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St Columbanus Prospectus 2024

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Prospectus 2024

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"A happy school with a 'can-do' attitude"

- ETI Inspection

Ahappys c hoolw ha c ando at t ude ETII ns pec t i on

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Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am delighted to welcome you and your child to our St Columbanus’ family.  Rest assured, we will support you both in the transition from primary school to ensure your child settles into their new ‘home from home’ with us.

We are dedicated to our students: to their education, their welfare and their happiness, as ETI have identified, twice, in our recent inspections by awarding our school ‘outstanding’ status.  

This status acknowledges our commitment to pastoral care and academic excellence, underpinned by our strong faith ethos.

Our results at GCSE continue to exceed the NI average.   We continue to adapt our A’level curriculum to enable the number of our students going on to university and further education to, again, exceed the NI average.

Most importantly, we are first and foremost, a happy school, a safe environment and a warm community.

As I say to our students and staff, “My door is always open!”  

I look forward to getting to know your child personally and I value the privilege of taking them through this next special part of their journey in education.

Warmest wishes

Mrs M Flynn


Welcome from

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Our Principal

“Strategic leadership at a senior level is a significant strength.” 

- ETI Inspection

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Page 10-11: Learning and Teaching

Page 12-13: The Teachers and Staff

Page 16-17: Pastoral Care

Page 18: SEN Provision

Pages 20-23: The Curriculum

Page 24: GCSE and A’Level Results

Page 25: Admissions & Entry Requirements

Page 26-27: Careers Provision

Page 30-35: After School Clubs

Page 37: The Houses System

Page 38: Student Council

Page 39: PTA

Page 40-41: Welcome from Our Head Prefects


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"The highly effective lessons were well planned and learning was differentiated to meet the needs of pupils."

- ETI Inspection

Student led investigation 10 Every Child Enga

Inspiring students to create original art.

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ged in Learning

“All of the lessons observed during the inspection were effective and incorporated a broad range of strategies, which included well-targeted questioning to develop the pupils’ thinking and problem-solving skills, differentiated tasks with supportive feedback on progress and a good variety of practical and theory work to reinforce and secure the learning.”

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection

“The teachers use innovative approaches to engage and motivate the pupils.” 

- ETI Inspection

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“The pupils spoke positively about their learning experiences and the pastoral and academic support they receive from their teachers and classroom assistants.”

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection


“Many pupils have developed interpersonal skills and are confident and articulate.” 

- ETI Inspection

Every Teacher a

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Dedicated Teacher

“Since the last inspection the staff of the college have embarked on a programme of continuous professional development and sharing of best practice.”

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection

"...pupils enjoy learning, are courteous and take great pride in their school."

- ETI Inspection

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"...pupils enjoy learning, are courteous and take great pride in their school."- ETI Inspection

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“The high level of consistency in learning and teaching is a strong indicator of the very effective pastoral care.”

- ETI Inspection


"The pupils from across the key stages were friendly, articulate and confident."

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection

Every Child a

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"There is a resolute and tenacious commitment to the pupils' pastoral needs and the outcomes they attain."

- ETI Inspection

Happy Child

"The school approach to the care and welfare of the pupils impacts positively on learning and teaching outcomes."

- ETI Insepection

Senior Leadership Team

Mrs Flynn - Principal

Mr Mitchell - Vice Principal

Dr Doherty - Assistant Principal Assessment & Reporting

Miss McMahon - Assistant Principal Pastoral Care

Senior Improvement Team

Mr Sweeney - Head of KS5

Mrs Van Houten - Head of KS4

Ms Canavan - Head of KS3

Mr Burrows - Examinations Officer


Heads of Year

Mr Majury

Mrs Sheridan

Mr Anderson

Mrs McGuiggan

Miss McKinty

Mrs Keyes

Mrs Kelly

Your child will have a designated form teacher as their 'go-to' adult for help.

Key Staff

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"The Individual Education Plans ensure pupils overcome barriers to learning."

- ETI Insepection

18 Every Child a Valued Child

The Learning Support Department in St. Columbanus' College provides

a warm, welcome and inclusive environment. We cater for pupils who need

support focusing on the key areas of Literact and Numeracy.

Upon entry to the College, students' skills are assessed using

standardised testing. Where appropriate Individual Education Plans are

developed to enable students to meet their full potential. Individualised

target setting and inclusive strategies are employed for short term and

ongoing intervention to help close the gap for pupils who require extra


Key Staff

Asst Principal for Pastoral Care/SEN Manager - Miss McMahon

SENCo/Learning Support Coordinator - Mrs Doyle

Asst SENCo/Learning Support Coordinator - Mr Burton

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“The school provides a broad and balanced curriculum [which] is responsive to the changing needs of the pupils.”

- ETI Inspection

“The outcomes achieved by the pupils in public examinations at key stage 4 (GCSE) continue to be a key strength of the work of the school.”

