Criteria for the admission of pupils to years thirteen and fourteen

(Sixth Form)

St Columb’s College, Derry is a Catholic Grammar School for boys.  The school wishes to accept boys who are suitable for the type of education it offers, and whose parents are in agreement with the Philosophy and Aims of the school.  Applicants must:

a) Produce a report from the Principal of St Columb’s or the Principal of the applicant’s previous school indicating a satisfactory standard of attendance, punctuality, behaviour and work.

b) Give a parental undertaking of continuing support for school aims and acceptance of responsibility for the applicant’s meeting the school standards of behaviour; and

c) Accept the rules of the school and understand that progress to Year 14 depends on a satisfactory standard of attendance, punctuality, behaviour and work.

Entry to Year 13 is open to candidates that:

a) After 5 years studying for GCSE (or 6 if having repeated any of Years 8-11), have achieved a minimum of 10 points over six subjects (points being allocated as follows: A* = 4 points; A = 3 points; B = 2 points; and C = 1 point). At least one of the subjects passed must be English or Mathematics.  Any applicant who has failed to pass either English or Mathematics at GCSE must resit that subject before progressing into Year 14.

b) After having spent 6 years studying for GCSE (and not having repeated any of Years 8-11), have achieved a minimum of 12 points over six subjects. At least one of the subjects passed must be English or Mathematics.  Any applicant who has failed to pass either English or Mathematics at GCSE must resit that subject before progressing into Year 14.

c) Have achieved, in the opinion of the Board of Governors, an equivalent standard to those stated in Clauses 1 or 2 above.

d) Wish to repeat Year 13, having been in Year 13 at St Columb’s the previous year, having been recommended by the Principal, and to whom ‘special circumstances’ (i.e. medical or other problems which may have affected a student’s performance in Year 13) may apply.*

e) Will, in the opinion of the Board of Governors, achieve success in the courses open to them even if they have lower levels of achievement at GCSE.*

*Points are allocated as follows: A* = 4 points A = 3 points B = 2 points C = 1 point.

In selecting applicants for entry to Year 13 preference will be given in order of priority to:

1. Applicants wishing to repeat Year 13, having been in Year 13 at St Columb’s the previous year, having been recommended by the Principal, and to whom ‘special circumstances’ (i.e. medical or other problems which may have affected a student’s performance in Year 13) may apply.*

2. Applicants qualifying for entry from Year 12 St Columb’s College.*

3. Applicants from other schools which do not have a Sixth Form, including those applicants that have in the opinion of the Board of Governors attained an equivalent standard to those stated in Clauses a) or b) above.*

4. Applicants from other schools including those applicants that have in the opinion of the Board of governors attained an equivalent standard to those stated in Clauses 1 or 2 above.*

5. Applicants that will, in the opinion of the Board of Governors, achieve success in the courses open to them even if they have lower levels of achievement at GCSE.*


If there are more applicants - who satisfy any one or all of the above five criteria when they are being applied in the order of priority set out above - than there are places available, then applicants will be selected to fill the remaining places by applying the following sub-criterion:

• Applicants will be ranked by overall GCSE scores with A* = 4 points A = 3 points B = 2 points C = 1 point.

1. Applicants from St Columb’s College that have failed to meet the criteria for entry into Year 14 and have in the opinion of the Principal a good chance of achieving success in the courses available to them.*

2. Applicants from St Columb’s College that wish to repeat Year 13.*

 * In addition, applicants must have achieved a satisfactory standard in terms of attendance, punctuality and behaviour.  A satisfactory standard is deemed to be:

Attendance: At least 93% attendance in Years 11 and 12 (or Year 13).  Those applicants who have not achieved this level of attendance must provide medical evidence to account for their absences.  The Principal may take account of ‘special circumstances’ that have impacted upon attendance.

Punctuality: No more than 10 lates in Years 11 and 12 (or no more than 5 lates in Year 13) without due cause.

Behaviour: Not more than one suspension in Years 11 and 12 (or Year 13).

Each applicant to Year 13 will be expected to study at least 3 full A-levels or the equivalent. It will only be in very exceptional circumstances that a student will be permitted to drop one AS subject and take up another one in Year 14 (this will also be subject to timetable restrictions).

Applicants wishing to study four AS-levels are required to gain 14 points over five subjects. 

Criteria for Any Extra Places Made Available by the Department of Education for Admission into Year 13

The Department of Education may, on request, increase the number of applicants that the school can admit into its Year 13. Places that become available in this way shall be allocated only to applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria for Sixth Form study (as above) and shall be allocated in the order determined by the criteria to be applied in the order set down.

