were taken to new heights [or should that be depths?]. That was partly because many pupils were quite bright and tortured their victims in fairly sophisticated ways and partly because the staff were unware of what was happening or were unwilling or unable to do much about it.

It was also because, on account of their parents wealth, occupations etc, many of perpetrators considered themselves to be superior to all other forms of life. As some of you will know, that can be a symptom of an inferiority complex. "How come?", you ask.

When I think of the real pains-in-the-neck, who made school such a drag, I can see that all their money [designer clothes, flash trainers, electronic gadgets, drunken orgies] didn't make them happy. They had empty lives and parents, who idn't really bother with them much. Often, "mummy" and "daddy" were divorced or a little out of touch with the modern World [just like Wilf and his clones. Out of touch, I mean. Doreen might beat him up, if he thought about running off with some, younger, classically educated nymph. The very idea is ridiculous: he is a committed family man.] The majority of troublemakers were prep-school-educated hangers-on, led by the rich brats.

Those unfortunates, who were outside the tribal system, didn't wear the right kind of hair gel or had (what I regard as) a "normal" family life were targets. The most "conformist", intolerant and ultra-conservative people were the pupils, at least until the early 1990s.

Some mention must be made of the rampant homophobia, which has existed in many schools (inlcuding Methody) for decades. As a heterosexual, I have never seen gay people as a threat and was never interested in holding McCarthy-style witch hunts. Besides, how can you tell whether someone is gay? No one ever brought Judy Garland LPs to school or minced down the corridor! [Joke]

Sadly, others did not believe in "Live and Let Live" and viewed those, who were bored to tears by rugby (or weren't terribly good at it) with suspicion. Some "people wot no about this sort of fink" have told me that homophobic tendencies are often either (a) an attempt to disguise the homosexual tendencies of the homophobe or [projection] (b) a result of a strict Christian, Jewish or Islamic upbringing. Hmmm... I shall leave you to decide.

The Mulryne regime- emphasising the twin religions of rugby (with all its macho spin-offs, such as an artificial hierarchy of pupils and underage sex) and right-wing, American-style Christianity- seemed to reinforce the money-based, sport-based "class" system, within the school. As I've already suggested, swelling numbers made the school much harder to manage (but it kept the tills ringing).

It's not as if Methody is even the best place for anyone in Northern Ireland to study: there are much better schools, both in terms of exam results and the happiness of pupils and staff. Why does MCB continue to have such a "superb" reputation?

Well, Methody is bigger than any other grammar school, anywhere, [Has quality been sacrificed to quantity?] and still has a (lucrative) boarding department. Those, who think that the school is the bees-knees should look at the academic record of smaller schools, such as Strathearn, Banbridge Academy and, top of the league (in all-round personal development) Friends.

Nothing is impossible: where there's a will, there's a way. Methody can be reformed. Assuming that pupil numbers will remain high [a very big assumption], the following steps could be taken, to bring Methody into line with the rest of Northern Ireland's education system. These are not detailed proposals: they are merely "food for thought". Go on: indulge me.

The existing "campus" would be sold (at a profit, running well into eight figures). The money, raised by the sale, would give the school a lot of options. The cost of bringing the old school up to standard is estimated at around £50 million, which seems very high, considering what the same sum could achieve in "new build".

If the current site were sold, many of the exisiting buildings could be converted into apartments. The original, listed Victorian buildings would be preserved and further restored, as would the lawns and (where possible) the existing building line. Some of the "quads" might go but these can't be seen from the outside, anyway, and were only created within the last thirty or forty years. The new buildings would have to blend in well with the red-brick structures, dating from the period, 1867-1900. [In other words, the "A Block" corridor, Boys' Boarding, the San, elderly parts of C and D Blocks and McArthur Hall.] The original style of gothic pillars would be reinstated at all the gates [but not in the original soft sandstone, which crumbles away] and new trees planted, to soften the boundaries. College Gardens (a private road, which is owned by the school) would be restored, with new paving, trees and "period" street lighting.

Before the "big move", two new, less valuable (but much quieter) sites could be prepared, one in South Belfast and the another in East Belfast.