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection


English | Mathematics | Science | French | Art & Design | Drama | Employability | Spanish | Geography | History | Home Economics | ICT | Citizenship | Music | Personal & Social Development | Religious Education | Technology & Design | Physical Education 

Key Stage 3 Curriculum (Years 8-10) A Curricul

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um for All

Core GCSEs

English Language | Mathematics | Religious Education (GCSE & vocational accreditation) | ICT (GCSE & vocational accreditation) |  Physical Education | Careers 


GCSE Options

Art & Design | Business | Child Development | Construction | Drama | 

English Literature | French Food & Nutrition | Geography | History

Moving Image Arts | Music | Occupational Studies: Business Services, Construction, Design and Creativity, Engineering and Engineering Services, Environment and Society & Technology and Innovation |  OCN in Personal Success and Well-Being | Prince’s Trust | Public Services | OCN Science |  Single Award Science | Double Award Science | Spanish | Sport Science |  Statistics | Technology & Design | Travel and Tourism

GCSE Options

“The pupils engage positively with the teachers and work well collaboratively.” 

- ETI Inspection Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

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Business | Art & Design | Moving Image Arts | Religious Education | Environmental Technology | Geography | History | Mathematics | Science (Life and Health Sciences)

Health and Social Care | BTEC Uniformed Protective Services | BTEC Sport | BTEC Applied Science | BTEC ICT | Travel and Tourism | OCN Employability and Professional Skills

St Columbanus’ College works closely and successfully with its partner schools to accommodate the A’Level choices of its students. Separate arrangements for A’Levels are always dependent upon timetabling compatibility and staffing in all schools. Choices may vary from year to year according to the needs of the pupils.

Following successful completion of GCSEs students can make an application to enter the College Sixth Form to study A'Levels and other Level 3 qualifications. The A'Level curriculum is reviewed annually.

Key Stage 5 A' Level Options A'Level 

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Additional A’Level provision is offered to our students through the Bangor Learning Partnership/North Down and Ards Learning Community and in partnership with SERC.

The Choice of A’Levels on offer to St Columbanus’ College students from the North Down and Ards Learning Community is wide-ranging. This selection of subjects varies annually and the list below illustrates some of those A’Levels which may be made available to our students.

An exemplar of NDALC choices: 

Applied Science | Chemistry | Childcare | Drama | Engineering | English 

French | Hospitality | Law | Music | Performance Arts | Physics | Psychology 

Spanish | Sport Science | BTEC Engineering  

“The senior pupils spoke with pride about their journey through school and the school’s community ethos.” 

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection

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Our Results


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Applications & Admissions Criteria

In the event of the College being oversubscribed at a particular criterion, preference will be given in the following order of priority:

1. Pupils who at the time of application are siblings of present pupils enrolled in the college

2. Pupils who are the only child in the family or who are the eldest eligible child to apply to Mainstream Post Primary School. (Eligible means that on commencement of Year 8 the pupil will be the eldest child in the family attending Post Primary School)

3. Final placement will be determined on distance by foot from home to College as measured using

The Board of Governors reserves the right to require such supplementary evidence as it may determine to support or verify information on the Transfer Form. 

The provision of false or incorrect information or the failure to provide information within the deadlines set by the school can result in the withdrawal of a place and the inability to offer a place on the part of any school nominated on the applicant’s Transfer Form. 

The criteria relating to the initial admission of pupils into Year 8 before the commencement of the 2023 school year will also be used for entry into Year 8 should admission become possible after the commencement of the 2023 school year.

1. Pupils from any Catholic Maintained Primary School in Northern Ireland who nominate St Columbanus' College as their 1st or 2nd preference

2. Pupils from any other Primary School in Northern Ireland who nominate St Columbanus’ College as their 1st Preference

3. All other pupils transferring to Post-Primary Education

Waiting List Policy 

The College maintains a Waiting List for applicants in all year groups.

When a place becomes available in Year 8 this will immediately be filled by the pupil who is top of the waiting list for that year group as determined through applications of our normal admissions criteria for Year 8. 

In Years 9 to 12 available places will be filled according to the College’s published “Criteria for transfer between schools (Years 9 - 12) which can be accessed on our College website.


2021 - 153

2022 - 163

2023 - 171


2021 - 135

2022 - 135

2023 - 125


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“The provision for careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) is afforded a high strategic priority. There is an effective taught programme of employability and careers education that develops extensively and progressively the pupils’ understanding of the world of work and employability skills. The pupils benefit from having access to a wide range of well-organised and relevant curriculum and careers resources and events, which enables them to make effective, informed and impartial careers-related decisions.” 

- ETI Inspection

26 A Path for 

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Every Child 

“Senior pupils expressed appreciation for the guidance and support they receive to make informed choices about subjects and career options.”

- ETI, Sustaining Improvement Inspection

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"A high number of pupils benefit from participating in cultural, sporting and community-based activities, which develop their social skills further and provide meaningful leadership and teamwork experiences."- ETI Inspection

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30 A Team for  

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Every Player  

After School Sports




Boxing Club

Cross Country

Gaelic Football*






*Boys and girls

At St Columbanus’ College, the school day does not finish at the last bell!  We encourage our students to get involved in extracurricular activities. 

