St Columb’s College is a community, inspired by the Spirit of Christ.  Christ’s commandment to love God and neighbour inspires a caring ethos, which is expressed in relationships within and beyond the College.

  • Education in the College is person-centred.  It promotes the dignity, self-esteem and full development of each person made in God’s image and uniquely loved  by God.
  • Education in the College is inclusive.  It is respectful of, and engages with people of all beliefs; it encourages the religious development of all in their own   faith.
  • Education in the College is rooted in the Gospel values of Respect for Life, Love, Solidarity, Truth and Justice; it aims to harmonise faith and culture, build a better society and pursue the Common Good.

St Columb’s College provides a curriculum which offers high quality, rounded education for all pupils so that they can develop their full uniqueness and potential. Staff are committed to, and have opportunities for, teamwork and personal professional development.

In the College, the person and message of Christ find expression in:

  • Faith, service, prayer and worship;
  • The development of each person’s full potential in a climate of joy, freedom, respect, challenge, co-operation and celebration;
  • The enrichment of pupil and staff life – intellectual, physical, spiritual, moral, social and emotional;
  • The promotion of a spirit of charity, social justice, global awareness and concern for others leading to practical outreach and partnerships;
  • A culture of tolerance where staff, pupils and visitors of diverse identities are recognised, welcomed, respected and cherished;
  • Listening, mutual understanding, trust, reconciliation, healing and peace;
  • The preparation of pupils to lead fulfilling and purposeful lives which will contribute to the Common Good.

St Columb’s College leads the way as a strong learning community, co-operating fully with others to provide a breadth of opportunity for the young people of this area.

Primary Aim

To promote in each pupil, through Catholic education, the fullest Christian human development of which he is capable.

Subsidary Aims and Objectives

1. Religious Development

To strengthen pupils' understanding; to provide instruction and the opportunity for religious experience; to give practical examples of service, gentleness, forgiveness and humility.

2. Moral Education

To teach, by precept and example, Christian responsibility for others, self and environment; to show respect for others and their rights; to practise self-discipline, honesty, truthfulness, reliability and healthy living; to stress the obligation of being conscientious in one's work; to promote altruism as opposed to self-interest.

3. Social Education

To develop in pupils a sense of belonging and of obligation to the various groups of which they are members; to foster secure home-school relationships, a sense of historical identity, an understanding of human inter-dependence and a co-operative spirit; to develop a Christian tolerance towards other identities, cultures and marginal groups; to inculcate sensitivity, sympathy, adaptability, social skills and modest self-confidence.

4. Intellectual Development

To promote oral and linguistic, mathematical, scientific, humanistic, technological and study skills.

5. Aesthetic Development

To encourage sensitivity to beauty and quality in the artistic, intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual domains; to impart knowledge and skills enhancing such sensitivity; to develop powers of critical judgement.

6. Creativity

To nurture inventive thinking and making, the ability to innovate, the making of personal responses, initiative, the use of the imagination and feeling and sensibility.

7. Problem-solving Ability

To promote a positive attitude towards tackling the difficulties of a situation, the learning of decision-making and self-reliance.

8. Public Examination Success

To provide an environment wherein boys will achieve grades commensurate with their ability.

9. Preparation for Adult Life

To underline the need for hard work and perseverance in face of failure; to develop initiative, interest, commitment, realistic independence and motivation, by means of guidance and positive assessment.

10. Physical Development

To develop agility, strength and physical co-ordination, confidence in and through physical activity and the ability to express feeling through movement; to welcome participation in a variety of sports.

11. Enjoyment of Life Now

To provide opportunities to experience success, extra-curricular participation, good teacher-pupil and pupil-pupil relationships; to express optimism based on faith in life as God's gift.

This Pastoral system within St Columb’s is designed to support the school in achieving its vision and aims so that pupils develop fully as individuals as well as learners. Its purpose is to ensure that pupils are prepared adequately for adult life so that they can become fully functioning participants in society, building up the communities in which they will live and carrying forward the spirit of cooperation, personal responsibility and excellence which are the hallmarks of the school. The pastoral system is, therefore, rooted in the ethos of Catholic education with its concern for the whole person and the development of their unique gifts. As workers in a Catholic school, staff strive to promote personal dignity, respect and charity within the pupils, providing a safe and caring environment for teaching and learning to take place. In ensuring that this is effectively accomplished, we rely upon the unstinting work of all staff, who are committed to guiding pupils and challenging them to live out our shared Gospel values.

