Mountrath Community School - Prospectus

Page 1

Mountrath Community School

> Principal’s message

Deciding on a secondary school for your son or daughter is a major decision for each parent. As a new principal here in Mountrath Community School, I can say with conviction that the experienced and caring staff in Mountrath Community School is deeply committed to your child’s transition from primary to secondary school.

The level of genuine care and support shown to the students is of the highest level. The open and warm relationships between students and teachers is immediately apparent when walking through our corridors and witnessing the interactions and relationships between teachers and students.

In Mountrath Community School, our students feel valued and are at the heart of all that we do and

the students are in turn very proud of their school and their achievements and their school.

The level of student expectations is set very high which has consistently driven our academic success. Students are always expected and encouraged to achieve their individual potential.

This prospectus is designed to provide a snapshot of the broad range of subjects on offer in our school as well as our modern facilities and extensive extracurricular activities available.

Our school boasts a fantastic range of facilities such as Engineering rooms, Computer Rooms, Home Economic Rooms, Woodwork rooms, Science Laboratories, Music room, Art studios, Gym and PE Hall with outdoor pitches and courts.

Locally, we have an unparalleled and long history of academic and extra-curricular achievements and our core values permeate all aspects of the students’ experience. There is an extensive curriculum available and students can access subjects ranging from the practical to the academic all of which are delivered by a highly motivated and dedicated staff. We understand fully that the time spent with us in our school provides our students with the roadmap for each students’ future success. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly, and it is something we have long history and tradition in delivering on since the amalgamation of the three schools forming MCS. In choosing MCS, you are choosing a school that will work hard for your child’s best interests, both inside and outside the classroom. O’Brien

Parents, Guardians, a Chairde
> Contents Principal’s message: 1 Mission Statement: 2 About our school 3 Junior Cycle Curriculum 4 Subjects 4 Options: 4 Senior Cycle Curriculum 4 Transition Year (Optional) 4 Leaving Certificate (Established) 6 Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) 7 Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) 7 Technology and education in MCS. 8 PE & Sport 8 Extra-Curricular - Sports 9 Pastoral Care System 10 Parents Association: 12 Kathryn

> Statement

Mountrath Community School will endeavour to provide an educational setting and experience within which each person is encouraged to grow academically, spiritually, emotionally, socially and culturally.

Mountrath Community School cherishes each member equally recognising his/her uniqueness, religious affiliation and cultural difference. Each member of the school community is entitled to be treated with respect and dignity. All members of the school community

are encouraged to share in the responsibility of running the school.

Education lies at the centre of our purpose. Mountrath Community School will facilitate a positive learning and teaching environment. A Learning environment should embrace the academic and cultural, leading to the development of the person as a whole. Students are expected to give due recognition and importance to their studies whilst striving towards educational excellence relative to their ability. Curricular and extra-curricular activities help form a mature and well-rounded student. Discipline in one’s life forms an essential part in the pursuit of excellence.

> Values As a school community we have high expectations that are expressed through how we live out our shared core values, which are • Respect• Inspiration• Equality • Responsibility• Excellence• Friendship • Determination

MCS amalgamation Brigidine Secondary Patrician Bally Aengus 18th are committed to creating a caring environment, to fostering for for others and our community. We help each member of our school community to develop fully, to celebrate our student’s achievements and to provide students the skills that they need to meet life’s challenges confidence and belief through empowerment and personal responsibility.

Our school crest is a core part of our identity and brings the traditions of these three educational establishments together. The Patrician Cross, the Cross of St Brigid and the manuscript of St Aengus all form three parts of the crest with the leaf of the Birch tree in the centre.

The Birch tree represents the area where the school now resides. The Birch tree is an ancient symbol of new beginnings, regeneration, hope, new dawns and the promise of what is to come.

The tree carries ancient wisdom and yet appears forever young. The area ‘Dysartbeigh’ means desert of the Birch. ration, nd the come. ncient ppears e area desert

