St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...

Page created by Shirley Coleman
St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
St. Joseph’s Secondary School
             (Meán-scoil Iosaif)

             PROSPECTUS 2021

Telephone:    094-9256145/9257898

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
Table of Contents
                                                                                             Page No.
Introduction ......................................................................................... 3
First Year Students................................................................................ 7
School Building Developments ............................................................ 8
Student Supports ................................................................................. 9
Guidance ............................................................................................. 15
Special Education Needs....................................................................... 17
Supporting Parents & Guardians .......................................................... 19
Information Technology........................................................................ 26
Co-Curricular Activities ......................................................................... 29
Extra Curricular Activities ..................................................................... 33
Rewarding Achievement....................................................................... 34
Wellbeing & Curriculum ....................................................................... 38
Assessment & Reporting ...................................................................... 41
Option Subject Choice 2020 ................................................................. 41
A Word from our Past Pupils................................................................. 47
Photo Gallery........................................................................................ 53

Dear Reader,
Welcome to our revised Prospectus for School Year 21/22. You will note that
some of the photographs reflect Covid 19 Protocols as they were taken during
the current school year. Photographs taken pre COVID-19 are also included.
We would like to thank the many contributors to this prospectus, staff,
parents, current students and alumni of St. Joseph’s.
A special thank you to Mrs Heffernan who has overseen the revision,                                         co-
ordination and editing of our Prospectus.
Thank you to Nigel Reape Printing for working with us on the development
and production of our prospectus.
Miss O’Brien

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...

Mission Statement

St. Joseph’s Secondary School is a Christian community committed to educate
students at secondary level in a caring atmosphere of honesty, sincerity,
justice, mutual respect and tolerance in partnership with the Board of
Management, Staff, Parents and members of the wider community. The
school strives to give every pupil the opportunity to develop his/her unique
and special talents.

A Message from the Trustee

In 1960, the dream of the Sisters of Charity for the
education of young people in Foxford was realised
when St. Joseph’s Secondary School was opened. The
Sisters’ vision and foresight was to provide a
wholesome approach to education so that the
students who came through the doors could reach
their full potential in life. Today there are many
challenges that face young people. The importance of
a good education is essential to equip them to face
these challenges. St. Joseph’s Secondary School
provides a comprehensive approach to education, developing the intellectual,
physical, and spiritual aspects of all students. This holistic approach
endeavours to motivate students to explore their uniqueness and discover
how they can make a valuable contribution to society. In order to do this, a
wide-ranging curriculum is provided and delivered by excellent, dedicated
St. Joseph’s is a Catholic School where all faith traditions are welcomed and
respected and every student is cherished. I hope this prospectus will provide
you with the information you need and that you will discover a school
community that is welcoming, vibrant and alive. The original dream of the
Sisters of Charity was that all students who went through St. Joseph’s would
flourish in life. This vision continues today!
Is mise, le meas,
+Paul Dempsey,
Bishop of Achonry,

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
Principals Message

St. Joseph's Secondary School was founded in 1961 by the
Sisters of Charity. Today our school is managed by a Board of
Management under the trusteeship of Bishop Dempsey. We
welcome Bishop Dempsey to the diocese of Achonry and look
forward to his involvement with our school.
We also welcome our new Deputy Principal Ms Áine Mc Alpine
who brings to our school her years of experience of education in the classroom and
also her experience as a History Advisor for Junior Cycle for Teachers.
As a school we strive to continue the Sisters of Charity commitment to education
which serves our students both now and into the future. The Sisters of Charity
motto “Caritas Christi urget nos” and our “Learning for Life” approach to education
underpins our work here at St. Joseph’s.
We recognise that we live in very challenging and changing times, now more than
ever. This causes us to rethink how we deliver a quality and appropriate education
to our students. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to open
up new channels of communication with our students and parents/guardians. We
realise that change at a rapid pace can be difficult to assimilate particularly for our
students. We recognise the importance of achieving a balance between new
developments and student wellbeing and the importance of students having
supports in school to assist them through their years in St. Joseph’s.
As a school we are ambitious for our students. We have a progressive and growing
curriculum. Commencing school year 20/21 we have introduced Music to our
mainstream Junior & Senior Curriculum and Computer Science to our Senior
Curriculum. We recognise that each student’s path through education is an
individual one but common to all that is that students are encouraged to do their
best to reach their full potential.
We look forward to realising in the near future our new building developments
sanctioned by the Department of Education and Skills for our school. The additional
specialist rooms for Construction, Engineering, Science and Art will complement the
facilities already in place.
Collectively as a school community, Students, Parents/Guardians, Board of
Management, School Management, Teachers, SNAs, School Auxiliary Staff, we work
towards meeting the needs of our students who present with a great variety of
talents, interests and abilities.
There are significant changes since our school was founded in 1961 but our focus
remains unchanged, our students remain central to all that we do.
Eileen O’Brien

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
Deputy Principals Message

I wish to extend a warm welcome to students who are considering
attending St Joseph’s Secondary School. St Joseph is the patron
saint of workers and our school is a place where we work, grow,
and help one another, where we form friendships and share our
hopes and dreams.
Students are encouraged and supported to reach their potential in every aspect of
life, the social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and academic as each of these
complete the full person. We foster the individuality of each student within a very
caring school community. We very much follow the philosophy that each one of us
at St Joseph’s is on a lifelong learning journey.
The staff of St Joseph’s is here to welcome, support and help each student to reach
their full potential. We strive to develop our capacity to change within ourselves and
students as we all know ‘change is a constant and nowhere more so than in the field
of education’ especially so in these challenging times.
I endeavour to ensure a happy, caring, and respectful atmosphere which supports
staff and students in their work. I very much look forward to welcoming you into our
school community and to working with you as you make the transition to secondary
Áine Mc Alpine
Deputy Principal

