Founded in 1785, Belfast Royal Academy is the oldest school in the city, set in beautiful grounds. The Academy itself is a voluntary grammar school for girls and boys aged between 11 and 18 years. It also has a ‘Junior Department’ in the form of the Ben Madigan Pre-School and Prep School. The Academy is non-denominational and admits pupils from all social backgrounds.
The Academy has 1400 pupils, who are supported by more than 80 full time members of teaching staff plus 20 part-time teachers. This means that each pupil can be assisted to reach their full potential. Upon arrival at the Academy, pupils are organised into Houses. There are four Houses, each represented by a colour and named after old boys or important people in the history of the school. Cairns House (blue) is named for a nineteenth century Lord Chancellor, Currie House (green) for a Victorian shipping magnate, who founded a scholarship at the school, Pottinger House (red) after the first Governor of Hong Kong and finally Shaw House (yellow) in honour of a long serving Head of Classics and school Vice-Principal.
There are many opportunities for pupils to represent their Houses throughout the school year, in inter- house competitions covering everything from debating to Rubik’s Cube and gingerbread house making. The house system encourages pupils to learn important life skills such as co-operation and team building as well as one of the stated school aims: that each pupil should learn respect for others and accept responsibility.
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