St. Conleth’s College Mission Statement
St. Conleth’s College aims to foster an environment where our students grow as individuals in every aspect of their lives. As a school we strive to enable each one to arrive at a fully rounded character, inspired by Christian charity and rooted in Gospel values. Being a small, tightly-knit community, our Catholic ethos and family atmosphere underpin our entire educational philosophy. To this end we welcome the continuous support of parents and guardians, recognising their primary role in the students’ growth and development.
St. Conleth’s seeks to provide a fully rounded Catholic education for all of its students by:
- creating a happy, healthy and safe environment in which all students may develop their own personal gifts and interests, be valued for who they are, and experience true equality amongst themselves
- celebrating and deepening our Catholic faith through prayer, liturgy, religion classes, and the general fostering of Christian values
- providing a disciplined environment in which teaching and learning can take place in a spirit of co-operation
- promoting academic excellence and habits of perseverance in students
- equipping students with the necessary moral, social and cultural qualities useful for adult life, and offering them guidance regarding their future role and career in society
- fostering dignity in the workplace and encouraging respect among, and between, teachers, staff and students
- ensuring that students and staff of other churches and faiths are respected and encouraged in their religious beliefs and practices,
- respecting students and staff who follow other beliefs and philosophies, and with whom we share common values of equality, peace, justice, dialogue and concern for the less fortunate members of society
- creating a sense of belonging to our local Parish, and also to the wider community around us and in countries of the developing world, and encouraging our students’ involvement in social and religious activities
Ag Críost an síol Christ’s is the Seed
Ag Críost an fómhar Christ’s is the Harvest
I-niothalainn dé Into God’s barn
go dtugtar sinn May we be brought.
Ethos and Religion in St. Conleth’s
Our Mission Statement expresses our ethos and underpins all what we do in St. Conleth’s and it is sent with our prospectus and application forms to all prospective parents. It is also in the pupil’s homework journal and is displayed at the entrance to the school. St. Conleth’s recognises and respects the religious freedom of all students and of their families and seeks to be a place of cross-cultural welcome and inter-faith dialogue. The religious education programme offers our students the opportunity to explore and deepen their own faith formation.
Aspects of the Role Played by Ethos and Religion at St. Conleth’s
- Information supplied to prospective parents before their child joins St. Conleth’s:
The St. Conleth’s prospectus states: St. Conleth’s College is a private, co-educational, Catholic school founded in 1939 by Bernard Sheppard which, for over eighty years, has continued and expanded upon its founder’s vision, to encourage the educational development of the child and fulfil the pastoral role inspired by the school’s patron: St Conleth, a Sixth Century saint and “moulder of precious metals”. Imbued with the Christian values of its founding family, religious instruction in the school follows the Catholic programme and the Christian ethos is seen and felt in everything we do. The ethos is reflected in pastoral care that provides the needs of young people at each stage of their development and promotes a sense of care and responsibility to one another and the wider community. The majority of our students come from Catholic backgrounds, but those of different denominations, faiths and philosophies have found their experience at St. Conleth’s to be both spiritually and culturally welcoming. Willing candidates are prepared for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Children of all faiths and none are welcomed and seamlessly integrated into the school community.
A Guide to Secondary First Year for Pupils and Parents states under the heading ‘Religion’:
Our school ethos, based on Christian values, infuses everything which we do at St Conleth’s, but it is our Religion teachers who take the lead. In the class, they explore topics and issues which are important and relevant to the students from a Christian perspective but always as part of an open discussion which allows input from all faiths and philosophies. Each year group also goes on a retreat where both faith and personal development are emphasised and there is an Annual School Mass as well as prayer services and masses for individual classes. And the annual trip to the Clonskeagh Mosque is always a popular interfaith adventure.
- Day-to-Day Practices
All students in St. Conleth’s are encouraged to grow in their own faith or conviction, whether it is Catholic or not and provided it is expressed with tolerance and not harmful or disrespectful of others.
Annual School Mass and Annual Class Mass
The annual school mass takes place in St. Mary’s parish church, usually in November. It is an occasion to collectively ask God’s blessing on the year ahead, and to remember the deceased, in particular Bernard Sheppard, our founder, and Pat and Kevin Kelleher, who were at the helm for so long, as well as recently deceased past pupils and school parents. There is also a school mass for each class group in the secondary school where the focus is on the class’s personal and group intentions.
