Sunday Times Secondary School of the Year 2023

St. Mary's Grammar School

St. Mary's welcomes new Principal

St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt has welcomed Mr Paul McClean as its new Principal.  Mr McClean succeeds Mr Frank Dunlop who has retired after 36 years in the school. 

Having gained a degree in accounting from Queen’s University, Belfast, Mr McClean later pursued a career in education and held teaching positions in schools in England and Northern Ireland.  He taught Mathematics in Sperrin Integrated College, Magherafelt for four years before moving to St. Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, Belfast where he was Head of Mathematics prior to joining the Senior Leadership Team.  Mr McClean left St. Dominic’s to take up the role of Principal in Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle in 2016, leading the school during a period of great success for the college community.  

Speaking of his appointment as Principal of St. Mary’s, Mr McClean said: “I am privileged to join the staff of St. Mary’s Grammar School as Principal.  The school is widely regarded as a leading grammar school in Northern Ireland and I know that it is highly valued by the community it serves.  I am delighted to become a part of that community and look forward to getting to know the pupils, staff and parents/guardians who are at the heart of the school.  I know that the school’s status and renown for excellence today is founded upon the clear vision, values and outstanding contribution of those who have gone before, not least the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux and previous school leaders, and I dedicate myself to the continued success and development of St. Mary’s in the years ahead.”

Welcoming Mr McClean, Mrs Anne-Marie Campbell, Chair of the Board of Governors, commented: “Mr McClean’s appointment as Principal is the opening of a new chapter in the St. Mary’s story.  Joining the school at the beginning of its 95th year, Mr McClean will lead the school towards the very significant milestone of its centenary.  Having worked within various education sectors, Mr McClean brings a wealth of experience to the role and I am confident that, with his vision and leadership, St. Mary’s will continue to evolve and maintain the provision of a first-class educational experience for its pupils.  On behalf of the Board of Governors, I would like to wish Mr McClean every success in his new role.  I would also like to express my gratitude to Mr Dunlop for his many years of service to St. Mary’s, particularly the leadership he has provided in his roles as Vice-Principal and Acting Principal.  We wish him a long and healthy retirement.”