With new, direct road access from either the Ravenhill Road or the Cregagh Road, Pirrie Park could become the "eastern" campus. Modern school and college buildings have a much smaller "footprint" than those, built between the 1930s and the late 1980s, so space could be used much more efficiently. However, if necessary, additional sports facilities could be provided by pooling resources with another school or sports club. Alternatively, Lisnasharragh High School (and possibly the Primary School) will soon be available. Both buildings, dating from the mid-1950s, are in excellent condition, the secondary school having received a new roof, only a few years ago.

In South Belfast, the playing fields at Deramore could be acquired and Harlequins relocated to a revamped Pirrie Park, with state-of-the-art facilities. Stringent parking restricitons would be required, within half a mile of the new school, lest it become a severe nuisance to local residents but it would be very easy to provide new bus routes (or improve existing services), to serve any new campus.

Each of the two schools would have around 1200 pupils, which is (more or less) the ideal size for a grammar school. Obviously, there could be some shared facilities, between "Methody East" and "Methody South".

It would also be possible for the two schools to develop slightly different approaches to education, with one maintaining the "worthy" traditions, which the little Tories of BT9 6BY value so much, and the other adopting a more liberal and inclusive style.

The boarding departments should be closed and, in their place, "subsidiary schools" opened in various parts of the World. A "Methodist College, Shanghai" or "Methodist College, Penang" could do very well and give thousands (rather than dozens) of Chinese and Malaysian boys and girls access to a British-style education. Several English public schools have already engaged in this type of venture, with great success.

Both preparatory departments should be closed and new links forged with existing primary schools. It is socially irresponsible to keep prep schools open, while more than half of ALL schools in Belfast are under threat of closure.

If pupil numbers fall drastically, then only one campus might be needed.

The school's constitution should be completely rewritten, to give parents, pupils, the local community and (especially) the staff more of a say in its governance. The Methodist ministers and other "worthies" should gracefully bow out and wake up to the fact a large organisation, such as Methody, has to be run on a professional basis and not organised by bumbling (if well-intentioned) amateurs, like some Sunday-School trip to the Zoo. Cecilia Galloway's message, although not delivered terribly clearly at times, was exactly that and the reactionaries (whether old or young) didn't like it.

Strange as it may seem to the young lady, to whom I referred at the beginning of this "lecture", there are parallels with what's happening (or not happening) at Stormont: neither Methody's governors nor Northern Ireland's politicians can afford to stick their heads in the sand or live in "splendid isolation", any longer. If either group fails to modify its behaviour, then many other people will suffer.

Anonymous said...

Personally i am overjoyed with the fact that that horrid woman has left the college. She had her chance and frankly, she blew it.
Being an ex-pupil who just left in June 2006, i know the amount of disruption she caused not just within the puils, but within the teachers too.
In the space of a couple of months, she came up with plans to change the sixth form centre, uniform, got rid of gowns being worn and more controversially, she scrapped singing in assembly.
The woman in all honesty had no respect among the majority of the pupils and also had no presence about her. Choosing her as head was the biggest mistake Methody has ever made.
School was more enjoyable when Dr. Mulryne was in charge, at least he showed commitment by supporting his pupils in sport and music.
More so, how could you like a boss/head teacher who refuses to
let a member of their staff go and visit their mother in hospital who is dying from cancer on their free periods?! I think that gives you a clear insight into what she is really like.
All i can say is thank goodness she is not in my leavers photograph.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

OK ... a question for anyone reading who's in sixth form or recently left another school - not Methody.

What's the singing like in your assembly. Still as bad and mumbled as I remember? If the principal of your school axed assembly singing, would it be a popular move amongst pupils, or a despised one?

Can you imagine that if your teachers wore robes - there aren't many schools still doing that - and the policy changed to disrobe them? Good or bad?

Looking in from outside, some of Cecilia Galloway's changes and ideas seem sensible and quite realistic.

Is there a university anywhere on the island of Ireland where lecturers wear gowns? Does it still happen in Campbell and Inst? I'm sure it's one way to instil respect, but it's not the holy grail of education.

