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School Mark

School Mark

Accredited Schools

  Bronze Silver Gold
Schools  Newry High School Seagoe Primary School  Bangor Academy 
                         McKlintock Primary School Orchard County Primary School  Kings Park Primary School 
    Dundonald Primary School  St Columb's College
    Fairhill Primary School Mullaglass Primary School
    Edenderry Primary School  Laurelhill Community College
      Holy Cross Strabane 

Laurelhill achieve Gold Quality Mark

Laurelhill Community College have become the third post primary school in Northern Ireland to be awarded the IFA Gold School Quality Mark.  The School Quality Mark is a vital aspect of the IFA’s Let them Play Strategy, it strives to improve structures in primary and post primary schools to allow schools football to flourish.  The quality mark was first launched in Laurelhill Community College in January 2016 with more than 20 schools achieving one of the three levels of accreditation.

Laurelhill teacher Mark Watson is delighted the school has been recognised for their continued development of football in the school “This is the highest achievement that a school can gain, Laurelhill always strives for excellence not just in the classroom but on the sporting field. We offer both A and B teams from Year 8-14 which compete in the Lisburn League, Belfast and Northern Ireland Cup competitions, we also offer girls football from u12 – u18 with 1 team in each year group.  We have extensive facilities with our gravel pitch to be converted to a full size 3G and a 9 a side 3G next summer.  The school has based its approach on participation however has had success in schools competitions over the years including winning the NISFA U16 Cup and the IFA U15 futsal cup.”

Laurelhill are not the only school who are celebrating Schools Quality Mark success, Newry High school and Mullaglass primary school both achieving bronze and gold awards respectively.


Orchard County Primary School celebrates IFA Silver Quality Mark Award

 It’s official, football is flourishing at Orchard County Primary School! Ross Redman from the Irish Football Association and Gary Kennedy from the Northern Ireland Schools’ Football Association, attended a very special final assembly for outgoing Principal Stephen Blevins to present the local school with the Silver Quality Mark.

 Both National Associations praised the school for the heritage of quality football it has cultivated and its continued innovation and commitment to grassroots football.  The school has a proud tradition of producing quality footballers and has been consistently successful at both IFA grassroots events and Mid-Ulster Schools’ FA’s termly festivals.  After they competed at the NI 5-a-side finals and won two Northern Ireland Primary Schools’ Cups in three years the international manager Michael O’Neill himself visited the school to commend them on their achievements.  Since then the school has shared in the success of progressing many pupils onto Portadown, Dungannon and Loughgall youth squads and ultimately, the very talented Joe Williamson and Darren Robinson onto District Schools’ Squads and the Club NI set up. 

Principal Stephen Blevins (himself a former NISFA Chairman) said;

“With Glenavon FC’s Kyle Neill, Portadown FC’s Trevor Williamson and the IFA’s Darren Murphy and Gareth Williamson as parents, football was always going to be a key feature during my time here at Orchard County school life! It is such a fitting farewell for me personally to see this school formally recognised by the Irish FA for our development of the game at a grassroots level, our local and national success, the school’s impressive facilities and the introduction of a girls’ football.  We are now carefully planning how best to spend the £300 voucher for precision sports equipment that comes with the Silver award status.”

“Today has been a fabulous celebration of the commitment and most importantly the enjoyment of football in our school.  I am so proud that it is now recognised as one of the province’s first schools to achieve the Irish FA’s prestigious Silver Quality Mark and the plaque will be displayed as a symbol of our commitment to and our passion for the beautiful game.”


“As a coach, I consistently remind my players that success for me personally is not winning one game or winning a trophy, success for me is when one of my players develops to the point where he or she is skilled enough to don an Irish League shirt and ultimately the green of Northern Ireland.  I trust this School Quality Mark proves to be a legacy which this school can build upon to maximise the number of local children exercising and playing football so it can continue to enhance grassroots football and build capacity locally for football to flourish.”


