NAME – Miss Donna McNicoll

BASED - St Mary’s School, Haslingden


SCHOOL MISSION/VISION – Our school, our family modelled on Christ

WHEN Donna McNicoll took over as headteacher, St Mary’s School was earmarked for closure. Now, ten years later it is in the top 3 per cent of schools in the country and Miss McNicoll is a National Leader of Education.

“If you can give children the best education they can fly and every one of our children achieves their absolute potential,” she says. “The whole team was appointed by me, that’s very special. We are a real family orientated school.

"It’s lovely to receive the award but you can’t be a great leader without a great staff and I have the very, very best.

"All motivated and professional, every member of staff cares and is passionate about the welfare of the children.

"You have to have a vocation to work at St Mary’s and that’s why the school is so successful. This is a big accolade for our school,” she says.

She first qualified as a teacher in 1990 and after working in Bolton, moved on to Haslingden in 2007. “My heart is in Haslingden and this community,” she says.

Miss McNicoll and her team also do a lot of outreach work in the community.

“My staff are passionate about education and we share that expertise across the board. That is very humbling, a real privilege. I am very blessed that every day is so different and we can have a say in the future of education.”

She was nominated by one of the parents, Rachel Wiseman, who said. “Miss McNicoll is truly inspirational. She puts her school first and foremost every day and as a parent I appreciate all that she has done to make my son’s education happy and successful.

"The time and effort she puts into St Mary’s is incredible. She is deserving of special recognition. She has created an amazing learning environment for the children in her school.

"She has the respect of the teaching staff, children and parents and is a very approachable person.

"The school has a wonderful atmosphere. Although a head teacher does not make this happen alone, they certainly guide the school in the direction to allow the children to thrive in a supportive and friendly space,” said Mrs Wiseman. The judges of this category completely agreed.