1. Applicants who have most recently completed Year 12 in St Columb’s College.
2. Applicants from other schools where admission to an extra place at St Columb’s College has been agreed by the Department of Education.

Parents should note that the Department of Education will, in response to a school’s request, increase the school enrolment number in order to allow an extra post-16 applicant to enrol. DE will first check whether there is another school or schools of a type suitable for that applicant within an hour’s journey of where the applicant lives. If there is, DE will then check whether this other school or schools with places available may provide all of the post-16 courses that the applicant wishes to pursue. If these checks find that no other suitable school may provide all of the post-16 courses that the applicant wishes to pursue – then DE will agree a school’s request for an extra place.

Entry to Year 14 is open to applicants that:

1. Have completed Year 13 in St Columb’s to the satisfaction of the Principal by achieving a minimum of four  points over three subjects (points being allocated as follows: A = 5 points; B = 4 points; C = 3 points; D = 2 points and E = 1 point).

2. Having completed one year of A-level study or its equivalent in another school, have arrived in the Derry area from outside the school’s traditional catchment area (details of which are available from the College and at the College’s Open Evenings) and have submitted to the Principal a report from the Principal of that school which, as well as providing the information required in Clause 1 above, indicates that the applicant is likely to achieve a satisfactory A-level outcome (i.e. 3 grade Cs) in subjects offered by St Columb’s.

3. Qualify by age for grant-aid from DENI and wish to repeat Year 14, having been in Year 14 at St Columb’s the previous year, having a recommendation from the Principal and either (a) claiming ‘special circumstances’ (i.e. medical or other problems which may have affected an applicant’s performance in Year 14 or in the GCE Advanced Level examinations) or (b) having obtained a minimum of four points over three subjects at Advanced Level (points being allocated as follows: A* = 6 points; A = 5 points; B = 4 points; C = 3 points; D = 2 points and E = 1 point) and having a realistic ambition to pursue a particular Third Level course of study and having fallen short of confirmation of his chosen UCAS offer(s) by not more than three grades.

Applicants who do not obtain a minimum of four points over three subjects must make an appointment (for themselves and a parent/guardian) with the Principal on the day that results are issued in order to discuss their options.

In selecting applicants for entry to Year 14 preference will be given in order of priority to:

1. Applicants that qualify by age for grant-aid from DENI and wish to repeat Year 14, having been in Year 14 at St Columb’s the previous year, having a recommendation from the Principal and to whom ‘special circumstances’ (i.e. medical or other problems which may have affected a student’s performance in Year 13) may apply.

2. Applicants that have completed Year 13 in St Columb’s to the satisfaction of the Principal by achieving a minimum of four  points over three subjects (points being allocated as follows: A = 5 points; B = 4 points; C = 3 points; D = 2 points and E = 1 point).

3. Applicants that have completed one year of A-level study or its equivalent in another school, has arrived in the Derry area from outside the school’s traditional catchment area (details of which are available from the College and at the College’s Open Evenings) and have submitted to the Principal a report from the Principal of that school which, as well as providing the information required in Clause 1 above, indicates that the applicant is likely to achieve a satisfactory A-level outcome (i.e. 3 grade Cs) in subjects offered by St Columb’s.*

4. Applicants that qualify by age for grant-aid from DENI and wish to repeat Year 14, having been in Year 14 at St Columb’s the previous year, having a recommendation from the Principal and having obtained a minimum of four points over three subjects at Advanced Level (points being allocated as follows: A* = 6 points; A = 5 points; B = 4 points; C = 3 points; D = 2 points and E = 1 point) and having a realistic ambition to pursue a particular Third Level course of study and having fallen short of confirmation of his chosen UCAS offer(s) by not more than 3 grades.*

* In addition, applicants must have achieved a satisfactory standard in terms of attendance, punctuality and behaviour.  A satisfactory standard is deemed to be:

Attendance: At least 93% attendance in Year 13 (or Year 14).  Those applicants who have not achieved this level of attendance must provide medical evidence to account for their absences.  The Principal may take account of ‘special circumstances’ that have impacted upon attendance.

Punctuality: No more than five lates in Year 13 (or Year 14) without due cause.

Behaviour: Not more than one suspension in Year 13 (or Year 14).  Any applicant who has been suspended in Year 13 will be required to meet with the Principal before returning to Year 14.

Applicants with lower levels of achievement at AS-level may be accepted for A2-level study if other evidence suggests that they are likely to achieve success in courses available to them.