Founded in 1879, St Columb's College, Derry's oldest and largest Catholic grammar school, has a proud tradition of scholarship and the unique distinction in Ireland of being the alma mater of two Nobel Laureates. The College is located in the Pennyburn area of the city on a spacious campus comprising ultra-modern school buildings and 40 acres of superbly appointed grounds for games and recreation. The classrooms, laboratories, workshops and specialist rooms, all finished to a very high standard, are comfortable and exceptionally well-equipped. The school boasts a modern communications network with the most up-to-date I.C.T. and Multimedia facilities. The school is a Specialist School for Mathematics and Computing and the quality of its work in I.C.T. has been recognised by the achievement of the BECTA I.C.T. Charter Mark and of a National Training Award for staff development in I.C.T. In January 2008 the College has received further recognition as an exemplar of Best Practice in the Public Sector while in November 2008 St. Columb's won joint Best Whole School Award in Northern Ireland at the ICT Excellence Awards.
The aim of St Columb's is to enable its pupils to realise their full moral, social, intellectual, physical and aesthetic potential. The College works towards increasing pupils' self-discipline and, above all, at deepening their Christian faith and affirming them in its practice. As a Catholic school, St Columb's aims to bring pupils to an awareness that faith in Jesus Christ is the centre point of all the pupil's personal and intellectual development. The Oratory, situated close to the Foyer, is at the very heart of the College.
St Columb's College, as a member of the Foyle Learning Community, offers an extensive and varied curriculum. Currently nineteen different subjects are timetabled at Key Stage 3 Level, twenty-five different subjects are timetabled to GCSE level or equivalent and in 6th Form pupils are undertaking AS, A Level, Key Skills and other equivalent courses from a range of thirty-two timetabled subjects. Lists of subjects are available in the school's Prospectus or can be obtained by contacting the office.
The school's pastoral system promotes a close working relationship and friendly personal contact between parents/guardians, pupils and teachers. A comprehensive programme of Personal and Social Education is delivered to all year groups. Curriculum enrichment courses in Year 13 are an integral part of 6th Form education. All pupils participate in the careers education programme.
Sports facilities within the College grounds include soccer, gaelic and rugby pitches as well as tennis and basketball courts, athletics fields, a multi-gym and three halls for indoor games. A number of activities make use of facilities at the Templemore Leisure Complex, the Foyle Golf Centre and at other local venues. The school is proud of its strong tradition in music and drama and there are many activities and clubs in which pupils can develop personal interests and talents.
It is the firm policy of the school to maintain the best possible teacher/pupil ratio.