Anonymous said...

But from the inside, they were pointless changes that she simply made to press her power upon others.

Scrapping singing - I don't see what is wrong with kids enjoying music. In my class there were only 4 christians out of 34. 2 of them being roman catholic, the other 2 presbyterian. The other 30 were all atheist or ignostic. We enjoyed hymns simply because of the Music. Sorry, Does enjoying music make us spoilt, homophobic, evil brats? In total there are only 3 people in my entire year that dislike me. And I rarely meet them anyway.

Scrapping the robes - The pupils really didn't care. It was just a harmless tradition. Why cause upset among staff for no real reason?

"Everyone in that bloody awful place is obsessed with money, status and image."
To quote another statistic from my class, one of them lives on the malone road. 7 of them have parents who are on employment benefits. I have never witnessed any bullying occur in my class.

Homophobia - Until about 4th year peopel do have an immature position on homophobia. But I find "gay" is used just as a general insult, and people don't actually mean it in a homophobic sense. I am aware the homophobia situation in Inst and Cambpell are FAR worse.

"school's pupils, parents and (a proportion of) the staff are not, in general, pushier and more aggressive than the bulk of the population." This appears like another stereotype. In a school like methody, it practically runs itself and there is very little need to anyone to intervene. Why should the head of pastoral care be forced to sit through a 3 hour meeting deciding upon the number of history textbooks to be purchased. When the answer is so simple and obvious. (one per pupil)

About your comment on the buildings - Methody is IMMENSELY overcrowded. However I find its huge number of pupils an advantage. First of all the variaty of extracurricular activities is huge. There are such a variety of ways to meet peopel that share your interest, even if it isn't what you would call "Cool" Methodies size makes it Very easy to find friends, despite what you may think.

However, the school is Grossly underfunded and we desperately need new buildings. But it isn't the buildings that make a school. Its the pupils and staff. Plenty of whom are very nice people.

Anonymous said...

I was speaking about my experiences and you trotted out a few "statistics" to "prove" that I was wrong and everything is hunky-dory. You still have some convincing to do.

I hadn't realised that Methody has been transformed and now takes in street urchins, with the intention of clothing and feeding them and (judging from the traffic chaos outside the school, each afternoon) giving every mother a free Peter-Mark hair-do and a BMW X-5.

I can just about remember, when it was a reasonably nice place (and 95% of the kids walked or got a bus), but that was a long time ago. I've been to very small educational establishments and one very large one [Methody]. I know which type had the better atmosphere and also at which people were able to learn more easily.

Google "Andrew Curran", a Paediatric Neurologist, now based at Alder Hey in Liverpool. He's an expert on on the physical processes, which allow us to learn, and the conditions necessary for these to take place. If he studied life at Methody, his report might well have the following conclusion. "You said it was a great school. Our survey said 'X X' [urh-urh]."

It may be some time, since I left FCB, but I have been kept up to speed by members of staff and pupils.

Old Motto: Deus Nobiscum.

New Motto, proposed by ultra-loyal Mulrynistas: "Crisis? What Crisis?"

[A famous "Sun" headline, referring to a junket, made by the PM, during the Winter of Discontent.]

So, Jim Callaghan is alive and well and in Upper Sixth at Methody? Obviously, there were no problems at all, until this pesky Scotswoman came along. Get real, you guys!

How come Cecilia Galloway was the only person, willing to come to Methody, as Principal? Why did the previous candidate pull out, with only a few months to go before he took up the post? Why did the Governors have to beg Ms Galloway to take it? The situation is now twenty times worse and the school will be lucky, if it has a new headmaster, this time next year.

I suppose the BoG could always appoint the charming, charismatic [cough, splutter] Vice-Principal [aka "Dr Death" and "The Cigarette-Smoking Man"] or the Disney Villainess, who is Head of Pastoral Care for the Junior School. My God, when I found out about that, I wondered what was next- Reinhard Heydrich as the new Jewish Chaplain?

I question the accuracy of your sectarian headcount. Are there really "2 Presbyterians, 2 Catholics and 30 Aeteists/ Agnostics", in your class? If this is the case, I do not think that it is reflective of the school, as a whole.

