St Patrick's Grammar School, Downpatrick
|Native name||Ardscoil Ghrámadaí Naomh Pádraig|
("Sign of faith")
|Local authority||South Eastern Education and Library Board|
|Gender||All-Male (Year 8 - Year 12)
Co-educational (Year 13 - Year 14)
|Houses||Down, Killard, Lecale, Quoile|
|School Years||Year 8 - Year 14|
Saint Patrick's Grammar School (Irish: Scoil Ghrámadaí Naomh Pádraig) is a Catholic grammar school located in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. It is currently owned by the De La Salle Brothers. It has an enrollment of around 725 students, with girls admitted at sixth form level. Pupils come from all over the East Down area. Working to support the ideals of this Lasallian School is a staff of 75 lay teachers. Recently, the school has been awarded the Investor In People award, and has been named a specialist school in humanities by the Department of Education.
Saint Patrick's Grammar School was founded in 1934 and moved to its present site in 1937. In 2009, the school celebrated its 75th anniversary. A new school building was built and opened in April 2011. The new building contains improved modern facilities including a large music department and enhanced Physical Education amenities. The PE department includes a modern gym, two indoor sports halls and a floodlit outdoor pitch.
School and community
The school and its students are linked with the local community. Extra-curricular organisations such as the St. Vincent de Paul School Conference operate within Saint Patrick's Grammar School to raise funds for worthy causes as well as out in the community, conducting regular visitations to the Lecale Lodge Nursing Home which is operated by Four Seasons Health Care.
The school is involved in many local, county and national leagues in sports such as football, Gaelic football, hurling and athletics. Its sports teams have achieved a number of county and province-wide titles under the guidance of the P.E. Department.
Upon admission into the school, students are placed into one of four houses (classes). These are:
- Saul (In Year 13/14 only)
The Saul house is used as a separate class for Creative and Expressive studies in the junior school.
New school building
After years of planning, the construction of the new school building commenced in the summer of 2009. The school was constructed on the "junior" playing fields, which can be seen on the Downpatrick skyline. When completed, the previous school building was demolished and the site was converted into all-weather playing fields and tennis courts. The new school campus opened on 1 April 2011.
Notable former students and staff
- Patrick Kielty, comedian and television personality.
- Maurice Hayes, the former Northern Ireland Ombudsman, Chairman of the Ireland Funds and Taoiseach-appointed Senator in Seanad Éireann, he served as town clerk of Downpatrick in the 1960s and was awarded European Person of the Year 2003. Later, he returned to Saint Patrick's to teach.
- Eddie McGrady, former Social Democratic and Labour Party MP and MLA, who first won his seat in 1987 defeating the Conservative Party candidate Enoch Powell.
- Damian Gorman, writer and film maker. He was responsible for winning Northern Ireland's first BAFTA. He later became the school's first writer in residence.
- Rigsy, (real name David O'Reilly), TV and radio broadcaster with the BBC presenting on Across The Line and BBC Radio Ulster since 2002
- Gerry Kelly (broadcaster) TV and radio broadcaster formerly at UTV (TV channel) and now with BBC Radio Ulster.
- Ian Mitchell from the bands Bay City Rollers and Rosetta Stone (1970s band).
- David Morgan (footballer), footballer who plays for Tamworth on loan from Nottingham Forest.
- Members of the band Relish (band).
- Members of the rock band The Answer who supported AC/DC on their recent world tour.
- Margaret Ritchie FORMER MP for South Down, former Social Democratic and Labour Party leader, MLA and Minister for Social Development, who taught in the school for a short period.
- Cool FM breakfast presenter Paulo Ross
- Minister encourages business improvement | Department for Employment and Learning
- St Patrick's Grammar School, Downpatrick - Specialist Schools Award[permanent dead link]
- "Paddy Kielty". Downpatrick Manchester United Supporters' Club. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- "Board". Northern Ireland Screen. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- Quigley, Maeve (2002-01-27). "It's great being the youngest at work..you can get away with so much". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 2010-09-28.