Ballyclare High School is delighted and honoured to be awarded The Secondary Geography Quality Mark: in recognition of excellence in teaching and learning in geography

By Ballyclare High School on 2 October, 2017

The Geographical Association (GA) is delighted to announce Ballyclare High as one of the Secondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM) awardees September 2017.


The SGQM is a prestigious award which recognises quality and progress in geography leadership, curriculum development and learning and teaching in schools. All the award winners undergo a rigorous moderation process, and the team of assessors were hugely impressed by the manner in which all are continuing to embrace new and innovative approaches to teaching geography. The SGQM recognises student attainment, progress and achievement in geographical knowledge, understanding, values and skills, and sets expectations about the quality of teaching in geography. It promotes effective subject leadership and management, helping subject leaders raise the standards of geography in their schools.


This year, 16 schools were awarded the coveted Centre of Excellence status. These hubs of excellence are pivotal to the GA’s desire to spread good practice through the development of local networks of teachers. The Centre of Excellence award recognises a school’s contribution to disseminating quality approaches to the teaching of geography, global learning and fieldwork. In these centres geography is managed by enthusiastic curriculum leaders who are able to inspire their colleagues.


Furthermore, awards have also been presented to three schools for the fourth time this year: Ballyclare High School being one of those; the GA feels is a significant achievement!

Ballyclare High is the only school in Northern Ireland to have received this award.


Rebecca Kitchen, Secondary Curriculum Leader at the GA, says:

‘It is vital for young people today to experience an engaging, relevant and quality geography curriculum which helps them to make sense of an increasingly interconnected world and to negotiate their place within it.  Yet, in a time of curriculum change and performance indicators it is sometimes easy to lose sight of this.  The SGQM enables schools to focus critically on what they are doing and why, in order to provide their young people with the knowledge and understanding they need to live in the modern world.’


Alan Kinder, GA Chief Executive:

‘There has never been a more important time for all children and young people to study geography. Growing up in the 21st century means living in an increasingly interconnected world, one facing a growing number of global challenges such as climate change and the need to live our lives sustainably. Geography not only fascinates and inspires young people, it provides them with the knowledge and understanding they need to live in the modern world. Geography is, as we say in the GA’s Manifesto, ‘fundamental to everyone’ and I am delighted that a growing number of primary schools are teaching their students to fully engage with the subject.’


Dr Witherow, Head of Geography in Ballyclare High School commented: ’I am thrilled that the hard work and commitment of both the pupils and staff within the Department has been recognised by the Geographical Association. We all pride ourselves in the enthusiasm we have for our subject. We are delighted to be awarded this accolade for the fourth time which spans a period of 12 years.’



Each school that has achieved the Secondary Geography Quality Award is actively working to raise the standards of geography teaching and learning for their students. Further information about the award can be accessed at


For further information contact:

Andrea McCullough Ballyclare High School


Ballyclare High is a co-educational Grammar School of 1210 pupils.