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
A Message from Head Girl and Head Boy

Even though we are in our final year in
St. Joseph’s, we can still remember that the
transition from Sixth Class to First year can be a
challenging but exciting time. You are about to
meet lots of new people and will have to adapt
to moving to different classrooms and some
new subjects. With this comes the opportunity
to make new friends with whom you will be
able to experience this transition. All of this
will be enhanced by the friendly and helpful
atmosphere around the school.
We are very lucky in our school that we have many support systems that help to
create a welcoming atmosphere. Every year group has a Year Head who pays
particular attention to the goings on in that group. All of our Year Heads are very
kind and approachable which is of great help in school life. There is also a “Big
Brother, Big Sister” mentoring programme run between the First and Fifth Year
students. Each First year is paired with a mentor who will help them to feel more
comfortable in their new environment.
After six years in St. Joseph’s, we realise and appreciate the level of effort and care
shown by all of our teachers throughout our time here. We are extremely lucky as
our supportive teachers and staff want the best for all of us as they encourage us to
reach our full potential both academically and personally.
We are fortunate in that we have a wide range of subjects to choose from in our
school. This allows students to extend their knowledge and find out what suits them
best. This year, the students in Fifth year have the opportunity to study Computer
Science for the first time and Music is another subject that is now part of the daily
timetable. All of this is further supported by other activities shown throughout this
Physical activity and sports are held in quite a high regard in St. Joseph’s and this can
be seen in our participation and success in many different codes. Our coaches are
very dedicated and continuously use sport to enhance our enjoyment of school
life. As well as our school teams there are numerous sports undertaken in PE. This is
a great outlet to relax and enjoy yourself.
We understand that you may be worried about the changes that you are going to
face but we must remind you that there is always someone to talk to no matter how
big or small the issue is. We, the Head Girl and Head Boy wish you all the best in
your time in St. Joseph’s. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.
Ailish Armstrong and Fionán Cruise
Head Girl and Head Boy 2020-2021

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
First Year Students

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
Recent School Developments

We are a Progressive and Developing School …

We are looking forward to our New Building Project which will include 2
Science Laboratories and Preparation Room, Art Room, Engineering Room,
Construction Room, Special Education Teaching Rooms, Classrooms,
Common area and Outdoor Playing Area.
Our Design Team headed by Hamilton Young are making progress in finalising
our project design. We are looking forward to the months and year ahead as
we progress through the stages of our Additional Accommodation Project.

                     We have expanded our Curriculum which we offer our
                     students. Commencing school year 20/21 we added
                     Computer Science to our Senior Cycle Curriculum and
                     Music to both our Junior & Senior Cycle Curriculum. In
                     recent years our range of Science Subjects in Senior
                     Cycle has grown to include Chemistry and Agricultural
                     Science. Our Extended Curriculum is proving very
                     popular with our students.

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
New Opportunities for Co-curricular Activities

We are always keen to avail of New opportunities for Co-curricular Activities
which support students Learning and Wellbeing.

Since start of School Year 20/21 we have embarked on new co-curricular
ventures which are proving very successful -

                            The European Youth

                              NUIG Mindout Programme

                            ISPCC Blue Shield Programme

                                   GAA Future Leaders.

                                    We continue to work as a Health
                                    Promoting School, implementing the
                                    H.S.E. Programme

St. Joseph's Secondary School Foxford - PROSPECTUS 2021 (Meán-scoil Iosaif) - St. Joseph's Secondary School ...
Student Supports

Year Head System
At St. Joseph’s we have a Year Head structure in place. The Year Head has a
vital function in leading, co-ordinating and inspiring the students of a
particular year group. This teacher is responsible for liaising with subject
teachers, monitoring student academic progress as well as disciplinary issues.
The Year Head also liaises with home and plays a pastoral role offering any
appropriate support a student may need. Each year group is assigned a year
head. Parents are encouraged to contact the Year Head should they have a
concern which they wish to discuss.

Year Heads
6th Year            Breege Blehein 
5th Year            James Cunney   
Transition Year     Declan Cafferkey
3rd Year            Deirdre Foy    
2nd Year            Mary Corcoran  
1st Year            Seán Carey     

Code of Behaviour
Our Code of Behaviour was reviewed during school Year 18/19. All Partners –
Students & Students Council, Parents & Parents Council, Staff and Board of
Management - participated in the Review of our Code of Behaviour. Our
current Code of Behaviour reflects the contributions of all partners.
Implementation of the Code on a daily basis provides for the creation of a safe,
consistent and productive environment conducive to Teaching and Learning
and the Holistic Development of our students. Our students positive and co-
operative behaviour allows us as a school to provide a wide range of activities
for students both in and out of the classroom.

At St. Joseph’s, we are committed to creating an environment that says No to
Bullying. We encourage students to report Bullying as we strive to provide an
environment free from Fear, Bullying and Anti-Social Behaviour. During the
school year 20/21 we have taken the initial steps in joining the ISPCC Blue
Shield Anti-Bullying Campaign. We educate our students on bullying in its
forms and consequences in numerous forums – Year Group Assembly, Guest
Speakers, Classroom Activities most notably SPHE and Wellbeing etc.

MindOut Programme
St. Joseph’s are rolling out a new programme this year called “MindOut” to
our 5th Year students. The programme was developed by the Health
Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway in conjunction with the Health
Service Executive, Mayo Mental Health and Mindspace Mayo.
The rationale for the programme is promoting the social and emotional well
being of young people and that it is an important part of their positive
development, enabling them to achieve positive outcomes in school work and
in life generally. The course duration consists of 13 weeks and includes
modules like boosting self esteem, dealing with emotions, challenging
thoughts, coping with challenge, support from others, happiness and
Staff have received training in delivering the programme and students
will receive a certificate of successful completion. We as staff look forward to
delivering this course and hope our students incorporate these life skills in
their everyday lives.

