Banbridge Academy

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Coordinates: 54°21′25″N 6°16′16″W / 54.357°N 6.271°W / 54.357; -6.271

Banbridge Academy
Motto Per Deum et Industriam
(By God and Industry)
Established 1786
Religion Christian
Headteacher Mr. Robin McLoughlin
Location Lurgan Road
BT32 4AQ
Northern Ireland
Students 1318
Gender Male & female
Ages 11–18
Houses Crozier, McWilliam, Dunbar, Waddell

Banbridge Academy is a grammar school in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, founded in 1786.[1] As of 2014 the Principal is Robin McLoughlin, previously a headmaster of Grosvenor Grammar School. Mr. McLoughlin succeeded Mr. Pollock (1995-2014). Mr. Pollock is now officially retired. Former headmaster Mr. Pollock was preceded by Charles Winston Breen (1984–1995), a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. Breen's work was continued by Pollock, who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours list "For services to Education in Northern Ireland".[2]

As of 2014 enrollment stood at over 1,318 pupils and the School had around 90 teachers. The School Colours are Petrol Blue, Red and Black. The school was in the Top 100 Schools in the United Kingdom for A-Level results 2008 in a list compiled by The Times.

The school traces its roots to the building now known as Dunbar nursery near the current site of Banbridge Leisure Centre but moved to its present home, Edenderry House on the Lurgan Road, in 1950. A redevelopment begun in 1989 provided a new building, while retaining much of the original frontage; interiors and façade are listed. The School building has a glass atrium and dedicated technology suite and science block. The school has two sports halls, and a large amount of land serving as playing fields for hockey, rugby union, cricket, football and netball, together with five tennis courts.

In building work the assembly hall was demolished and a new dining hall with a small sports hall and a large fitness suite inside were built. A science block was constructed in place of the old dining hall. The work took seven years to complete finishing in 2012.

Academic results[edit]

Banbridge Academy consistently ranks in the top 100 schools in the UK, as rated by The Times[3] It fell in 2009 to 93rd, from 73rd in 2008. The 4.02% A grade success rate at A-Level and 5.38% of submissions achieving A/A* at GCSE level placed it as the 7th best school in NI.

An inspection of the school in 2000[4] and follow up inspection noted many strengths of the school in Science and Technology, including, "the relationships between the pupils and their teachers; the commitment of the teachers; some very good teaching; some very high standards of pupils’ project work in technology and design, and the improvement in standards in science through effective target setting." The original report noted weaknesses in the range of teaching methods used, ICT[clarification needed] skills and monitoring of pupils. Between 2000 and 2002 the inspectors found "thorough process of review and planning, to address the issues identified at the time of the inspection." It is noted in the follow-up inspection that results had improved, self-evaluation had been introduced, the opportunity for pupils to investigate scientifically and IT[clarification needed] provisions had been improved.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Banbridge Academy is one of the strongest schools in boys' hockey in Ireland, having won numerous Burney and McCullough Cups over the years. In 2006 and 2015 they were crowned Irish schools champions and in 2006 came 2nd in the European schools competition in Dan Haag.

The school gives pupils the opportunity to take part in a number of sports including badminton, cricket, football, hockey, netball and rugby[5]

The school has a strong musical interest, with four choirs (Chamber choir, Girls Choir, and Junior Choir) and two orchestras (Junior Orchestra and Senior Orchestra).[6] The school has an annual theatrical production in November/December, Christmas carol concert and Spring concert.

There are a number of other extracurricular activities, including Bridge Club, Craft Club, Young Enterprise, Creative Writing Club, Cadets and Junior and Senior Scripture Unions.

All internal school competitions are based around the House system.[7] Every pupil is randomly assigned a House in Year 8 (if they have older siblings in the school they will be assigned to the same house as their sibling), and when they participate in any activities during their time in the school, points are awarded to their House. The Houses are named after notable local figures, and are:

  • Dunbar (Hugh Dunbar, local Linen merchant),
  • Waddell (Helen Waddell, scholar and writer who spent her last years living with her sister Meg at Kilmacrew House, near Banbridge[8]),
  • McWilliam (F. E. McWilliam, surrealist sculptor with a gallery in Banbridge),
  • Crozier (Captain Francis Crozier, British naval officer and Arctic explorer, born in Banbridge in 1796.).

Each House is represented by a colour and an animal; Dunbar (red) is represented by a dragon, Waddell (green) a duck, McWilliam (yellow) a lion and Crozier (blue) a polar bear. Points are added to an overall scoreboard and pupils keep track of house activities via House assemblies and the House blog [2].

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ "Banbridge Academy Prospectus". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  2. ^ "Microsoft Word - queenslist.doc" (PDF). BBC News. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  3. ^ "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Banbridge Academy Online | Sport". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  6. ^ "Banbridge Academy Online | Music". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  7. ^ "Banbridge Academy House System »". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  8. ^ "Helen Jane Waddell - writer and scholar". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  9. ^ "How the candidates from NI fared across the water". BBC News. 2010-05-09. Retrieved 2011-03-27.