A mass also takes place in the school on the first day of the state exams for those who wish to attend.
If a church holy day falls in school term, the school will attend mass in the parish church, e.g. the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Feast of the Epiphany. Students from different faiths and none are warmly invited to all Masses and welcomed, but are never obliged to attend. If they wish, they are invited to approach the altar during communion time with their hands folded across their chest for a blessing but do not take the Eucharist.
Prayers at assembly or before or during class.
All assemblies in the school include a spiritual reflection (approximately six a year). When there is a prayer before or during class or at an assembly, students of different faiths are encouraged to show reverence during the prayer, promoting respect for the prayer experience. They do not have to participate in the prayer but are encouraged to use the time to pray quietly in their own way. This is an opportunity to recognise and honour the spirituality of all the students. Students who hold no religious interpretation of life are invited to show respect for the prayer experience. The Prayer of St. Francis has been adopted as the St. Conleth’s prayer and it is in each student’s homework journal. Its universal and deeply comforting expression of spirituality encapsulates the concept of religion and history at St. Conleth’s.
Graduation for Sixth Year and Sixth Form
A short liturgy is part of our commencement ceremonies.
Teachers in Second Form and Sixth Form in the Junior School, in conjunction with the parish and our school chaplain, prepare their Catholic pupils for First Communion and Confirmation including the important steps of First Confession and the Ceremony of Light. Those who are not Catholic are invited to attend the ceremony and/or join the post-ceremony celebrations if they so wish.
There is an annual school retreat for each class in the Secondary School. All students are invited to attend. A retreat can be a spiritual experience for all, regardless of religious affiliation. A general awareness of the spiritual in the student’s life is encouraged and different forms of prayer can be practised.
Each year has two classes of Religious Education per week. Religious Education in St. Conleth’s is a process that contributes to the development of students and offers opportunities for the expression of spiritual, moral and transcendent dimensions of life. We believe that when another religion is encountered, a greater understanding of one’s own faith can be experienced. It seeks to engage all students in this transformational process, allowing each student to make free and consistent choices in the way they live their beliefs. It seeks to foster a space for questioning, exploring, enquiring and reflecting. The syllabus is student-centred and embraces the holistic development of all students.
In the Junior School, the Religious Education Programme follows the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland. In the Secondary School the programme is set by the Religious Education team and overseen by the Dublin Diocesan Advisors for Religious Education. For the Junior Cycle, it follows the Junior Cycle Religious Education curriculum with extra content added. Parents may if they wish ask to see the syllabus that is followed and reviewed annually. All students in St. Conleth’s are asked to participate in RE classes and encouraged to share the traditions and tenets of their faith. This is communicated before they join the school. A parent or a student who has reached the age of 18 who wishes to attend St. Conleth’s without attending religious instruction should make a written request to the Principal. A meeting will then be arranged with the parent and/or the student to discuss how the request may be accommodated by the school.
The school chaplain and parish priest from St. Mary’s Parish Church are regular visitors in the school and classrooms where they celebrate school and year masses, as well as feast days such as Ash Wednesday and St. Blaise’s Day.
A small oratory provides a sacred space for overall spiritual well-being and is where small group reflection, meditation and prayer takes place.
Church Feast Days and Traditions
Church feast days and traditions are celebrated and marked and all students are invited to participate:
Advent – Wreath and candles are displayed at entrance to school and are lit every morning during roll call.
Christmas – Nativity play in the Preparatory School; carol services; choir visits to retirement homes; crib at entrance to school.
St. Bridget – Junior School students make crosses to celebrate the feast day and the coming of Spring.
St. Blaise – The blessing of throats
St. Patrick – Various activities, as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge
Ash Wednesday – Ashes are distributed in the school.
Lent – Trocaire boxes are distributed and collected.
May Altars – set up in the Junior and Preparatory School
Religious art is seen in all reception rooms in the House and in the Oratory.
Stained glass portrait of St. Conleth’s is at entrance to school office.