In St. Joseph’s we organise a mentoring program run in conjunction with
Foróige. The program pairs each First Year student with a Fifth Year student
for the year. The groups meet on a regular basis throughout the school year
where the Mentor and Mentee are given a chance to talk, mingle and
participate in games together. The idea is that each First Year student has at
least one older student in the school that they know by name and can call
their friend. Foróige match up each First Year with a Fifth Year based on
common interests and hobbies. The Fifth Year students receive training at the
beginning of the school year to prepare them in taking on their role as a
mentor. The mentoring program, while run by Foróige, is overseen at school
level by a number of teaching staff.

Students views on the Mentoring Programme

1st Year Student
During our transition from Primary School to Secondary School and as we
were trying to get used to new subjects, a busy timetable, a new school
environment, new teachers, new peers etc. I was really hoping the school's
Big Brother Big Sisters Mentoring Programme would help me.
Now that I have met my Mentor I am looking forward to getting to know him
and having a supportive friend who I can talk to about worries or concerns I
may have. I do not want him to solve my problems for me, but because he
has travelled the same journey, he will be able to offer advice and knowledge
which will help me make good decisions. I am glad we are a good match, we
have shared interests so when we spend time together we will have lots to
talk about. This will help us build a positive relationship and have fun and a
bit of craic when we meet. I feel this will give me a greater sense of
belonging in the school and feel more connected like I did when I was in
Primary School. I like the idea of getting to know some of the students from
the older classes through my mentor and even just saying Hello when we
meet on the corridor will be good.

5th Year Student
The Big Brother, Big Sister programme is a huge support for any first years
braving new experiences and situations they may not have been accustomed
to in school. Heavier workloads, meeting fresh faces and adjusting to a
completely different environment can be daunting, especially at a young
age. For this reason, it is important that they have somebody who has
previously experienced what they are going through to help give guidance
and advice, about how best to navigate through their first year at secondary

For myself in first year, I was lucky enough to be paired with a fifth year I
previously knew. She was more than willing to take me under her wing when
it came to any challenges I had, be it minor issues or slightly more serious
ones, she made it clear I could always go to her.       This guidance from
someone who experienced the same new feelings not so long ago made
school a much more enjoyable environment. Especially as I’d known very few
people from primary school, it became a comfort knowing there would
always be a familiar face in the corridors. Not only did she help give me
guidance, but she provided me with encouragement to try new hobbies, as
well as providing a reinforcement that I was more than capable at achieving
things I previously thought I couldn't.

Now, as a fifth year, I am reminded of all the memories from first year, and how
daunting it was initially. I hope I can provide the same level of reassurance to
my first year if she ever needs it and help put her worries to rest. The
importance of the Mentoring programme cannot be emphasised
enough. Although some may rely on their mentors more than others, it goes
without saying, all mentees benefit. Even when you are getting on really well,
there is no harm in knowing there will always be someone looking out for you
in the hallways and in the school environment. I cannot recommend this
programme enough to any new pupils.

6th Year Student
I am a 6th year student who has gone through the Big Brother Big Sister
programme in school both as a little brother and a big brother. I believe it’s a
great programme because personally when I was in First Year I was lost and a
bit frightened because it was a big new school that I knew nothing
about. When I was matched with a big brother who was like me, it gave me
confidence that I knew a 5th Year student who was nearly finished going
through the school.

Due to me having a great experience with my big brother, I thought I would
give it a shot to try and do what my mentor did for me. In 5th Year I was
matched with my little brother who I met up with for lunch in the Mentoring
Room where we would talk and some days we played Board Games but mainly
we talked. I like to think that I did for my little brother what my big brother did
for me. If I had the chance I’d do it all again.

Students Council
St Joseph's has a very active and prominent Student Council established within
the school. "The Student Voice" is extremely important and central within our
school, and we in St Joseph's endeavour to give every student the opportunity
to have their opinions and viewpoints heard. It places the student at the
centre of their own school experience, and allows for freedom of expression
and individuality.

Each member on our Student Council is first nominated from within their class
group to represent their year. Elections are then carried out. Nominees are
first given the opportunity to speak in front of their peers to outline their
suitability for the job, and are then democratically elected by their year group
onto the Student Council.

This year's Council, like previous years, is actively engaged with a number of
projects within school life. They are involved in ongoing efforts to improve
school facilities and equipment, and to provide increased facilities for students
at recreational times. Given the challenging times that we are all living in,
normal school life for many has been compromised, and our Student Council
are endeavouring to make life as easy, problem-free and solution-focussed as

An initiative by last year's Council has seen the implementation of a "Student
Suggestion Box", where students will have the opportunity to input
suggestions or problems which they may face in the course of their daily lives
in St Joseph's.

Towards the end of the school year, like previous years, our Student Council
will also lead the organising of the "Darkness Into Light" walk for school
students, which will take place in Ballina, in early May, with all proceeds going
to Pieta House. We wish this year's Student Council continued success in
their endeavours.

