Sunday Times Secondary School of the Year 2023

St. Mary's Grammar School



St. Mary’s Grammar School plays a key role in the Magherafelt Rural Learning Partnership (MRLP). The Magherafelt Rural Learning Partnership was established in 2007. It provides a full microcosm of the post-primary sector of Northern Ireland: it includes controlled, grant maintained, integrated, maintained and voluntary grammar, both denominational and non-denominational; only Irish Medium and single sex education are not represented.

The schools within the Magherafelt Rural Learning Partnership are:

  • St. Mary’s Grammar School
  • St. Patrick's College
  • Magherafelt High School
  • Rainey Endowed School
  • St. Pius X College
  • St. Colm's High School
  • St Conor's College
  • Sperrin Integrated College
  • Kilronan School

Each school is co-educational, varying in size, type and history. These schools and Northern Regional College also have a long-standing history of working together, both in terms of curricular provision and the continuing professional development of staff.
The MRLP vision for the future of our schools and the purpose behind them can be summarised as follows:

  • Education is central to our future;
  • Partnership will look to build community cohesion by ensuring equality of opportunity through the removal of barriers to participation in education and seeking to minimise variation in outcome through the provision of relevant and appropriate curriculae.

At Sixth Form, being part of the MRLP allows us to increase our curriculum provision and pupils can access subjects not delivered at St. Mary’s.


In St. Mary’s, we have developed effective working partnerships with a range of businesses and organisations in the local, regional, national and global context. These partnerships enrich the educational experience of our pupils in many ways and contribute to the development of their employability skills. As a school, we value the support and involvement of business partners in our work and recognise the important role these partners play in inspiring and raising the aspirations of our pupils. Many departments across the school have developed partnerships and links with businesses and organisations relevant to the subject area. 

Through business partnerships, St. Mary’s and its pupils benefit from: 

  • access to increased resources; 
  • financial support / sponsorship for school activities; 
  • workshop opportunities; 
  • presentations and demonstrations;
  • industrial visits; 
  • enterprise and entrepreneurship projects; 
  • interview advice and guidance; and 
  • work placement opportunities.


The role of Community Relations in education is to help build a shared and safe society which challenges sectarianism and discrimination in all its forms. Given the increasingly diverse nature of society, St. Mary’s understands that schools have a responsibility to contribute to the building of a fair, tolerant and harmonious society which is free from prejudice, discrimination and conflict.

St. Mary’s is an inclusive and inviting school which welcomes people from all backgrounds, cultures and traditions. A range of minority groups are represented within the student and staff population and we value such diversity within our school community. We aim to create warm, caring and positive relationships between all members of the school community while promoting good relations in the wider social context.

As a school, we are committed to the principle of equality for all learners regardless of age, gender, disability, race or religion. We seek to challenge prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination, and foster positive attitudes and good relations between different groups, both within and beyond school.

We promote respect for difference and recognise the rights of each individual person. We strive to maintain a cohesive school community where everyone feels a sense of belonging and value.