Lagan College

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Lagan College
Motto Ut Sint Unum
"That they may be one"
Established 1981
Type Integrated
Principal Amanda McNamee
Location 44 Manse Road
Co. Antrim
Northern Ireland
Coordinates: 54°33′48″N 5°52′56″W / 54.5633°N 5.8822°W / 54.5633; -5.8822
Local authority SEELB
Students 1100+
Ages 10+

Lagan College is an integrated secondary school in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was formed in 1981 as the first integrated school in Northern Ireland and contains students of mainly Roman Catholic and Protestant faiths, however students from other faiths also attend the school but more Catholics attend

The school is currently situated on National Trust land, overlooking Belfast. It is named after the River Lagan, which flows though the city. Today the school contains 1,235 pupils and over 100 teachers, and remains one of Northern Ireland's most oversubscribed post-primary schools.


Lagan College was founded as a response to the conflict in the community and to the religiously divided school system in Northern Ireland. Most Catholic children attended Catholic-maintained schools, while Protestant school children mainly attended state schools.

Since 1974 the All Children Together (ACT) movement had been lobbying against the segregation in schools in Northern Ireland, however even by 1981 there had been virtually no initiatives from either the churches or the government in the direction of integration. Consequently, a small group of parents with children at the age of transfer from primary to secondary school decided to take the initiative with the support of ACT. They founded the school in September 1981 in temporary premises at Ardnavally Activity Centre beside the River Lagan in South Belfast.[1]

On the first day the school contained 28 pupils and seven staff members, including the Principal, Mrs Sheila Greenfield, one full-time teacher and five part-time teachers. At the end of 1981 the college needed to be relocated, and it was moved into a vacant primary school situated at Castlereagh, overlooking Belfast from the south-east, in time for the start of the Easter term. From September 1983 the new first year pupils were taught in the Manor House at Cultra, until a new building became ready in October 1984.

For the first three years of teaching, Lagan College received no government funding. Parents of pupils contributed what they could afford towards the costs. However over £500,000 still needed to be raised, so an appeal for benefactions by private individuals and charitable trusts was launched to bring the school to the point where it could develop into an economically viable institution. Lagan College gained maintained status in 1984, making the school eligible for full funding from the Department of Education. From this point 100% of running costs were met by the Department of Education and the school governors were responsible for 15% of capital expenditure. The school's first Chairman was Basil McIvor, a former Ulster Unionist MLA and Minister of Community Relations, who was a proponent of integrated education in Northern Ireland.

From 1985 to 1987, due to accommodation difficulties, the 98 new first year pupils were taught several miles away from Castlereagh in the Balmoral area of South Belfast, in premises shared with the newly opened Forge Integrated Primary School. A permanent home for Lagan College was eventually found just outside Belfast at Lisnabreeny, thanks to the hospitality of the National Trust. The first temporary buildings were opened at Lisnabreeny in September 1987, however travelling continued between the two areas until September 1991 when the first phase of the permanent school building was opened.

Following new legislation in 1989 concerning the development of integrated education by the then Minister, Dr Brian Mawhinney, the College became a Grant-Maintained Integrated School in 1991. As a result, 100% of the costs (recurrent and capital) are now funded directly by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland.

As of 2010, the first third of the permanent school building is open. Approval for the completion of the permanent buildings was given in 2002 under the Department's private finance initiative at a cost of £11.1 million. It is anticipated that the building programme will begin in 2010. With the current educational climate in Northern Ireland, Lagan College stands among the top post-primary education secondary schools. While its focus has been on integration in terms of religious background, the school also integrates children in an 'all-ability' context. Thus, Lagan College accommodates for children with a variety of academic backgrounds. As of 2010 the college accommodates 50% of its pupil intake, retaining at least those who achieve an A grade in the transfer procedure. With that in focus, Lagan College remains one of Northern Ireland's most oversubscribed schools.

The school recently opened new buildings, opened in 2014.[2]

The school motto[edit]

The school uses the Latin motto Ut Sint Unum, which translates to "That they may be one". This reflects the school's ethos of integrated education between all races and religions. It is shown as part of the school badge, displayed on the students' uniform.

Educational awards[edit]


Lagan College boys have won the East Down Under 12 Championship against Bangor. The Lagan College 6th years won the All Ireland basketball tournament. It was quoted by a local basketball website when interviewing leading scorer David Stalker as being "the best of times, and the worst of times". Teammate Ciaran McGuiggan agreed. There have been many other trophies won by Lagan College.

Exam performance and pupil destinations[edit]

Over the last 5 years, there has been a steady upward trend in GCSE results. In 2009 students sat a range of 29 subjects and 97.5% achieved 5–10 GCSE passes. 79% achieved 8–10 passes with A*–C grade.

In 2009 Lagan College achieved its best ever A-level results. There were 260 entries in a range of 22 subjects. The school's overall pass rate was 98.5% and 91% of students achieved 3 or more A-level passes, A–C.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "History - Lagan College". Lagan College. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  2. ^ "O'Dowd officially opens new building for Lagan College | Integrated Education Northern Ireland". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  3. ^ "The Big Interview: Clare Bailey deputy leader of the Green Party -". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  4. ^ "Good Luck Matthew! - Lagan College". Lagan College. 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 

External links[edit]