Carrickfergus Grammar School

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Carrickfergus Grammar School
Carrickfergus Grammar Logo.svg
Motto Praestantia
Established 1962[1]
Type Controlled Grammar
Headmaster Kieran Mulvenna[1]
Chairman of the Board of Governors C. H. G. Gould[2]
Location North Road
BT38 7RA
Northern Ireland
54°43′45″N 5°49′00″W / 54.729242°N 5.816703°W / 54.729242; -5.816703Coordinates: 54°43′45″N 5°49′00″W / 54.729242°N 5.816703°W / 54.729242; -5.816703
Local authority Education Authority
Staff 53 Full-time, 4 Part-time (2009/10)[3]
Students c. 800
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses Castle, Fergus, Knockagh and Thornfield
Colours Maroon, Navy blue & White
Website Carrickfergus Grammar School

Carrickfergus Grammar School is a controlled grammar school situated in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.[4] Since opening in 1962 with 60 pupils and 4 teachers, its pupil numbers have increased to just over 800 pupils from ages 11 to 18 in Years 8 to 14.[1]

The school is situated on the former site of Thornfield Manor, overlooking the town of Carrickfergus, and has a proud view of Carrickfergus Castle and Belfast Lough.

The school is known for its sporting achievements, especially in rugby, hockey, and football and its music department, including the senior choir, which often performs in high-profile venues, such as The National Concert Hall in Dublin, and has made numerous television appearances.

The school motto Præstantia roughly translates as 'Excellence' and the school's mission statement reads "Further Excellence from Present Strengths".


The school was founded in 1962 with just 60 pupils. The school was expanded to deal with this increase in numbers when an extension was built in 1983.

The motto changed to Præstantia, the school crest was replaced with a new logo and the school colours changed to reflect better the diversity of the school community. The school continued to grow, and in 1999 was the first grammar school in Northern Ireland to achieve the Investors in People award.[citation needed] It was also later awarded the Goldmark by the Northern Ireland Sports Council for the quality of its physical education.[citation needed] In 2008, the school achieved specialist school status, specialising in science, and was awarded the International School Award in recognition of its work encouraging global awareness in school.[5] The school is currently working towards gaining the Charter Mark Award for Excellence.[1]

In 2009, the school achieved its first major school sports trophy for rugby in recent years, winning the Ulster Schools Trophy. In 2012, the school had more success, winning the Northern Bank Medallion Bowl.

The school's first principal was Mr J McK Grainger, founding the school with 60 pupils. Mr Grainger was at the school until his retirement in 1977, when he was succeeded by Mr H Jamison, who was principal until 1989. Mr K Irwin succeeded Mr Jamison in 1990, and stayed in the position until his retirement in 2009. All past principals have facilities within the school named after them; The Grainger Centre, The Jamison Room, and Irwin Park. The current principal is Mr K Mulvenna. Today there are approximately 800 pupils attending the school.[1]


There are four school houses, Castle, Fergus, Knockagh and Thornfield, and new students are assigned to one of these houses when they arrive.[6] A Boys' and Girls' House Captain and Vice-Captain are elected each year by members of Year 13.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Carrickfergus Grammar - School History". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  2. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar - Board of Governors". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  3. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Staff". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Institution Details - Carrickfergus Grammar School". Schools+ Database. Department of Education. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - International Excellence Award for CGS". 2008-10-08. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  6. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - School House System". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 

External links[edit]