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Castle High School
Fortwilliam Park, BT15 4AR, UK Belfast
+44 (0)2890 778602



School History 


Castle High (formerly Dunlambert Secondary School) is beautifully situated in the

wooded grounds of the former Dunlambert Estate, home of the Clark family of shipbuilding fame.



Within the 8 acre grounds are the Celtic and Anglo Norman remains of the original Dun or Fort flanked by a prehistoric souterrain.  This fort was built by the Queen's Favourite, Lord Essex in Elizabethan times.  The arches and pillars at each end of Fortwilliam Park are what is left of the grand entrances built by George Langry who owned the estate in the early 1800s.



Dunlambert Secondary School opened on the 1st September 1958 with an enrolment of 720 boys from all over North Belfast. However, the school was 'officially opened' the following year on March 1959 the by the then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Lord Viscount Brookbrough.  The numbers of pupils reached 960 in 1962 and the following year numbers peaked 1,000.  The founding Principal of Dunlambert was Samuel Lynn and the Vice Principal was Bill Singer.



On the 7th October 2004 Dunlambert held a reunion at Castle High School with a special premier screening of a  documentary  produced by a former pupil of Dunlambert on 'Parkie' which focused on his years as a teacher and captured some poignant moments of his return to Dunlambert and to the classroom where he used to teach.



The reunion attracted a large gathering of former pupils and twenty teachers from the era of the inception of the school.  All in all it was an excellent night!  John Parkinson or 'Parkie', {now 98} is possibly the most well known of the teachers particularly famous worldwide for his role as President of the Belfast Titanic Society and the man that saw the ship sail out of Belfast Lough in 1912.



Dunlambert Secondary School was divided into house groups the house names were derived from famous family names who made a contribution to the city of Belfast and the Province.  They were Clark, Shaftesbury, Dixon and Chichester.  A trophy was awarded annually to the top house of the year.



Dunlambert was also famous for their excellent football teams.



Castle High School opened its doors to pupils in 1985 as a result of the merger between Dunlambert Secondary School for Boys, Graymount Secondary School for Girls and Mountcollyer.  We at Castle High have endeavoured to continue on the great tradition of all three schools.


** Information * Images supplied by Joe Cohen - Past Pupil of Dunlambert**

Our purpose is to be proud of our achievements, value our school and celebrate our community

Principal`s Message


The move from Primary School to Secondary School is a very important time for you and your child.  You will naturally want to build on the good education in the local primary schools by choosing a good secondary school.

There have been many improvements to Castle High School in recent years.  Accommodation in our school includes a modern Technology suite and science laboratories as well as a variety of up-to-date computer facilities in our 5 IT Suites.


We have an attractive and well stocked library, and a number of recently refurbished departments including a health and fitness suite, our Art department and also our Home Economics department which was opened by Paul Rankin.


We have excellent drama facilities in the Drama Suite and a fully featured media suite consisting of a full compliment of Apple iMacs for our Digital Media courses.


Our school gym and assembly hall are spacious and well kept and our grounds include an all weather pitch.


Castle High provides excellent facilities and resources to allow each young person to achieve their best.




We are committed to the young people of this area. We plan and prepare to make sure that each child is offered a good education. We do not simply teach them but we also make sure we treat children as individuals and care for them, support them and encourage them.


It is an enormous responsibility to educate children and we realize the trust parents put in us when they send their children here.


We also know that we will need your help and support in this and so we promise that we will involve you in your child's education in Castle High School.

We believe in hard work, good behaviour, self-respect and respect for others and we guarantee to provide good teaching and care so that each child can do their best.


Mr C McIlwaine




At Castle High assessment is carried out through the continuous assessment of class work and homework as well as formal tests and exams


At the end of term one the parents of pupils in year groups 8, 9 & 11 will receive an interim report on their child's progress based on the teachers continuous assessment of their performance.  Any parent wishing to have a meeting with either pupils form tutor or a specific subject teacher can of course contact the school to have a meeting arranged as appropriate.  The school may also wish to contact parents with regard to progress at this time.


Pupils in year groups 10 and 12 will be working towards their mock exams namely mock KS 3 assessment and mock GCSE's respectively.  There will be a formal report compiled based both on the results of these exams and on their performance in class thus far.


In February / March every parent will have the opportunity to discuss their child's progress with individual subject teachers at our subject based parental interview sessions.


In May / June all pupils in year groups 8 to 11 will sit formal examinations in school and will have a detailed report based on the outcome of these, plus performance throughout the year, sent home so parents can see how they have progressed over the whole year and can, again, seek further information from the form / year tutor or specific subject teacher as required.


During May / June year 12 will sit their GCSE examinations.


Key stage 4 examinations offered at Castle High School


The majority of pupils will be entered for GCSE examinations.


All pupils will be entered for fully recognized external examinations at the end of year 12.  Other examinations will also be offered where appropriate.


