Rainey Endowed School in Magherafelt has been named as the Northern Ireland Secondary School of the Year by The Sunday Times Parent Power School Guide.
It ranks fourth among the Northern Irish cohort of schools this year, rising 17 places in the UK rankings and three places within Northern Ireland since last year. At A-level, 82.6% of grades secured A*-B grades this summer and 55.2% of GCSE’s were at A*/ A.
The school is also renowned for its extracurricular activities and charitable work. The school aims to provide a strongly academic education but also to develop the children morally, socially, spiritually and physically.
This year a group of 12 children and three members of staff went to Kusumpur, a slum in New Delhi in India. The school forged links with a Delhi-based charity, Asha, five years ago. The organisation gave the school an opportunity to fund a children’s Resource Centre in Kusumpur. Teams are sent out every two years and this was Rainey’s third visit. The students from Rainey Endowed School spent their time painting the Centre, giving English and craft lessons to slum children and engaging in student workshops.
“It has a profound effect,” says Mark McCullough, head teacher of the non-denominational co-educational voluntary grammar school. “It makes them realise how lucky they are.
“We want to ensure our pupils become global citizens of the 21st century,” says McCullough, now in his fifth year as head.
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Schools Guide, said: “The Rainey is quite simply the sort of school all parents dream of for their children. Yes, it is academically successful, but visits such as the one undertaken to India in October, provide education that can’t be tested in an examination hall.”
“Giving children an awareness of the wider world in which they will take their place from within the secure confines of school is a goal for many but achieved by rather fewer. This determination to place the academic education it provides in a wider context makes the Rainey a hugely worthy winner of our Northern Ireland Secondary School of the Year title.”