Louisburgh Co. Mayo



Annual Report 2013

  1.  Mission Statement
  • Sancta Maria College is a voluntary Catholic secondary school under the trusteeship of CEIST whose core values are inclusive of the Mercy philosophy of education.
  • We welcome, care for and support all within the school community through the promotion of
  • Respect
  • Being just & responsible
  • Quality teaching and learning
  • An inclusive community
  • Life-long learning

Ireland’s first catholic co-educational secondary school


  1. School Development Planning

Priority areas and action taken in 2012/13
Continuing to provide high quality teaching and learning through improved ICT provision- increase in ipads and use in classrooms, data projectors and interactive boards purchased for all rooms. We also commenced distance learning with Our Lady’s Secondary School in Belmullet. We offer Home Economics and Applied Maths and hope to offer a further range of subjects and connect with other schools in 2013-14.
Literacy and Numeracy development- Literacy policy/plan in action since 2011 and we are further advancing this area especially for first years. Numeracy plan has also been agreed and will be implemented in September 2013. The New Junior Cycle has been discussed at length and 2 key learning styles agreed to be commenced in First year of 2013-14
Key facilitation groups have been set up to spearhead these new initiatives. The Self-evaluation group is in the process of completing an improvement plan based on the findings in Literacy and Numeracy. We have also a trained facilitator for the “Seven habits of effective teenagers” and have offered workshops in this area to students, parents and staff. We also had an Active Schools week and we have applied for our first active school flag. We also have recently received our third Green schools flag and hope to continue with travel the priority for our fourth flag.

We provide FETAC Level 4 and 5 and recently we have been appointed as a Fetac level 6 centre for Childcare. We also offer BTEI for adults as part of our range of night classes. We are now offering Fetac level 3 for some of these adults and some of our day students.

Special Needs Education

Provision is made as a priority to students with special needs. Incoming first years are met and at the end of September sit assessment tests in Moths and English. With these results, NEPS psychologist’s reports, hours allocated through SENO, consultation with primary schools, parents and teachers extra help is provided in English and Moths. In some cases help is provided in organising homework and school work and a reduced timetable is allocated.  Team teaching has also been introduced to allow students with learning needs remain integrated in the mainstream classroom. This extra help continues through to third year. In senior years students are again given extra help on an individual and group level and a reduced timetable is also an option. The Guidance Counselor provides help to all students in regard to subject choices but extra consideration is given to special needs students.  The HSCL works in close co-operation with the students and the home to ensure maximum opportunity is given to students to enable them to reach their full potential. The Special Needs Coordinator organises the tests and the NEPS psychologist is invited to the school to assess students whose reports are out of date and new comers to the system. The psychologist is also available to speak to staff on dealing with students with difficulties. A third stream Moths and English class is also available for first, second and third year students. As part of a new initiative to help all students understand their learning we have also carried out an analysis of the learning styles of students. This has proved very useful especially with students experiencing difficulties in specific subject areas.

  • Traveller Education

We do not have traveller students in the school at present.

  • Newcomer Students

We continue to welcome newcomer students to our school. The number of such students has remained stable in the school. Extra classes are provided to meet their needs. We have an EAL policy and the enrolment forms and information on the school is available in various languages.

  • Disadvantaged students

The majority of our students come from a disadvantaged background. The community is rural and there is a huge dependency on social welfare and agriculture to maintain the home. This is always difficult to cope with.  We have a highly developed pastoral care system in the school where students who are considered in most need are cared for. The HSCL and Special Needs Coordinator, Tutor and Year Head meet regularly to highlight areas of concern to the Principal. To date we have always provided help through a Book Grant and Book loan scheme, and in some cases uniforms are also provided, and trips are also sponsored.

  • Faith Development to include
  • RE Provision/hours taught in each year. We have 2 trained catechists on staff and one Sister of Mercy. We also have other members of staff who are engaged in Religious Education.
  • We hold regular retreats, liturgical ceremonies and Masses to mark the beginning of the school year and graduations.
  • Special prayer services and visits by clergy.
  • Annual visit by Archbishop’s representative and CEIST.
  • All staff and B.O.M meetings commence with a prayer.
  • Retreats for staff and students.

Observance of Liturgical Year
At junior level 1hr 20 minutes is allocated to Religious education and at senior level 2 hours is allocated. We also have regular Retreats, liturgical ceremonies and Masses to mark the beginning of the school year as well as Graduation Masses. We at times of need have special prayer services and visits by clergy to our school. A representative from the Archbishop visits annually to provide advice and assistance. CEIST also provides guidance through regular prayers service booklets and information. 

Chaplaincy services
A member of our teaching staff is a qualified chaplain and is allocated time weekly

  • Ongoing professional development

Teachers attend Department mandated in-services.
Management facilitates other in-services for teachers which are of interest/relevance to the school community. Teachers provide feedback to the whole staff on these in-services.
Whole school in-services are provided following a needs analysis carried out by the Self-evaluation Co-coordinator.
Regular participation by Management on relevant in-services.
First Aid, I.C.T, S.L.S.S, S.E.S.S, L.D.S, Forbairt, J.M.B, NA.P.D, CEIST. EAL
Workshops by staff on use of ICT facilities –ipads, and the use of Google apps.
In-service from Department Inspector on Self-evaluation.

