Coleraine Academical Institution

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Coordinates: 55°08′10″N 6°41′10″W / 55.136°N 6.686°W / 55.136; -6.686

Coleraine Academical Institution
Coleraine Academical Institution.jpg
Motto CAI "Commitment and Achievement with Integrity"
Established 1860
Closed 2015
Type Voluntary Grammar
Headteacher Dr. David Carruthers 2007–2015
Location Castlerock Road
Co. Londonderry
BT51 3LA
Northern Ireland
Local authority NEELB
Students c. 750
Gender Boys
Ages 11–19
Houses White, Hunter, Huston, Clarke, Henry, McNeill
Colours Maroon, White and Navy               
Publication "The Inst" - School Magazine
Affiliations HMC

Coleraine Academical Institution (CAI), styled locally as Coleraine Inst, was a voluntary grammar school for boys, situated in Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Coleraine Academical Institution occupied a 70-acre (280,000 m2) site on the Castlerock Road, where it was founded in 1860. It was, for many years, a boarding school until the boarding department closed in 1999. It was one of eight Northern Irish schools represented on the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC). The school had an enrolment of 778 pupils, aged 11–19, as of 2012. The school was generally regarded for its high academic standards[citation needed] and extensive sporting facilities, including 33-acre (130,000 m2) playing fields, indoor swimming pool, boat house, rugby pavilion, sports pavilion and gymnasium. The school has an extensive past pupil organisation, "The Coleraine Old Boys' Association", which has several branches across the world.

Coleraine Inst was nine times winner of the Ulster Schools Cup, the world's second oldest rugby competition. The school competed in the competition every year since 1876.

As part of a general reorganization of schools in the Belfast area over a number of years,[1] Coleraine Academical Institute was merged in September 2015 with Coleraine High School on Coleraine's Lodge Road and became a fully boys' and girls' grammar school called Coleraine Grammar School.[2]


Over the years the school has had nine headmasters spanning the school's existence over 150 years.

  • (1860 – 1870) Alex Waugh Young was CAI's founding principal and very little is known of him.
  • (1870 – 1915) Thomas Galway Houston, OBE, MA, FRSAI Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland served the school for 45 years, enjoying a long retirement in Portstewart until his death in 1939 at the age of 96. Houston served as a member of the Senate in the Stormont Parliament for Queen's University, Belfast.[3]
  • (1915 – 1927) Thomas James Beare – affectionately known as "Tommy John" – had a rather shorter tenure in office, until his premature retirement on health grounds in 1927.
  • (1927 – 1955) Major William White – "The Chief" to generations of boys who both admired and feared him.
  • (1955 – 1979) Dr George Humphreys, by whom the major physical expansion of the school was guided. Previously on the staff at Campbell College, Belfast, it was during his Headmastership that Inst became an H.M.C. school.
  • (1979 – 1984) Dr Robert F. J. Rodgers, former headmaster of Bangor Grammar School, was headmaster of Inst until his appointment as Principal of Stranmillis Training College, Belfast.
  • (1984 – 2003) R. Stanley Forsythe was appointed following a ten-year period as headmaster of The Royal School, Dungannon and remained in post until retirement.
  • (2004 – 2007) Leonard F. Quigg was the first headmaster in the school's history to have been promoted 'from within the ranks'. Quigg served as an assistant master, Head of English, Senior Master, as both junior and senior Vice Principal before his appointment as headmaster in January 2004. Mr Quigg retired in 2007.
  • (2007–present) Dr David Carruthers is CAI's current headmaster. He was previously the Head of Mathematics at Royal Belfast Academical Institution.[4]

School houses[edit]

School houses are named after former masters and play little, if any, part in everyday life in the school. The main event of the year for house competitions is the annual Sports Day. The houses are White (Red shirt ironically), Hunter (Dark Blue), Clarke (Light Blue), Houston (Light green), Henry (Dark green) and McNeill (Yellow)


Much importance was placed upon the neatness of boys' appearance. School colours were maroon, white and navy. Uniform consists of the standard school blazer, standard black flannels, grey shirt (for years 8, 9 and 10) or white shirt (for years 11 to 14); the school tie and a light grey v-necked pullover (although boys in Years 13 and 14 may wear a navy pullover).

Honours system[edit]

As a boy progresses through the school, he can earn honours through excellence in sport and/or the arts. There are Junior Colours, allowing a boy in the junior years to wear a junior colours tie, and Senior Colours for boys in the senior years (year 11 to year 14). In addition, there are honours blazers. These are awarded to boys in the sixth form who have contributed significantly to the school through sport or the arts. A pupil gaining such honours is entitled to wear a blue honours blazer. There are also Representative Honours for pupils who have represented the school in National or International finals. This is also a blue honours blazer, but with the representation stitched below the CAI crest.

Recent achievements[edit]

A team of five upper sixth boys from the school called "Team FUGA" competed in the F1 in Schools competition, and won the international finals in 2007, meriting a second team competing in the Malaysian World Championships the following year.

At the annual Coleraine Sports Council Awards Dinner 2008, the previous year's CAI Junior 18 Quad were winners of the Junior Team Award. CAI head rowing coach, Bobby Platt (MBE), received the Coach of the Year Award. CAI's three 'old boys' who rowed at the Beijing Olympics: Richard Archibald, Alan Campbell and Richard Chambers, all collected Chairman's Awards in recognition of their outstanding achievements.At the London 2012 Olympics Campbell won bronze in the single sculls finals and Chambers silver in the lightweight fours finals.

Coleraine Academical Institution continues to send its sportsmen to participate in rugby and rowing teams representing both Ulster and Ireland; a long-standing achievement of the school.

The school debating team won the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition in 1995 and were runners-up in 2006.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]