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Education for the Future

Second Level Brochure

WELCOME Dear Parent/Guardian, Portlaoise College is a co-educational, multi-denominational school delivering excellent education provision in Portlaoise. Portlaoise College is a place of learning. We expect the very best of all our students. We offer a comprehensive range of subjects at Junior and Leaving Certificate and we are very proud of our examination results which year on year are excellent. We also offer a wide range of extra curricular and co-curricular activities. At the heart of our policies is a genuine concern for the holistic development of each student. The welfare of your child is placed at the heart of all our practices. We strive in partnership with parents and guardians in challenging those who are gifted and encouraging those who need extra support to realise their full individual potential. As principal, I am proud of the commitment of all our staff in our school. I am confident that the education provided at Portlaoise College is second to none. I have no doubt that if your child decides to come to our school, she/he will be proud to belong to a school community that places welfare at the heart of all our practices.

Noel Daly, Principal

I look forward to welcoming you and your son or daughter to Portlaoise College. Noel Daly (Principal)

MISSION STATEMENT That Portlaoise College encourages its students and teachers to develop their talents fully; that the school provides the students with a good education and prepares them for work, life and living; that the school respects the full dignity of everyone; that the vision and mission is fully understood and shared by teachers, students and management of the school, working together in Christian harmony.

1ST YEAR SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME Portlaoise College offers a scholarship programme to incoming 1st years. Students who sit the entrance exam are then invited to sit a separate exam for a scholarship programme. The scholarship programme was introduced to reward excellence and high academic standards.

Patricia Cullen, Deputy Principal

FACILITIES • Woodwork Room

• Social Studies Room

• C  onstruction Studies Room

• Religion Room

• Technology Room

• Gym

• Engineering / Metalwork Room

• Multimedia Room

• Art & Craft Room

• Interior Design Room

• Technical Graphics Room

• Physics Room

• Music / Drama Room • Home/School Liaison Room • P.E. Hall

• Mathematics Room • Science Room • S cience Demonstration Room

• H  ome Economics Room • Canteen • 6 Computer Rooms

• 4 Pastoral Care Offices • G  eneral Purpose / Meeting Room

• Business Studies Room • Library

• Guidance Room

In addition, the school has:

• Fully equipped Canteen • Olympic size indoor basketball court (with electronic scoreboard and shot clocks)

• Olympic size indoor volleyball court • 4 x Olympic standard table tennis tables • Modern changing facilities • Running track • Football / Soccer pitches • Outdoor Tennis / Basketball courts • Fully equipped Gym

E-BOOKS INTRODUCED IN SEPTEMBER 2012 Portlaoise College introduced e-books for first years in September and it has proved to be an outstanding success. As a result, e-books will be mandatory for all 1st years in September 2013. All 1st years receive a Notebook pre-loaded with a complete book shelf which will ensure that: • Students can access books at school and home • Learners will have software such as Microsoft Office • Students are prepared to use modern technologies

E-Books also have many other added advantages for students which include • The Creation of independent learners – love of learning • Replacing heavy bags • Increased use of ICT / Digital Technology / Collaboration in Learning • “Smart” Economy – jobs of the future

C U R R I C U LU M THE JUNIOR CYCLE Boys and girls follow a three year course of studies which prepares them for the Junior Certificate examination. The following subjects are available:



• Irish

• Music

• English

• Woodwork

• Mathematics

• Metal Work

• French

• Art

• Science

• Technical Graphics

• History

• Home Economics

• Geography

• Business Studies

• Religion • Computer Studies • Social, Personal and Health Education • CSPE • Physical Education

TRANSITION YEAR This is a one year programme designed to develop selfdirected learning and to promote maturity. It affords students the opportunity to acquire new skills while continuing work in their core subject areas. Students are encouraged to foster a sense of responsibility through programmes such as Gaisce, Young Social Innovator and Young Scientist. Students take modules in a variety of subjects which enables them to make more informed choices when they enter Senior Cycle.

Core Subjects

TY Specific Modules

English Maths Irish French

Mini Company Media Studies Career Investigations Enterprise Education First Aid Presentation Skills Road Safety Gaisce Awards

Subject Sampling Biology Chemistry/ Physics Technical Drawing Woodwork Engineering History Geography Computer Studies Business Studies Religion Home Economics Art Music

Once-off Activities Overnight Trips Work Experience Out of School Visits Visiting Speakers Outdoor Pursuits Debating Co-operation North Links Programme Field Trips Coaching skills

JUNIOR CERTIFICATE SCHOOL PROGRAMME (JCSP) The programme is an intervention within the Junior Certificate Programme. It provides a curriculum framework which will assist the school and individual teachers in adopting a student-centered approach to the Junior Certificate. The Junior Certificate School Programme is based on the concept that all young people are capable of real success in school and that they can have a positive experience of school.

