Louisburgh Co. Mayo



Annual Report 2017


Annual Report

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


School Development planning to include:
Priority areas and action taken in 2017/18

    • New building
    • Introduction of new Junior Cycle including L2LP’s
    • Demographics – adapting to increasing numbers
    • Introduction of ASD unit
    • SSE – Literacy Numeracy, Gifted within the framework of quality Teaching and Learning
    • Pastoral/Guidance supports
    • On going review of policies


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 Maths and English and CAT4.  With these results, NEPS psychologist’s reports, hours allocated through SENO, consultation with primary schools, parents and teachers extra help is provided in Literacy and Numeracy.  In some cases help is provided in organising homework and school work and a reduced timetable is allocated. 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 Counsellors provide help to all students in regard to subject choices but extra consideration is given to special needs students.  The Special Needs Team organises and assesses the needs of the student. The psychologist is also available to speak to staff on dealing with students with difficulties. A third stream Maths and English class is also available for first, second and third year students.



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


Newcomer Students
The number of non-national students has increased in the school. Extra classes are provided to meet their needs. We also formulated 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 pastoral care and year head teams meet regularly to highlight areas of concern to the Principal. To date we have always provided help through Book Grant and Book loan scheme, and in some cases uniforms are also provided, and trips are also sponsored.


Faith Development

  • We have 2 trained catechists on staff.  
  • 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 for Archbishop’s representative and CEIST.
  • All staff and B.O.M meetings commence with a prayer.
  • Retreats for staff and students.


RE Provision/hours taught in each year

At junior and senior level 3 class periods are allocated to Religious education. 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. 


Observance of Liturgical Year
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.



Chaplaincy services
A member of our teaching staff is allocated time weekly.


Ongoing professional development

  • Teachers attend Department mandated in-services.
  • Management facilitate 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 for following a needs analysis carried out.
  • Regular participation by Management on relevant in-services.
  • Staff reported back to the whole staff on various in-services attended.
  • Workshops by staff on use of ICT.

Pastoral Care
We endeavour to make the transition from Primary school to secondary school as smooth as possible. Members of Staff including: Year heads. Guidance team Pastoral team and Special Needs Co-coordinator maintain 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. 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.


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.  This year we introduced 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 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 Tutor and Year Head system to highlight the positives in the school is also very rewarding for all. We also spend time finding out 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 also promote positive behaviour.

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 noticeboard
  • Group meet regularly – review policies, make suggestions/recommendations. The Parents’ Association fundraised €5,000 and invited the local Councillor to discuss issues including extension and water conservation.
  • The members also assist with the annual Musical supervision.

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 noticeboard
The new Board was appointed in September 2016. Mr. Gerry McGuill 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
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 is appointed annually.
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 once a week to discuss matters that may have arisen. The student council acts as a voice for the students in their school, by bringing their intentions 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 currently available in the school:

  • GAA
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Rugby
  • Athletics
  • Cycling
  • Running Club
  • Musical
  • Surfing
  • Table Tennis
  • Yoga
  • Trips and Excursions
  • Green Schools
  • Talent contests
  • Public Speaking/Debates
  • Board games lunchtime club
  • Gaisce
  • Golf
  • Charity events
  • Positive Mental Health Week
  • Chess
  • Film club
  • Traditional Irish Music
  • JP 2 Awards
  • Coding
  • Sign language


List of Co – Curricular Activities

  • Plays
  • Field work
  • Science and Art trips
  • Irish club
  • Career Trips
  • On-line subject competitions
  • Maths competitions
  • Other trips and excursions subject related
  • Retreats
  • Subject competitions
  • Arts events
  • Career week
  • French theatre
  • Build a Bank
  • Enterprise competitions


Enrolment challenges

  • Maintain our Catholic Christian ethos.
  • Demographics
  • Disadvantaged stand-alone
  • Pupil/teacher ratio
  • S.E.N provision
  • School Building


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.


Other relevant areas

Our new building is progressing well. We are now at building stage with completion dates set for February 2019.






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