About Us

About

Established over 75 years ago, during a time of significant change to the delivery of educational provision in Northern Ireland, the Governing Bodies Association remains the representative organization of voluntary grammar schools in Northern Ireland and continues to play an influential role in the educational field in general.

Objectives

To promote, foster and develop close working relationships amongst voluntary grammar schools and other educational bodies

To further and advance the interest and well-being of voluntary grammar schools in Northern Ireland in all respects

Voluntary Grammar Schools

Although member schools are different in age, size and composition, they share important characteristics in common, they are the employers of all members of staff and responsible for entering contracts, arranging services, ordering materials and equipment, insuring and protecting members of staff, buildings, facilities and equipment, dealing with financial issues as they arise, undertaking the duties described in the foundation documents as well as carrying out all the statutory duties and responsibilities demanded of other grant aided schools.

The fact that governing bodies are the managing authorities of the schools and required by their foundation documents to promote the values on which they are based gives them a profound sense of trusteeship and engagement. Governors are closely and directly involved in both the business and the fundamental values and principles of their schools and are more directly accountable for what happens in them.
A Voluntary Grammar school has a larger degree of autonomy in terms of the governance of its school than other sectors. Because the governors of voluntary schools are individually and collectively accountable for the management of their schools’ finances they monitor the use of available resources carefully, to use funds to the best effect.

Governing Bodies in the Voluntary Sector can and do act quickly to respond to changing circumstances. Because of the degree of autonomy enjoyed as employers, managers of their own resources, and local, close engagement with their schools, they are well aware of the implications of proposed changes and well-equipped to respond swiftly and flexibly.

Membership

The GBA is open to all Voluntary Grammars throughout Northern Ireland, valuing member schools as they provide a world-class education for approximately one-third of all post-primary pupils in Northern Ireland. The close working relationship with our members has allowed us to continue to build on cross-community links in education, drawing members from both the Catholic and non-denominational sectors.

Group of school administrators discussing

What we do

The GBA proactively engages with other educational partners in Northern Ireland including the Department of Education, the Education Authority, other sectoral organisations, and Universities.

We provide policy information, advice, and support for member schools as well as representing their views to politicians, policy-makers, media, and other stakeholders.

Executive
Committee

Executive Committee

The GBA Executive Committee operates in a voluntary capacity for a three-year term. Committee members are drawn from the Boards of Governors of their constituent schools and meet on a voluntary basis every 4-6 weeks.

Co-opted members are added as and when required, bringing additional professional skills, experience, and expertise to the work of the board.

The Officers of the Executive including the Chair (serving two years) Vice-Chairs (incoming and outgoing) and Treasurer, are advised and serviced by a Director who also performs the day-to-day functions of the organisation.

Chairperson

Leo O’Reilly

Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock

Vice Chairperson

Ronnie Hassard

Campbell College

Vice Chairperson

Jacqueline Weir

Belfast Royal Academy 

Treasurer

Teresa Campbell

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Members

Stephen Black

Ballymena Academy

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Professor John Gillespie

Dalriada School

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Stephen Gowdy

The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

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Dr Paul Blair

Bangor Grammar School

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Sir Gerry Loughran

St Malachy’s College

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Dermot Mullan

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Jacqui O’Neill

St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena

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Terry McDaid

Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School

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Jacinta Bradley

Lumen Christi College 

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Rosemary Bailie

Strathearn School

Chief Executive Officer

Nuala O’Neill

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Schools’ Support Officer

Dr Helen McNally

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Administrative Officer

Debbie Broadhurst

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GBA Executive Committee

Nuala O’Neill

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Helen McNally

Schools’ Support Officer

Debbie Broadhurst

Administrative Officer

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