Carrickfergus Grammar School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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
Coordinates: 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]


Carrickfergus Grammar School has a range of on-site facilities for pupils:

  • The Grainger Centre, comprising the school library, careers office, pupil study area, and computer suite,
  • The Jamison Room, Years 13 and 14 common room,
  • The Parkinson Suite, a purpose-built Home Economics suite,
  • Irwin Park, the school's 3 rugby pitches located to the north of the main school building,
  • Playing fields, including rugby and hockey pitches, athletics track, and tennis courts,
  • A music department, including classrooms, practice areas and study areas and a recording suite featuring Apple computers and software,
  • A fitness suite.


School uniform is compulsory and all pupils wear a dark navy blazer featuring maroon detailing on the sleeves and pockets, and the school logo and name emblazoned on the left breast pocket. The school tie is maroon and is imprinted with small white castles. Girls wear a grey pleated skirt, a white blouse, and either black tights or white ankle socks. Boys wear black or dark grey trousers, a white shirt, and black or dark grey socks. All pupils wear black low-heeled shoes. A navy V-necked jumper and hoodies gained through extra-curricular activities are also allowed.[6]

Badges, colours and honours[edit]

School badges are awarded by many of the extra-curricular clubs and organisations which run in the school, including Young Enterprise, sports, music and other groups. Badges are also given to members of the school council and prefects.

Pupils who have excelled in sports, music or in other ways can be awarded with a colours tie (the normal school tie with navy stripes running diagonally down), and for further excellence in those fields pupils can be presented with a colours-with-distinction tie (the colours tie with the navy and maroon reversed). Special achievements such as head boy and girl, outstanding contribution to sports or music, or academic achievement such as 10 A*'s at GCSE level will be awarded with a maroon honours blazer and honours tie.


There is a wide range of subjects offered at Carrickfergus Grammar:[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Critical Thinking was also offered, however as of 2007 it is no longer available. German was offered until the academic year ending 2009[citation needed]

Carrickfergus Learning Community[edit]

Carrickfergus Grammar School is currently involved in a new curricular scheme called the Carrickfergus Learning Community (CLC), along with Carrickfergus College, Downshire School, and Ulidia Integrated College to provide a wider range of options to Carrickfergus' A Level students. Pupils from Carrickfergus Grammar will be able to study these subjects at the corresponding school. This initiative is popular and is an appealing choice for those who wish to remain at Carrickfergus Grammar yet want to study another subject which the school doesn't cater for.[8] Subjects offered include:

A number of pupils from the other three schools in the CLC group can attend Carrickfergus Grammar School for alternative subjects to those offered at their school: Government and Politics, Geography, and French for example.[13]


A new part of the curriculum is a programme called the Youth Education Social Inclusion Programme (YESIP). This program aims to educate Year 13s about cultural diversity and helps them learn more about their identity as a Northern Ireland citizen.[14]

Extra-Curricular activities[edit]


There are four school houses, Castle, Fergus, Knockagh and Thornfield, and new students are assigned to one of these houses when they arrive.[24] A Boys' and Girls' House Captain and Vice-Captain are elected each year by members of Year 13.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Carrickfergus Grammar - School History". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  2. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar - Board of Governors". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  3. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Staff". 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. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  6. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Uniform". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  7. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar - Subjects". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "CLC Subjects Booklet" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar Maths Department". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  10. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar ICT Department". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  11. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar English Department". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  12. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar Foreign Languages". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  13. ^ "Ulidia Integrated College - Carrickfergus Learning Community". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  14. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - YESIP". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  15. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Army Cadet Force". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  16. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Bridge Club". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  17. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Drama Club". 
  18. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Chess". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  19. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Welcome to the Duke of Edinburgh Homepage". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  20. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Science Club". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  21. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Scripture Union". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  22. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Showjumping". 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  23. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - Young Enterprise". Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  24. ^ "Carrickfergus Grammar School - School House System". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 

External links[edit]