Glass panel of Holy Spirit in Oratory
Statue of St. Conleth’s at Junior School entrance
Icon of St. Conleth’s at Senior School entrance
Crucifixes and statues of Our Lady in various locations around the school
- How our ethos is expressed in other areas of school life:
Secondary School : we take Pastoral Care very seriously at St. Conleth’s, as we strive to educate the whole child, staying faithful to our ethos and fulfilling our Mission Statement. The Form Teacher is the “point” person for the Pastoral Team. In addition to the Form Teacher, the Pastoral Care Team includes the Co-ordinator, the Guidance Counsellor, Principal and DP as well as representatives from PE and RE departments. (A Guide to First Year)
To help integrate new students into secondary school a Buddy System is operated by the Student Council.
In the Junior School there is also a very strong focus on Pastoral Care overseen by the Principal.
Student Support/Care Team:
In the secondary school the team consists of the Deputy Principal, Special Educational Needs co-ordinator, Guidance Counsellor and Pastoral Care Co-ordinator and meets weekly to address the learning and behavioural needs of a small number of students. In the Junior School the team consists of the Principal, Class Teacher and Resource Teacher.
Relationship and Sexual Sducation takes place in all classes in the secondary school. It is taught by trained teachers who are guided by our Mission Statement. In the primary school, Accord provides age specific RSE to Sixth Form.
St. Conleth’s has strong links with the community, including:
Our Local Parish – St. Mary’s of Haddington Road
Local Church of Ireland parish – St. Bartholmew’s
Local Retirements Homes – St. Mary’s and The Royal Hospital
The City Council – regarding Herbert Park usage
Local National School – St. Christopher’s
An Taisce – the Grove (a local nature conservatory)
Support for Charities
St. Conleth’s regularly supports numerous charities: the Hospice, Autism Rose Week, Capuchin Day Centre, Daffodil Day, VDP, Enable Ireland.
St. Conleth’s annually supports Goal and Trocaire through ‘Jersey Days’ and other fund-raisers.
St. Conleth’s Student Expeditions
St. Conleth’s Student Expeditions are a real embodiment of our ethos’s emphasis on putting our ideals into action. In 2001, St. Conleth’s first expedition team headed to Peru under the guidance of Garret Campbell. With a small group of seven students he set off to explore and trek the Andes, the Amazon forest, Cuzco and work in a school in Lake Titicaca. Since then, Gavin Maguire and Dolores Kelly have led expedition teams to Africa and India on a biennial basis, enriching the lives of the hundreds of student participants and the communities which they visit.
Achievements of St. Conleth’s Expedition Teams
- Supplied tools and building materials to local school
- Supplied stationary to the school
- Helped build a playground in the school
- Supplied tools and building materials to a primary school near Moshi in the Kilimanjaro area.
- Supplied school books, stationary and toys to school children
- Helped with construction work in the primary school
- Taught English to primary school children
- Played football with local teams
- Worked in an orphanage run by the Christina Noble Foundation, planting fruit trees, clearing land for vegetables, painting classrooms, playing with children
- Supplied stationary, tools, paint, toys, books to the orphanage
- Donated 5000 euro to the orphanage to fund specific projects, including an underground food storage facility, a new shower/toilet block and new beds
- Painted three primary schools
- Supplied desks for the school
- Introduced rugby to local children and donated rugby balls
- Played football with local children
2009 Zambia and Botswana
- Working in a centre for HIV orphans
2010 – 2014 Uganda
- Working in Kitatya Secondary School with an exchange of skills programme
- Donated 30,000 to school to install solar panels for electricity, build staff accommodation, sponsor 8 students through secondary school
- Sponsored 2 children to attend school for 5 years in Kampala slums
- Sponsored a small-farming goat project through Self Help Africa.
2015 and 2016 India
- Painted mural in a primary school in Manali
- Sponsored Evergreen School to purchase railings and donated paint and games
- Mount Everest village primary school: donated school furniture, blackboards and school supplies
- Bridge Light Secondary School - Installed a water pump for running water. Financed building of a computer room
- Ndeeba Secondary School – financed a new computer room
- Working in both schools with an exchange of skills programme
- Sponsored 3 children to attend school for 5 years in Kampala Slums through Hands for Hope.
On a personal level the St. Conleth’s pupils have achieved:
- Skills in team building
- Communication skills
- Financial skills, Money management/budgeting
- Cultural awareness
- Environmental awareness
- Independent travel
- Personal wellbeing – health and hygiene, safety, cooking, basic first aid and survival skills.