for parents

  • Biometrics Info

    We wish to inform you of some of the systems that are in place in St. Columb’s College.

    System (1) ParentPay

    St Columb’s College uses ParentPay as a method of payment within the school.  This is a secure epayment method which can be accessed through a secure website, ParentPay, using your debit card or credit card.  You can also use the PayPoint method.  Further information on this is available on the school website.  This system is used in most schools in the city so you may already be familiar with the procedure.  Once your child’s account has been topped up or credited your son then pays for all items using a finger image. To set up the ParentPay system we will issue you with a logon and password. This will be sent to you, along with other literature, during the summer holidays.

    St Columb’s College uses a biometric system.  It enables students to:

    • Pay for their food in the Canteen and Link Area from funds they have loaded onto their account;

    • Pay for books/stationery in the Bookpress;

    • Borrow books from the Library.

    A biometric image is a unique feature to an individual. This makes the biometric image the most reliable kind of personal identification system as it cannot be forgotten, misplaced or stolen.  A biometric system provides each student with a unique system with a mathematical algorithm which translates his fingerprint into a 13 digit number. This number is the unique reference for accessing each account. This information cannot be accessed by anyone outside the system or used or transferred outside the school.

    Free School Meals

    Please note that students entitled to free school meals will have their account credited on a daily basis and this is accessible with the use of the biometric image.

    We assure you that we comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act; we will process the data lawfully and fairly; we will use it only for the purposes listed previously; we will keep it only for a pupil’s time in the school and it will be kept safe and secure within our managed system.


    1. What happens if somebody steals a backup of the school's database? Won't they then have everybody's fingerprint image?

    Every Biometric database is uniquely encrypted. If a school's security is compromised and a backup of the database is stolen, the data will be unreadable, even by another school.

    2. If my child is fingerprinted can the police use the fingerprint?

    We do not store a fingerprint image in our database, so our system cannot be used for forensic identification.

    3. Does Biometrics record images of fingerprints?

    It is the policy of Suprema (biometrics image database) never to store images of fingerprints anywhere on their system. Only mathematical representations of certain points of interest are recorded, typically between ten and forty depending on the characteristics of the finger. This information is encrypted and is called a template. This data is extremely secure in its encrypted form but even if it were not encrypted it is impossible to recreate the original fingerprint image from this data.

    4. Can an image be recreated from the stored data?

    No. The system uses a short string of encrypted numbers – too little to provide enough detail for the original print to be reconstructed.

    5. Can the information held be used to identify someone in a court of law?

    Suprema (Biometrics) only records templates to an accuracy that can discriminate among populations of hundreds or a few thousand people. In the wider population the accuracy of the system is such that it could not be used for forensic matching with any degree of certainty and a court of law has never and could never use this information as evidence.

    6. If I lose my bank card then it can be replaced, but I can’t replace my finger. If a template is stolen, have I lost my identity forever?

    The answer is no. The image template stored in the database is merely a string of encrypted numbers. If this string of numbers were to be removed from the database, it would be useless, because it cannot be recognized as a fingerprint. A fingerprint scanner checks for a real finger – it does not recognize a string of numbers, unlike a bank machine, which will accept a bank card from anybody who happens to know the PIN number.

    7. I have heard that Suprema (Biometrics) is a central database. Where is the information kept?

    The Suprema database is stored on the school ’s own computer.

    8. My child is going to be fingerprinted and I strongly object. How will they get their lunch or use the library?

    The school will issue your child with an alternative method of identification, such as a pin code, which can be used in the canteen or library.

  • iPad Policy

    St Columb’s College is committed to innovating with educational technology to enhance communication, teaching and learning within our school community. We embrace the opportunities that iPad technology has presented us with and permit the use of an authorised Apple iPad in a manner consistent with the established teaching and learning objectives of the school. We also recognise and encourage the use of the iPad at home, particularly for educational purposes.

    This policy applies to all student users of iPad hardware and software technology in St Columb’s College. It applies to all iPads used by our students, wherever they are physically located - within the school or used in a Partner School. It is intended to compliment the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP) and its ESafety Policy. Due to the nature of information and communications technology, this policy will undergo periodic review and, as such, the school reserves the right to amend any sections or wording at any time.
    The following details define the proper use of the device in school and out of school hours.