Those are the kind of figures, which one would have expected to see, around 15 or 20 years ago. A much larger propertion of the school is now Catholic.

After all, the City of Belfast is practically 50% Catholic and the Co Antrim side of the Lagan (within the city boundary) has a sizeable Catholic majority. Ballynafeigh and Malone were both about 70% Protestant, when I started at Methody, but the Ormeau Road, even south of the bridge, probably has a slight Catholic majority and Malone is pretty evenly balanced.

Among the 30 so-called "aetheists/ agnostics", the overwhelming majority probably believe in God but do not attend church regularly. [They shall all burn in Hell! Repent in the name of the Lord! Booze is the Devil's vomit! etc etc.]

I know, for a fact, that there are one or two true aetheists at the school and that they (and their parents) have been given a hard time by Wilf [hard-line Church of Ireland lay preacher] and the Head of the RE Dept [a member of an extreme evangelical sect, known for chucking out its pastor, after he attended a cross-community event, at which Catholic priests were present] because the aetheists wanted to get out of assembly and RE classes.

It would be fair enough to make them stay, if RE were based on the study of moral philosophy and ethics, but Methody insists on Bible study, right up until Sixth Form and uses the Stormont's 1947 Education Act to justify its policy.

I would guess that the largest contingent are Anglican, mainly for historical reasons, such as the tribal geography of Belfast in the 1970s [when today's parents were schoolkids from the Malone Road, Stranmilis Road and the Lisburn Road].

Nominal (as opposed to fanatical) membership of a church is quite normal, in most countries. The fact, that you have labelled these 30 people "aetheists/ agnostics", suggests that you are either trying to play down their (possibly slightly wishy-washy, by Norn Irn standards) religious beliefs, in order to make Methody seem a little more liberal than it is, or that you consider your own beliefs to be stronger or superior.

If, as you appeared to suggest, genuine "non-believers" form a huge majority, among pupils at the "Methodist [sic] College", then (a) comments, made about Cecilia Galloway by pupils (on this web site and others), are totally unrepresentative and (b) it was quite right that the singing of hymns should be discontinued, in aseembly.

Sadly, I can't think of any aetheist hymns, except perhaps "Imagine". I'd love to see the faces on the platform of the Whitla Hall, if that were played on the organ.

Penny Lane provoked a furious enough reaction and Wilf didn't even know about the lyrics. He would probably have had a stroke, if someone had explained "fish-and-finger pies" to him. For all Methody's bible-bashing, I should think that the "delicacy" is still popular with several in Form 5.

Paul McCartney has a very dirty mind.
I can't help thinking that he and Mrs Mills [late of the News of the Screws] were well matched, especially as she had a big career in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as a pianist on novelty records.

Sexual and religious hypocrisy [Most of the girls dress like complete tarts too. That was something, which Ms Galloway had vowed to sort out.] highlights the real reason why religion is so popular in "Ulster": it allows some people to look down on others. The same can be said about flashy cars, big houses and assorted gadgets.

There are plenty of ordinary people there but they're not the problem: it's the sky-pilots and the little rich kids, who cause most of the trouble. I think Methody's recent experiences serve some of the pupils (and a large number of the staff) right. Maybe they'll wake up and introduce the necessary changes.

By the way, what kind of saddoes attend that school, these days? You actually liked the hymns, did you? Are you secretly in your early eighties but have just had a lot of botox? Why should gowns, hymns, or personnel management matter to a normal teenager? [Those were rhetorical questions, boy.]

The biggest problem of all is that people in Northern Ireland, especially those who protest most loudly that they are "Bratash", are decades behind the rest of the UK, in terms of social attitudes. After five years in England, you might see that.

As Ian Paisley isn't extreme enough for the DUP any more, why don't the Governors try him?

At least we agreed that the buildings are inadequate and that the school is overcrowded. I think my solution was logical. The two campuses could share a lot of facilities: they would have many of the advantages of smaller schools but would still benefit from Methodyesque economies of scale.