Pastoral Care

We endeavor to make the transition from Primary school to secondary school as smooth as possible. Our Home School Community Liaison person and the Special Needs Co-ordinator maintains regular contact with the Primary Schools in assessing the needs of students arriving into Sancta Maria. We have a highly developed care system where each first year has a senior student who acts as mentor to help with issues that arise; each class has a class tutor who meets with his/her class each day. Students have access to our Chaplain, our Counsellor and our Home-School Liaison person. Our Pastoral Team work to resolve the difficulties that arise in young lives as they reach adulthood. Our philosophy is that if students are happy and comfortable in school they will achieve success both academically and socially.

10  Positive behaviour
This is an area we emphasise greatly. The Achievements Day at the end of the year was always seen as very beneficial to reward students for their successes during the year, academically, through sport and extra -curricular etc.  We have a “Spirit of Sancta Maria” award where students who promote the spirit of cordiality and contentment are rewarded by the Year Heads. We also reviewed the Code of behaviour and highlighted the rewards. We have a Student of the Month award system where a student is rewarded for making a difference in any area of school life. It is received very well with students, staff and homes. The use of the Tutor and Year Head system to highlight the positives in the school is also very rewarding for all. We also acknowledge the out of school activities the students are involved in and their successes in these areas. We bring this to media attention in order to further advance the interest of our students in being well behaved and motivated.  The Duathlon and other fundraising activities also promote positive behaviour.

11   Parental Involvement (Report from Chair of Parents’ Council)
The aims of the Parents’ Association are:
To promote communication between parents, college management, teaching staff and students.
To facilitate the involvement of parents in the development of college policies, plans and activities.
To encourage parent participation in extra-curricular activities.
To help, where possible in the improvement of the overall college environment.
To support management and teachers when requested.
They regularly meet throughout the year. A representative and the Principal sit on the Parents’ Association
An agreed report is published on the staffroom notice board
Group meet regularly – review policies, make suggestions/recommendations. The Parents’ Association held an AGM in October.  A constitution was also drafted and agreed.
The members also assisted with the annual Musical supervision. Fundraising events were carried out during the year to support the school. Two scholarships were awarded to students on behalf of the Association. Representatives also became affiliated to the National Parents Council

  • BOM ( Report from Chair of BOM)

8 members represent the Board comprising of representatives from CEIST, Parents, Staff and the Community. The Principal acts as secretary to the Board.
The Board meets regularly throughout the year.
An agreed report is published on the staffroom notice board
The Board was appointed in September 2010. Mr. Tom Loughnane met with the Board and discussed areas of importance.
Members of the Board have attended in-service training and a finance sub-committee meets regularly. The Board also had representation at the Building meeting inTullamore to advance our quest for a new extension.
At the end of the year the chairpersons of the Parents’ Association and the Student Council meet with the Board and present a report on their activities over the year.

  • Student Council Report

A new student council consisting of 12 new members, 2 from every year was elected.
The reps are chosen by their classmates in a private vote. From there, all reps are elected and then a student council committee is formed to act as a binding connection between the student body and the teachers/ Principal/ Board of Management.
The Council meets regularly to discuss matters that may have arisen. The student council acts as a voice for the students in the school, by bringing their issues and proposals to the attention of the staff. It strives to make school life easier for the students by taking their opinions into consideration when discussing school matters. The committee raises awareness on topics that affect the students and propose suitable solutions to staff to make student life easier for all. All representatives can be identified easily throughout the school as each member wears a student council badge respectively.

  • Extra Curricular activities

A wide variety of extra-curricular activities are available in the school:
Table Tennis
Trips and Excursions
Green Schools
Talent contests
Public Speaking
Charity events
Positive Mental Health Week

  • List of Co – Curricular Activities

Field work
Science and Art trips
Irish club
Career Trips
On-line subject competitions
Maths competitions
Other trips and excursions (subject related)
Sonas Arts Project
Subject competitions
Arts events
Career week
French theatre

  • Enrolment challenges

Maintain our Catholic Christian ethos.
Disadvantaged stand-alone
Maintain/develop existing curriculum
Pupil/teacher ratio
S.E.N provision
School Building
Guidance and counselling provision

  • Brief financial overview of financial position of school, highlighting any area of concern

Due to financial cutbacks, the school depends on the financial support from homes to subsidise some of the expenses it incurs. The school is also very aware of the financial difficulties of homes has increased greatly over the past year.

  • Other relevant areas

We continue in our quest for an extension to our school first applied for in 2000.  We have made significant progress in this regard. Following a meeting with the Building Unit in the Department an agreement was reached to advance the building application from a Stage 2A to Stage 2B. As an interim arrangement a decision to grant prefabs was given and upgrading of universal access facilities in the school.



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Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh
Tel: 098 66342 Fax: 098 66570 Email: