Our School – Information for Parents and Pupils
The Belfast Royal Academy draws more than half of its grammar school enrolment from the area of the North Eastern Education and Library Board.
The bus service from Antrim and Templepatrick passes within a few yards of the school; each morning our own ‘buses meet pupils coming off trains and ‘buses at Yorkgate Halt, and return there with them after school; also, special ‘buses take pupils directly to Glengormley, Ballyhenry, Carnmoney, Jordanstown and Greenisland after school. The Vice Principals and other experienced members of staff closely supervise these arrangements. Our playing fields are situated at Roughfort (just off the main Belfast/Antrim line) and at the Castle Grounds (beside Ben Madigan).
The Academy, which celebrated its Bicentenary in 1985, is a non-denominational, co-educational day grammar school with over 1400 pupils, more than 380 of whom are in the Sixth Forms. Specialist accommodation is comprised of fifteen science laboratories, an Art and Design block, a Sixth Form Centre and Careers Suite and a purpose-built four room Technology Suite. Recent additions to our classroom provision include a nine-classroom block for English and Drama opened in September 1994, and another block of ten classrooms, for Mathematics, completed in 1998. The Jackson Building classrooms were refurbished in 2000 and extensive refurbishment of the Bruce Building was completed in 2004. Since October 2001, three new ICT suites have come into use, making nine computer rooms in total.
The courses of study available as pupils move up the school are all academic in content and bias, and pupils for whom such courses would not be suitable are discouraged from seeking admission.
The work of junior and middle Forms will be directed towards the G.C.S.E. examinations, with a minimum of specialisation, all the usual subjects being provided and close attention being given to the requirements of the universities and the professions.
In the Lower Sixth Form twenty six Advanced Subsidiary courses are available in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, ICT, Physics, Technology, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Modern History, English Literature, French, German, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation, Economics, Business Studies, Government and Politics, Sociology, Art and Design, Music, Home Economics, Religious Education, Physical Education and Theatre Studies. Pupils are prepared for entry to Oxford and Cambridge in all the main subjects. Approximately 95% of Sixth Formers go on each year to higher or further education in universities and colleges throughout the United Kingdom.
The day begins at 8.40 a.m. but late passes may be issued; there is an hour for lunch and school ends at 3.30 p.m. Homework may take up to two hours for junior pupils and longer for those in senior Forms.
The principal games are, for boys, rugby, cricket, cross-country running, hockey, swimming and athletics; for girls, hockey, tennis, swimming and athletics. Association football, rifle shooting, sailing and golf are available for a limited number of senior pupils. There is a 25-metre indoor heated swimming pool; a large Sports Hall, opened in the Bicentenary Year, incorporates a fitness suite.
The School has a chamber orchestra and a full orchestra, a wind band, a brass band, a big band, junior strings, a traditional group and a number of choirs; individual tuition in orchestral instruments and singing is available. School organisations include a Charities Committee, a Community Service Group, a Junior and Senior Scripture Union, an Air Training Corps, and societies for computers, science, electronics, amateur radio, debating, current affairs, drama, photography, chess and bridge. Approximately 350 boys and girls in the middle and senior school are involved in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
The current annual charges are a compulsory capital fee of £140 per pupil per annum and a parental contribution, with the amount requested being £300 per pupil per annum. The combined charge amounts to £440 per annum, which equates to a charge over the course of a year of £1.20.