November 5 In the Press

Microsoft boost for Markethill High School’s as principal announces ICT Vision

By Eleanor McGillie

MARKETHILL High School is celebrating being at the centre of ICT innovation in Northern Ireland as it announces its strategy for the development of its ICT infrastructure over the next two decades.

At the heart of the strategy is the development of portable technologies, the widespread creation and use of audio and video broadcasts to support learning and the fostering of creativity through the opening of its new state-of-the-art iMac Suite.

The school, which embraces technology as a tool for learning, has teamed up with Microsoft to trial its Surface Tablet over the next term.

Principal James Maxwell said the partnership with Microsoft, coupled with the opening of the school’s new £150,000 Apple Studio with 19 I-Mac stations,  ensures the school continues to lead the way in all aspects of educational provision.

Mr Maxwell said: “Markethill High School has recently undergone a whole-school Inspection by the Education and Training Inspectorate for Northern Ireland. The outcome has been absolutely excellent, and the school has been deemed to be ‘Very Good’ in every single aspect of provision, with some areas deemed to be ‘Outstanding’.  In 2013 the school introduced 3 new GCSEs in Moving Image Arts, Journalism and Agriculture and Land Use. This brings our in-house GCSE offer to 27 subjects, giving our pupils one of the largest GCSE choice of any school in County Armagh. We continue to underpin our growth through a strong vision for ICT in a rapidly evolving technological world.

“As a result, we know Markethill High School has the authority, the impetus and the confidence to drive forward a range of initiatives and to lead in Northern Ireland in aspects of educational provision, of which ICT is one area.”

Over the next term, Markethill High will trial a significant pilot in portable technologies using the Microsoft Surface tablet – a decision taken by the school’s Student Council alongside the staff ICT Steering Group.

Tom Jackson, the Microsoft Education and Business Manager in Northern Ireland, has been working with the school.

He said: “I am very excited to see the students at Markethill High School have done their own research into finding the right devices for their learning and have chosen the Microsoft Surface tablet. They have recognised the value of a device that gives them the tools they need to learn and succeed in an ever more competitive world where technology is at the heart of their everyday lives.”

Markethill High School’s Virtual Learning Environment attracts as many as 300 pupils logging on during evenings and weekends to access learning resources.  The school’s website and Virtual Learning Environment were designed in partnership with award winning WholeSchool Software.

Fintan Marquess, from WholeSchool Software, said: “I have only occasionally come across an educational setting where everything aligns perfectly. Strong, visionary and distributed leadership, committed teachers, quality teaching and fully engaged and valued learners.  These attributes, combined with a fervent belief in providing the best technologies available, will help Markethill students to maximise their potential both academically and socially.”

This month the school will also launch a partnership with GCSEPod which will up access to thousands of podcasts and video resources for its pupils which can be accessed from anywhere at anytime using computers and mobile devices such as smart phones.

Director Peter Hirst said: “We are so pleased to be associated with Markethill High School who are pioneering portable technology in education in Northern Ireland and harnessing the power of mobile for learning.  The investment they are making will offer unprecedented opportunities to help engage students via the devices already in their pocket, helping them prepare for, and succeed in their GCSE exams.”

In 2012-2013, the school was also chosen to pioneer a computer programming pilot for Stranmillis University, and is currently engaged in work with CCEA to develop approaches to E-Assessment.

Prospective Pupils and Parents will be able to learn more about the ICT Vision at the school’s Open Evening on Thursday 16th January 2014, 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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