Grosvenor School celebrates opening
A host of dignitaries were at Grosvenor Grammar School for the official opening of the new £18.5m building this week.
First Minister Peter Robinson was welcomed to the school by headmaster Robin McLoughlin, along with Rosemary Rainey, chairperson of the Belfast Education & Library Board (BELB), Damien Toner, general manager of funders Amey, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, and Reg Magowan, chairman of the school’s board of governors.
There were a number of performances by the school choir during the event, on Wednesday (November 17).
The choir has played in such prestiggious venues as the Waterfront Hall, PSNI Headquarters and the Royal Courts of Justice and before HRH Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, the President of Ireland Mary McAleese and the Secretary of State in Hillsborough Castle. The choir has also performed for the Queen in St Paul’s Cathedral in London and has sung for numerous dignitaries and Heads of State, including the Dalai Lama.
Staff and pupils at the school moved into their new school building on their 34 acre site in April this year.
Since then, they have been enjoying the wonderful new modern facilities that the school has to offer.
There are three sand based rugby pitches, two synthetic hockey pitches, three synthetic cricket wickets, a 400m running track, fitness suite, sports hall, lecture dance studio, purpose built art suite, drama studio, home economics suite, music suite, careers suite and sixth form centre.
The new facilities now provide pupils with the most exceptional and up-to-date equipment across all teaching spaces including interactive whiteboards and tablets, data projectors, video conferencing equipment and access to the use of a virtual learning environment.
Mr Robinson spoke about the economic challenges facing Northern Ireland before congratulating “everyone involved in the success of Grosvenor for their unstinting efforts”. He said: “That all this has been achieved at a time of threatened upheaval in our education system is testimony to the character of this school, the strength of its leadership and the quality of its staff.
“No matter what attempts have been made to undermine grammar schools there is one simple and unavoidable fact — no matter how much the Education Minister might want to dump Grammar Schools they are here to stay and so is academic selection. I am confident that petty administrative vindictiveness will not dent the enthusiasm for the opportunities schools like Grosvenor offer our young people.”
Mr Robinson condemned anti-selection politicians whom he accused of praising the schools’ system to entice investors from overseas.
He added: “I am confident that as Grosvenor enters a new era the achievements of the past will inspire the future. It gives me great pleasure to unveil this plaque which commemorates the official opening of the new school building.”