Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College

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Coordinates: 54°39′54″N 5°39′36″W / 54.665°N 5.660°W / 54.665; -5.660

Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College
2 Castle Park Road
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Bangor, Co. Down, BT20 4TB
United Kingdom
Type Secondary school
Established 2001
Specialist Humanities
Chairperson Mrs. Doreen Tennis
Vice-Principal Miss. P McBride, (Curriculum)
Ms. J Gillespie, (Pastoral)
Principal Mr. M Pitts
Staff 160
Gender Mixed
Age 11 to 19
Enrollment 1460

Turquoise, Dark Navy, Gold, Red (Sixth Form)


Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College (informally Bangor Academy) is a secondary school located in Bangor, Co Down, Northern Ireland.


The school was formed as part of a merger between the Bangor High for Girls school [1] and Gransha High for Boys school [2]. The name for the newly formed school was Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College. Mr. AWJ Hyndman was appointed to be the school's first Principal.

The 2 schools officially merged in 2001, it was decided to locate the Junior year groups, years 8, 9, and 10 at the Gransha Road campus, the Senior year groups, years 11, 12 and Sixth Form were based at the Castle Street campus.

It was announced on 1 March 2001 by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland that a new school campus was to be built to accommodate 1,650 pupils with an investment package totalling £21 million. [3]

All year groups moved into the new school building located on the Castle Park Road in 2008.


Principal, Mr. M Pitts, BA (Hons), PGCE, NPQH,

The Board of Governors announced to school staff on 25 March 2014 that Mr. Matthew Pitts, former Principal of Wellington College, Belfast, accepted the post of Principal. Mr. Pitts officially began his Principalship at Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College on 1 September 2014.

2001-2014, Mr AWJ Hyndman, BA, DASE, MEd, Cert Ed,

Mr. AWJ officially announced his intentions to retire from his Principalship during a staff meeting on Tuesday 26 March 2013. During his time as Principal, Mr AWJ Hyndman successfully merged both the Gransha High for Boys and Bangor High for Girls schools into the now Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College, and lead the school into one of the most recognizable buildings in the North Down area with state of the art teaching facilities and accommodation. The school has evolved into one of the largest schools in Northern Ireland achieving many accolades, improving standards and examination results. Mr AWJ Hyndman left the school on 31 August 2014, ending his Principalship of 14 years at Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College.

School emblem[edit]

The Gryphon is the official emblem of the school which was adopted in 2001. The Gryphon body is gold in colour and holds a flamed torch. The colour of the torch flame changes on the blazers of the school uniform. The flame is turquoise in colour on the blazers of those in Years 8 to 12, the flame is coloured red for those in Sixth Form.


Situated in the heart of Bangor most of the pupils come from Bangor and the surrounding area, a large number of pupils travel from other towns such as Newtownards and Donaghadee.

Many pupils walk to school but others use regular public transport since the bus/train station is a short walk from school.

There is a dedicated bus service from and to Newtownards each morning and each afternoon. [4]


Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College has a pupil population of 1460 which includes a sixth form of 240 pupils.

For the past six years applications for year 8 have been over or just below the quota of 242.


Staffing comprises 91 teachers, 24 non-teaching staff whose competencies comprises administration, technical support, curriculum support and classroom assistants. . With the addition of supervisory, school meals, facilities management and cleaning staff the school employs 160 people.

The Pupil : Teacher ratios for 2012-2013 was 16:6 calculated by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland. [5]

Status and Awards[edit]

The School has been recognised for its work through many awards including the status of Specialist School in Humanities by the Department of Education,[6] the International School Award by the British Council and both the Northern Ireland and National Training Awards by the Department of Employment and Learning. [7]

In June 2011 School was recognised with the ICT Mark by Naace, the ICT Association, which confirmed the School's development work and achievement in ICT. [8] This award was reconfirmed on the school in May 2014.

School has now been recognised by the Chinese Institute as a hub for their Confucius Classroom promotion. [9] [10]

The school has achieved bronze from Eco schools NI in recognition for its work in school by promoting suitable living through whole-school action. [11]

The school was awarded the prestigious 3rd Millennium Learning Award from Naace for promoting the role of technology in advancing education, in January 2014. [12]


The curriculum is delivered by specialist teachers who have academic and teaching qualifications in their subject areas and each subject area is led by a head of department. [13]

Key Stage 3 [14]

All pupils have access to the legal requirements of the revised NI Curriculum as determined by the N.I. Education Reform Order and the further developments of the Order. The School continues to develop the curriculum and associated teaching methods to meet the continuing and changing demands of the Order. [15]

Key Stage 4 [16]

All pupils must study English, mathematics and a science to GCSE or equivalent level and also the other compulsory subjects which are identified in the NI Curriculum. Additional choices are made from a list of 25 optional subjects. Currently 28 subject courses are available in school. These courses are made up of 17 applied and 11 general subjects. [17]

Sixth Form Studies

Currently 26 AS and A2 level subject courses are available. Criteria are set to enable pupils to gain access to these courses which are made up of 11 applied and 15 general subjects. [18]

School is part of both the North Down and Ards Learning Community [19] and is a member of the Bangor Learning Partnership. Through these relationships additional subjects become available to pupils and are provided depending on need.