Careers & Work Experience


From year 8 all our pupils follow a rigorous programme in Careers and Employability and in year 12 all pupils receive one week of Work Experience.


Our Work Experience programme for pupils is an example of our close and valuable links with business and industry.



Work Experience allows pupils to:


  • Gain a broad experience of work,
  • Practice socializing in a completely new environment,
  • Develop their interpersonal skills,
  • Enhance their understanding, tolerance, respect and consideration for others.



Homework is an important part of the learning experience in each subject.  Pupils carry homework diaries which are signed by parents and form tutors each week.  There is also an after school homework club in the library where pupils can use the computers an obtain advice from teachers on duty.


Homework's are set to:


·         Develop the habit of independent study

·         Reinforce and extend work that has been carried out in class

·         Provide an indication of progress being made to aid assessment




It is expected that students should spend a reasonable amount of time on homework and private study each evening.


Recommended Minimum Time:


                   Year 8           -        1 hour

                   Year 9           -        1 hour 15 minutes

                   Year 10         -        1 hour 30 minutes

                   Year 11         -        2 - 3 hours   

                   Year 12         -        2 - 3 hours


All pupils should note that when homework's have been completed the remaining time should be devoted to reading and revision


Types of Homework:


The amount of homework and nature of homework will vary from subject to subject.  Types of homework may include: reading, writing, learning, assignments, oral work, designing and researching.  Some homework may be given well in advance of a stated deadline thus encouraging good study habits and self-discipline.


Please ensure homework?s are accurately recorded in the school Homework Diary.

Pupil Support


Every pupil is unique; consequently not every pupils needs are the same.


At Castle High School we recognise this and have made provision accordingly, particularly in the area of pupil support.  We have established a 'support centre' where pupils who require extra help in certain areas can acquire the individual and targeted attention they require.




Pupils are:


  • Withdrawn from class individually or in small groups for several sessions per week,
  • Provided with assistance in literacy and numeracy,
  • Equipped with an individual action plan (IEP) - tailored to their specific needs.
  • Pupils receive one to one assistance in class with our full-time Classroom Assistant.

Parents are kept fully informed of their child's progress through termly review meetings.  Staff in the Support Centre are in constant communication with the Special Educational needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), the literacy co-ordinator and the co-ordinator of Mathematics to ensure that all staff are aware of assessed pupil needs and how they can be catered for in the classroom situation.  Behaviour support and modification strategies are also provided in the support centre.






  • Pupils are withdrawn from class individually or in small groups to work on emotional and behavioural strategies,
  • Pupils are equipped with a behavioural education plan, tailored to suit their specific needs with specific targets to achieve weekly,
  • Castle High has access to provision from the Secondary Pupil Support Service, Contact Youth Counselling and Communities in Schools.


Castle High Academic Curriculum


Key Stage 3 - Year 8 to 10


In Key Stage 3 pupils take the following subjects:







Physical Education

Technology & Design


Art & Design

Home Economics

Information & Communications Technology

Religious Education

Personal & Social Education

Successmaker - Literacy & Numeracy

Careers Education

Music & Drama


Key Stage 4 (Year 11 & 12)


In years 11 and 12 you will study the following subjects:




GCSE/Entry Level English


GCSE/Entry Level Maths


GCSE/Entry Level ICT


GCSE/Entry Level Science


GCSE/Entry Level Learning for Life & Work


Entry Level RE





Achievements & Extra Curricular Activities:

  • Badminton
  • Chess
  • Computer
  • Dance
  • Football
  • Homework
  • Photography
  • Pottery
  • Table Tennis
  • Technology

The aims for the behaviour we wish to promote are:

  • To encourage pupils and staff to value and respect themselves, each other, the school environment and property,
  • To develop a sense of ownership and care within our school community,
  • To develop a sense of security within the school,
  • To foster positive attitudes to learning and achievement,
  • To allow staff and pupils to work together in an atmosphere of encouragement, expectation and self-belief,
  • To promote respect for the school as a learning environment,
  • To develop positive working relationships with others,
  • To develop a sense of community within the school and promote the school as an integral part of the wider community.

School Aims:

  • To enable all our pupils to develop academically, socially and personally to the best of their ability,
  • To provide the best possible and most appropriate education for each and every one of our pupils,
  • To develop in our pupils respect for themselves and for others,
  • To develop self-confidence and self-esteem in each of our pupils,
  • To develop in our pupils a sense of responsibility and caring for each other, the school community, the local community, and the environment and to promote the school as an integral part of local community life.

School Policies:

  • Attendance
  • Behaviour
  • Bullying
  • Child Protection
  • Drugs
  • Health & Safety
  • Pastoral Care
  • Residential and Away Days
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Special Educational Needs

Copies of each policy is available upon request from the school.

primary schools in Belfast, secondary schools in Belfast, schools in Belfast

Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)