Student Council Members 2020-2021

First Year Laura Molloy, Cara McHale, Dara Walsh
Second Year Amber Hardy, Conor McGuire, Nathan Roberts
Third Year Dylan Coleman, Oliver Armstrong, Lucy Finnerty
Transition Year Claire Coleman, Fiachra Cruise
Fifth Year Rachel Fox, Sean King, Daniel Joyce
Sixth Year Ailish Armstrong, Ellie Ormsby, Fionan Cruise, Enda Bourke

Health Promoting School
St. Joseph’s is participating in the Health Promoting Schools Programme. In
May 2018 we raised our first HPS Flag for our achievements to date. Under
the direction of our co-ordinator and with the co-operation of our Canteen
staff and PE Department we have made significant progress. The emphasis on
the importance of a healthy diet is evident throughout our school. This is
supported by a “sweet free” canteen and our school status as a “Fried Food
Free Zone”. Our canteen staff provide a healthy menu for students to choose
from at break-time and lunch. The promotion of healthy eating & healthy
lifestyle is encouraged through school events such as a wide range of sporting
activities, sports day and tournaments encouraged by our PE Department and
the many teachers who involve themselves in extra-curricular sporting and
health promoting activities.

After School Study
After School Study is available to students Monday to Thursday from 3:50 -
5:50 and on Friday from 1:30 - 3:30. All of our students are provided with
guidance on Study Skills through their Guidance and SPHE classes and external

Local Sponsorship
Our local community recognises the positive character of our student body
                              and the efforts of St. Joseph’s in meeting the
                              needs of our students. Local Business’ and
                              Voluntary Groups are generous in their
                              support for our school through Financial
                              Contributions towards Student Services,
                              Sponsorship of Sporting Events, Provision of
                              Work Placements in Local Business and
                              support of School Events and Committees.
                              We are grateful for their continued support.

Guidance in schools refers to a range of learning experiences provided in a
developmental sequence, that assist students to develop self-management
skills which will lead to effective choices and decisions about their lives.
It encompasses the three separate, but interlinked, areas of:
    •   Personal and Social Development
    •   Educational Guidance
    •   Career Guidance

The Aims of Guidance and Counselling
The guidance and counselling process aims to help students to develop an
awareness and acceptance of their talents and abilities; to explore possibilities
and opportunities; to grow in independence and to take responsibility for
themselves; to make informed choices about their lives and to follow through
on those choices.

The Guidance Counsellor: Mrs Roisin Doyle

The Work of the Guidance Counsellor
The Guidance Counsellor is involved in guidance and counselling related
activities such as:
   •    Planning and delivering the school Guidance Programme – The
        Guidance Counsellor has primary responsibility for the delivery of the
        school’s Guidance Programme, but a whole school approach is essential
        to realise this objective.
   •    Providing one-to-one personal, educational and career counselling.
   •    Teaching guidance classes at Junior and Senior Cycle.
   •    Assisting students in the transition from:
            -    Primary to Secondary school
            -    Junior Cycle to Senior Cycle
            -    Second Level to Higher/Further Education/Training and
  •     Organising trips to career events
  •     Assessment using psychometric instruments and inventories, to link
        student’s aptitudes and interests to career options
  •     Vocational guidance interviews
  •     Promoting research and ICT skills, so that students can be self-directed
        in their career exploration and development (e.g. Qualifax,
  •     Study skills

•   Subject choice for the Junior Cycle
   •   Subject choice for the Senior Cycle
   •   Supporting students in choosing subject levels appropriate to their
       educational abilities.
   •   Senior Cycle Programme Options (e.g. TY, Leaving Certificate
       Established, LCVP)
   •   Third Level application procedures (e.g. CAO, UCAS)
   •   Further Education application procedures (e.g. PLC)
   •   Third Level Access Programmes (e.g. HEAR and DARE)
   •   Organising guest speakers (e.g. Third Level Colleges and Further
       Education Colleges)
   •   Providing information on grants (e.g. SUSI) and scholarships.
   •   Interview preparation
   •   Liaising with Management, Student Support Team, Subject Teachers,
       Year Heads, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator/Learning Support,
   •   Liaising with outside agencies, student referrals to outside agencies
       (e.g. NEPS, Occupational Guidance etc)
   •   Presenting Parent Information Evenings (e.g. CAO, Junior Cycle Subject
       Choice, Senior Cycle Subject Choice)

Making an Appointment with the Guidance Counsellor
The Guidance Department operates an open-door policy. Students can
request an appointment by meeting with the Guidance Counsellor when
available in the office throughout the course of the school day.

Guidance Noticeboard
Students are encouraged to keep a close eye on the Guidance Noticeboard,
which is located outside the Guidance Office.

Special Educational Needs
The principal aim of Special Education in St. Joseph’s Secondary School is to
provide a positive learning environment, which will foster the academic, social
and emotional development of students with additional and Special
Educational Needs (SEN) and to enable each student to realise their individual
potential. In line with our ethos and official Department of Education and Skills
(DES) recommendations, special education provision will actively seek to
include the diverse range of cultures and abilities of its students.
At St. Joseph’s Secondary School we offer the opportunity for students to take
the CAT 4 test prior to entry. The purpose of the CAT4 test is to assist in
identifying students strengths and needs in the areas of verbal, quantitative,
non-verbal and spatial. This data is used to help identify students who may
need additional support, including the exceptionally able. It also acts as a
guide for parents and students in the area of subject choice. The CAT 4
provides a Group Report for Teachers, Individual Student Report for Teachers
and Parent Report
All students in 1st year are encouraged to complete the Wide Range
Achievment Test Maths and Spellings. This gives a standard score for the
individual student. These scores are useful for both Maths and English
teachers and to identify students that may need accommodations in state
This year we will be introducing a new standardised test which has been
recently developed by the Department of Education and Skills, through the
National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in collaboration with the
Educational Research Centre (ERC). The Post-Primary Assessment and
Diagnosis – English (PPAD-E) is a new standardised test of literacy in English for
use in post-primary schools as a screening and diagnostic tool for assessing
literacy skills.
The test is:
     -     culturally appropriate and tailored to the Irish context
     -     designed for use by teachers
     -     helpful for screening for difficulties (particularly at first year intake)
     -     useful in diagnostic assessment, monitoring and evaluating progress
     -     can help identify if further assessment might be needed (e.g. speech
           & language)
     -     helpful in contributing to the processes for RACE/DARE/Exemption
           from Irish
     -     useful in establishing and reviewing literacy standards

