Thornhill College

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Coordinates: 55°02′06″N7°17′02″W / 55.035°N 7.284°W / 55.035; -7.284

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Contents

Thornhill College
Address
Culmore Road

, ,
BT48 8JF

Information
Type Grammar School
MottoAdveniat Regnum Tuum (Thy Kingdom come)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established1886
Local authority Education Authority (Western)
PrincipalSharon Mallett, BSSc PGDFHE MSc PQM
Staff100
Grades6-12
GenderGirls
Age11to 18
Enrolment1409
Colour(s)        
Website

Thornhill College is a Roman Catholic grammar school for girls. It is located in Derry, Northern Ireland. It has a student population of approximately 1500 and a staff of 100 teachers.

Derry City in Northern Ireland

Derry, officially Londonderry, is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name Daire meaning "oak grove". In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and gained the "London" prefix to reflect the funding of its construction by the London guilds. While the city is more usually known colloquially as Derry, Londonderry is also commonly used and remains the legal name.

Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created 1921

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".

History

The nucleus of the present Thornhill College commenced shortly after the Sisters of Mercy came to Derry in 1848. The Sisters started a private school for girls in Pump Street. The school was known as the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy School, Derry. Its first Scheme of Government under the then Ministry of Education was drawn up in February 1925. When Watt's Distillery closed in Derry, and the Estate at Thornhill, on the outskirts of Derry, became available for sale, the Sisters, with the kind assistance of Robert Boyle, a builder in Derry, completed the purchase of the property in 1929. The house was adapted to the needs of the nuns and of the boarders. The Sisters involved moved from Pump Street to Thornhill Convent along with the boarders, and the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy School was officially transferred and opened on 8 September 1932 with an intake of 120 pupils, and a staff of about seven Sisters and three lay teachers.

Sisters of Mercy religious order

The Religious Sisters of Mercy (R.S.M.) are members of a religious institute of Catholic women founded in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland, by Catherine McAuley (1778–1841). As of 2019, the institute has about 6200 sisters worldwide, organized into a number of independent congregations. They also started many education and health care facilities around the globe.

After the Education Act, Northern Ireland in 1947, the number of pupils had increased rapidly as grammar school education became available to more and more children through the eleven plus examination. The school also had a change of name to Thornhill College, Convent of Mercy Voluntary Maintained Grammar School and various new buildings completed but these were insufficient. After many years of much effort, the present building was approved and opened in 2004 across the road form the old site in the new Thornhill College. At that time, the Sisters of Mercy withdrew from trusteeship, and gave it over to the Bishop and the Diocese of Derry. [1]

Motto

The school motto is the Latin phrase "Adveniat Regnum Tuum", which translates as "Thy Kingdom come".

Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy said: "Let us rejoice when good is done, no matter by whom it is accomplished". The school strives in the words McAuley "to fit young women for Earth without unfitting them for Heaven". [2]

Catherine McAuley 19th-century Irish nun and saint

Catherine McAuley was an Irish religious sister who founded the Sisters of Mercy in 1831. The women's congregation has always been associated with teaching, especially in Ireland, where the sisters taught Catholics at a time when education was mainly reserved for members of the established Church of Ireland.

Academics

In 2009 Thornhill College became a Specialist School in Mathematics and Physics. [3] The Specialist Schools Programme helps schools, in partnership with private sector sponsors and supported by additional Government funding, to establish distinctive identities through their chosen specialisms and achieve their targets to raise standards.

In 2018 Thornhill College was ranked 17th out of 192 schools in Northern Ireland in terms of its A-level performance. A total of 84.3% of its students entered for A-Levels achieved a grade of A* – C. [4]

In 2018, 97.4% of its entrants achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including the core subjects English and Maths and the college was ranked 28th out of 191 schools in Northern Ireland. [5]

In 2017 the college took first place in the Northern Ireland Schools' Analyst Competition which is organised by the local Analytical Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry and involved 12 schools from right across Northern Ireland. [6]

Debating

Thornhill College has a Senior Debating Society, established in 1954. The team were Runners-Up in the final of the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition in 2007, and is known throughout the school for wearing the gold stripe around the lapel of the debating blazer. Thornhill had two teams in the semi-finals of this competition who debated against each other on 30 March 2007 in Belfast. In 2017 the society had two teams in the final of the Queen’s Literific Society Debating Competition one of which was the outright winner. [7] The society meets regularly to debate topical subjects and research up and coming competitions. The school also has an established Junior Debating Society who meet after school as part of the homework club. A member from the senior debating society made the national debating team and competed in the 2018 and 2019 World Schools Competition.

Statue

On the "teardrop" at the front of the school there is a piece of sculpture called 'Stepping Out'. The piece was designed by the school’s Head of Art and Design, Mr Eamon McAteer and constructed by Maurice Harron and the final sculpture was officially unveiled early Autumn 2008. It comprises three abstract figures which represent pupils of the school dancing.

Notable former pupils

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References

  1. "Sister Emmanuel's years at the heart of Thornhill College" . Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  2. Margery Jackman Catherine's Response, All Hallows School, 1996, Retrieved 2012-07-31
  3. Education Minister announces nine new specialist schools Northern Ireland Executive, 4 June 2008, Retrieved 2012-07-31
  4. "A-Level: Northern Ireland School League Table 2018" . Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  5. "Belfast Telegraph GCSE 2018" . Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  6. "Thornhill College takes first place" . Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  7. "Queen's Literific Society Debating Competition" . Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  8. "Sheila McClean's vibrant personality" . Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  9. McClements, Freya. "Real-life Derry Girls: 'The nuns are gone but the pupils are the same'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 April 2019.