    Section A – General iPad Terms

    a. iPad Ownership
    • After full payment of £200 the iPad then belongs jointly to the student and the school. (Subject to the following points):
    o The school retains ownership of all Apps.
    o The school owns the right to manage all iPad devices.
    o If a student leaves the school before the end of Year 12, a financial reimbursement will be made to the parent and the school will take full ownership of the iPad.
    o At the end of Year 12 the iPad fully and in whole belongs to the student.
    • The school will provide all required components to ensure the iPad operates effectively in the classroom (including Wi-Fi access) but we maintain the right to filter internet content selectively and manage the use and connection of iPad to the school network in line with the school’s eSafety policy.

    b. Insurance
    Your iPad MUST be insured by you through your home insurance for accidental damage and theft. For misuse, use of the iPad may be revoked if it is proven that a student has maliciously damaged another student’s iPad and a monetary contribution may be sought for its repair from the student.

    c. Taking Care of iPads
    Students are responsible for the general care of the iPad. iPads that are broken, or fail to work properly, should immediately be reported to the Form Tutor. The school may provide replacements or a repair service.

    General Precautions
    • iPads must never be left unattended or in any unsupervised area but can be left in lockers at break-time and lunch time.
    • iPads must be brought home at night and charged.
    • iPads must not be left in the school overnight (unless by prior arrangement e.g. maintenance purposes).
    • Students should not lend or share their allocated iPad with other students unless expressly asked to do so by a teacher in a classroom situation.

    Carrying iPads
    • The school-supplied protective case must be used with the iPad at all times.
    • Students must avoid placing too much pressure and/or weight (such as folders and workbooks) on the iPad screen. The iPad screens can be damaged if subjected to rough treatment. The screens are particularly sensitive to damage from excessive pressure on the screen.
    • Students must avoid excessive movement of school bags containing iPads.

    d. Using iPads at School
    • iPads are intended for use at school each day. In addition to teacher expectations for iPad use, school messages, announcements, planners, calendars and schedules may be accessed using the iPad. Therefore, students are responsible for bringing their iPad, fully charged, to all classes each day.
    • Students who repeatedly (three or more times in a term) fail to bring the iPad to school/or maintain a fully charged battery, will be issued with a comment.
    • If students leave their iPad [at home], they are responsible for getting any assignments or coursework completed as if they had their iPad present. Spare iPads will not be available to students [who forget to bring their iPad to school] or who fail to charge their iPad.
    • At all times, the class teachers decision is final regarding use, or non use of any iPad, collectively or individually.
    • Each device is governed by a centrally controlled Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP). This policy is subject to change and governs all security and restrictions applied school wide to all devices.

    e. Charging the iPad Battery
    iPads must be brought to school each day in a fully charged condition. Students need to charge their iPads each evening. This may take up to three hours to charge the iPad fully.

    f. Passwords and AppleIDs
    • Students are expected to take reasonable measures to secure access to the iPad by using a password. Students are prohibited from removing the password from the device or sharing this password with anyone else except their parents or as requested by a designated member of staff. Students must not attempt to access other students’ iPads by ‘guessing’ or trial and error password attempts.
    • Each iPad requires its own AppleID; this will be supplied by the school on provision of the iPad and should be used only on the school iPad. AppleID information should be kept secure to the student. It is the responsibility of the student to recover any lost or forgotten passwords.
    • School assigned Apple IDs should not be used on other personal or home Apple devices and are for use only on school iPads.

    g. Photographs and Images (still or moving)
    Photographs/images stored on the iPad will be in accordance with the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP). The school reserves the right to carry out random checks on any iPad for unsuitable content.
    • No images or video material taken in school may be uploaded from any device to social networking sites unless authorised by a teacher as part of schoolwork.
    • Recording, photographing or filming of classroom teachers is prohibited unless specifically permitted by the class teacher.

    Sound, Music, Games or Apps
    • Sound must be muted at all times unless permission is obtained from the teacher for instructional purposes.
    • Gaming on iPads whilst in school is strictly prohibited at all times.
    • Apps on iPads must not violate any terms of this policy or the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP).
    • Apps provided by the school for school use remain the property of school at all times. A remote delivery system will be in place to deploy and remove apps at the discretion of the school.

    h. Home Use
    • Students are allowed to use their iPads at home for schoolwork and set up wireless networks on their iPads to assist them with homeworks, coursework etc. It is the responsibility of the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) to monitor and oversee iPad use within the home setting.
    • Instructions regarding App Purchases/Apple Accounts are available to Parent(s)/Guardian(s).
    • Parent(s)/Guardian(s) should be mindful of personal information stored by students on school provided iPads e.g. credit card/bank details/photographs. St Columb’s College will not accept responsibility for personal data that students store. We assure you that we comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act; we will process data lawfully and fairly and any data held will be kept secure and safe within our managed system.

