Learning Communities in Northern Ireland

Sullivan Upper School is a member of the North Down and Ards Area Learning Community (NDALC).

NDALC is one of 29 learning communities across Northern Ireland.

NDALC is made up of 16 post-primary schools, 3 of which are special schools, and SERC (the South Eastern Regional College).

The aim of the learning community is to implement a curriculum that will meet the needs of all pupils. The community aims to give students at Key Stage 4 and post-16 access to a wide choice of courses (academic, applied and vocational).

Pupils will have the opportunity to select from a wide menu of courses that will, it is hoped, meet their needs and aspirations. Their choices will increasingly be informed not only by their own skills and abilities but also buy up-to-date information about the labour market and by what can be accommodated within each school or college.

Sullivan Upper School currently has collaborative arrangements with Priory Integrated College, Holywood.

For further information on the potential suite of courses available, please contact the NDALC Coordinator at Sullivan Upper School, or at any of the other member establishments:

Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College
Bangor Grammar School
Glenlola Collegiate School
St Columbanus’ College
Clifton Special School
Priory Integrated College
Dundonald High School
Regent House Grammar School
Killard House Special School
Movilla High School
Nendrum College, Comber
Strangford College
Glastry College
St Columba’s College, Portaferry
South Eastern Regional College (SERC)

NDALC leaflet


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“I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

 J.K. Rowling

“When we visit a library and read a book we stand on the shoulders of giants so we can see further, we raise our self-esteem and awareness of identity and make ourselves anew, open to the great possibilities of life.”

 Alan Gibbons, ‘Campaign for the Book’


The Library is a popular and vibrant space in the school which is open to pupils and staff from 8:30am until 4:30pm. It is a warm and welcoming environment conducive for study, research or reading. The Library is well stocked with non-fiction books to support the curriculum as well as a varied and up-to-date selection of fiction for all ages. There is a comprehensive reference section and many resources are available online.

While all pupils are guided to use the Library as a place for finding information, reading for pleasure is strongly encouraged, and promoted through both class and extra-curricular events and activities of which you can read below. Every class in Years 8 – 10 has a weekly Library period. Sixth form pupils can sign out of the Study to use the Library and SEON Room for research and private study. Year 8 and 9 pupils are allocated a Library mentor who is a member of Sixth Form.

The Library has a soft-seating area, plus around 40 spaces at desks. It adjoins the SEON Room (Sullivan Educational Online Network) in which there are 32 networked PCs and here pupils can research, type and print their work. There are currently 6 I-pads available to students during Library periods, on which they complete Accelerated Reader quizzes.

Pupils can log in to Eclipse, the School Library system, where an online catalogue is available of all the resources in the Library. On this pupils can also renew and request books as well as read and write reviews, which they are encouraged to do frequently throughout the year. The Eclipse homepage also provides lots of other useful information such as how to take AR tests and links to many book websites.

All pupils and staff are registered borrowers of the Library and can borrow up to 2 books at a time for 2 weeks.  The Librarian is available to assist with resource information as well as book choices.





All pupils in Years 8 and 9 participate in the Accelerated Reading Programme. This programme is a powerful tool for monitoring and developing literacy skills while promoting reading for pleasure.  After completing tests to determine their reading age, pupils are guided towards books that will interest and challenge them. They are then encouraged to take a quiz as soon as they finish reading a book. Pupils require 85% answers correct in order to earn points. The greater the number of words in the book, the higher the number of points available. Progress charts are updated fortnightly so pupils can see how well they are improving.


As the year progresses, words and their corresponding points are tallied and certificates and prizes are awarded at the end of the summer term in a special awards assembly for those pupils who have achieved millionaire status. The class who has read the most words in each of the two year groups also wins a day out to Barry’s, Portrush. The thought of this coveted prize ensures that competition between classes throughout the year is immense! 







