New principal working to forge links with community

New Cope Primary School principal Philip Chambers. INPT25-202.
New Cope Primary School principal Philip Chambers. INPT25-202.

Continuing to keep the school at the heart of the community is the goal of the new principal at Cope Primary School.

Philip Chambers (37) took up the post at the Loughgall school on June 1, and says he has been made to feel very welcome by staff, parents and the Board of Governors.

Mr Chambers, who lives in Annalong, near Kilkeel, was primary lead teacher at the Focus School in Newry before taking up the Cope job.

He was responsible for starting the primary section of the private, independent school in 2011.

A student of Stranmillis University, from where he graduated with a BEd in Primary Education with PE as a main subject, Mr Chambers began his career at Lisnagelvin PS in Londonderry.

He remained there for six years, until 2008, the same year he got married, and also spent some time at Drumhillery PS, Middletown, and Dromore Road PS, Warrenpoint, before taking up the post at the Focus.

He said, “I enjoy being part of a small, country school - you get to know the place and the community.

“The Cope already has strong links with its community and I want to maintain and strengthen those.”

Born in Mullaghglass, near Newry, Mr Chambers moved to his father’s home village of Annalong when he was 14.

Mr Chambers and wife Miriam have three children - Bethany (6), Samuel (4) and Naomi (19 months).

Outside of school, he is involved with his church, Annalong Presbyterian, where he takes Sunday School.

Not surprisingly for someone who lives in a seaside village, he enjoys fishing and boats.

He also played for and managed the seconds team at Ballyvea Football Club, but has recently retired with work having to take priority.