St Cecilia’s College, Derry has scooped Secondary School of the Year for 2020 in the National Teaching Awards live on BBC’s The One Show.

Presenter Alex Jones broke the news to the school via video saying she had a good reason for interrupting the afternoon’s classes.

She told scores of excited students: “It’s a real privilege to say that the winner of the National Teaching Award for Secondary School of the Year is you guys. It’s St Cecilia’s College.”

School principal Martine Mulhern told Belfast Live: “The entire school community of St Cecilia’s College is so proud to be acknowledged in this way.

“It is recognition for each and every member of staff, family and partner organisation who all put the success of our pupils first. Most of all it is recognition for our amazing girls in green.

“Their resilience, kindness and humour makes every day a blessing. Thank you to the Teaching Awards for this accolade and to all our classroom heroes, especially in these difficult times, you are all making a difference.”

On learning the news that they’d won live on The One Show, Ms Mulhern said over a background of whoops and cheers “I’m shocked”.

“It’s such a privilege to lead St Cecilia’s and I am just so proud of every single one of these girls, of all of our staff, whether it’s the caretakers, the teaching staff and caterers – they are all absolutely amazing.

“I’m so chuffed, I’m so proud and I feel so humbled as well.”

Many have taken to social media to congratulate the school on its prestigious award.

Former pupil, Sinn Fein MLA, Martina Anderson said: “This former pupil sends massive Congratulations to my old school & to all at @StCeciliasDerry. A fantastic achievement to a wonderful school with amazing staff & pupils.”

Bounce Culture said: “We’re buzzing for our extended family at @StCeciliasDerry. Working with such caring staff and great pupils for nearly 15 years, we knew this was a matter of time. Big win and so deserved.”

The Teaching Awards, themselves, tweeted: “Congratulations St. Cecilia’s College @StCeciliasDerry, the winner of the GOLD @pearson_uk National Teaching Award for Making a Difference – Secondary School of the Year sponsored by @FutureFirstOrg!”

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