Throughout the school year we have a number of different Book Clubs. In the 2017 Autumn term a group shadowed the Royal Society in choosing the winning children’s science book of the year. In January 2018 the NI Book Award group met to read and vote for the best of 6 shortlisted books. In the Summer term the Carnegie Award Shadowing takes place. Members are encouraged to read all the books and share their thoughts, both in group discussion and in written reviews.  Book Clubs are open to all ages and meet weekly / fortnightly at a chosen lunch or break-time.

 Check out       

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/                       https://nibookaward.wixsite.com/nibookaward




pic8Each year we field a Year 8 and Year 9 team at the Kids’ Lit Quiz which is an international competition celebrating the love of books. This is a great opportunity to pit our wits against local schools and demonstrate our knowledge of children’s literature. Sullivan always performs very well at this event and we have had a team in the top 3 four times in the last six years, including winning the NI Heat in 2016.





pic9The annual Scholastic Book Fair takes place over the course of one week in the Autumn term. Pupils have the opportunity to browse and buy a range of new and classic titles. There are competitions to enter and prizes to be won and all books sold earn commission for the Library, which means we can buy lots more great books to read!

Throughout the year pupils are also able to order books through the school from Scholastic Book clubs.  





pic10Click on the link to get a list of recommended reads.

Year 8 & 9 Reading List Suggestions


These are current recommendations to enjoy and to challenge, and the Librarian is always keen to hear from pupils on new titles that they would recommend to others. Pupils are encouraged to review and recommend books frequently throughout the year. 




pic11As well as providing material for reading for pleasure and for studying, the Library also provides a focal point for many activities throughout the year. Regular competitions and quizzes, Readathon, promotions and displays ensure reading is always fun!  On World Book Day various competitions and displays take place in the Library, including a Book Swap and an Inter House Book Quiz.

We have had several authors visit us at Sullivan including Chris Bradford, Alex Scarrow, Colin Bateman, Sheena Wilkinson, and most recently Brian Gallagher, Irish author of historical novels, ‘Friend or Foe’, ‘Secrets and Shadows’ and ‘Across the Divide’. 




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Our regular library newsletter will let you know all about what we in the library have been up to. Go on, have a look!


































The booklet below contains information to help inform about GCSE subject choices for the 2020/21 academic year. We hope you find it useful.

Subject Choice for GCSE Information Booklet January 2020

Letter in relation to the Subject Choice for GCSE Information Booklet January 2020


The booklet below contains information about all the subjects available for the 2020/21 academic year at AS and A Level and it is provided so that parents and pupils know something about what each subject involves. We hope that you find it useful.

 Subject Choice for AS/A Level Information Booklet January 2020

External Examinations


Welcome to the Sullivan Upper Examinations page. Please use the links below to access the relevant information.  Information regarding Careers has also been included. For further information on Careers/Universities, please contact Mr D Matthews (Head of Careers).

If you have any queries regarding the Examination Process, please do not hesitate to contact the Examinations Officer.

Awarding Bodies

Sullivan Upper School uses the Awarding Bodies to offer GCSE, AS and A2 qualifications.  The Awarding Bodies set and administer the examinations, and are regulated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).  You will find on their individual websites information for teachers, parents and students.


Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA)
Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)
Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

Examination Dates

Oxbridge Tests

30 October 2019
GCSE & AS/A2 1 May 2020 - 19 June 2020
Contingency Day 24 June 2020 - 24 June 2020

Results Dates

Examination Series Result Publication
Summer AS/A2 13 August 2020
STEP 13 August 2020
Summer GCSEs 20 August 2020

Please note that these dates are subject to change by the Awarding Bodies.

Information for Pupils

pdf Information for Pupils (46 KB)

pdf Post-Results Services 201 (76 KB) pdf 9 (76 KB)

pdf UCAS and University Information (152 KB)


  pdf GCSE 2020 Student Guide (966 KB)

  pdf GCSE Summer 2020 Exam Timetable (100 KB)


  pdf GCE Student Guide 20 (836 KB) pdf 20 (971 KB)

  pdf GCE (A2 & AS) Summer 2020 Exam Timetable (161 KB)

Internal Examinations

Examinations Timetable - November/December 2019




Contact us

Sullivan Upper School
Belfast Road
BT18 9EP