Housed in a remarkable building, the Model School opened in July 1862. One of a number of Model Schools dotted over the country, it was non-sectarian with the different religions of the pupils being respected. Part of the schools function was training for future teachers. Fees varying between 5/- and 1/1 per term were levied, although in certain circumstances this could be paid 1d per week. Boarders, male and female, were fed, in part, from the school's own kitchen gardens. Circumstances have changed, but the Model, now a primary school, still provides a valued service in an area where education has long been valued.
Being an old school, the Newtownards Model may not at first glance measure up physically to the needs of modern day education with a lack of adequate storage space a noticeable feature. Nevertheless, with first class adaptation and improvisation on the part of staff, and the provision of running water and computer power sockets in all classrooms, much has been done to overcome these would-be restraints.
The main building has 17 classrooms of varying size, some of which are conversions of the Headmaster's residence. Studs on several floors and a gallery in one of the classrooms reflect positive examples of early educational trends. Accommodation is supplemented by a temporary classroom, an assembly hall, kitchen and dining room.
The Newtownards Model is a school with an outstanding tradition of educational excellence in the town and district. Family links going back many years remain a positive feature and all pupils are expected to uphold the high standards within the school.