Pastoral Structure

The Pastoral system is organised along Year Group and Key Stage lines. The Pastoral Vice Principal has responsibility for Pastoral Care within the school and monitoring and evaluating the Pastoral Care system throughout the College. All pupils in the College are assigned to a discrete Form Class and Form Tutor. Each Year Group will have a designated Year Head who will work closely with Tutors to support pupils and staff in their everyday work. Each Key Stage will have an assigned Senior Teacher that will work closely with the Year Heads overseeing the delivery of the school’s pastoral aims. Each Form Class will have an extended Form Period on a Tuesday morning where it is expected that a pastoral lesson will be taught. Form Classes in Years 8 and 9 will also have a second Form Period in the week. These lessons derive from year specific Pastoral Programmes (with associated Schemes of Work) which are drawn up by the Year Heads in consultation with Form Tutors and the appropriate Senior Teacher. There will be weekly Assemblies for each Year Group.

The Form Tutor

The Form Tutor has the primary pastoral role in the College. S/he is the first point of contact for the pupils on a daily basis and, as such, will build a close, working relationship with the boys. He/she will demonstrate their care for the pupils by their direct concern for areas such as attitude, behaviour, uniform, work standards, attendance/punctuality, interactions with parents, liaising with teachers, leading the pupils in Morning Prayer, reporting and building an affinity with the school and its traditions.

The Form Tutor has the primary pastoral role in the College. S/he is the first point of contact for the pupils on a daily basis and, as such, will build a close, working relationship with the boys. He/she will demonstrate their care for the pupils by their direct concern for areas such as attitude, behaviour, uniform, work standards, attendance/punctuality, interactions with parents, liaising with teachers, leading the pupils in Morning Prayer, reporting and building an affinity with the school and its traditions.

  1. I will show respect for myself, for others and for my school.
  2. I will work to the best of my ability at all times.
  3. I will be properly prepared for all my lessons and activities.
  4. I will cooperate fully and contribute positively in all of my classes.
  5. I will take responsibility for my words and actions.

The Form Tutor will meet with his/her pupils every morning for registration which begins promptly at 9.10 a.m.  A bell will sound at 9.05 a.m. to remind teachers and pupils to be punctual.  Registration will begin with a prayer and the Tutor will then take Registration and deal with other pastoral issues, as required. Each Tutor will then ensure that s/he pays particular attention to absenteeism and poor punctuality.

Form Tutors will maintain and utilise a variety of records to help them in assisting the pupils. These will include attendance and punctuality records, academic performance data, home/school contacts, records of illness, etc. They will also keep in regular contact with pupils’ subject teachers, particularly where there are concerns about progress or conduct.

Where issues arise of concern about a pupil’s performance, the Form Tutor (and/or Subject Leader) will often be the first point of contact, liaising with relevant colleagues to adopt an appropriate intervention to curtail or address problems where they arise. Where these issues are of a sufficiently serious nature, the Form Tutor can call upon the assistance/support of a Year Head/Senior Teacher in order to underscore the seriousness of the problem. The pupil may receive a sanction commensurate with the offence and, if appropriate, support strategies will be put in place. Parental contact will be made and appropriate records kept.

The Form Tutor will perform a number of regular administrative duties where necessary and will attend all Year Head and Tutor meetings where whole school/Year Group issues will be discussed. As such, the Tutor has an important role in disseminating information, instructions, goals, etc. to his/her pupils. They will reinforce the work of other colleagues during weekly Form Periods and at weekly Assemblies.

The Year Head

Year Heads (2016-2017)    (Day of Assembly)

Year 8 Mrs D Duffy/Mr D Marlow  (Tuesday)

Year 9 Mr J Peoples                        (Friday)

Year 10 Mrs M Burns                      (Thursday)

Year 11 Mr J McQuillan                  (Wednesday)

Year 12 Mr D Chambers                (Monday)

Year 13 Mr M McLaughlin             (Wednesday)

Year 14 Mrs M Hannaway             (Friday)

Year Heads are teachers that have been selected at interview who have and continue to demonstrate a high degree of pastoral care in their teaching and relations with pupils and colleagues. They work closely with a team of Form Tutors in order to help pupils develop fully and participate actively in the life of the College. They, therefore, have an important management role, directing their tutor team and building leadership capacity within it. They must guide their colleagues in attaining the realisation of the school’s pastoral aims. They do this by their attendance at Pastoral Team/Tutor meetings, Year Group Assemblies, construction of an age specific Pastoral Programme, supporting pupils in difficulty, working closely with parents, among a wide range of other duties and responsibilities.

The role of the Year Head calls for considerable tenacity, versatility and generosity. S/he will liaise with the relevant Senior Teacher, meeting on a regular basis and carrying out required tasks and agreed strategies. Often in consultation with the Senior Teacher, Pastoral Vice-Principal, Form Tutors or teaching staff, the Year Head will set targets for pupils to achieve and will monitor their progress. Year Heads will drive forward the work of their Tutors, encouraging the full development of the individuals within their Year Group. Year Heads will have a specific role in ensuring that pupils attend punctually and regularly. The role of the Year Head will, in addition, require considerable administrative, counselling and disciplinary responsibilities.

