There were already several schools in the town when the Minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Belfast advertised the arrival of a new academy. It could take boarders, and must have been intended for the middle classes. The first School building was constructed not too far from the church in what was to become Academy Street. Discipline was strict, which caused a revolt when some boys took food from the kitchen and barricaded themselves in, armed with pistols. Armed men were brought to force a way in.