It's pie-in-the-sky, really. I was only trying to provoke some kind of reaction and debate. In five or ten years' time, there won't be enough kids to make it possible. However, the conditions are still right for creating one new school. The property boom won't last forever and planning controls are becoming stricter, all the time. "Strike, while the iron is hot!", I say.

Anonymous said...

referring to the person above...are you an ex-pupil or an ex-staff member? if not, why does methody's politics concern you? If you're part of the majority that dislikes methody then you're obviously jealous of the fact that you were never smart enough to go to the school.
As for the pupil above, i give you my respect for standing up for the school, but your statistics aren't the best. You said the majority of your class was aethiest or agnostic, when i left last year, the god squad still had quite a large population, so i very much doubt that your figures are true. Also you commented on people's incomes saying that only one person lived on the malone road and that two were on employment benefits, one again, i very much doubt that this is actually true.
Fair enough, alot about methody is all about image and status, but why is that so wrong? in the future, i'll definately be sending my kids to it. why when you have the money, settle for a school which is lower in the league table or which has less class about it?

Anonymous said...

It seems that you and I agree about a lot. However, while you criticise Methody's ultra-loyalists [loyal to the school and Mulryne, that is], almost as much as I do, you would still send your kids there. I know that the children of today can be very annoying but could such cruelty ever really be justified?

By your reckoning, Methody is a great school because it has "class" and achieves good exam results. I'm not really sure what you mean by "class". Are you referring to the wealth, appearance and accents of the pupils?

If you are that shallow and snobbish, then the school is as bad as I feared. It's ethos is Thatcherite, not Christian.

There are much better schools, even within Northern Ireland. By "better", I mean that they have better exam results; have a better atmosphere; and prepare people for real life. [Once again, I'm referring to points, raised earlier in this discussion.]

The only advantage, which Methody has, is its ability, through sheer size, to offer unlimited subject combinations at A-Level, although there are some subjects, which the school doesn't offer.

I was indeed unfortunate enough to go to Methody. How else could I have known so much about it? I attended a very small state primary school (in a rural area), rather than one of the zoos, known as "preparatory departments". I am also, in your "humble" opinion, too stupid to have been allowed to enter that "bastion of privilege", opposite the Botanic Gardens. Therefore, I had two disadvantages, over some of my contempt.. sorry, contemporaries. I jest.

Before I left, I managed to come... well, let's just say I was in the top ten, in a form of roughly 200, despite my lack of ability and "ordinary background". That was in the days, when people bothered to work out such nonsense. How have you been doing, lately?

Comments, such as those you made about me, only serve to prove Methody's critics right: its pupils do seem to be more aggressive and more arrogant than the average person. I'm not sure whether one could truthfully describe such behaviour as "classy". I did find the remarks amusing, rather than annoying.

I think it would be more accurate to say that I was too stupid to realise that I should have gone somewhere else. I a couple of dozen former pupils, who feel the same, and are ashamed to say that they went there. I never tell anyone, except when I absolutely have to (and that's a very rare occasion, these days).

Telling people, that I went to Methody, is a bit like admitting to membership of the Republican Party, in the States. There's so much baggage attached. People, who have heard of the school, automatically assume that I'm a right-wing, rugby-playing, middle-class Prod. I'm none of those things and I don't want people, with whom I work or socialise, to think that I am.

Methody's answer to "malcontents" was never any different. For those "on the inside", the school is always right and anyone who doesn't like it can get out: outsiders are labelled ignorant or socially inferior; their comments worthless.

Not far from Methody, there are a couple of ghettoes, run by "loyalist" [loyal to what?] gangsters, whose attitudes, towards their critics, are strangely similar. Their methods (and accents) are, of course, different.

You're right about one thing: at my age, I really shouldn't get involved in these debates. Schadenfreude is such an unattractive trait but who can resist a quick cheer, when the baddies get it in the neck?!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, were you bullied or in a very unpopular group when you attended school? The fact that you have such hatred for it suggests this. Any normal person who had a good school career says positive things about their school.
Anyway, unless you're on the Board of Govenors, i really don't care about any so-called facts that you are putting forward because they all seem to be extremely pessimistic and therefore, unbelievably biased.