THE SENIOR CYCLE On completion of their Junior Certificate students follow a two-year course of studies which prepares them for the Leaving Certificate examination. The Leaving Certificate Vocational Prog足ramme is also offered. The following subjects are available:

LEAVING CERTIFICATE VOCATIONAL PROGRAMME (LCVP) LCVP is similar to the traditional Leaving Certificate but the programme has a strong emphasis on work experience and preparation for the world of work. Students participate in an extra subject called Link Modules. LCVP is used towards points for the Leaving Certificate.

Core: Irish







Textbooks/Netbooks are supplied to students under our

Career Guidance & Counselling


Religion Computer Studies P.E.

rental scheme. For a modest fee, students have the use of the books for the year.

History Geography Home Economics Art Physics/Chemistry/ Biology Engineering Building Construction Design & Communication Graphics Link Modules (LCVP)

E x c e l l e n c e i n Te a c h i n g a n d L e a r n i n g

WHY CHOOSE PORTLAOISE COLLEGE? You want the best education and opportunities for your son / daughter and here in Portlaoise College we work together in partnership to achieve this. Portlaoise College is a co-educational secondary school with a dedicated staff of 50 plus. Our teachers are a highly qualified, dynamic group who inspire our students to succeed.

DRESS CODE SCHOOL UNIFORM Boys’ Uniform Striped shirt Dark green jumper (V-neck with crest) Grey trousers Black leather shoes

Girls’ Uniform Striped shirt Dark green jumper (V-neck with crest) Check pleated skirt

Higher Level Maths Olympiad in UCD

Black leather shoes

PE Uniform Portlaoise College has a white and blue P.E. uniform which was decided upon by the Parents’ and Student Councils.


This P.E. uniform is mandatory for all P.E. classes and

Regular Parent-Teacher meetings are held and every effort

sporting activities outside the school.

is made, through parent programmes and lectures to enable parents to have a full involvement in their children’s education.

STUDENTS’ JOURNAL The Student Journal is one of the most important books. It is used to keep a record of class work and student behaviour thoughout the year. All students are required to fill in a school journal. It also outlines our Code of Discipline.

REPORTS First Year Debating Team

School reports are sent home a week after all formal exams, i.e. October, Christmas, Summer and “Mock” exams. Reports contain subject results, grades and a teacher comment concerning progress, behaviour etc.

ATTENDANCE/PUNCTUALITY It is important that students attend school regularly and punctually. In the case of absence, a written explanation, signed by the parent/guardian, must be sent to the Tutor or Year Head via the Student Journal.

POSITIVE DISCIPLINE Our policy is to approach discipline positively. There is a code of conduct combining firmness, self-discipline and responsibility as students move up through the school. We have a Tutor/Year Head system operating in the school and parents are encouraged to contact their son/daughter’s Tutor or Year Head in relation to matters of student welfare. A copy of the school Code of Conduct is given to parents and is fully explained to students in the school Student Journal.

HOMEWORK AND STUDY Parents have a vital role in ensuring that students study regularly. Homework is an essential part of the learning process. The revision of class work is very beneficial to all the students. Homework is given everyday. It may take the form of oral work, such as learning verbs, formulae or lines of poetry or it may take the form of written practice exercises in maths, essays etc. Students must record their homework in the school Student Journal. Guidelines for homework and study time: • First years: up to 2 hours per night. • Second & Third years: 2-3 hours per night. • Seniors: 3-4 hours per night.

AWARDS SYSTEM Portlaoise College recognises the achievements of students by operating a Merit System which is recorded in the student journal. Students receive merits of achievement from their teachers, tutors and Year Head throughout the year and students who achieve the most merits in subjects or extracurricular activities may be awarded a term award and/or an end of year award at our annual awards ceremony which is held at the end of the academic year, in May. This event is attended by many distinguished guest speakers from the world of politics, television and sport.


CA Aaron Marum

Bachelor of Science in Construction in Architectural Technology Carlow IT

Colin McGrath

Games Development Carlow IT

Bianca Elena Savin

Makgorzata Czerwik

BA Criminology and Psychology Coventry University

Higher Certificate in Business Limerick IT

Mantas Andrijauskas

Higher Certificate in Engineering in Video and Sound Technology Limerick IT

Kasper Segen

Higher Certificate in Engineering in Mechanical Engineering Waterford IT

Damien Paul Broster Kendrick Civil Engineering Carlow IT


Career Guidance is no longer a luxury service. It is vital that students receive up to date advice on courses and careers. Portlaoise College has two Career Guidance Counsellors who are available to all students.

