Rockport School

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Rockport is the only school of its kind in Northern Ireland, i.e. an independent Junior and Senior School, based on public school lines. Boarding and Day, Boys and Girls, Ages 3 – 18.  The Head is a member of the 16+ Group in the IAPS (Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools) the largest association of Prep Schools in the UK with over 500 members. Rockport also boasts membership of the Boarding School Association (BSA), and the North Down Heads’ Group. Belonging to these organizations enables the school to be pro-active in its approach to education and enables the sharing of good-practice. The school is also a member of the PNIBS (Partnership in Northern Ireland Boarding Schools), a smaller local organization, which keeps Rockport in touch with the other boarding schools in Northern Ireland. 

Number of students

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Day School:








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About the school

Rockport was founded by Geoffrey Bing, in 1906, as a boys’ preparatory school and pupils were made ready for the Common Entrance examination to public schools throughout the United Kingdom. Originally with just four boys, one assistant master and a matron, the school expanded considerably during Bing’s Headship, and concerts, plays, sporting fixtures and Lough swims flourished. Rockport became a Charitable Trust in 1967, has subsequently had two Headmistresses and three Headmasters, and has grown to be a school of 200 pupils. The school became fully co-educational in 1967, and began taking pupils to the age of 16 in 1998 and to the age of 18 in 2015. New buildings and facilities have continued to be added to the Rockport estate, but the school remains very identifiable with the one established by Bing over a century ago.

Rockport boasts a unique setting on the shoreline of Belfast Lough allowing easy access to the Coastal Path which runs from Holywood to Bangor. 25 acres of woodland, grounds and sports pitches. The tarmacked area provides an all-weather playground and marked courts for tennis, netball and football.  The Sports Hall provides year-round indoor courts. There is  room for rugby, football and hockey pitches, and two cricket pitches in the summer term. The Centenary Building was opened in 2006 and houses the airy Art Studio and Gallery space, Music practice room and classrooms; while the Webb Russell room provides a space for entertaining, dramatic rehearsals, exams and meetings. The Tucker Hall houses all dramatic productions throughout the year and is School Exam Hall. The Jackson Hall in the Early Years building provides an ideal area for assemblies, gatherings, coffee mornings and can be hired out for parties. 

The school has a traditional House System which encourages healthy competition in sporting, dramatic, musical and academic activities.  All children are allocated a house (either Green or White) when they start at Rockport and which they stay with until they leave.

Rooms are warm, well-furnished and students have places to rest, study and play throughout the House ( from 6 bedded rooms, to twin rooms, to single rooms). School has a 'Home Room’ for snacks and meals and also a Common Room with sofas and television. There are similar recreational spaces on both the boys and girls corridor and there is WiFi available throughout the house.

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Academic life

Rockport School’s school structure is similar to that of most other schools in the UK. Rockport aims to provide a broad, challenging and stimulating range of academic subjects for study at all levels.

The Junior School at Rockport is for pupils in R1 – R7 (5 – 11 year olds). This part of the school is divided into two departments: Lower Junior School (Early Years) (R1 – R4) and Upper Junior School (R5 – R7). The Form Tutor is the key member of staff and point of contact for parents and students alike. At this stage, the Form Tutor teaches a range of core subjects but the children leave their form room to be taught by various subject specialists in Music, Art, French and Science.

The Senior School  is for pupils in R8 – R12 ( 11 – 12 year olds) and Upper Senior ( Sixth Form ) in R13-14  ( 16- 17 year olds ).


The school aims for each child to make informed decisions in their GCSE choices and, as such, Year 10 provides Taster lessons which allow access to subjects not previously studied. Meetings are held with parents and students to ensure the most appropriate options are available and advice is given concerning modular and linear GCSE courses. GCSE OPTIONS include:  English Literature, English Language, Maths, Single, Double and Triple Science, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Media Studies, Business Studies, Religious Studies, IT, Art, Music, PE, Learning for Life and Work. 

Pupils who are transferring to independent senior schools at 13+ are prepared for the Common Entrance examinations and guidance is given to pupils and parents on selecting the right schools and the application procedure for them. Rockport School aspires for every child to leave us as well-rounded, confident (but not arrogant) individuals, secure in their self-worth, with a strong sense of service and a desire to go out into the world, having achieved their full potential, both academically and personally. They leave us to go onto Public Schools, local Grammar schools or Colleges of Further Education.

Sport and culture

The Junior School pupils have compulsory daily sport with PE staff.  The sports programme changes on a termly basis but over the course of the year includes soccer, rugby, hockey, netball, cross country, cricket, tennis, athletics, gymnastics and trampolining; with swimming also taking place off site. The Senior School pupils see their hard work materialize into organized matches and tournaments against local and regional schools. Those who wish to can pursue chosen sports on a daily basis through after-school clubs and we encourage all of our players/ performers to also join local sports clubs within their community.

The teaching of music both within the curriculum and in the many extra-curricular activities, helps promote the cultural, physical, emotional, aesthetic and intellectual development of our students. Rockport’s Music Department is renowned for the way in which it involves so many pupils throughout the school.  Peripatetic staff offer lessons which occur during school day from vocal tuition through to a variety of instruments.  Choirs and orchestras are organised and rehearsed outside the timetable for performances at school events and in the wider community. 


 Exposure to The Arts enables children to express themselves creatively and we aim to provide opportunities which will release all the imagination and originality that lies within. Drama plays a pivotal part in the development of confidence and all our students have the opportunity to participate in dramatic productions each year.  Every child in the school participates in “Declamations”, a Rockport tradition that sees each child choosing a poem to recite or delivering a pre-written piece of their own choice.  We invite a visiting Head to act as Adjudicator and parents are invited to attend. This is a key part in the dramatic development of  children and it is a day of celebration as we witness even the youngest pupils performing at a very high level.

Location Description

The nearest International Airport – Belfast . A car journey from Belfast will take approximately 15 minutes. By Train – From Belfast Central Take the Bangor train to Seahill Station.  Cross the road and follow signs to the Coastal Walk.  Rockport is a 5 minute walk from the station

Craigavad, Holywood Co. Down, BT18 0DD Co. Down, BT18 0DD

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