Anonymous said...

To the person above who claims to know so much about Methody - you know nothing!! What a bitter and twisted individual you appear to be. Sadder still that you condemn so many people who you clearly know nothing about and who give so much of their talents to the place.MCB today is not as you describe it. How can you comment with such confidence on present events when you don't know what you are talking about? A little advice for you - get out more!

Anonymous said...

As an ex-Methody chap, I find this all rather interesting. I was there for the end of Worrall (nice bloke but distant) to Kincade, who was a good guy.
The comments on Mulryne (known as Mulurine in my day) are amusing. I was taught by him in his classics days and did not enjoy it. A hard man to like, rather arrogant and quick to take a dislike to you.
The school has clearly changed since I left (1980). We had pupils from all social classes, from Malone, to Tiger Bay. It would indeed be sad if this were no longer the case.
I also remember the school to have been very moderate in the teaching of religion and do not recall many 'tambourine-waving, Bible-bashing, fundamentalist Christians'. Anyone of that ilk was treated with some suspicion. As for gays, well they did not exist in N.Ireland in those days..
I cannot comment much on the demise of Ms Galloway, apart from saying that I was originally surprised to read of her appointment. Methody always seemed to recruit in it's own image - someone who understood the ethos that underlies the school. To get rid of gowns (why?) and hymns, seems rather petty and an attempt to take the character out of the school.
I for one do not regret having gone to Methody and certainly do not carry any 'baggage' because of it. It was a good place to start out and I hope a new Head is found, who can get the school back on course and preserve those features which make it in my view a unique institution.

Anonymous said...

Get out more? So should you but you probably have too much marking to do. I did get out (of the country) but decided to come back to my native Co Antrim. Maybe I was too much of a country bumpkin to blend in, at the Big Smoke Academy.

I think you misunderstand, Hysterical of Belfast 9. I wasn't deeply unhappy, for most of my time at school. I only realised what a bloody awful place Methody was (or has become), after I left.

The contrast with the wonderful people I met, first, outside Northern Ireland, at university, and, later, through my job could not have been greater. As someone, intimately connected with the College, you will be familiar with the words of "Praise My Soul, The King of Heaven". "Slow to chide and swift to bless" sums up the attitudes of many working-class people I've encountered in Belfast (some in areas you will not even have heard of) but, at Methody, the reverse is true.

I also learned a lot more about the backgrounds and attitudes of some of the people I had known, which lowered them in my estimation still further.

I do not like many middle-class Ulster Prods (or the Catholics, who ape their behaviour). I can't help it: they tend to be illiberal, boorish, uncultured, arrogant snobs.

Worse follows, these days. When they have spent eighteen years, feeling superior to everyone else in Northern Ireland, they go to England and erase their pasts. I can't blame anyone for getting a job in England. Northern Ireland doesn't have much to offer anyone. However, I do think that many of them are fickle. I can't admire anyone, who has no real loyalties, sense of place or beliefs. Phoney religion doesn't make up for it either.

Perhaps I am attributing blame to people, who are as powerless as the rest of us: it is one of the greatest failures of the Northern Ireland state, that it never sought to create a distinct "Northern Ireland" identity. To scream "I am Bratash" at every available oppotunity is idiotic: no one, who really is British, does so, "Scottish", "Welsh" and "English" being the identities of choice.

I am not singling out one group for special treatment. I haven't liked many of the white South Africans I've met either, for similar reasons. [Their racist attitudes don't help either. On the other hand, I have met a few liberal ones, who were "dead on".] It's perfectly true that many people in England are at least as bad but they don't claim to come from a "great, wee province, with the friendliest people on Earth".

The hypocrisy of the school really grates. I've already touched on the religious and sexual hypocrisy- what Glaswegians call "All fur coat and no nickers". Methody presents itself to the World as a beacon of tolerance and a great, liberal institution. It once was both but the modern reality is different. The pupils of the 21st Century have never known anything, apart from the current situation. Have any of them heard of "O" Levels or Roy Mason? I doubt it. I am equally ignorant of the 1950s and 1960s at Methody but I have a fair knowledge of what has happened, over the last thirty years.