is an
of the
School, Mountrath with the
fin and St
Vocational School Mountrath. The keys of Mountrath Community School were handed over to the first Principal Mr Martin Gleeson on the
August 2009 for its opening on the 25th August 2009. Since we opened in 2009 we have continuously improved in our provision of education and facilities for our students. Plans currently under development: • All weather AstroTurf pitch • Hurling walls • Walking track • IT facilities – availability of four portable trolleys of Chromebooks We
aim to
Page 5 | Mountrath Community School At Mountrath Community School we are very proud of the broad curriculum we offer, our excellent academic results, our excellent facilities, our exceptional range of extracurricular activities and our excellent staff and outstanding students. Our curriculum is designed to nurture enquiring minds, encourage self-motivation and develop a love of learning. > Junior Cycle Curriculum MANAGING MYSELF BEING REATIVE MANAGING INFORMATION &THINKING STAYING WELL COMMUNICATING BEING LITERATE BEING NUMERATE G S KEY SKILLS Subjects: Maths Physical Education (PE) IrishWellbeing EnglishCivil Social & Political Education (CSPE) Science Social, Personal & Health Education ( SPHE) GeographyFrench/German History Religion First year students will study their chosen subjects from September of their first year, preparing every students for a three year education programme and maximising their engagement with each subject. Options: BusinessWood Technology Visual ArtTechnical Graphics EngineeringHome Economics Music

> Senior Cycle Curriculum

> Transition Year (Optional)

The Transition Year programme provides a bridge to help students make the transition between Junior and Senior cycles. This programme offers students the opportunity to take greater responsibility for their own learning and decision making at senior cycle. They will engage in learning strategies which are active and experimental, all designed to help develop a set of transferrable critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. Throughout the year students will take on all of the curriculum subjects, sampling new senior cycle subjects which will help them make more informed choices for their leaving certificate. At the end of the year the programmes is assessed and evaluated and students graduate with grades earned by their performance, progress and results. Entry into this programme is by application and places are limited.

Our Transition Year programme enables our students:

• To develop maturity and personal character building

• To prepare for adult life

• To contribute to society and the local community in a positive and socially responsible way

• To be a good citizen

• To meet and accept new challenges

• To embark on new projects and pastimes both inside and outside school

• To discover as much about themselves as possible in a caring, positive and motivating TY programme, so that personal development may continue

• To become independent, self-directed learners

• To gain insights into the world of work

• To participate in TY taster programmes and gain insight into different careers

Transition Year programme format:

As is the case nationally, Mountrath Community School designs its own Transition Year programme, within set guidelines, to suit the needs and interests of our students.

The TY programme operates its timetable on the following basis - core subjects, modules and options.

Page 7 | Mountrath Community School Core Subjects: IrishBusiness and Enterprise EnglishGAA MathsCareer Guidance French / GermanPreparation for the World of Work ReligionWork Experience Health Education and Life Skills Personal Reflection and Development Options: Junk Kouture Young Social Innovators BT Young Scientist & SciFest GAA Future Leaders Green Schools Microbots Modules: PEBiology Dance/ZumbaYearbook Strength & Conditioning Work Experience iRun for Fun Programme History YogaGeography Ways to WellbeingEngineering Amber FlagConstruction Studies Community Involvement Design and Computer Graphics Development Education Art ChemistryMusic PhysicsMedia Studies AccountingReligion Agricultural ScienceI.T. Politics & SocietyChoir Some of our other events may include: Bonding trips; School Musical; Community projects in conjunction with Bloom HQ; Optional European school tour; Gaisce - The President’s Award; John Paul 11 Awards programme; Bonding events; FilmsIrish / French / German; Drama Workshops, Drivers’ Education , Hiking in the Slieve Bloom mountains, Retreats; Bogathon; Dublin Zoo trip - conservation awareness; Film production and photography; Personal Development workshops; Personal Safety and Consent workshops; Public speaking, debating and soap box competitions; Library events; Christmas Craft Fair; Canoeing, Activity trips, Cookery School; Culture and Diversity group support; Seachtain na Gaeilge events; Culture Week; Kenya Link / Development Ed. workshops; Amber Flag events; Knitting for the Needy; running sports events for students of our school and from the surrounding primary schools; disability workshops; yoga, CPR training; Croke Park experience; Factory and Museum Tour; “Outside Your Comfort Zone” Workshop; African drumming workshop; trip to the Burren/Lahinch; Tidy Towns’ work; fundraising events, to name but a few…….

> Leaving Certificate (Established)

Senior students follow a two year programme leading to the Leaving Certificate Examination. Subjects are offered at all levels. We take a student centred approach to subject choice at senior cycle. Student preference is supported by aptitude testing in third year.

Core Subjects:

Maths Irish English

Option subjects: Accounting

Agricultural Science

Art Biology Business Chemistry

Construction Studies & Communications History

Home Economics Physics

Leaving Cert PE Politics & Society

Non exam subjects:

Career Guidance, Religion and Physical Education will also be taken as non-exam subjects.

> Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP)

LCVP is a Senior Cycle Programme designed to give a strong vocational dimension to the Leaving Certificate (established). The programme combines the virtues of academic study with a dynamic focus on selfdirected learning, enterprise, work and the community.

Young people taking the LCVP have a unique opportunity to develop their interpersonal, vocational and technological skills through their study of the Link Modules. These skills are equally relevant to the needs of those preparing for further education, seeking employment or planning to start their own business. CAO points are awarded for results in Link Modules.

Subjects are offered at three levels in Irish and Maths and all other subjects may be studied at higher and ordinary level. All LCVP students study Link Modules at a common level.

Core Subjects: EnglishLink Modules MFL (French or German)*Mathematics Irish

There are two Link Modules to be studied:

• Preparation for the World of Work and Enterprise Education.

• As well as providing a learning opportunity for valuable life skills points for entry to third level are awarded for the Link Modules.

LCVP as a choice for students. Full details are given to students and parents in 3rd year when making choices for their senior cycle options.

Graphics Engineering French Geography German

> Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)

At Mountrath Community School the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme ensures the students enjoy positive experiences of the Leaving Certificate Programme and ensures that students develop their confidence and enhance their self-esteem. This is a two year programme aimed at helping students prepare for adult and working life. The learning experiences are active and practical where students apply their knowledge, skills and experience to real life situations in the school, in the workplace and in the community.

Work experience is a compulsory component of the Programme. Our College Students attend work one day a week. Students sample a range of jobs throughout the two years.

As well as work experience, the programme has three main elements

1. Vocational Preparation – preparing students for the work place

2. Vocational Education – providing education in specific skills

3. General Education

Student progress is monitored and assessed throughout the two years and students gain “credits” as they go along. Students’ work and skill development is assessed in different ways including interview, written, oral and practical components.

Four times throughout the two years students get a statement of their results from the State Examinations Commission. In this way they experience regular feedback on their success and achievements. Achievement is acknowledged and rewarded throughout the two years at the School.

All students of Leaving Certificate Applied take the following subjects.

1. Vocational Preparation and Guidance

2. English and Communication

3. Mathematical Applications

4. Introduction to Information and Communication Technology Arts Education Social Education Irish

8. Modern language Elective Modules

10.Home Economics

In addition to the above students complete two specialist vocational courses. These Vocational Specialisms develop specific skills and knowledge relevant to a range of careers.

Page 9 | Mountrath Community School

> Technology and education in MCS

MCS displays an impressive array of IT in the school. Every class comes equipped with overhead projectors and screens. We have two fully equipped computer labs as well as a high tech Technical Graphics room. With the demand on computers and the move to digital resources constantly on the rise the school also has 4 mobile Chromebook trolleys which are used by all in the school. Teachers and students use Google Classroom as our interactive school platform.

We timetable IT classes for all incoming 1st year students to make sure that they are au fait with using all features in Google Classroom as well teaching about the importance of their responsibilities when using digital media such as their digital footprint and digital safety.

Parents and guardians also have access to our school management system, Compass, where they can track attendance, academic results, matches or keep up to date with school news.

Mountrath Community School
Page 11 |

Physical Education is an integral part of each student’s holistic development here in MCS.

Our students learn to appreciate the importance of regular health-enhancing physical activity and to make informed choices about how to include physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

PE classes at Junior Cycle aim to provide all

students with enjoyable and worthwhile learning opportunities where they develop the movement skills and confidence to participate and perform in a variety of physical activities competently and safely.

Activity programmes are structured around the 4 main strands of the new JC PE short Course


Physical activity for health and wellbeing - Personal Exercise Programmes, Fitness Profiles

Dance and gymnastics.

Individual and team challenges - Orienteering, Adventure Tasks Athletics

At senior cycle, students are encouraged to apply the skills of Junior Cycle, demonstrate leadership and take ownership of their physical activity. As well as all the activities above, students in TY, 5th and 6th Year can also choose to participate in other specialised classes such as:

Our TY students also take part in the GAA Future Leaders Programme. Here, students have the opportunity to develop many leadership skills including communication, organisation and planning. Modules covered include:

> PE & Sport
• Sport Specific Strength and Conditioning • Yoga • Pilates • Zumba • Kickboxing • Self Defence
- Invasion Games (Basketball, Tag Rugby, Soccer, Gaelic Football, Frisbee)*
* Divided Court Games (Volleyball, Spikeball, Badminton, Tennis) | Striking & Fielding Games (Rounders, Baseball)
• Coaching • Performance Analysis • Nutrition • Event Management and Sports Administration • Sports Journalism

Our aim is that all of the above programmes are delivered in a PE environment which is fun, friendly, inclusive and yet challenging for all of our students.

