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Preparatory Department

Welcome to the Methodist College Belfast Preparatory Department.

The College is unique amongst grammar schools in Northern Ireland as within its Preparatory Department it has two distinct schools: Downey House and Fullerton House.

The vast majority of our children begin school in P1 many having spent one or two years in our pre-school units or other nursery schools.

We are also pleased to welcome children who come to the school either later in P1 or into other classes. Some of these children are from schools in Belfast. These parents feel that the Prep Department is more suitable for their child. Many of our non-P1 entrants come from outside Belfast and very often from different parts of the world.

Over the past few years we have been pleased to welcome children from -
Australia, China, England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, South Korea, Thailand, USA.

Our teachers are skilled in working with new children who are very often transferring from completely different educational systems. We will be pleased to discuss how your child will complete their transition into either Downey House or Fullerton House.

We will also discuss the system by which all children in Northern Ireland transfer to post-primary schools. This is particularly important if you are thinking of enrolling your child into our P5, P6 or P7 classes.

Aims and Values


We believe that children have the right to learn in a safe and secure environment. They deserve quality education in small classes. We understand that learning is a very broad experience and so we use specialist teachers in physical education, music, drama and French. Classroom learning is supplemented by use of the outside environment in the school grounds, educational visits and residentials.


We believe that the ‘one size fits all’ approach is inappropriate for learning today. We understand that children develop cognitively, emotionally and physically at different speeds depending on a variety of factors. In our classroom practice we account for these differences by adopting arrange of teaching strategies and practices. We are pleased to welcome children from all religions and none as well as children from many different countries.


We believe that every child has the potential to achieve excellent results. For some this can be measured academically, for others it might be on the stage, in music or in sport. For others excellence is measured in terms of progress and development. Today this is referred to as ‘value added’.


Fullerton House is located in the Methody Campus, adjacent to the Lisburn Road. Children attend Fullerton from the immediate locality of South Belfast and further afield from Lisburn and Hillsborough. Parents who work in the City or Royal Hospitals or Queen’s University, Belfast, find the proximity of Fullerton very useful on combining the school run with their journey to work.

Downey House is located in Pirrie Park, Methody’s playing fields in East Belfast near the Ravenhill Road. Children attend Downey from the immediately locality and further afield from Holywood, Bangor, North Down, Ards, Ballygowan and Saintfield. Downey House is particularly convenient to the main Belfast arterial routes of Ormeau, Ravenhill, Cregagh and Castlereagh Roads. 

Holiday List for 2018/19
Holiday List for 2019/20

Both schools provide:

  • Co-educational learning
  • Excellent Standards
  • Specialist Teachers
  • Convenient Locations
  • Broad Curriculum
  • Effective Pastoral Care
  • After School Clubs
  • Pre-schools on both sites Downey House and Fullerton House cater for girls and boys aged three to eleven; after which most transfer successfully to the main school or other grammar schools in Northern Ireland.

    There is a strong feeling of community within the school, with a strong welcoming atmosphere providing a much more personal ambience in which our young people thrive.