Efforts to support subject choice for all students are commendable
Whole-school Evaluation, Department of Education & Skills, 2014.
Loreto Secondary School cherishes the academic abilities of all and delivers a broad curriculum which offers a wide range of subjects. We strive to enable each of our students to achieve her academic potential. We encourage our students to be ambitious in relation to the targets she sets for herself and our students work in an atmosphere that is supportive. Loreto students have a strong sense that their teachers care about their academic progress and want them to do well, regardless of their abilities.
All our lessons are of 40 minutes’ duration with double lessons assigned in the case of option subjects. After an extensive review process that included consultation with students and parents, we have introduced a new curriculum for Junior Cycle and which commenced with our First Year classes of 2018/2019.
Our new Junior Cycle curriculum is innovative and embraces forward-thinking educational philosophies. Our curriculum gives maximum scope to each student to tailor her own programme to meet her needs in terms of her interests and talents. This is achieved by giving our students maximum choice when it comes to selecting their subject options for 2nd Year. Furthermore, we have innovated by introducing short courses in Artistic Performance and Digital Medial Literacy which will be submitted for certification as part of the students’ Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement. There is an appropriate emphasis on well-being, with students assigned almost 400 hours of tuition in this area over the course of their Junior Cycle programme.
In First Year, all students study the full range of subjects on offer for the duration of the year. Therefore, no choices have to be made prior to enrolment. This allows students to make an informed decision with regard to their options for Junior Cycle.
Our classes are formed on the basis of mixed ability. We find this brings a benefit to all students in each class and contributes to Loreto’s extraordinary academic achievements. Higher and Ordinary level classes are formed in Irish (at the start of Second Year) and Mathematics (from October of First Year). English is streamed from the start of Fifth Year.
In addition to continuing the study of the core examination subjects of English, Irish and Mathematics in Second Year, students choose five of the following subjects (free choice).
Art, Business Studies, French, Geography, German, History, Home Economics, Music, Science, Technical Graphics.
Students also have the option of continuing with one of these short courses for certification as part of their Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement: Artistic Performance or Digital Media Literacy.
In addition, students take the following non-examination subjects which are a vital part of our programme. These subjects are taken up to Third Year:
Religious Education, Choir (optional after First Year), Civic Social and Political Education (C.S.P.E.), Physical Education (P.E.), Social Personal and Health Education (including Relationships and Sexuality Education), and Wellbeing.
Option subjects are chosen after in the Spring of First Year.
Transition Year is an optional programme that bridges the gap between the Junior Cycle and the Leaving Certificate. It is hugely popular in Loreto with the vast majority opting for the programme. T.Y. encourages personal, social and academic development and actively promotes independent learning and thinking. The programme offers taster modules of the subjects we offer at Leaving Certificate level which allows for a more informed subject choice. T.Y. encourages the development of a wide range of transferable critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills which prepares students for the Leaving Certificate, further study and the world of work.
Students in TY follow a full programme of academic subjects together with modules in Crafts, Computers, Enterprise, Drama, Social Education, R.S.E., Active School, Chinese, Effective Communications, Ceili dancing, Spanish, Wellbeing and participation in the GAA Future Leaders Award programme.
Further to our timetabled curriculum, workshops are organised in the following areas: Team-bonding, First Aid, Forensics, Poetry-writing, Creative Thinking and Problem-solving, Public Access to Law, Barista training, HACCP (food safety), Manual Handling, Film making, Micro-Bit training, Interactive Alcohol and Drugs Training, SOAR Resilience training, DATS Career tests, Self-Defence, Project Maths Trail, Teamwork and Project Management.
An outdoor pursuits trip to Carlingford is also undertaken in the first term. Many students participate in the Gaisce, Aim High Award programmes and also in the ORC Confirmation retreat programmes in the local community.
We offer a broad range of subjects in the Leaving Certificate. All students take the core examination subjects of Irish, English and Mathematics as well as Religious Education, Guidance, Computers and Physical Education for the duration of the programme. Students can also choose to study Choir or I.T. All students continue with R.S.E. (Relationships and Sexuality Education) in 5th and 6th Year.
We currently offer the following option subjects:
Art, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Agricultural Science, Home Economics,
Accounting, Business, Economics, Geography, History, French, German, Politics and Society.
On average, 98% of our students receive their top four preferences.
Leaving Certificate Applied
We offer the Leaving Certificate Applied programme which is a distinct, self-contained two-year programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life. The programme puts an emphasis on forms of achievement and excellence that the established Leaving Certificate has not recognised in the past. The programme is offered subject to sufficient demand. Our class of 2014 achieved remarkable results with one in three students gaining the highest possible grade. We currently have a class that is preparing to complete the programme in 2019.
Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
This course, which is available each year to students, offers an enhanced Leaving Certificate in the form of the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme. The L.C.V.P. student undertakes the study of two Link Modules: “Enterprise Education” and “Preparation for the World of Work”. The programme increases the number of C.A.O. points secured by many of those that take the course and is offered as one of their four option subjects.