The Wallace High School is a co-educational voluntary grammar school situated in a pleasant residential area of Lisburn. It was founded in 1880 by a bequest from the estate of Sir Richard Wallace, local landowner and MP, as the Lisburn Intermediate and University School on a site fronting the Antrim Road.
A board of trustees took charge in 1900 to oversee the development of the growing school and, when they renamed it in 1942 in memory of its founder, they adopted the word ‘Esperance’ as the school’s motto from the Wallace coat of arms. Post-war years witnessed rapid growth in pupil numbers and consequent accommodation provision.
Land was purchased at Clonevin Park, initially for playing fields, and when the Antrim Road site proved inadequate, the decision was taken to build a new school in these extensive grounds.Pupils and staff moved to the new building in 1976, and a programme of continuing development has ensured that the school still provides well resourced teaching areas and excellent sports facilities for some 1160 pupils in the Grammar School and 200 in the Preparatory Department.
The school enjoys an excellent academic record both locally and nationally. The strong pastoral system ensures that individual pupils benefit from the support and guidance of their class tutor who monitors academic progress and general welfare. Through its curricular programme, wide range of extra-curricular activities and the expertise of well trained, specialist teaching staff, the school provides a balanced educational experience, encouraging pupils to discover and develop their particular talents, and preparing them for the opportunities and responsibilities of adult life.
Strong home-school partnerships are encouraged, the interest and involvement of parents being welcomed in all aspects of school life. Parents are regularly informed of progress through school reports and parents’ evenings. There is an active Parent-Teacher Association and an Old Girls’ Association, both of which have added greatly to the social life of the school and provided welcome additional facilities. Good contacts are also maintained with the local primary and secondary schools, and the Lisburn community in general.
A strong emphasis is placed on extra-curricular activities, and a wide range of clubs and societies meet regularly. Pupil involvement is encouraged in music, drama and debating, while success is enjoyed by school teams playing rugby, hockey, tennis, athletics, badminton, netball and cricket. Pupils also benefit from the many opportunities afforded to them through school trips and visits, and through involvement in community service.
The twentieth century brought many changes to the school which had its beginnings in 1880, but the commitment at Wallace High School still remains to the importance of high standards and the fulfilment of the potential of each individual pupil.