Ballymena Academy

Ballymena Academy is a mixed gender grammar school in the market town of Ballymena in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1828 as a small provincial school for children in the town and surrounding agricultural hinterland.

Ballymena Academy
Ballymena Academy Achievement.png
89 Galgorm Road

County Antrim
BT42 1AJ

Northern Ireland
Coordinates54°52′21″N 6°17′19″W / 54.872508°N 6.288643°W / 54.872508; -6.288643Coordinates: 54°52′21″N 6°17′19″W / 54.872508°N 6.288643°W / 54.872508; -6.288643
MottoTenax Propositi (Steadfast in Purpose)
Established1828; 193 years ago (1828)
Local authorityEducation Authority
HeadmasterStephen Black
Age11 to 18
HousesKnocklayde, Lurigethan, Slemish, Trostan
Colour(s)Black/navy and red      
PublicationThe Braid


The school currently has approximately 1300 pupils and 128 members of teaching staff. The school has 88 acres (360,000 m2) of mature grounds situated on the Galgorm Road, just west of the town centre.

The school motto is Tenax Propositi meaning Steadfast in Purpose.

Following the August 2014 retirement of J. R. Hassard (announced on 19 November 2013), the appointment of Stephen Black (former headmaster at Antrim Grammar School) was announced on 7 March 2013; he became headmaster on 1 September 2014.

Notable former pupilsEdit


Sport is an important area in Ballymena Academy. Head of girls sport is Diane McNeill and head of boys sport is John Andrews.

The main boys' sport at Ballymena Academy is rugby. At Ravenhill, Belfast, the school won the 2010 Ulster Schools Cup final when they beat Belfast Royal Academy 10–7.[4] Previous wins were recorded in 1972 and 1981. The school has also won the Subsidiary Shield on seven occasions - more than any other school.[5][6][7][8][9]

The Medallion (under 15) team has won the Medallion Shield twice, in 1970 and 2018.[10] A share of the shield was secured twice after drawn finals.[11][12]

The main girls' sport is hockey and the Ulster Schools Cup has been won outright on six occasions. The trophy has also been shared a further three times after drawn finals. The most recent win was in 2001. Following this, they have proceeded to the Kate Russel All Ireland school girls hockey championship. In 2014 the 1XI reached the schools cup semi-final at Lisnagarvey, they lost on penalty flicks, after a 3–3 draw, to Rainey Endowed school.

Coat of armsEdit

The red hands are borrowed from the Adair family arms, who gave the 1-acre (4,000 m2) of ground on which the original school was built, itself represented by the blue rectangle below. The worker ant represents hard work. The badger on the crest, accompanied by a lamp representing learning, is a pun on 'Brocklamont', site of the new school buildings, with 'brock' being an archaic word for badger (non-archaic Irish, "broc").

Sporting, academic, musical and other arts achievement are recognised by the award of a similar but distinctive coat of arms worn on the school blazer and also by the presentation of honours ties.

Coat of arms of Ballymena Academy
On a wreath Argent Azure and Gules in front of a demi badger Proper, an ancient lamp Or enflamed, also proper.
Argent a humet Azure between in chief two dexter hands and in base an ant Gules.
Tenax Proposti [13]


  1. ^ https://mises.o[permanent dead link] rg/files/qjae936pdf/download?token=JKteetsh
  2. ^ Richard Hill, ‘McBride, (Sara) Vonla Adair (1921–2003)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2007 accessed 9 July 2017
  3. ^ Beacom, Stephen (15 November 2019). "Our Sporting Lives And Times with Colin Murdock: Playing for Northern Ireland was amazing and I've a feeling we might just beat the Dutch". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. ^ "BBC Sport 2010 Final report". BBC News. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  5. ^ Belfast Newsletter. 15 March 1976. p. 10. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Ballymena Academy triumph over Regent House!". Ulster Rugby. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Northern Bank Ulster Schools' Round Up Saturday 24th March 2007". Ulster Rugby. 28 March 2007. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Disappointment for Coleraine Inst". Coleraine Times. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Northern Bank Ulster Schools' Round Up". Ulster Rugby. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Medallion Shield: Ballymena Academy are the 2018 champions after narrow win over Campbell College". belfasttelegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  11. ^ Northern Whig & Belfast Post. 17 March 1951. p. 2. Missing or empty |title= (help) and Northern Whig & Belfast Post. 21 March 1951. p. 2. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Ballymena Observer. 27 March 1969. p. 8. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Ballymena Academy". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 13 October 2020.

External linksEdit