There are very strong curriculum links with the South Eastern Regional College (SERC) [20] which is directly across the road from school. There is a large Sixth Form study area which is staffed by a team


Caring arrangements for pupils

In order to care for the pupils school has been organised into three sections, namely Key Stage3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. A Vice-Principal oversees the care arrangements in each key stage however it is the Head of School, a member of the Senior Management team, who has closer links with the year teams and pupils. [21]

Each year group is under the leadership of a Head of Year who is supported by a Deputy and an Assistant. There are normally ten form classes in each year group and each form class is led by a form teacher.

Induction programmes are carried out at all key change areas in school, i.e. at year 8 when joining school, at year 11 when entering the GCSE or level 2 examination years and at year 13 when entering sixth form studies. The importance of this progression is approached with the seriousness that such a change requires. [22]

Class placement

Pupils are placed in classes relative to their ability, aptitude and achievement, and are regularly monitored and assessed throughout their school career. Movement between groups is possible depending on pupil progress.

External tests such as Progress in English, Progress in Mathematics or Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) are also used to monitor pupil standards.

Pupil tracking is used successfully with GCSE or equivalent subjects in Key Stage 4 and with A level or equivalent courses in Key Stage 5.

The Special Needs Co-ordinator liaises with all departments of the school to ensure that the needs of all pupils are met.

Parental support

The school recognises the importance of parental support and welcomes close contact with parents.[23]

This partnership is viewed as crucial in supporting pupils and to strengthen it further regular parent/teacher meetings are available for each year group to discuss pupil progress.

All parents are encouraged to take full advantage of these opportunities which not only enable them to hear directly about their child’s progress but also to establish a good relationship with their child’s teachers. [24]


The state of the art building has all the facilities expected in a new, modern, technologically and computer rich 21st century school. specialist facilities and equipment are provided for every subject.[25]

The school building was built following a Public Private Partnership scheme and opened its doors in 2008. [26]

Each classroom contains an inter-active white board, a digital data projector and a computer on the teacher’s desk for their dedicated use. Almost without exception the classrooms for each department are suited making leadership and management easier. [27]

Resource rooms for staff are plentiful and ten departments have their own dedicated computer suites – these in addition to the computer suites which are available for standard school use.

The spacious layout of the building provides every opportunity for pupils to move in comfort and enjoy their lessons.

Within the school there are some wonderful additional features including one of the largest school sports halls in Northern Ireland, an Assembly Hall which has the highest quality of lighting and sound equipment and all the facilities necessary for access for all. [28]

Within the campus the grass, all-weather and synthetic pitches provide an easy access for the development of both curricular and extra-curricular activities. [29]

Official Opening[edit]

His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex officially opened the new building on Thursday 3 December 2009.

On arriving HRH was greeted by David Lindsay Lord-Lieutenant of County Down and went on to meet Member of Parliament for North Down, Lady Sylvia Hermon, North Down Mayor Councillor Tony Hill, Stanley Goudie, Chief Inspector, Department of Education, Mr AWJ Hyndman Principal as well as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors Mrs Doreen Tennis.[30]

HRH was given a tour of the school facilities and demonstrations from the Duke of Edinburgh scheme participants. HRH unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion in the school Assembly hall attended by over 500 pupils and staff. [31]

Notable former pupils[edit]

A number of the school's alumni have excelled in the fields of Sport and Politics at local, regional and national levels.

  • Alex Easton MLA, Alex was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2003 for the constituency of North Down and returned again in 2007 and again in 2011 where he topped the poll for North Down.[32]
  • George Hamilton, Chief Constable of PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), was a former pupil of the Gransha Boys High school, Bangor.
  • Josh Magennis, striker for Scottish Premiership club Aberdeen. Josh made his full debut for Northern Ireland on 26 May 2010 against Turkey in a friendly.[1]
  • Victoria Bradshaw, ILGU Ulster Women's Golf Championship, Winner 2007 and 2009 [33], Zara Bolton Winner 2007 and 2009, Faldo Junior Series Winner 2007 and 2009, UK Weetabix Under 14 Champion 2004 [34]
  • Councillor Wesley Irvine, Former Mayor of North Down Borough Council, 2012-2013, Mayor of North Down#Mayor Deputy Mayor of North Down Borough Council 2007-2008, elected DUP representative for the Abbey district in the North Down Borough Council.[35]


  1. ^ Josh Magennis

External links[edit]