ETI applaud “outstanding achievements”, “excellent pupils” and “pioneering” use of ICT

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Wallace Principal, Mrs Deborah O’Hare, has spoken of her “immense pride” in the school and of her delight at the outcomes of the recent inspection by ETI.

The inspection took place in late January and the full report can be viewed on the ETI website: here.

ETI provide overall findings of an inspection in three areas: Achievements and Standards, Provision and Leadership and Management. Wallace was graded as outstanding, very good and very good in the respective categories.


The adjective “excellent” appears repeatedly throughout the report: pupils are described as possessing “excellent dispositions to learning”, “excellent outcomes are achieved in GCSE and GCE A level” and staff benefit from “excellent in -house professional development opportunities”. English and Mathematics departments, in keeping with the government’s emphasis on literacy and numeracy, are inspected with particular rigour in all sectors of education.

Wallace’s Heads of English and Mathematics (Miss G McGarry and Mr S Alexander) can draw great confidence from the report which details levels of performance ” consistently above the corresponding Northern Ireland averages for similar schools” , identifies “excellent outcomes” and “outstanding” achievement and standards. The statistical data provided in the inspection report allows parents to benchmark Wallace against similar schools in Northern Ireland and it illustrates clearly the high standards achieved throughout the wide range of departments .

Almost all pupils achieve 7 or more A* to C grades at GCSE ; most departments achieve above the NI three- year average at GCSE A* to B grades with one third of departments at more than 10% points above the NI average for selective schools. The A level data for 2014 detailed in the report notes the 100% A* to C in a majority of subjects and, in four subjects studied, 100% attainment A* to B. The effectiveness of the school’s provision for careers education, information and guidance has ensured that nearly all Year 14 school leavers enter further or higher education with many entering Russell Group universities.


Wallace has adopted a highly progressive approach to ICT and in particular the use of tablet computers to enhance learning and teaching. The report provides a glowing endorsement of the school’s innovative strategy, initially masterminded by Vice-Principal David Cleland. Noting the “pioneering use of technology” the inspectors praised its outworking as enabling “more diverse and valuable learning successes” and even offered a “Wallace friendly” metaphor praising the access to “a fountain of knowledge” provided on-line.

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As a school Wallace prides itself upon its capacity to seamlessly dovetail the curricular and pastoral dimensions of school life, creating a warm and inclusive school family.The report praises the school’s “high quality care, guidance and support”, commends the teachers for their capacity to enable pupils to “make excellent progress because of appropriate challenge” and notes the “inclusive ethos throughout the school”.

The pupils are described as “confident and respectful” demonstrating “exemplary” behaviour and enjoying “excellent” relationships with their teachers.The richness of the school’s extra-curricular provision is highlighted as the diversity of activities on offer enables the development of pupils’ inter-personal, social and technical skills. There are very high levels of participation and achievement in sporting, cultural, entrepreneurial and charitable activities and the inspectors noted the “great pride” of the school community in its shared achievements.


The school’s core values are Commitment, Opportunity, Respect and Excellence and the ETI report applauds the sincerity with which these values are upheld, modelled and affirmed within the daily life of the school. The living legacy of the school’s founder Sir Richard Wallace is referred to within the school as “the spirit of generosity” and the inspectors professed their admiration for the pupils’ charitable and philanthropic successes.


Commenting on the publication of the report Mrs O’Hare said:

“I am immensely proud and privileged to be the Principal of Wallace High School. As this report clearly shows we are a school committed to self-evaluation and determined to be the best that we can be in every facet of our school family’s life. These outcomes are testimony to the shared vision of pupils, staff and governors. I am delighted to read the unqualified praise for our pupils who are at the heart of everything we do and can only endorse the comments of the inspectors regarding the commitment and excellence of my staff, both teaching and non-teaching.

I would also like to place on record my appreciation of the support of my colleagues both on the Leadership Team and on the Board of Governors. Mr Graham Sutton has recently retired as Chairman of the Board after many years of distinguished service and I trust that this report will give him as much pleasure as it has given me. Sir Richard Wallace’s vision was of a school to benefit all of the people of Lisburn and I am delighted that our school continues to embody, so fully and so proudly, its founder’s values and ideals. “

Last modified: March 8, 2017