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Ballakermeen High School

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Ballakermeen High School
St Catherine's Drive


Coordinates54°09′16″N 4°29′36″W / 54.1544°N 4.4933°W / 54.1544; -4.4933Coordinates: 54°09′16″N 4°29′36″W / 54.1544°N 4.4933°W / 54.1544; -4.4933
Motto"Passionate about Learning"
Local authorityIsle of Man Offshore Establishments
Department for Education URN132422 Tables
HeadteacherMrs Adrienne Burnett
Age11 to 18
Houses Conister

 Hillary  Langness  Maughold

Colour(s) Blue  Yellow

Ballakermeen High School is a coeducational comprehensive secondary school based on a single site in Douglas, on the Isle of Man.


Ballakermeen formed part of HMS St George during the Second World War. This was the Royal Navy's only Continuous Service Training Establishment, where cadets would receive an education comparable to that of a Secondary School.[1] It was opened in September 1939.[2]

Starting at the age of 16, the cadets who passed through HMS St George received a concentrated 15 months training course in the Seaman, Signal and Wireless Telegraphy Communications branches. A staff of over 300 officers provided the educational background to the practical and technical training for the cadets.[1]

To give breadth to their education, English subjects and Naval history were taught, with lectures additionally being devoted to mathematics and its service application to science and navigation, with emphasis placed on the practical rather than the academical aspects of the subjects. Classroom work at Ballakermeen was supplemented by instructional films and practical experiments. Separate classes were formed for cadets of different branches of the service, with each class consisting of 25-30 cadets under the charge of a qualified Naval Schoolmaster.[1]

The officer in charge of Ballakermeen was Captain A.J. Lowe[3] and by the end of the war 8,677 cadets had passed through the establishment.[1]

HMS St George was paid off on Thursday, December 20, 1945, with the officers and ratings leaving the Isle of Man and relocating to HMS Ganges, Shotley. Following the decommissioning ceremony and to commemorate the association of Ballakermeen with the Royal Navy a signal mast, which had been in use in the Signal School, was presented by Captain Stevens-Guille to the Isle of Man Education Authority. It was hoped that the mast would have been erected in the grounds of the school, and a brass plate commemorating the role the school had played during the war years.

In a letter thanking the Authority Captain Stevens-Guille wrote:

"On behalf of the Royal Navy as a whole, and in particular the Officers and Ratings who have enjoyed the facilities you so willingly placed at our disposal, I should like to express our warmest gratitude for the generous assistance which has been given so unstintingly by the Isle of Man Education Authority. I am glad to recall how friendly have been our relations with the Authority, and with you, the Director of Education, in particular. Your assistance and advice have been invaluable."

— Captain Stevens-Guille. Thursday December 20, 1946.

Current use

The school used to be a Junior High School where pupils attended from the age of 11 to 14 and they would then go to a Senior High School such as St Ninians. Both schools became full high schools.

It currently has 1700+ students aged 11–18, making it the larger of the two secondary schools in Douglas in terms of student numbers and the largest on the island (St Ninian's High School is the other secondary school in Douglas). The school offers GCSEs, BTECs and City and Guilds qualifications for study. The sixth form department of the school (renovated and extended during 2013-2014 period) offers A-level qualifications. Facilities at the school include a swimming pool, sports hall, ICT suites, laboratories and a theatre.

The school was used as a location in the 2006 British Spy film Stormbreaker.

In November 2014, work began on a new £3.2m three-storey extension to accommodate Ballakermeen's 300 sixth form students.[4]


As a Manx school, Ballakermeen High School is not subject to inspection by Ofsted.[5] Instead, schools are evaluated using a process called 'school self-review and evaluation'.[6] Ballakermeen High School was most recently evaluated in April 2018, and was mostly found to be either 'effective' or 'very effective'.[7][8]

Notable former pupils


  1. ^ a b c d Mona's Herald, Tuesday, August 28, 1945; Page: 3
  2. ^ July 17, Peter Cowley Maskell on; Said, 2015 at 16:58 (2 January 2012). "Ballakermeen High School – Better Known As "Balla" | Manx Scenes Photography". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  3. ^ Ramsey Courier, Friday, August 24, 1945; Page: 5
  4. ^ "Ballakermeen High School: £3.2m extension opened". BBC News. 22 November 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Teaching Jobs in Demand". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Isle of Man Government - School Self Review and Evaluation reports". Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  7. ^ Marshall, Howard. "Ballakermeen High School" (PDF).
  8. ^ Burnett, Adrienne. "SSRE: Ballakermeen High School" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Quayle, Hon George Martyn MHK Middle". Google Docs. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
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Ballakermeen High School
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