AO Paulina Lazdowska Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology Limerick IT

Sara Lukaszewska

International Hospitality Management Dublin IT

Paulina Malik

Patryk Nowakowski Bio-Chemistry University of Limerick

International Hospitality Management Dublin IT

Gary Hui

Patrycja Fijalkowska

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Digital Media Tallaght IT

Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering Carlow IT

Valentina Alexandrova

Mark Mukiiza

Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Engineering Systems Carlow IT

BA Economy and Tourism University of Food Technology Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The Careers Department organise visits to Third Level Colleges, an up to date Career Notice Board, advice on

subject choice, Aptitude Tests in Third Year, individual appointments at Senior Level and Parents’ Information Evenings, in order to enhance our Guidance Service.

JAMES JOHNSTON I really like my new school. I have made loads of new friends. The teachers are so helpful and kind. I am really enjoying Music; we are learning how to count notes. There has been so much since school started. We have had the rehearsals for the Talent Show on Saturdays from 10am2pm. Thank you, Portlaoise College, for a great year so far.

AARON CARROLL My favourite subjects are Woodwork, Metalwork and P.E. My school is really nice. The teachers are really nice and all know what they are doing. The principal is kind and funny and so is the vice principal. The old principle retired and a new one is here.

PAVEL MALIK The first day was a bit hard but after that I made lots of new friends. My favourite subjects are Music and English. Portlaoise College has the best teachers.

SHAHZAIB HASSAN I really love my new school because I have made many new friends. The teachers are very nice and kind. I am involved in spike ball and soccer. I like all the classes especially Art and Craft in the school. The thing I like most in the school is the behaviour of the teachers and Principal.

CHRISTOPHER O’CONNOR Portlaoise College is a really cool school with loads of nice teachers. The addition of the e-books is really cool. I really like Metalwork. Last week, we made a Pacman keyring, which was really cool. At lunch time, my friends and I go outside to eat our lunch. Portlaoise College is a really great school.

MARIA ADELINE BORS I love my new school, Portlaoise College. I have new friends, the best new teachers, and my favourite subject is Music. It’s a lovely school and I want to finish my school years in Portlaoise College. That’s my secret wish. Shhhhh.

What some of our First Years say

ANUJA RANA Portlaoise College is amazing. My favourite subject is French and my favourite teacher is Mr.Doyle, my French teacher. All the teachers are so friendly and kind. I don’t know about all the students but the 6th years are so helpful. I take part in spike ball. Mr Hally taught me how to play spike ball.

CIARA HARNEY I think Portlaoise College is great. I love most of the teachers. I have made lots of new friends and I love the class rooms. The courtyard is great. P.E is great. I enjoy that there are loads of extra activities after school like spike ball, football, basketball and lots more.

ERYK PILAT Portlaoise College is great. I have made many new friends. The teachers are nice and friendly. The subjects are very interesting. I really enjoy Technical Graphics, Business and Science. I am glad I came here.

GORDON O’BRIEN My name is Gordon and I take part in soccer and football with the school team. I enjoy all subjects. Portlaoise College is the place to be.

HABIB YUSUF Portlaoise College is brilliant so far. My favourite subjects are P.E., Tech Graph and English. I got the netbook and they are brilliant. I have made many new friends and everyone is so nice. I really enjoy learning here it has been a great experience. There are also so many extracurricular activities such as soccer, football, volleyball and many more. I have enjoyed my time at Portlaoise College so far and I will for the next four years.

SHAUN DANBEERER I like Portlaoise College because we work in a different way to primary school. The teachers are really nice. My favourite subject is Computer class.

RAPHAEL MAPWATA I like my new school. It’s very exciting. I have made lots of new friends. The e-books are great. I enjoy doing Tech Graph and Art. The teachers are nice. My favourite subjects are Geography, Maths and History. I like the canteen because it has very nice food. I am enjoying the sports in Portlaoise College.

SHELLY WHELAN Portlaoise College is a lovely school. The teachers are lovely and so are the other students. This year I started playing basketball and football. I also got involved in the school show. All these are great fun. My favourite subjects are Maths, Irish and Science. I really love Portlaoise College.

LEAH SHERIDAN I love first year. I have made lots of new friends. It is a big change but I am getting used to it. The teachers are really nice. First year is great and I never want to leave.

LEAH MULLEN I love Portlaoise College. I have made lots of new friends. The teachers are really nice. I have learned how to sketch and draw in Art. My favourite subject is Woodwork; I have made lots of new things. I love Portlaoise College.

What some of our First Years say

MATTHEW BRIDE My first time I entered this school I knew the students would be nice. My favourite subjects are Metalwork, English and Music. In Music we are learning the recorder. I think all of the teachers are nice.

NATALIA PASZKIEWICS Hi my name is Natalia. I have been in Portlaoise College for six weeks and it is really nice. There are more subjects than in primary school. On Fridays, we finish at 1.35pm. I play volleyball and spike ball after school every week. I really like to do Art because we do lots of new things.