First Year students also complete the New Group Reading Test. This gives a
standard score and a reading age. This test is very useful to make teachers
aware of the reading ability of students and if there is a need for
accommodations at state exams.
All of the assessments prior to, and during first year enables teachers to
become very informed of student’s areas of need. Where it is considered
necessary a student support file is compiled to ensure necessary information is
gathered, appropriate targets are set for the student and support is put in
Students are supported in an inclusive manner in St. Joseph’s offering
differentiated teaching in a range of subjects. Where it is deemed necessary,
the form of support may be on a one-to-one basis or in a small group setting.
At St. Joseph’s we strive to provide opportunity for all students to meet their
full potential. Learning support is an integral part of the timetable for students
with Special Educational Needs. Students will receive support, subject to
hours received from the Department of Education and Skills.
Further assessment is completed with students in Second Year and throughout
their time at St. Joseph’s in an effort to track student’s progress and highlight
any arising needs.
Existing Educational Reports or reports from other professionals which
Parents/Guardians are willing to share with our school should be forwarded to
school marked for the attention of the Principal on/by 12th February 2021.
Should reports become available to Parents/Guardians after this date, the
report can be submitted at your earliest convenience. This information is very
helpful in building the students Learning Profile. Following submission of
reports, we recommend that Parents/Guardians meet with the Principal and/
or a member of the Learning Support team in order to plan for their child’s
transition to St. Joseph’s.

Supporting Parents & Guardians
This section provides details on the practical points of Uniform, Transport &
Books which are key to getting your son/daughter ready for attending St.
Joseph’s. Our Parents Association is a support to all Parents & Guardians
throughout your son/daughters time at St. Joseph’s. Communication
between Parents/Guardians and school underpins a good working relationship
between all partners which is essential in the interest of our students success
in our school.

Parents Association — The following account is written by Parents
Association Representatives.

St Joseph’s has a vibrant, active and forward thinking Parents Association. As
part of its remit, the Association is charged with representing the views of
parents and guardians and keeping them informed of various developments
and improvements in the school. Made up of representative parents from the
different year groups the Parents Association works to assist the school in
various activities and strives to ensure that student needs are catered for. It is
joined at its meetings by the Principal and when needed the co-option of
various members of school staff. It has also engaged with various outside
speakers on the importance of nutrition, mental health and I.T. to name but a

The Parents Association were heavily involved in the new traffic management
system during drop off/pick times and which led to greater safety for all
students. In the past few years, a number of new initiatives were undertaken
in the school, which were led by the Parents Association. Examples of these
include the recommencement of the Book Rental Scheme, which was
something that many parents had highlighted the need for and has proved very
successful. Another initiative that came from Parents Association was the
option of Taster Subjects for all new incoming First Years, which gives students
the chance to sample subjects before making a final decision on them.

The Parents Association, recognising the need for improvements in the area of
I.T. in the school held many fundraisers including a very successful Rock Night
which facilitated the purchase of new equipment which is being fully utilised
by the school.
In trying to ensure the wellbeing of all students the Parents Association has
‘Wellbeing’ as standard on its agenda for each meeting and used some of the
funds raised to pay for nutritional demonstrations, yoga and wellbeing talks to
name but a few and the Association also supported various Healthy Eating
initiatives in the school including Fried Food Free Zone.
The Parents Association reviewed the new Code of Behaviour and contributed
to it and were involved in the review of the Mobile Phone Policy and the
survey, which was distributed through the school.
During the last Whole School Evaluation, the Parents Association collectively
met with members from the Department of Education to feed into the process
and give the opinions of parents in the school.
The Parents Association enables parents of students in the school to have a
voice about their children.
Home-School Communication
In response to developments in Information Technology we now use a variety
of methods to communicate with Parents/Guardians including:
    •   E-mail, Text messages and Telephone
    •   Twice yearly student reports (Available on Compass)
    •   Compass – This is a software programme currently used in school to
        maintain records such as student attendance, behaviour and
        examination results. Parents/Guardians can log into this system via
        the website to view their student’s details and information using a
        unique Username and Password.
    •   Compass School Manager App—Our school app aims
        to make it easier to communicate with school, view
        students timetables, attendance, behaviour record
        and reports. Attendance Notes for your student should
        be entered on the App if they are absent from school
        or you need to collect them early. Further details are
        available on our school website. All Parents/Guardians are invited to
        download the Compass School Manager App from the Apple App Store
        or Google Play Store.

Our school is served by both Public and Private Transport. The following is
provided as a guide:

  •     Bernard & Denise Ormsby 087-2525277 (Foxford, Knockmore,
        Lisaniska, Corroy, Mount Falcon, Ballina, Cloghans, Tavnaghmore)
   •    Bus Eireann School Transport (Foxford, Attymass, Attymachugh,
        Toomore, Callow, Lisaniska)
   •    Bus Eireann Public Transport (Knockmore, Corroy)
Based on previous school years, applications for Bus Eireann Transport must be
made online at between February and April. It is advised
to check the Bus Eireann website for current information. Early application is

Parents Information Evenings
Throughout your son/daughter's time at St. Joseph's Parents/Guardians are
invited to attend Information Evenings and Parent Teacher Meetings which
focus on the education and wellbeing of their son/daughter.

