Teaching Profession Project

2 November 2021

St Mary’s University College is set to host the first in a series of free online seminars in regard to the recently launched Teaching Profession Project (TPP).

On Tuesday, 9 November at 4:30 pm, Dr Gabrielle Nig Uidhir, Chairperson, will be joined by a number of panelists who will share their expertise and insights into the important issue of Teacher Wellbeing.

The aim of the first seminar is to discuss the findings of a recent review of international research on teacher wellbeing which has been conducted by the report’s co-author Maria Stewart. Maria, a Lecturer in Education at St Mary’s, will present the key findings from the academic literature on teacher wellbeing. She will be joined by two teaching professionals, Mr Geoffrey Cherry and Ms Brenda Rankin, who will share their own insights into teacher wellbeing from the perspectives of a primary school principal and a post-primary school senior teacher.

Commenting on the significance of the Teaching Profession Project, Dr Nig Uidhir noted,

“St Mary’s has a long tradition of serving the educational community and delivering high-quality teacher education. In that spirit of service, the Teaching Profession Project will create opportunities for teachers and other educators to share knowledge and experience about current issues of importance to the profession. The project acknowledges the importance of the role of the teacher in children’s lives and opens channels for exploring key issues that impact upon professional lives. This new project builds upon a well-established record for investing in relationships. It will provide a space for sharing professional understandings, often based on practical experience and informed by research. This will in turn generate opportunities to extend professional learning, with the first seminar very appropriately focusing on the issue of Teacher Wellbeing.”


Dr Gabrielle Nig Uidhir (Chairperson)
Gabrielle is Senior Tutor for Development in St Mary’s University College and is a member of the College Senior Management Team. She is Programme Leader and a lecturer on the Irish-medium PGCE (primary) Programme Team. She provides direction and support for Irish-medium teaching across programmes. Her specialist areas include immersion education, child development, Literacy and Language. She is currently engaged in research on teaching competences distinctive to the Irish-medium profession. Her interest in staff and student wellbeing is reflected in her work across all College areas, including research, staff development and teaching & learning and in partnerships with schools. Gabrielle is the current northern Co-chair of the SCoTENS committee.

Mrs Maria Stewart
Maria is an Associate Lecturer in St Mary’s University College Belfast and co-author of the report, ‘Teacher Wellbeing: A Review of the Literature”. She has over 20 years teaching experience and held the post of Special Educational Needs Coordinator for several years. She is now completing a PhD at Ulster University focused on Home-school partnership for learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

Ms Brenda Rankin-Sands
Brenda has over 36 years teaching experience. She was Head of Drama for 25 years in Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry. For the past 15 years she has been a Senior Teacher on the Leadership Team of Sacred Heart School. In her role as Teacher Tutor, Brenda has worked closely with newly qualified teachers, guiding them through induction and early professional development. She has also been responsible for staff development and staff wellbeing.

Mr Geoffrey Cherry
Geoffrey is the Principal of Pond Park Primary School in Lisburn. He is a music graduate of Stranmillis University College where he is an Associate Principal Advisor and continues to contribute to their Pastoral Care module and interview process. He is presently the External Examiner for the PGCE Primary Course at Ulster University. For a number of years, he has been an Associate Assessor for ETI. Last year he was awarded an MBE for services to Education.

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