For instance, I've seen the comments they've made about teachers. Some of the grumpy, mediocre ones of the 1980s and 1990s, have become "brilliant" or "legends". "Why?", I wondered. The answer is simple. The true legends have retired or, very sadly, gone to the great classroom in the sky. What does that say about the teachers, currently judged to be "rubbish"?

Let me explain things, in another way. If you see someone, who has a terminal illness, every day, you may not notice his decline because it will seem gradual. However, if the victim of such a disease had been fit, active and of youthful appearance, at the time of your last meeting (and remained so, in your memory), it would come as a terrible shock, if you were to bump into him, five years later, and find a pale, thin, haggard figure. A school is not a person and it is hard to have sympathy for it, in the same way. My perspective on Methody is useful precisely because I do not see it, every day.

You should have read all my comments. It was once a reasonably "happy ship" with a fantastic array of teachers. I did say that one of the main functions of a teacher is to inspire his/ her pupils and some did inspire me. In fact, some of the pupils inspired me too. A few did so, long after I left. Nothing is completely good or completely bad.

The fact remains that everything has gone downhill, within the last twenty years. It is a dreadful cliche but less really is more. Quality has been sacrificed to quantity.

By the way, in recent times, I have had a steady stream of information from current members of staff and pupils (or recent leavers). All strictly hush-hush and anonymous, of course, just like this. Mmm...

Ours is still (just) a free country, possibly because no one, associated with Methody, is involved in running it! [That was a little joke. We all know what a jolly jester Cecilia Galloway's predecessor was and, my-oh-my, what a lot of people like him there seem to be.]

I am entitled to my opinion and that opinion, based on my own experiences and reliable reports of what has gone on more recently, is that Methody is a much worse place today, than it was, in the past. I see overcrowding and the aloof, distant, rigid and uncaring approach of certain members of staff as the chief causes. I am supported by educational professionals, who have no axe to grind. Perhaps, if the school were smaller, the senior staff would be able to develop more harmonious working relationships with their colleagues and with pupils.

I completely agree with the former pupil, who said that the buildings weren't the main issue. In the 1980s, there were problems with leaking roofs, dry rot, insects, contaminated water tanks and fairly outdated sports facilities. None of that ever made any difference to us. It is indeed the people, who make a place, and that was my main complaint. I believe that the school can still change and I hope it will. I could say the same about Northern Ireland.

There are serious reasons for my concern about Methody. Assuming we are still living in Northern Ireland at that point, my wife and I will have to consider where my daughter is going, in a few years time.

I am determined to send her to a school, where she will be valued as an individual. At Methody, I got the impression that, to the "Establishment" [but not to teachers of, ahem, the old school], pupils were little more than numbers. I must emphasise that not everyone behaved in this way and I do have plenty of happy memories. However, these are the result of personal relationships, which were built up over months or years.

To me, "success" will be the development of our little girl as a happy, caring, creative human being. Methody wouldn't make it impossible for her to be those things but it would make it less likely. I don't really care what she does, how many badges she has on her blazer or how many letters she has after her name. I don't want her to be obsessed with career, possessions, power and money. I do want her to be safe, healthy and loved and (in the distant future) in love, with someone, who will look after her, when I'm no longer around.

True Christianity is about (quietly) looking out for other people and forgiving them, when they have made our lives unpleasant. It is not about behaving like a Nazi and then going to church to seek forgiveness. Just as I have apologised for the mistakes I have made (snd there have been many), I have managed to forgive all those, who have made my life unpleasant, at times [even those, who have threatened my property or my life]. They were still wrong and it would be silly to say that they were nice people, even if (by today's standards), their "offences" were fairly tame.

Luckily, I didn't get hitched to anyone with whom I went to school [There were two young ladies, in whom I was extremely interested but one relationship was doomed to failure and the other petered out, round about the time I left.], so I won't face much of fight.

And, now, I'm bored with you. Get me the number of a pizza. I'm sorry. That was insufferably arrogant but, then, I did go...

Anonymous said...

