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It is situated in the east of the city and attended by about 750 girls aged 11–18. The grounds include sports facilities and pitches for hockey and athletics as well as many mature trees, which surround the front lawn. The sports hall has facilities for many activities such as gymnastics, badminton, 5-a-side football and basketball. Every year, a sports captain and two vice-captains (upper sixth-form students) are elected. A newly built school building, costing £14m is due to be completed by September 2014 and is said, once completed, to be one of the best schools in Northern Ireland. The preparatory department Penrhyn (also referred to as Strathearn Prep) is the highly regarded fee paying primary and is located a few hundred yards from the main school and is attended by about 140 girls aged 4–11.
The school on average takes usually a B2 grade from 11+ students or <90 in the new post-primary school examinations.
In 1864, 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land were bought by William Mullan and Robert Mullan, on which Strathearn House was built. In 1904, Mullan sold the house to Alexander Taylor, who died in October 1928. The house was then sold to the Victoria College girls' school, based in south Belfast, and which opened Strathearn School in 1929 to serve as a junior school, serving the Belmont and Knock areas. The initial enrolment was 63 pupils.
Miss Miskelly, who taught classics at Victoria became the first headmistress. At this time, the school was co-educational. Boys, however, left the school at age eight, with most moving to Cabin Hill boys' school, while the girls stayed until fourteen, after which they could move to Victoria.
During the Second World War, the school was evacuated to the Argory, near Dungannon, and then to Portballintrae. In 1950, a separate Strathearn Committee of Victoria College was established and Strathearn adopted its own distinct uniform of green, fawn and wine. In 1952, Penrhyn House was bought and converted into a preparatory department. By 1980, there were 469 pupils in the secondary school, and this had grown to 759 by 1997. In 1987, the house beside this was also purchased and served as another school building.
In 1988, the control of the school by the founding Victoria College was relinquished and Strathearn School Belfast was established with its own board of governors.
The school has recently undergone a complete rebuild, finished in 2016
- 1929–1944 Miss Miskelly
- 1944–1958 Miss Rodden, who built Rodden House
- 1958–1979 Miss Hamilton, who built the science labs
- 1979–1997 Miss Lamb, who built the sixth form centre, music department and sports hall
- 1997- 2016 Mr Manning, who oversaw the building of an entire new school build
- 2017- Mrs Connery, current headmistress
The school is divided into four houses:
- Barbour (yellow)
- Boucher (blue)
- McCaughey (green)
- Watts (red)
Each house was named after a school governor, introduced by Miss Rodden in 1944. Inter-house sports competitions and house plays are held annually.
Notable former pupils
- Lucy Caldwell, playwright and author
- Melanie Nocher, Olympic swimmer, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and broke the Irish record in 200m backstroke heat (2:12.29)
- Syreka McMahon, Olympic swimmer, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics
- Margaret Mountford, businesswoman
- Andrea Catherwood, Newsreader