Book Rental Scheme
We re-introduced our Book Rental Scheme in School Year 19/20. Participation in
the Book Rental Scheme is optional for families. A full explanation of our Book
Rental Scheme is available on our website . Payments for participation in the Book
Rental Scheme are made online via our “Easy Payments” link on our
website. Payments can be made by instalments.

For school year 21/22 full payment is required on/by Friday 4th June 2021. Books
for Core Subjects will be available for collection in mid-August. Date and times will
be advised to Parents via text message. Books for Option Subjects are provided to
students after completion of the Option Subject Taster Programme.

For those who do not wish to avail of the Book Rental Scheme, the purchase of
Books for our school is facilitated by Castle Book Shop in Castlebar. Please see
their website and select the tab for School Books followed by
St. Joseph’s Foxford. Book Lists are made available on our school website by the
end of May.

School Uniform

School uniform is as follows:

Girls: School Shirt, School Jumper, School Skirt or Navy School Trousers.
Skirt to be worn with Black Tights or Black Socks. Skirt length to Knee. Black

Boys: School Shirt, School Jumper, Navy School Trousers. Black Footwear.

PE Requirements:     Navy tracksuit bottoms (Style/Brand to be advised)
                    Navy School Hoodie and School Crested                   T-Shirt.

The prescribed kit must be worn for P.E. class.

Jackets: The School Jacket is an optional extra which students can wear in class and
between classes as an additional layer of clothing if required. The style of the
School Jacket is currently under review in conjunction with the Student Council.

All uniform items underlined are of a specific design and colour and are available
for purchase from Ivy & Bow Drapery, Pearse St., Ballina (096 77212). Variations of
these garments are not accepted as school uniform.

Throughout the school day and while on school related activities, students must be
in full school uniform unless directed otherwise by the event organiser.

Jewellery: Small stud earrings (1 per ear) and a watch are the only jewellery
permitted to be worn.


Information Technology
Information and Communications Technology prepares pupils to participate in
a rapidly changing world. As a school, we understand that the future is a
knowledge-based world and we aim to equip our pupils to access and use
technology to support their learning. We believe that the learning experience
and academic achievement of pupils can be greatly enhanced by incorporating
technology into the learning process.

ICT Infrastructure 2020/2021
There have been significant developments in relation to ICT and its
development in St. Joseph’s in recent times:

1.   We have two computer rooms in our school. One is dedicated to the
     teaching of Design and Communications Graphics (DCG), while the other
     computer room is used primarily for the delivery of the ECDL program,
     teaching of Careers and LCVP.
2.   A recent significant purchase of a set of 32 Chromebooks (along with
     trolley) which are easily transported around the school building is
     assisting students greatly, especially when it comes to meeting their CBA
     (Classroom Based Assessments) requirements. Many teachers have
     received new ICT equipment for the purposes of learning and teaching.
     Visualisers and overhead projectors have been upgraded around our
3.   All classrooms have a desktop computer along with an overhead
     projector and speakers so as to assist with learning and teaching.
4.   A room which is dedicated to SEN students has desktop computers to
     assist students with their learning through assistive programs.
5.   Use of the G-Suite for Education platform to connect with students via
     Google Classroom is proving very beneficial when it
     comes to learning and teaching, and sharing resources
     with our students. All students will be given their own
     personal email account for school purposes only when
     they enrol, which allows them access to the G-Suite apps,
     for example, Google Docs.
6.   Investment in “Schoolwise” (software to assist teachers with developing
     their teaching plans) is improving the sharing and collaboration of
     resources among staff which in turn assists the student.

7.  ECDL was introduced as an additional subject in 2016. Students get access
    to the computer room for one class per week where they will become
    familiar with the fundamentals of how to use a computer, and become
    proficient in programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
8. All transition year students receive computer access throughout the TY
    program. Students are encouraged to save/record all of their work, for
    example, assessment tasks, projects and images, and to store their work
    in the relevant folders in their Google Drive. At the end of transition year
    students can then present their work via an E-portfolio.
9. Computer Science is now offered as an option subject at Senior Cycle.
10. Compass is the computer software that is currently used to maintain
    records such as attendance, behaviour and exam results. It is now
    available to parents/guardians of students attending our school.
11. ICT is a huge part of society nowadays and here at St. Joseph’s we aim to
    have all of our students feeling competent when it comes to dealing with
    ICT and being confident learners.

G Suite for Education/Distance Learning
We are a “G-suite for Education” school which allows us to connect with our
pupils using a very safe platform. It also gives us the ability to engage in
Distance Learning as we did during Covid-19 School Closure from March to
June last. Students and teachers communicated on a daily basis using Google
Classroom. This practice continues on a daily basis during every day school

Google Classroom, which is a feature of G-Suite, allows us
to engage with pupils by assigning classwork and
homework, uploading videos and resources, scheduling
exams, creating quizzes and so much more.

Another useful feature of the G-suite is Google Meet
whereby a teacher and his/her class can have a virtual meet and continue with
learning and teaching. This is a very valuable resource for our school as in the
event of a school closure we can still connect with our students to engage in
distance learning.

ICDL (Formerly ECDL)

ICDL is the world's leading computer
skills certification. It is a qualification
that enables people to certify their
computer skills to an internationally recognised standard. Students will learn
real-world skills that will enable them to be productive learners, employees,
entrepreneurs and citizens in the 21st Century. First, Second and Third Year
students have one class of ICDL per week with additional classes added in
Transition Year.

