Down High School
Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland
Floreat Dunum , Absque doleLabore Nihil
|Headmaster||Mrs M. Perry|
|Colour(s)||Green and yellow|
Down High School, also called DHS and Down High Grammar School, is a controlled co-educational Grammar School located in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. The school encompasses students from the ages of eleven to eighteen in the senior school—of which there are, approximately, 950 pupils—and also features a Preparatory Department of 130 students (Reception to Primary 7). On 21 July 2014, Education Minister John O'Dowd approved a development proposal to close the Preparatory Department of Down High School. On 30 June 2014 the Preparatory Department closed. There are roughly 250 pupils engaged in A-level study in the Sixth Form. In July 2015 some £20 million was granted by the Education minister to begin the new build project in 2017.
The Gate House and stone walls surrounding the school were originally part of the County Gaol. The stone walls were lowered to the deck when the school was established. It was argued that removing the walls completely would allow fog from the nearby River Quoile to rise into school grounds. There were tunnels beneath the school and grounds (that now are sealed off) which were used to transport prisoners to and from the court house on English Street. Convicts sentenced to death would often be hanged in the main gateway in front of the school. The large granite gatehouse is a prominent feature of the Mount Crescent area, and lies unused. Many of the classes are taught in temporary classrooms.
The school's crest, designed by the late RWH Blackhood of Loughinisland near Downpatrick, is a reminder of another link with the past, dating back to the 12th Century. The design itself is based upon the supposed badge of John De Courcy, the Norman soldier who captured Downpatrick in 1177 and established himself as the ruler of the North East of Ireland. The colours of the crest are taken from the arms of the Anglo-Irish aristocrat, Lady Elizabeth Cromwell (1674–1709), the daughter of the 4th Earl of Ardglass, and owner of the Downpatrick estate. Lady Elizabeth was wife of the Rt Hon Edward Southwell, MP for Kinsale, and Principal Secretary of State for Ireland in the reigns of King William III and Queen Anne. Southwell was a well known benefactor of the town.
The school's motto Floreat Dunum, Absque Labore Nihil means 'May Down Flourish, nothing is achieved without effort'. 'Floreat Dunum' appears on the blazer badge of the school. Previous pupils are known as "Old Dunumians".
Students, upon entry into the secondary school, are placed in a specific house. They can be placed in either:
- 'Down' (House colour: Purple)
- 'Lecale' (House colour: Blue)
- 'Rathkeltair' (House colour: Red)
- 'Mourne' (House colour: Green)
- 'Strangford' (House colour: White)
- The members of the band Ash
- Ashleigh Baxter, Irish Women's rugby player
- Denise McBride, joint-first female judge of the High Court of Northern Ireland
- The Very Reverend Dr Godfrey Brown B.A., B.D., Ph.D., Litt.D., 149th Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
- Robert Long, founder of BT Industries.
- Alister McGrath, Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford and co-author of The Dawkins Delusion?
- Gareth Russell, writer
- The 28th Lord de Ros, Northern Irish aristocrat, who attended Down High School prior to boarding school in the Republic of Ireland
- David Montgomery, former editor of the News of the World, former Chief Executive of Mirror Group and current Chief Executive of Mecom Group
- Tommy Seymour, Rugby Player - Glasgow Warriors Winger, 36 caps for Scotland scoring 16 tries, British and Irish Lion touring New Zealand in 2017.
The current headteacher is Mrs M Perry The deputy headteacher is Mr K Dawson Vice-principals are Mr G McKillen and Mr R Daniells.
- About Down High School Down High School Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- Downpatrick Prisons Devlin Family On-Line
- History of the School Crest Down High School Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- Official 'Ash' website Archived 8 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine. The author references Down Highs [sic] detention cue [sic]
- Alister McGrath Biography University of Oxford