Throughout the year the PE department runs Inter-House competitions in a range of different activities, such as football and netball, and hosts fundraising activities such as Fitness Freddy Day.

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Award-winning Traditional Group

St. Columbanus' Trad Group: 2023 and 2024 winners of the Holywood Music Festival (Advanced Category)


After School Music

Year 10 Vocal group

College traditional group

College choir


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Or maybe you'd prefer...

Art club

Coding Games club

Cookery club

Drama club

Film club

Public Speaking

Tabletop Games Club

The Music department is a vibrant place to be at lunchtime and after school.

Tuition is available in a range of musical instruments: guitar, drums, piano,vocal, clarinet, saxophone and Traditional (tin whistle, bodhrán).

The College Choir, Traditional Group, String Ensemble are a popular choice for many of our pupils. The pupils perform at Prize Giving and Open Days and at various other College functions and services throughout the year and a significant number of external events in the community.

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34 Our School Production of 

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'Beauty and the Beast' 

And we run:

residential trips

education visits

bi-annual Skiing Trip

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Formed in Faith 

Our Mission Statement

Achieving success in a happy and hardworking atmosphere where each individual matures in a supportive Christian environment.


Our faith values form the basis of our strong ethos which welcomes all and protects the dignity of all.

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A House and a Home 

"Having a House system in place allows pupils to interact with teachers differently, whilst also allowing teachers to get to know pupils as they move through the years. This helps strengthen relationships between students and teachers, fostering a shared interest in achieving a goal or completing an activity.

Often House activities include fun challenges that pit one House group against another, with pupils and teachers involved. The emphasis is on healthy competition and fair play, and it can be a great opportunity for your child to learn about 'winning' and 'losing' in a safe and supportive environment. They'll also learn the importance of participating and trying, and working as part of a team.

House groups within schools provide a sense of continuity throughout children's time to counteract their separation into year groups. They will often look back fondly on activities they participated in for their House and remember it for years to come."

- From 'The Benefits of a House System'

"Using house point systems has been shown to have a positive impact on motivation and behaviour, as well as encouraging a sense of identity and belonging among school pupils. Such systems include all pupils, not just the highest achievers, and help develop a variety of skills other than academic."


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Every Child has a Voice


Each class nominates a school councillor to speak for them and their interests on school matters

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Year 8 Disco

"The school provides opportunities to participate in fundraising for charities that develop social justice values, which reflect closely the traditions and ethos of the school."

- ETI Inspection

Our Parents 

Our Parent Teacher Association develops closer links with our parents and community, running successful fundraising events such as the Year 8 Disco, the Christmas Fair, PTA Quiz Night and Bag Packing.  Funds raised have contributed towards our school games club, the ICT department and the Eco group.

SVP Youth Team


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My name is Grace, and I'm immensely proud to hold the position of Head Girl of St. Columbanus' College! I joined this school nearly 7 years ago in 2017 and didn't know many people. Initially, I was quite shy, but thanks to the warm welcome from my teachers, classroom assistants, and fellow students, the adjustment came naturally and effortlessly. I was able to quickly find a wonderful group of people who I can still call my friends, within only a few weeks of joining the College. The school offers a wide range of different after-school clubs, which was a great opportunity to meet new people and improve my confidence. I took part in the cross-country club and our choir, giving me the chance to perform and represent the school on many trips.

St. Columbanus College has allowed me to reach my full potential and thrive over the years, not just academically. With help from my dedicated teachers who are always willing to go the extra mile, I am now working towards achieving my A-Levels and hope to attend university next year to study Biology. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to spend seven remarkable years at this College. Taking great pride in my school, it brings me great joy to represent it. I encourage you to fully embrace your time at St. Columbanus' College and cherish every moment! Thank you!

A few Words of Welcome 

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from our Head Prefects


My name is John and I am proud to be appointed the Head Boy at St. Columbanus' College. I joined the school in 2017 from St. Anne's Primary School. Starting in a new environment made me very anxious that I had to start from scratch; however, through the rapport that I quickly built with the staff, and the friendships I made, I began to feel welcome. 

From Year 8-10, I joined many extra-curricular activities including the School Choir and School Council. Although during my GCSEs, the stress of exams and COVID really made me doubt my abilities to perform well in school, and that's when I had the eagerness to become the Head Boy. With this role, I have been able to provide mental health support to students and give back to the school for everything it has done for me. This led me to join Peer Mentoring wheere I had 1-to-1s with an assigned Year 8 where I could help them if they were facing problems. I also participated in Sign Language classes, and I was the President of the Youth St. Vincent de Paul which involved fundraising money to provide hampers to the local care home. All of these roles can be achieved by every single prospective student whilst also making lifelong friendships in this school.

Your time here will be extremely valuable, and you will love it as I have!

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