Students will study the following Modules:

•   Computer Essentials
•   Online Essentials
•   Word Processing
•   Spreadsheets
•   Presentations
•   Databases
•   Web Editing
•   Image Editing
•   IT Security
•   Project Planning
•   Online Collaboration

Students must pass a minimum of 7 of the above modules to achieve their
ICDL award. A pass rate of 75% is required to complete each module.
Students have the opportunity to complete Diagnostic tests in class before
they sit the Certified test.

Co-Curricular Activities
Co-curricular activities are a regular and important feature of the curriculum at
St. Joseph’s. Co-curricular activities assist our students' understanding of the
curriculum and help them to transfer and extend their knowledge.
Competitions, Field Trips, Voluntary Work, RE Activities, Language Initiatives,
Theatre Excursions and our School Immersion Programme to the Developing
World are just some of our Co-Curricular Activities.
Public Speaking & Debating
Our students are keen participants locally and
at National level in the area of Public
Speaking. Our Public Speaking teams have in
the past gone on to the All-Ireland Final of the
Mental Health Awareness Public Speaking
competition. In the school year 18/19, we
introduced Senior Cycle debating through Irish.
Our Senior Debating team have been successful
in competitions organised by Gael Linn. Our
students also compete regularly in Maths,
Science, Art, Enterprise, Business competitions.

Field Trips
Field trips are arranged in many subject areas
and include visits to Museums, Art Galleries,
areas of geographical interest, areas of
h i s to r i ca l i m p o r t a n c e a n d dra m a
productions. Field trips enhance classwork and
bring an additional dimension to students

Voluntary Work
There is a strong tradition at St. Joseph’s of
participation in Voluntary Work and
Fundraising. Our students prepare Food
Hampers each Christmas for St. Vincent de
Paul. Students fundraise each year for Irish
Cancer Society, Cancer Care West, Special
Olympics and Trocaire (Bothar), Irish Heart
Foundation, Mindspace Mayo and Pieta House.

Religious Education
St Joseph's Secondary School is a Catholic Voluntary School inspired by the
ethos and values of our founders, the Sisters of Charity. We work with the local
parishes to nourish the spiritual needs of our students at key moments in the
church calendar. Our commitment to the Catholic ethos is present through our
participation in the following events:
•    Opening of School Year Mass
•    Christmas Carol Service
•    Penitential service at Christmas and Easter
•    School retreats
•    The Pope John Paul II Awards
Language Enhancement
Our students learning of Languages - English, Gaeilge and Modern Foreign
Languages - French and German are enhanced through Co-curricular Activities.
Our 3rd and 6th Year students attend Shakespearean Plays on an annual basis
to support their studies. Our 5th Year and Transition Year students are looking
forward working with Alliance Francais. Our Gaeilge Department have
enriched their curriculum through Irish Cultural activities including Tráth na
gCeist, Ceilithe, Irish Music Performance and our 6th Year students attendance
at the Srath Pictuir based show “Caith Amach É”.

Post Primary Languages Initiative
As a host school for students from various European countries, our students
have the opportunity to converse with students of different nationalities. Our
students are also offered the opportunity to participate in student exchange
programmes. We hope to recommence these initiatives post Covid-19
restrictions. This is an aspect of our school curriculum that we are developing
in conjunction with the Department of Education and Skills Post Primary
Languages Initiative (PPLI) Languages Connect. Our students who have
participated in the exchange programme have found the experience very
beneficial for the development of their Language Skills most notably their
Listening and Speaking Skills. Our students recently attended “Thinking
Languages” which is part of PPLI.

Student Experience of a Language Exchange

In May of Transition Year, I went on a foreign exchange to France for one
month. During my stay I attended school and stayed with a family. Through
this I was able to experience the language, culture and customs of the
country first hand. I went to France with a very basic level of spoken French
and despite struggling to communicate for the first week or, so I was able to
leave with a strong grasp of the language. Not only did my one month stay
strengthen my spoken French but it also led me to appreciate it as a school
subject too. I felt this experience was so helpful that I decided to return to
France again for another exchange in 5th Year. I enjoyed both of my stays in
France immensely, as they allowed me to develop new friendships with
people from another country. Not only does a foreign exchange trip improve
your language skills but it also enhances your confidence, independence and
communication skills too. I would strongly recommend anyone taking a
foreign language in school to go on an exchange as it will greatly benefit you
in the future.
Aisling Ni Ghradaigh
6th Year 19/20

Global Citizenship Education
We are all Global Citizens, we are here on a local level and on a global scale.
We have all a part to play and a responsibility for the world around us. Here in
St. Joseph's, we study Global Citizenship at a formal level in TY, but also at an
informal level through Green Schools and through many other subjects like
Geography, Home Economics and Wellbeing. The Global Goals for
Sustainability set out by the UN are central to our studies and inform our
teaching and learning.

We are Global Passport holders for the third year running. This is an award we
have achieved for our work in GCE from WorldWise Global Schools who are
governed by the Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They
provide teacher training, resources and some funding for GCE in our school.

My name is Shauna, I studied Global Citizenship Education in TY. GCE is part
and parcel of school life here in St. Joseph’s. The aim of GCE is to equip
students with an understanding of some aspects of life, at a Local and at a
Global level. It is part of the holistic development of our students. We explore
global issues and local matters in detail in TY, through our Green Schools
Programme and in different aspects of many Junior and Senior courses. We
are currently proud holders of the Global Schools Passport Award from
WorldWise Global Schools for work in GCE done within our school. It is
something that we strive to enhance and develop in the future.