Here in our school PE helps to build students’ motivation in and commitment to physical activity and sport within and beyond school.

Extra-Curricular - Sports

Here at MCS we also provide an extensive range of extra-curricular sports .We value and encourage the development of teamwork skills and building friendships. We want our students to be the best they can be in every aspect of their lives whether this is taking on new challenges or celebrating their achievements. Our students are encouraged to fully commit to representing school teams, through their preparation, attitude and application.

Students can choose to represent the school in many activities including:

We are very proud of our sporting achievements to date and it is an integral part of our school identity.

For all the latest sports news from MCS follow us on Twitter:


Gaelic FootballVolleyball

MCS teams regularly compete and are successful at county, provincial and national level

Page 13 | Mountrath Community School
AthleticsHurling BasketballLadies Football CamogieRugby

> Pastoral Care System

The Pastoral care system at Mountrath Community School encompasses each student’s wellbeing and involves the whole staff. We strive to nurture an environment where all our community feel a sense of belonging and are respected and cared for. Our pastoral care system in all inclusive, recognising the importance of diversity and respect for all. Through this system we embody our Mission Statement We

Class teacher/ Class Tutor/ Year Head Care Team - meet weekly to discuss student welfare Guidance Counsellors

Learning Support Team

Counselling Services – inside and outside of school School Chaplaincy

SPHE and RSE Programmes


Year Head/Class Tutor/ Class Teacher

Every student in each class grouping is assigned a tutor and a Year Head whom the student meets on Induction Day and throughout the year. All tutors/teachers liaise with the Year Heads to address any concerns and also to look after students’ wellbeing. Every year group has a dedicated Year Head. The Year Head has overall responsibility for discipline, punctuality, monitoring academic achievement and liaising with the Class Tutor.

Guidance & Counselling

Our school Guidance counsellors play an important part in the lives of our students. They assist students in making educational, vocational and personal holistic decisions, advise on career choice and offer a one to one service for students experiencing personal difficulties in addition to timetabled guidance classes. Our counsellors offer one to one support to students who need a confidential and supportive setting. This can be by personal request or by teacher referral.

In addition to this the school employs a counsellor who meets with students (referred by the care team) on a one to one basis in the school.


Our School Chaplain actively contributes to the pastoral care of students, offering a confidential listening service to all. The school chaplain sees to the provision of liturgical services and opportunities for prayer and reflection throughout the school year.

School leadership- Meitheal/Prefects

The school organises a number of comprehensive mentoring programme for students. Known affectionately as ‘White Shirts’ our senior student leaders take great pride in their roles. Many made the promise as 1st yrs that they too would be a ‘White Shirt’ when they got to 6th yr.

• Senior Prefects are selected as role models for the student body. They are supported and guided by their coordinator, their Year Head, Principal and school managers throughout their tenure as prefects. They assist in the management of student school life and act as representatives for their year group.

• Meitheal leaders are fully trained to mentor incoming first year students to help them settle in more quickly to their new school. This is a peer mentoring programme for 1st yrs where the senior students mentor and advise our new students, helping them settle into school. During the school year they organise a variety of activities (ice skating, movie days, trips etc.) for the 1st yrs.

Student Council

Our student council plays an important role in the school community. The main role of the council is to promote the interests of the school and involves the elected representatives of the students in the affairs of the school in cooperation with the Board, Parents and teachers. Class representatives communicate between the council, the coordinator and class. The council meet regularly to identify issues related to the improvement of school life for students.

The Mountrath Community School Parents Association is the structure through which we as parents/ guardians can work together for the best possible education for our children. We see our role as:

• Acting as a point of contact between parents and the school.

• Representing the views of parents/ guardians on school policies etc.

• Organising Fundraising Activities for PA initiatives.

• Organising speaking on various topics of interest specifically to parents/ guardians of post primary children.

• Sponsoring various school and pupil activities.

The MCS PA currently has 13 members on the committee with meeting occurring on a monthly basis through the academic year. The Annual General Meeting for the Parents Association takes place within the first six weeks of the year where members

of the committee are elected. It is at the first PA committee meeting after the AGM where the officers of the committee are elected. We strongly encourage parents/ guardians to get actively involved in the life of the school and welcome any suggestion that would help to enhance the school experience for all concerned.

The PA can be contacted either through the school or directly on

Page 15 | Mountrath Community School
> Parent’s Association
057 8741 080 Dysartbeigh, Mountrath, Co Laois Mountrath Community School