New School Name and Principal Designate as Erne and Elmbrook Schools Merge
Caption:Julie Murphy the new Principal at Willowbridge School in Enniskillen, the school was formed from the Erne and Elmbrook schools which is to become one. Julie is pictured with two of her pupils, Rory McGurn, Headboy at Erne School and Finn Smyth from Elmbrook. Photograph courtesy of the Fermanagh Herald.
‘Willowbridge’ has been selected by the Interim Board of Governors (IBOG) as the name for the new school created as a result of the merger of Erne and Elmbrook Schools.
At the start of the next academic year, the leadership of Willowbridge School will be the responsibility of Julie Murphy, who has been appointed Principal Designate.
Julie will officially take up the post as Principal of Willowbridge School on 1 September 2012 when current Acting Principal Sandra Maxwell, Elmbrook School steps down and Noreen McElroy current Principal of Erne School retires.
Erne and Elmbrook Schools will continue to operate as two individual schools until 31 August 2012. From Monday, 3 September 2012, Willowbridge School will operate as a single school across two campuses with around 123 pupils enrolled.
Julie has always worked within special education and it is where her passion lies - having previously worked at Elmbrook School, becoming Principal is like coming home. She has also worked in several special schools including Sperrin View, Dungannon; Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, Strabane, and, most recently, Cedar Lodge School, Belfast, where she was Principal.
She said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Principal and I am looking forward to the development of Willowbridge School over the coming years. It is my intention to continue to grow its outreach service and promote the sharing of good practice between schools. The school will continue to promote a strong ethos of achievement for all pupils equipping them with independence skills and preparing them for life beyond school.”
Continuing, she said: “For the first time, all pupils regardless of their ability will be able to complete their education in the same school and have access to a wide combination of academic, vocational, sensory and life skill courses.”
Julie holds a strong belief that special education has a major part to play in the development of all pupils in the Fermanagh area. She added: “In addition, Willowbridge School will be a contributor to the Fermanagh Area Learning Community this year when I take up post as Chairperson.”
A ‘School Prospectus’ will be available to all parents in September 2012 with Parent Teacher meetings arranged for October 2012. Julie will distribute a newsletter to keep parents and pupils informed. Her office will be located in the Elmbrook building.
In deciding on a name, the IBOG engaged in consultation with pupils, through discussions with Julie. Sue Hogg, Chair of the Interim Board of Governors, reported that the IBOG, in taking into account the wishes of the stakeholders, unanimously agreed Willowbridge as the name for the new merged school.
Congratulating Julie on her appointment, Sue Hogg, said: “I am delighted to welcome Julie to her new post as Principal of WillowBridge. I look forward to working closely with her as we plan for the future of Special Education in Fermanagh. We want to ensure that the education we provide meets the needs of all our pupils as well as becoming a centre of excellence and reference for all schools in the area. It is a very exciting time for all of us as we look forward to bringing two very good schools together and creating a school that is fit for purpose for the 21stcentury.”
A competition will be held amongst pupils to design a new school crest. Mrs Adeline Gallagher will provide a shortlist of the best designs for the next IBOG meeting on 28 May, at which the winner and new crest will be decided. The chosen winner will receive an ipod Touch.
Julie has met with pupils to decide on a new uniform, the chosen colours are green and navy. The uniform will be supplied by School Days, Enniskillen.
Julie said: “I look forward to meeting parents at the coffee morning in June. I would encourage parents to come along to both campuses to meet staff and to hear about the plans for the new school.”