Belfast Model School for Girls

Belfast Education & Library Board

Client: Belfast Education & Library Board

Completion: June 2010

Value: £23.5m

Project Summary

This award-winning new build school was secured via a rigorous PFI design competition which assessed and scored our design very highly for educational, operational & sustainability performance. This 12,500m2 school was designed and delivered in 2 phases on the existing site whilst the previous school remained fully operational. The facility provides a full range of teaching accommodation suitable for a modern 900 pupil girls’ school whilst incorporating an enhanced sports hall (810m2) and vocational teaching suites run in conjunction with Belfast Metropolitan College. Located in the heart of a residential neighbourhood in North Belfast we developed the design in close consultation with the surrounding community to ensure their full support for the design. This was particularly important along sensitive boundaries in which acoustic spill-over was carefully analysed and resolved. The exceptional design and finish of this school has been acknowledged by the teachers, pupils, parents, and Education Authority whilst also being recognised by the following awards:

  • CEF Achieving Excellence Awards 2010 – Best Education Project

Additional design services provided by McAdam included, Universal Access Auditor and CDM-C.


The design of the new Belfast Model School for Girls successfully provided a “school in the community” facility which promoted educational excellence, facilitated the raising of attainment and engaged with the local community. The new building reflected the general ethos of the school to be caring, welcoming and supportive via a clearly legible and unifying plan whereby the circulation routes are clearly defined around a central courtyard. The design also recognised that the school has an important social role within the community and it was designed to accommodate a range of additional community, vocational, and educational facilities such as:

  • Integrated sports facilities with independent access for use by the local community
  • Integration of social facilities i.e. NBCAT, NWBHSS Trust, Crèche, Hair dressing Salon, Electronic Village Hall linked to Library
  • Assembly Hall expanded to provide full drama facilities for independent community use

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