August 12 In the Press

Markethill High School

Markethill High School is named best non-selective Controlled school in Northern Ireland

By Eleanor McGillie

MARKETHILL High School has officially topped the new Annual Area Profiles as the best non-selective Controlled school in Northern Ireland according to statistics published by the Department of Education. With 89% of pupils achieving 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE level, Markethill High recorded the best pass rate of any non-selective Controlled School in the country.

Figures from non-selective Controlled Schools include;

Markethill High School (89%)

Newtownhamilton High School (85.7%)

Dromore High (79.9%)

Rathfriland High (77.6%)

Cookstown High School (66.9%).

City of Armagh High (57.5%)

Banbridge High School (55.3%)

Craigavon Senior High (41%)

The figures indicate the strength of local rural schools in providing high-quality education, including Markethill High and Newtownhamilton High.

The statistics, published by the SELB, also show Markethill High School to be the only non selective Controlled school in the SELB area to see a year-on-year increase in numbers since 2009.

The new Annual Area Profiles set out a range of statistical information on enrolments, attainment and finance for every school, as well as data on the numbers of schools and pupils across district council areas.

Last year, as part of the ongoing process of planning the local schools estate for the future, the Education Minister John O’Dowd committed to ensuring all Education and Library Boards would publish statistical data on schools and local areas on an annual basis.

A Department of Education spokesperson said:  “This new strategic approach is transparent and gives parents and schools full access to factual information of relevance and interest to them. As the process of area planning continues it is important that everyone with an interest is fully informed and able to get involved in the debate on future provision.”

Principal of Markethill High School, James Maxwell, said the latest statistics reflect the hard work and achievement by staff and pupils at the school.

He said: “Markethill High School continues to flourish. Our pupils live by our ethos, Believe to Achieve, and these results reflect this. The new Annual Area Profiles are testament to the success of Markethill High School in terms of exam results, demand for places and healthy finances.

“I greatly welcome this new transparent approach being adopted by the Department of Education as it gives parents the clarity they need when choosing the right school for their children.”

The data reveals the performance details of other schools including City of Armagh School, St Brigid’s High School, St Patrick’s Grammar School, the Royal School Armagh, St Catherine’s College and St Patrick’s High School.

The tables reveal a decreasing number of pupils attending the City of Armagh School with 317 Year 8 to Year 12 pupils in 2009 to 240 in 2013. Just over half (57.5 per cent) of the 240 Year 12s are achieving five or more GCSEs with grades ranging from A*- C. The data also reveals the school is operating at a financial loss of – £174,677.

Similarly, the number of pupils attending St Brigid’s High School, for the same period, has fallen from 216 to 197. Only 46.9 per cent of Year 12s are achieving five or more GCSEs with grades ranging from A*- C. The statistics show the school is operating at a financial loss of – £211,422.

The tables show a gradual decrease in the number of pupils attending the Royal School Armagh from Year 8-Year 12 during the same period, with 517 pupils in 2010, 512 pupils in 2011, down to a total of 509 in 2013.

Results for St Patrick’s Grammar School show the number of pupils attending the school in Year 8 to Year 12 has increased by 10 from 591 in 2009 to 601 in 2013. A total of 70.7 per cent of pupils doing A-levels achieved three A-levels with grades ranging from A*-C.

St Patrick’s High School is shown to be operating on a healthy school budget of £55,668. The tables show three quarters (75.7 per cent) of Year 12 pupils are achieving five or more GCSE with grades ranging from A*-C.

St Catherine’s College has a steady increase in numbers of pupils attending in Year 8 to Year 12 with a total enrolment of 1,138. The school is also operating on a surplus budget of £155,763.




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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