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A letter from Mrs Breen

Liz Breen - Retirement


Pupil at Kircubbin Primary for 7 years.

Pupil at Regent for 7 years.

Student at Stranmillis College for 4 years where I studied French and was doing post-primary course (Bachelor of Education Degree).

Vowed to never set foot in a primary school.  Preferred the older pupils.

Teacher - French for 1 year at Bangor Girls High School.

Teaching vacancy came up at Kircubbin Primary in 1975 (my old school). Applied and got job. Began by teaching middle years and the other 2 teachers, now my colleagues were my ‘old teachers’. Mr Simpson (Principal) taught P5,6, and 7 while Mrs Holland took P1 and 2.

Mr Simpson retired and Mr Toy became principal, followed by Mr Mills. The school was now a 2 teacher school.  In 1989 Mr Mills went on sick leave and was unable to return after the summer holiday.  I returned in September to find that I was ‘Acting Principal’ and that Fiona Cusick (then Fiona Long) was to become the new assistant teacher. She has remained here and we have had amazing times working together during the last 30 years. She always knew far more about teaching than I did and the inspectorate identified her as ‘one of the best teachers’ they had seen.


There were 42 pupils on roll.


The school steadily grew in numbers. In 1998 with 88 pupils on roll Kircubbin Primary, at last, achieved integrated status and became Kircubbin Integrated Primary.

I then decided that in September 1998 I would leave the classroom for one year to promote our new status. Our financial situation was good enough to allow a replacement teacher for the year.

However, I never returned to teaching, and although I quite enjoyed teaching, I really love the business and P.R part of running the school and will miss this. I will of course miss the children and staff who are my friends. Mrs Cusick was curriculum lead.  Our school has been fortunate enough to maintain a very healthy financial situation (mainly due to controlled growth).  On 1 April 2019 we had a surplus carry forward in access of two hundred thousand pounds.

We have grown from 42 to 204 pupils (and a waiting list).





I have just been so lucky. I’ve never had to seriously think of moving school as the nature of my job changed so much. Have been able to stay here in so many different roles as the school changed in size and status.

7 years pupil.



14 years teacher.



9 years as teaching principal.



Principal for 30 years.

21 years as non-teaching principal.


51 years association with the school

Over 1 / 2 century – VINTAGE (I suppose).








What now?

No plans in place. Firstly chill as I ‘deinstitutionalise’.  Maybe look for a wee project as I like to be busy, but in meantime.

I’m a farmer’s wife

I’m a farmer’s mother

I’m a gran to ‘The lovely Olivia’

And ‘a gran to be’ to?

I also have a ‘jungle garden’ that needs me.

Recon I’m due a ‘change of direction’.


Best wishes for the future - To all involved with KIPS