Well as a recent former pupil of the college, I am appauled by some of the comments on this. Yes there were the "malone clones" who are sterotyped as being up themselves etc.. etc.. Some of my best friends were people from the Malone Road! You are the narrow minded one, you don't know these people. If you could afford a nice car you would have one. And the Malone Road is a lovely area. If i could afford to i would live on it! I did not come from a particularly well to do family, and that goes for a lot of the pupils in methody. You cannot judge this school from the outside. Yes, it has an image of being snobby and image conscious, but get inside the shcool, and they care.

Every pupil has to study RE the entire time. However, in 6th form you learn nothing about Christianity. I learnt about many different religions, which actually helped when going off to university. It gave me a bit of an insight. What other school teaches its pupils about Budhism, for example.

I was not a "high flyer" in methody. I was your regular person, who was smartish! Yea i felt under pressure to do well but is that a bad thing?

the number of pupils in methody is such an asset! and you have no right to comment if you have never been to a school with such large numbers of pupils.

As for Dr Mulryne... i feel he had presence about him and would make time for anybody if they so needed. He was respected by pupils and teachers alike.

Ok so only a few people sang in assembly, but at the same time it is traditional, and i personally would have found it odd otherwise.

Most teachers only wear their gowns to assembly a few times a week. I don't see what harm this is doing, why abolish it? The teachers wear them at my Uni. At at Bristol University the 1st year pupils wear them every friday day evening for dinner! whats the big deal?

I heard from a few teachers as to what went on with Ms Galloway. She didnt know the school and yet tried to change it. You need to go in find your bearings, include yourself and learn how the school currently runs before even contemplating change. She obviously didnt do this, so one must question her style?

If she had learnt about the school running etc.. i think she would have had an entirely different reception in the school. But she went in adamant to show her power and authority.

Methody was certainly an wonderful school to attend with so many opportunities that no other school would ever offer. It broadened my horisons, and turned me in to a well rounded person with respect for other people. Can you complain about a school who does that? I do not know of a single past pupil who did not at least gain something from going to methody. Who cares about prestige, you need to look at past pupils to see what a school is really like.

I would have no quams whatsoever about sending my child to methody.

Anonymous said...

You cannot blame everything on the school! seriously! i never had any badges and i never felt lesser for it. Methody pupils are not numbers they are valued members of the college. I did have a perfect time at methody. And i have my own issues with the school. But you cannot deny or sniff at the opportunities one such establishment can offer. In my opinion (which is shared by many) is Dr Mulryne, yes he had flaws, but he supported the school in every way. he took methody on as his life. He would attend everything possible if he could to lend his support. No matter how insignificant. Not just the schools cup final, but the smaller events with in the school. You always got the impression he actually wanted to be there too! you obviously did not make your time at methody the best it could have been. You do have to put a wee bit of effort in, anything in life. You put in what you get out.

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher at Cecilia's previous school. Having served under her for the best part of 15 years, I can say without a doubt that the criticisms levelled at her are true. She is however, an excellent Headteacher. People may not agree with her style, but she gets the job done. Improved facilities and streamlined methods improve teaching and learning, and ultimately, it's the students who benefit and that's the whole point at the end of the day.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Thanks for all the comments. The posting wasn't deliberately set up to capture your views, though it seems to have generated more than a little interest.

It's fascinating (maybe even educational) to hear the views of those inside and outside Methody. Though the furious nature of some of the comments is a little unsettling.

Thank you to the last "anonymous" poster commenting about Cecilia's previous school.

Cecilia - if you ever Google for your name and stumble across this posting - I do wish you well in the future, and hope that you have some fond memories of your time in Belfast.

(I'll probably close comments on this post in a week or two, as I don't really want the tit-for-tat commenting to drag on for ever.)

Anonymous said...

I think your suggestion to 'close comments' is the best that could happen with this blog. How sad it is to read such bitter comments about a school, mainly based around one or two people's experiences. Move on is the best advice anyone could give to those concerned. Only the people closely involved in recent events in Methody are the ones best placed to comment on what went on or did not go on under the leadership of Ms Galloway. What a surprise that they are keeping quiet. Dignity is a wonderful thing!!