Seagoe Primary School achieve school mark Silver 

Seagoe Primary school in Portadown are the first primary school in Northern Ireland to achieve the school quality mark. The Schools Head of Football Stephen Calvert is delighted that the hard work the school puts into extra curricular activities is now being recognised "

The IFA recognised our determination to involve as many boys and girls in football as we could. We are in support of the IFA's 'Let them Play' campaign and believe in giving children the opportunity to have fun and be active through football.
Ross Redman was a great support throughout and offered guidance every step of the way.
We are very proud to have achieved the Silver Award as it recognises the commitment and enjoyment of football in our school."


Bangor Academy celebrate first ever school quality mark Gold

The Irish Football Association praised the school for the heritage of quality football it has cultivated and its continued innovation and commitment to grassroots football. 

The Academy was the first school in the history of the North Down League to win in all five age groups in 2016 and has enjoyed consistent success in progressing talented players into national teams.

Currently Alex McIlmail and Jack Henderson are on the Northern Ireland Under 16 and Under 18 squads respectively and the Academy has always been proud of the number of pupils who have successfully progressed into professional and or national football teams such as Josh Magennis, Ashley Hutton and Jamie Mulgrew to name but a few!

Head of PE, Stuart Donald said;

“Feedback from the Irish FA recognised our local league success, the school’s impressive facilities and the development of a strong girls’ football culture – thriving under the expertise of Michelle Crawford (a classroom assistant in the Academy and Linfield Ladies coach).  We really are benefitting from our collaboration with the Irish FA as we have put the new Futsal goals and balls to good use as we develop the technical and decision making skills required in Futsal – a new form of football introduced in PE lessons.  We are also carefully planning how best to spend the £500 voucher for precision sports equipment that comes with the gold award status.”

Principal, Matthew Pitts said; 

“Today has been a fabulous celebration of the commitment and most importantly the enjoyment of football in our school.  I am so proud that The Academy is the province’s first school to achieve the Irish FA’s prestigious Gold Quality Mark and the plaque will be displayed as a symbol of our passion for the beautiful game.”

Irish FA Schools and Futsal Manager, Jonathan Michael said;

“We are very proud that Bangor Academy have been the first of many schools who will complete the School Quality Mark.  They have a strong background in schools football and are playing their part in developing young international players both boys and girls.  The structures and programmes that Bangor Academy have in place are an example of best practice for other schools striving to achieve the School Quality Mark award”. 

The School Quality Mark is part of the Let Them Play strategy which looks to promote and develop school football in Northern Ireland. 

The accreditation seeks to revamp our schools football development work and rebuild connection that has been lost to schools or alternatively engage schools that don’t traditionally play football. 

Through School Quality Mark it is hoped to maximise the number of school children exercising and playing football, enhance grassroots football, and build capacity in schools for football to flourish.


About School Mark

The Irish Football Association are launching the first ever School Mark for Schools across Northern Ireland.

Football Development Manager Keith Gibson commented "Schools football is something we in the Irish FA are passionate about. We want to give boys and girls as many opportunities as possible to take part in schools football. This scheme will encourage schools to put all the building blocks in place to allow football to flourish and develop a lifelong love of the game in their pupils."

NISFA Development Officer Ross Redman added, “It’s important to develop the infrastructure of Schools Football and the collaboration with the Northern Ireland Schools’ FA is an important element of the scheme.”

The scheme is a pilot scheme with a limited number of schools selected in the first instance.

There are 3 sections - Primary, Post Primary and Special Schools. Within that there are 3 levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze. Furthermore, the scheme will target different sizes of schools- Small, Medium and Large. There will be incentives offered to schools who achieve different levels of the scheme.

The School Mark will focus on several key areas including – Establishing a Head of Football, Competition structure, Extra Curricular Programmes and media plans. Schools who are interested in applying for the Scheme please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Northern Ireland

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