SABRINA STRATU I am really enjoying my time in Portlaoise College. The subjects that I picked this year are Home Economics and Business. The teachers are really nice and friendly. They help you with your work and never leave your side when you need help. I have made a lot of new friends.

SIMON GEOGHEGAN It’s been so nice so far at Portlaoise College. I have met new friends. All the teachers are pretty sound. It’s great that there are loads of sports in the school. My favourite subject is P.E. because it’s really good fun.

STUDENT SUPPORTS GUIDANCE & COUNSELLING Our aim is to provide education as part of a total plan and to enable our students to become well balanced, caring members of their community. To achieve this, each class has a class tutor who looks after the welfare of the class. Our career guidance teacher is on hand to advise and help students make the right choices for future careers.


SPECIAL NEEDS/LEARNING SUPPORT All students are assessed on entering the school. Support for students with learning difficulties is provided by trained support teachers. There is close liaison with primary schools to gather all relevant information to make sure the transition from primary to secondary is as smooth as possible.

The development of effective study skills is critical to ensuring that students maximise their potential. We provide seminars to support this objective. The skills acquired are enhanced by the provision of our afterschool Supervised Study Programme from 4 to 6pm Monday–Thursday.

HOME SCHOOL COMMUNITY LIAISON The school offers a HSCL Programme. The involvement of parents in the educational process is encouraged and promoted. Active co-operation is encouraged between the home, school and the relevant community agencies in promoting the educational interests of children.

PASTORAL CARE SYSTEM Portlaoise College has a system of pastoral care which we hope will help our students to cope with the many problems which young people regularly face. Each class has a Class Tutor who takes a special interest in the class and if any student has a particular problem or difficulty, he/she can bring this to the attention of the Class Tutor or Year Head. There is a Pastoral Care Team in the school that meets on a regular basis and this team is always available to help out with problems that might occur. The team is made up of teachers from the following departments: Religion, Home School Liaison, Guidance, SPHE, Learning Support and other volunteers.

PARENTS’ COUNCIL An active Parents’ Council is important in the life of the school. The council fosters co-operation between school and home and promotes the educational welfare and general interests of the pupils. An Annual General Meeting of parents is held each year at which the parents’ committee is elected.

BOARD OF MANAGEMENT Portlaoise College is a Laois Vocational Educational


Committee school. The Board of Management consists

The Student Council is selected annually from nominees

of 12 members, representing the VEC, staff, parents and

elected by each class (one male & one female). The council

the community. The Board of management meet 5 times

meets regularly under the guidance of the teaching staff.

a year.

They look at issues of concern to them and represent class views.

PREFECT/MENTORING SYSTEM Portlaoise College operates a Prefect system whereby

Seachtain na Gaeilge

senior students are selected to become prefects. They receive leadership training and advice on how to deal with issues that may arise. Subsequently, they are assigned a small group of 1st year students with whom they meet once a week. This has proven to be a very effective forum for supporting students in their transition from primary to secondary school.

Debating Winners

Developing The Person EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES Students are encouraged to participate in activities outside the classroom. Boys and girls are catered for in many sports (soccer, football, basketball, athletics). Participation in other activities like debating, Young Scientist, art competitions, school tours and Speech and Drama is encouraged. These activities are not only important in themselves but also because they foster a spirit of enterprise and co-operation between students and teachers to the benefit of all.

THE GAMBIA Over the previous Easter Holidays, 14 5th Year students and staff from Portlaoise College travelled to The Gambia in West Africa. During this trip, they visited both Primary and Secondary Schools. The main purpose of the trip was to


provide much needed resources to these schools.

Co-curricular activities play an important role in extending and assisting the development of the curriculum. In all our co-curricular activities, the emphasis is on creating focus, broadening the knowledge base, exploring different teaching methodologies and ultimately, increasing confidence in the learner. We actively encourage the student to take responsibility for their own learning through continuous assessment and constructive feedback in preparation for 3rd level education.

In order to facilitate this life-changing trip, Portlaoise

These include: • Public Speaking/ Debating

• Seachtain na Gaeilge

• Competitions

• Music

• Field Trips

• Gaisce–President‘s Awards

• Enterprise Education Trips

• John Paul II Awards

• Visiting speakers

• School tours

• French Summer Schools

• Yearbook & Newsletters

• Drama

College raised nearly €25,000 in the 6 months prior to the visit. Some of the events that have contributed to this figure included a Bake Sale, Car Wash, Bag Packing, Carol Singing, a Fashion Show, a Teacher-Student Dodgeball Match, Pancake Tuesday, a Night at the Races, Teacher Torture, a FIFA 12 Tournament and a Balloon Burst.

For more information or to arrange an appointment to discuss the future enrolment of your son/daughter please contact us: Tel.: (057) 8621480, (057) 8621456 Fax: (057) 8661865 Email:

Portloaise College Brochure  

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