    i. Managing Files and Saving Work
    It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that work is not lost due to mechanical failure or accidental deletion. iPad malfunctions are not an acceptable excuse for not submitting work. Students will be guided through the creation, maintenance of backups and the use of Cloud accounts on the iPad. Students will be responsible for backing up on a regular basis.

    j. Software and Apps
    The school will provide software on iPads necessary for school work. Apps provided by the school must not be removed from iPads. From time to time the school may add to or remove applications for use in a particular course.
    • The school’s remote management system monitors all Apps that are added and iPads may be flagged if inappropriate Apps are added.

    k. Inspection
    Students may be selected at random to provide their iPad for inspection to ensure they comply with the iPad Policy as well as the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP).

    l. Procedure for Reloading Software
    If technical difficulties occur, the iPad will be restored to the default factory settings. The school does not accept responsibility for the loss of any software or documents deleted due to a re-format and re-image.

    m. Software Updates
    Upgraded versions of the operating system and licensed Apps are available from time to time. Students will be expected to download all updates prompted by Apple.

    Section B - Acceptable Use

    In addition to the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP), the school permits use of the Apple iPad in a manner that supports the school’s aims and objectives and is in line with all School Policies. This policy is provided to make all users aware of the responsibilities associated with efficient, ethical, and lawful use of technology resources. If a person violates any of the user terms and conditions named in this policy, privileges may be terminated, access to the school’s network may be denied, and the appropriate disciplinary action shall be applied in line with the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP). 

    Parent/Guardian Responsibilities
    Parents are expected to talk to their children about the values and standards that they should follow on the use of the Internet just as they do on the use of all media information sources such as television, telephones, movies, radio, iBooks etc. Parents and students should familiarise themselves with the details of any iPad Insurance Plan in case of accidents, theft or misuse.

    Student Responsibilities
    Students are to:
    • Use Apple iPads in a responsible and ethical manner.
    • Obey general school rules concerning behaviour and communication that apply to iPad and computer use.
    • Use all computer resources in an appropriate manner so as to not damage school equipment.
    • Turn off and secure their iPad after they are finished working to protect their work and information.
    • Report any email containing inappropriate or abusive language or if the subject matter is questionable.
    • Students must install the “Find my iPad” application using their school e-mail credentials to aid recovery of lost or stolen devices.

    Student Activities Specifically Prohibited
    In addition to the guidance outlined in the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP), students are not permitted to:
    • Illegally install or transmit copyrighted materials.
    • Lend their iPad to anyone else unless specifically asked by a teacher.
    • Change iPad settings (exceptions include personal settings such as font size, brightness, etc).
    • ‘Jailbreak’ their iPad.
    • Use another student’s iPad.
    • Leave their device on the school premises overnight.
    • Attempt to modify, upgrade or repair iPads issued under this Policy.
    • Send or display offensive messages or material.
    • Use obscene language or content.
    • Damage IOS, devices, computer systems or computer networks.
    • Use other people’s passwords.
    • Trespass in others’ folders, works or files.
    • Download illegal content or material which is suspicious.
    • Upload any photo or video content taken in school to any social networking sites.

    Legal Propriety
    • Students should comply with trademark and copyright laws and all license agreements. Ignorance of the law is not immunity. If a student is unsure, he should ask a teacher or parent.
    • Use or possession of hacking software is strictly prohibited. Violation of the law may result in criminal prosecution or disciplinary action.

    iPad Identification
    Student iPads will be labelled in the manner specified by the school. iPads can be identified in the following ways:
    • Serial Number also known as the mobile device management system ID
    • The school’s UIN (Unique Identifier Number)
    • The school will enforce the enabling of Location Services on iPads in order to use the ‘Find My iPad’ app. This will be used as a security measure to minimise loss or theft.

    Disciplinary measures
    If a student violates any part of the above policy, the following sanctions will apply:

    Inappropriate Use
    1st Offence (Minor) – Student(s) will have their iPad confiscated and taken to the School Office. These can be retrieved at 3.30 p.m. from the Year Heads’ Office on production of a Smartcard. Details of ‘Check-In’ and ‘Check-Out’ will be recorded and a letter will be sent home with a warning regarding future use of the iPad.

