November 12 In the Press

Students at Markethill High School support Putting Pupils First Campaign

Literacy Action Plan 2014 launched as pupils gain confidence to reach full potential


By Eleanor McGillie

MARKETHILL High School is taking huge steps forward to enhance the literacy capabilities of students by executing its Literacy Action Plan 2014 so all pupils can reach their full potential giving them the confidence to gain the necessary skills to achieve high.

The school, which was recently commended by the Education Minister, John O’Dowd, as one of 11 schools in Northern Ireland successfully bridging the gap between social disadvantage and educational achievement, is implementing a range of initiatives to boost literacy skills for pupils.

In October the school was highly commended for excellent practice in English and literacy by the Education and Training Inspectorate of Northern Ireland (ETI) ( during a whole-school Inspection of the school.

Mr James Maxwell, Principal of Markethill High School, ( said the school’s achievements for literacy are constantly improving and said there’s a great thirst among pupils to achieve higher.

The Literacy Action Plan 2014 includes the introduction of an Accelerated Reader Programme which encourages pupils to read fictional and non-fictional books suitable to their literacy levels. The aim of the programme, which is only being run by a few schools in the Armagh and District area, is to challenge pupils to further their reading capabilities.

In addition, each pupil in the school has an extra 30 minutes every week during registration classes to read books. To further this the school has invested in a suite of Kindle e-technology to help pupils with reading – a facility which is available to pupils in the newly refurbished school library between 8.30am and 5pm.

Mr Maxwell said: “The recognition of our excellent practice in literacy both by the Education and Training Inspectorate and by Mr O’Dowd is a reflection of the significant priority literacy is given within our school.

“Markethill High School firmly believes that a pupil’s ultimate educational outcome at the age of 16 is closely linked with the effective development of their literacy skills across all subjects. As a result, the school has in place an exciting, ambitious and comprehensive Action Plan to develop pupils’ literacy skills from the very moment they come to the school in Year 8. The school works closely with parents and feeder primary schools to ensure the right approach is adopted for each individual child.”

As part of its plan the school has also introduced a new Debating Society to develop pupils’ speaking and listening skills.

The school’s Literacy Action Plan 2014 also focuses on the important role the school plays in the community. In September adult evening classes in literacy and numeracy were introduced in collaboration with the Southern Regional College. This initiative aims to boost the confidence of adults and parents in the community and is also a good example for young people.

Mr Maxwell said: “Markethill High School has always played a vital role in this community and will always continue to do so. We are constantly examining ways in which we bring the community through our doors. The literacy and numeracy adult classes are just one way in which we are connected with our community. The opportunities will be endless if we are successful in getting our new build school and Sixth Form. This is a move which will positively impact not only our pupils, but their parents, extended families and businesses.”

Prospective pupils and parents can hear more about the school’s literacy vision at the upcoming Open Night on January 16 at 7:15pm.




Markethill High School is a co-educational 11-16 Comprehensive School situated on a spacious site adjacent to the town. Since 1959 the school has been educating pupils of all abilities drawn from a wide geographical area. The school’s ethos is ‘Believe To Achieve’.

  • January 2012 – Markethill High School – winners of a £4,000 prize fund for the best Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics project application to develop those subjects with Year 9 pupils.
  • In May 2012 Markethill High School was announced the British Academy Award Winner for the Best School in Northern Ireland for Modern Languages, with an award of £4,000. The school is shortlisted to the final three schools for the title of Best School in the United Kingdom for the delivery of Modern Language education.
  • In May 2012 – Laura Marshall in Year 11 was awarded the outstanding title of Northern Ireland’s Young Entrepreneur of the Future
  • For the second year running, in June 2012, Jonathan Armstrong in Year 12 was named the Southern Regional College student of the Year as a result of his work on the Schools’ Partnership Programme studying Occupational Studies
  • In November 2012, Markethill High School win Euroscola Programme
  • For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd (McGillie Media & PR Ltd) on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | Education PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts

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