Senior Teachers

Senior Teacher Mr M McIlveen

Senior Teacher Mr J Johnston

Senior Teachers, among other duties, have a significant pastoral role. They have responsibility for the pastoral development of the pupils in their specific area and achieve this development through a close working partnership with Year Heads and Tutors. They will ensure that there is a clear compliance with school regulations and that the duties of other colleagues are being carried out.

Senior Teachers will manage the transition moments at the start and end of Key Stages and ensure that pupils progress as smoothly as possible. They will engage with a wide variety of external agencies where appropriate to enhance the experience of pupils.

Senior Teachers will monitor the work of the relevant Year Heads and Tutor Groups and will support these individuals to ensure that pupils are given the best possible pastoral provision. They have a specific responsibility for the academic progress of pupils in their Key Stage and, as a result, will work closely with Subject Leaders to identify and proactively assist and support pupils that are struggling. Similarly, they will work to ensure that the best possible opportunities are provided for gifted and talented students.

Vice Principal (Mr B Keys) – Pastoral Care

The Vice Principal for Pastoral Care has been delegated the responsibility to ensure that the school’s pastoral system functions smoothly and effectively. S/he has a lead role in developing the distinctive pastoral vision of the school and leads development planning in this area. S/he oversees the Pastoral Programmes in conjunction with relevant Senior Teachers. Furthermore, the Vice Principal will monitor and evaluate pastoral provision on a regular basis and identify strengths and weaknesses of same. This will necessitate the identification of training needs for staff and the implementation of a relevant training programme.

In conjunction with other pastoral leaders within the school, the Vice Principal will work closely with external agencies, oversee Child Protection issues and ensure that confidentiality and discretion are at the heart of pastoral practice within the school.

The Vice Principal will work to support colleagues such as Form Tutors, Year Heads, SENCO, Designated Teacher for Child Protection, Senior Teachers, etc. in the work that they undertake. Finally, the Vice Principal will provide effective and proactive line management of staff and will report on all Pastoral issues to the Senior Management Team and Board of Governors.

The Principal

The Principal has overall responsibility for the welfare of all members of the school community. Therefore, the Principal must ensure that there are adequate systems in place to ensure that each member of the school community believes that they are part of a safe and nurturing environment where they are respected and accepted as they are. The Principal will work with delegated colleagues to ensure that this is the case.

The Chaplaincy Team and Counselling Services

The Chaplaincy Team led by Ms Justine McLaughlin and Rev Thomas Canning, will work to provide a visible faith presence within the school and will provide a wide range of faith experiences for the pupils. These will range from Year Group Masses, Services of Commitment, the Annual Carol Service, Morning Mass or Prayer, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation to retreat provision across Key Stages. The Chaplaincy Team will provide support for pupils and staff at difficult times such as bereavement, family breakdowns, etc.

While the support given through our Pastoral Care Staff and Heads of Year is of the highest standard we are very conscious that some young people appreciate the opportunity to speak to an adult who is not directly involved with their education. Independent school based counselling provides this opportunity.

The Independent Counselling Service for Schools (ICSS) which is funded by the Department of Education, has been available to all Post Primary Schools since 2007.  The counselling support provided conforms to high professional standards and current best practice for school based counselling.  Our current provider is Mrs Tina Power from Familyworks.

If a pupil or his parents feel at any time the pupil may need extra support then feel free to contact his Form Tutor, Year Head or Ms Byrne and they will arrange for him to receive counselling. It is important to note however that if he does not want counselling then he cannot be forced.

Child Protection

The Designated Teacher for Child Protection and his/her deputies work to address those issues that arise in this area in accordance with the school’s Child Protection Policy. Responding to reported incidents and liaising with the appropriate authorities are key responsibilities of the Designated Teacher and his/her deputies. The school’s Child Protection Policy will be updated regularly and in-service training will be provided for all staff to ensure that they are equipped to deal with such situations. The Designated and Deputy Designated Teachers are known to staff, pupils and parents and their images will be clearly displayed in all classrooms and other relevant locations within the school.

Links with External Agencies

There will, occasionally, be times when the school will require the help and assistance of external agencies to provide adequately the care that pupils need. This will include a wide range of organisations such as the Education Welfare Service, medical professionals, Social Services, PSNI, eternal counselling services, local community groups, etc. There will be times when, for example, the school will be involved in MAST meetings where a range of interested parties work to assist a child in their development. The decision to engage with these groups will always be considered in light of the best interests of the pupils and, where necessary, parents will be informed.