Hi, I am Fern, I am one of the senior students from our school who traveled to
Mazabuka, Zambia in Southern Africa over the Easter Holidays of 2019 with
Ms. Donlon. We embarked on the journey along with students and a teacher
from Davitt College, Castlebar under the guidance of the voluntary
organisation SERVE. Our School Immersion Programme saw Irish and Zambian
students work in solidarity to gain a mutual understanding of way of life, their
struggles and triumphs. We worked hard at fundraising and are proud to have
brought over very substantial amounts of money to be spent in Education and
on Youth Leadership Training in the area. It certainly was a trip of a lifetime
for all of us involved. We as a school are delighted to be able to offer such an
opportunity to our student body.

Extra-Curricular Activities

There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer at St. Joseph’s.
Extra-curricular activities contribute positively to our students holistic
development and to our overall school environment. A dedicated staff
supports       the     operation      of   extra-curricular       activities.

St. Joseph’s have a great tradition of sport in our school. Students have the
opportunity to pay Gaelic, Soccer, Basketball, Rugby, Cross Country and
Athletics enjoying much success. Over the years both girls and boys teams
have reached and won many Connacht titles and have also enjoyed All-Ireland
success in many disciplines. There is also a very popular Running Club which
takes place at lunchtime. This Club gives students the opportunity to exercise
and adds to their overall wellbeing which in
the current climate is very important.

Students are offered a chance to participate
in the “Gaisce Presidents Award”. It is the
only award of its kind in Ireland and is
awarded by the President of Ireland to Young
People between the ages of 15 and 25. It
recognises the achievements of applicants
who set a personal challenge in three areas:
Personal Skill, Physical Activity and
Community. They also participate in an
Adventure Challenge. It is a wonderful
opportunity for self development and
promotes positive attributes such as
resilience, commitment and dedication.

Green Schools
Here at St. Joseph’s, we are committed to Green Schools and the promotion
and development of Green Schools issues. We have received six Green Flags
to date and are now busily working on our final flag “Global Citizenship -
Energy”. Through various cross curricular links and activities, all students
develop an understanding, an appreciation and an importance of looking after
“Planet Earth”.

Rewarding Achievement

We hold our annual Awards ceremony in May of each year. However, in May
2020 this was an online ceremony. We acknowledge and reward achievement,
participation and effort across many aspects of school life – Attendance,
Sport, Literacy, Numeracy, Entrepreneurship, Subject Performance etc.

                         2020 Award Recipients

 Student of the Year       Sportsperson of Year      Gaeilgeoir na Bliana
     Ava Butler              Caolan Hopkins           Treasa Corcoran

                Numeracy Award            Literacy Award
                  Hugh Hunt             Klaudia Stembalska

                           Geography Award
                    Leah McHugh & Andreena Corrigan

2020 proved to be an extremely
successful year for the Senior Boy’s GAA
team. Having won the Connacht league
title the previous year, the boys set
about the year’s early competitions with
obvious intent. They lifted the Flanagan
Cup just before Christmas, which was a
sign of the success and competitive nature of these lads to
come. The lads then went on to progress through the early
rounds of the Championship and league, eventually
culminating in a Connacht Final against Balla. After a gripping
contest, which went to extra time, our boys emerged
victorious, and captain Adam Naughton lifted the Connacht
Championship Cup, for only the 3rd time in the school’s
history. After this, the All-Ireland semi-final was the next
challenge, where Coláiste Idé agus Íosef, Abbeyfeale were the opposition.
Again, the St Joseph’s team applied themselves excellently and claimed the
victory, setting them up for the All-Ireland final against St Colmcille’s, Dublin.
Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, this game was postponed, and
has not yet been fulfilled. This Senior Boys GAA team has represented
themselves, their families, their clubs and their school excellently for the year,
and should be heartily commended for it.
Boys soccer
In 2019 our Senior Boys Soccer team had huge success. A victory over Clifden
in the Connacht final set up a national semi final against Gweedore. Captained
by Jamie McHugh the team came back from 2 - 0 down at half time to win 3 -
2 and book their place in the National B Senior Soccer Final. The under 19’s
put on a huge display beating Grennan College of Thomastown and proudly
brought the John Murphy cup back to Foxford. Following on from their
national success the team picked up the Western People Sports award for
Soccer. The award was presented to the team by Ronan O’Gara at the gala
presentation banquet.

                 Caolan Hopkins was also awarded with the Connaught
                 Telegraph Young Sports Star Award in February 2020 for his
                 exploits with the senior boys team. The award was well
                 deserved as Caolan scored two very important goals in the
                 National final against Grennan College in the 2018/19 season.
                 Caolan was also top scorer in the 2019/20 season on receiving
                 his award.

In the 2018/19 season our Senior Boys Soccer continued their success. With
some experience from last year and a mix of new players, the new team
settled well winning 3 games on their way to another Connacht final. A repeat
of the previous years Connacht final against Clifden saw our boys snatch
victory to secure back-to-back Connacht titles. A last minute goal from the
captain Liam Durkan certainly made him the hero of the day.

A 2-1 victory in the national semi final against Buttevant saw our boys back
into another Senior National Final. With the final finishing 1-1 in normal time,
extra time loomed. A 2-1 lead came for St Joseph's in extra time, but some last
minute heartbreak saw Gweedore grab 2 goals in the remaining minutes. A
hard result to take but our Senior Boys should be proud of their

Girls Soccer

Girls soccer in St. Joseph’s is going from strength to strength. In the last four
years the girls have been competing in 1st Year, U15, U17 and U19
competitions. We have been Connacht Champions for the last three years
with 1st Years and the 2016/17 team finishing as All Ireland runners up. The
current U15 girls had made the Connacht Final but, unfortunately, it never
went ahead. The U19 girls have been in the Connacht final the last 3 years and
won it in 2018/19. This is a result of the hard work and dedication the girls put
into their training. The amazing talent we have is clear to see, as we have
many squad members that have represented Mayo and Leah McHugh played
for Ireland U15s.

You can also read