Big thank you from

Finaghy Primary celebrates 75th anniversary

An excellent crop of parsnips - how education has changed at Finaghy Primary
All 440 pupils and the staff from Finaghy Primary School formed ahuge"75" in the playground to mark the school's birthday.
Staff and pupils at Finaghy Primary School in years gone by. All 440 pupils and the staff from Finaghy Primary School formed ahuge"75" in the playground to mark the school's birthday.

IT was the year Marie Curie died, Hitler became Fuhrer and Henry Cooper was born. Stanley Matthews made his England debut, Bonnie and Clyde met their end and Clarke Gable won an Oscar. The Kings Hall opened and Belfast Castle was gifted to the city by the Earl of Shaftesbury.

And 1934 was also the year Finaghy Primary School opened its doors for the first time.

This year the school is celebrating its 75th anniversary and to mark the occasion has commissioned an aerial photograph, which shows staff and pupils in the playground of the local school.

Principal Alastair Mackay said: "Life was quite different when Finaghy Primary School opened in 1934. "There were six classes and 161 pupils. Pupils stayed on until they were 14. There was a cookery room, a handwork room and 'rhythmic training' was taught in PE.

The inspectors' report for 1934 reads 'the boys have successfully cultivated an excellent crop of parsnips.' During the war years, Andersen Shelters were erected in the grounds along with a gas-mask distribution and instruction centre," he continued.

"Uniquely, the school had its own swimming pool from 1966 until the early 80s, by which time many pupils were being taught in mobile classrooms.

Incredibly, throughout all this time there have only been four Principals serving the school.

As the current Principal I have had the privilege of overseeing the most radical transformation of the seven acre site" said Mr Mackay.

"The old buildings have all gone, replaced in 2004 by a state-of-the-art high-tech school, a community SportsZone, a public library and a Daycare Centre. We now offer wrap-around care, community activities, night classes and holiday programmes. Up to 90 children come for breakfast at 8am and there could be as many as 150 adults and young people using the facilities on a week-day evening."

Peter Breene, Chair of the school's Board of Governors, added: "Our school motto is 'preparing today's children for tomorrow's world'. Our vision for the future is based on our historical traditions of excellence and service, but we constantly seek new ways to remain relevant and dynamic in a rapidly changing world."

A Gala Celebration is being held in the Ramada Hotel, Belfast on Saturday May 23, including a dinner, a full swing band and memorabilia display. All past pupils, staff, friends and associates are being invited to contact the school on 9061 2623 for tickets. Alternatively, for further information log onto


Ulster Star