    2nd Offence – If a student has his iPad confiscated on a second occasion, his parents will have to come to the school to collect the iPad. Details of ‘Check-In’ and ‘Check-Out’ will be recorded and a further letter with an increased warning regarding future use of the iPad and the consequences of a 3rd Offence.

    3rd Offence – Student(s) will have their iPad confiscated and taken to the Principal’s Office. Loss of iPad and privileges for a length of time will be determined by the Principal.

    Any student who persistently refuses to co-operate or violates any aspect of the provisions of the iPad Policy or the Pupil Acceptable Use of St Columb’s Networks & Mobile Technologies Policy (AUP) may face other disciplinary action deemed appropriate in keeping with the School’s Behaviour Management Policy.

    A student will be required to hand over his iPad to a member of staff if:
    • There is a suspicion that the iPad has unsuitable material stored on it.
    • He has disrupted a lesson through improper use of an iPad.
    • He has misused their iPad to take photographs/video on the school premises which he has not received permission to do.
    • The iPad or any of its features has been used for any form of bullying.
    • Games are being played on the iPad in school time.
    • The iPad has been used to breach any school rule/policy and general well being of staff and students.

    You can download this form and the Student/Pupil Acceptable Use Agreement Form below.

  • Parent Teacher Association

    The Parents’ Association of St Columb’s College / Friends of St. Columb’s primarily exists as a means of communication between parents, children and the school.  It also provides a useful forum where issues of concern to teenagers and parents can be addressed including an opportunity for input into some of our school’s policies (for example the updating of our Positive Behaviour Management Policy) and surveys.  The Parents’ Association also organises social occasions for pupils and parents.  These include quizzes, information evenings and fund raising events. 

    The committee met monthly (and sometimes more often) to deal with a variety of issues as they arose and planned for activities to raise funds and increase the profile of the Association. Among a range of highly successful events that took place over the last year was the Christmas Fayre, and being involved in the school’s Day of Sport - adding an element of fun to the day. This year the Association helped organised a 5km run in memory of Caolán McCrossan who died of cancer aged just 13, to raise money for CLIC Sargent - the charity that supported him and his family during his treatment. In November the Association organised an Information Evening for parents of all pupils on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. This included presentations from the PSNI and DIVERT followed by a Question and Answer session. The Association also helped to organised and / or facilitate candles for the Valedictory Mass and a Grandparents’ Day, as well as, helping to fund over 20 pupils from St. Columb’s going on the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes as helpers.

    In their continued efforts to increase membership the Association held recruitment drives at the Year 8 Parents’ Evening, Year 8 Grandparents’ Day and Year 8 Service of Commitment. These activities resulted in a slight increase in the attendance at meetings, and a number of additional parents indicated that they would like to be kept informed about the Association’s activities and would like to get involved.

    Funds raised have gone towards individual pupils, and in some instances, groups of pupils who attended events where they represented the school. Examples include STEM club, educational visits and running a debating competition. Pupils must be engaged in a school related activity to be eligible for consideration for funding.

    The Association takes this opportunity to welcome our new Year 8 parents and again thank those who contributed to our Association in any way in the past.  If you would like to become involved in the Association, please contact the school by email, phone or letter.

    The Association and the Principal would also like to thank all those parents and pupils who contributed in any way in the past year to make the Parents’ Association a success.

  • ParentPay Info

    Click here to login to your account

    Click here if you have forgotten your password

    TIP: When you login for the first time you will be asked to change your username and password, it may be a good idea to set your username to your email address, so that it is easy to remember!

    If you require any support, please click here to read through the FAQ's

    About ParentPay

    ParentPay is a secure epayment method which can be accessed through a secure website, ParentPay, using your debit card or credit card. You can also use the PayPoint method.

    We hope you will find this an easier and safer way of making school payments. This is the first stage of ongoing improvements in our payment system.

    If you have two or more children at a ParentPay school, you only need to activate one account to create your main account and then add your children via the ‘Add a child’ tab on your home page. Please visit and activate your account via the ‘Account Login’ on the home page of the site.

    ParentPay holds an electronic record of your payments for you to review at any time. Once you have activated your account you can make online payments straight away.

    If your child receives free school meals their account will be updated automatically. However, if further spending is required you will have to credit your child’s account using ParentPay.

    Thank you for your support and please do not hesitate to contact the school ICT office if you have any queries on EXT 250.