Robert Wilson Board Member

The King’s Birthday Honours List celebrates the contribution of well-known personalities, government employees and ordinary people who have served their community.  One of which Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust are proud to have as a voluntary Board Member since 2022.


On release of the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours’ list news, Robert Wilson from Portstewart, who was awarded an MBE for services to education, said  “I was truly humbled when I learned of this honour. I have had 43 years serving schools and the wider educational arena and at each stage I didn’t see my work as a job, but rather a way of life”.

Brought up on a farm in Islandmagee, Co Antrim, Robert’s mother was principal of Mullaghdubh Primary School. He said, “education was part of my growing up with school life intertwined with farming and family”.


Roberts interest in natural, historical and cultural heritage began as a child living on a farm and has continued over a long period. He believes that the cultural, historic and natural environments are inextricably linked and believes that a sustainable future must incorporate a focus on economic opportunities for local residents and communities.

For many years Robert’s love of education, youth opportunity and the natural environment saw him volunteer and lead groups of young people exploring the Antrim Hills through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Between 2016- 2020 he served as a member of the Historic Monuments Council. He continues to explore much of the Causeway Coast and Glens area by his bicycle.


An active Board Member of Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust, he contributes within a dedicated voluntary team, and he brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and commitment to the charity.


Robert was educated at Carrickfergus Grammar School. He recalls his headmaster Mr J McK Grainger often saying “do not ask anyone to do something you are not prepared to do yourself”. These wise words formed an important framework for his working life.

Robert studied geography at the New University of Ulster and education at Queen’s University before starting his teaching career in Cambridge House in Ballymena, moving some years later as Head of Department to Coleraine High School. “It was my privilege to work in these great schools under the leadership of Miss Aileen Graham OBE and Mrs Doris Hutchieson, and to learn so much from them both”. A period back in Cambridge House as vice principal was followed by his appointment as principal in Limavady Grammar School. This, he said, was “an enormous privilege to work alongside a committed staff and Board of Governors, to help shape young lives and to build on the success of this wonderful and high achieving school. I greatly enjoyed my time serving the community of the wider Limavady area and in encouraging and supporting so many young people.”

Following his retirement from Limavady Grammar School, Robert took on the role of Regional Officer for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in Northern Ireland. This role saw him representing school leaders from all sectors with government ministers and senior Department of Education officials, the Education Authority and The Inspectorate, providing professional development opportunities for school leaders as well as providing professional advice and pastoral support for individuals, often in very challenging circumstances.


The pandemic meant that schools, like all of society, were plunged into chaos and ASCL, represented by Robert Wilson, continued to be the voice of reason as it spoke on behalf of its members and acted on behalf of young people. “These were very challenging times for school leaders”, Mr Wilson said, ”and, I saw it as my responsibility to advocate for reasonable adjustments to normal educational routines which ensured the safety of everyone while at the same time minimising any negative impact on the learning and development opportunities and educational progress of our young people”.

During the period that Mr Wilson led ASCL in Northern Ireland its membership grew significantly and its reputation as a strong advocate for school leaders was further enhanced. “Being able to bring 36 years school-based experience to the table”, Robert said, “provided me with a knowledge-base, grounded on experience and authenticity. This was a very rewarding period of my service to education and every opportunity to help individuals and to promote authentic school leadership, was a privilege”.

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Robert Wilson Board Member
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