St Columb's College History

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.
Years of History

Principal's Welcome

I am delighted to be able to welcome you to the St Columb’s College website.

As you navigate this site I am confident that you will get a real sense of a progressive and successful learning community, one that is determined to ‘promote in each pupil, through Catholic education, the fullest Christian human development of which he is capable.’

St Columb’s College is a Catholic school with a well-deserved reputation as a provider of high quality teaching and learning, tailored towards the needs of each individual learner. Through the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum – delivered in state of the art facilities - we seek to equip our pupils with the skills and experiences that are essential for them to be able to contribute fully to an ever-changing society.

Equally, you will discover that we are passionate about the development of our pupils’ character through participation in the broader, extra-curricular life of the school. Through art, music, drama, sport - and myriad other activities - we seek to create an environment in which each pupil can flourish.

St Columb’s College is a Catholic school equally renowned for enabling its students to develop within the framework of an all-encompassing pastoral care system. We seek to work in concert with parents to ensure that each pupil is fully supported throughout all stages of his educational journey. We strive to collaborate effectively with the local community so as to provide our pupils with every opportunity to develop fully as contributors to that same community.

Our Aim

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.

Our Impact

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.

Our Curriculum

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.