Alexandra College is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all areas of education. Our aim is to generate and maintain an inclusive climate of learning within which every pupil is enabled to develop and fulﬁl her own unique potential.
It is our hope that every student who leaves this College will be equipped not only to make her own way in the world but also to make her particular contribution to society and at the same time to continue her lifelong learning process.
An excellent academic education is the cornerstone of what students can expect at Alexandra College. Each girl receives a broad education as she progresses through the school, typically taking eight subjects in both the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate, with a selection of language, business, science and artistic subjects, as well as the core subjects of Irish, English and Maths. We go beyond the exam syllabus and we encourage girls to be reflective in their learning, to be independent and to question assumptions. Our goal is always to develop girls as inquisitive learners who are prepared for the challenges of university study and beyond.
Our academic departments are proud of the excellent results we obtain in the State Examinations each year. Over the past five years, our students have received an A or B grade in two-thirds of examinations taken. In the Leaving Certificate, more than 80% of examinations are sat at a higher level, and our students obtain almost 50% more points than the national average in the State exams. The combination of a broad curriculum, careful guidance and excellent results means that our students are always in a strong position to achieve their personal goals after their time with us.
We have extensive guidance options available to students at all stages, combining library materials for research and face-to-face sessions with experienced experts who can advise on career options, subject choices and higher education opportunities in Ireland and overseas. All of our girls receive excellent advice and support, so they make the best choices and typically achieve what they need to take the next steps available to them.
Every year, more than 90% of students who complete their studies with us accept offers from universities to continue their studies at a higher level. They accept places at leading colleges in Ireland, the UK, the US and other countries to study a wide range of subjects, including law, medicine, sciences, business and the arts.
Sport has an important place at Alexandra College. Involvement in sport promotes a healthy lifestyle, teaches the value of teamwork, promotes competitiveness and encourages good habits at an early age. We want our girls to understand that exercise improves learning and helps to relieve stress, so we make it easy for them to take part in a wide range of sports and active pursuits regardless of their basic abilities or talents. And of course not everyone wishes to play competitive sport so we offer a good range of health and lifestyle activities such as dance, fitness, self- defence and yoga. Girls take part in sport both during the regular school day and also in sessions after school. Students are encouraged to try activities that are new to them, and we place great emphasis on leisure activities that can be pursued after leaving school.
Of course we encourage competitive sport and we have busy fixture lists for teams in the major sports. For more than 100 years Alexandra College has a rich tradition of playing hockey. We have two hockey pitches – one water based and one sand dressed – and 18 hockey teams that all compete in friendly and league matches every week. We often have girls playing for Ireland and we were delighted to be All Ireland Hockey Champions at senior level in 2012. We have four soccer teams playing at first year, under 14, under 16 and senior level. In recent years, we have enjoyed success at each level, winning league and cup competitions, and we have had girls play for Leinster and Ireland. We have four basketball teams competing in the South Dublin League and Cup Competitions, and we also compete at city, provincial and national level in many other sports including athletics, badminton, tennis and volleyball.
We have the finest sports facilities of any school in the country, including a new multi-purpose sports hall at the Henrietta White Centre on campus, where the girls can play hockey, basketball, badminton, and volleyball, as well as many other fitness activities. We also have all-weather hockey, tennis and basketball facilities on campus, as well as pitches and areas for athletics, soccer, cricket and rugby. We encourage each student to take part in at least one activity that they can enjoy at whatever level they attain, regardless of their individual ability. Whether a girl wishes to develop a particular talent and compete at an elite level or whether she simply wishes to pursue an interest and stay healthy we can help her to achieve her aims.
Music is everywhere at Alexandra College, whether it be lessons on a broad range of instruments, rehearsals for one of our many productions or a performance in the Henrietta White Centre, the sound of singing and playing is always in the air. There is much demand for music tuition and we meet this in a separate building with ten rooms dedicated to music, where we offer a comprehensive range of instrumental and vocal tuition, provided by ten experienced music teachers.
All girls are encouraged to partake in the ensemble music experience at the college. The College Orchestra is an inclusive group for orchestral players from all years and of all standards including string, wind, brass and percussion players. The more advanced string players can play in the College Chamber Orchestra. And we also have a Jazz Club and Traditional Band to give girls experience of playing together in these styles.
In our choirs, girls get to perform at school concerts, including carol and harvest services, and they also take part in competitions at music festivals at home and abroad. The College Choir provides high-level choral singing experience. Its sacred and secular music is a highlight of College functions and it has won prizes at many national and international choral competitions.
The Culwick Cup
Every year all of our students have an annual competition for choirs, as year groups compete for the Culwick Cup. Each group must teach themselves a prescribed song and provide their own accompaniment and conductor. The competition has run since 1929 and is a highlight of the school year. The choirs are competitive and creative as they seek to surprise and delight with their work.
Students may choose to study music for the Junior and Leaving Certificate exams, and they gain deeper skills in composing, performing and listening. Students commonly use existing College groups as part of their practical exam, including the choir or one of our traditional, rock and jazz groups. Success rates are high, with more than 90% of students achieving A and B grades in the exams.
Arts and drama give girls a chance to express their imagination, intellect, empathy and courage in a tangible way.
Understanding and experiencing art
Art has long been an area of strong interest for our students. We aim to give them a balance between experiencing, making and understanding art and design, with emphasis also on its history and appreciation. We offer a broad range of techniques from painting and drawing to ceramics, textiles, graphic design and photography. Through project work, we give students a wide variety of creative experiences that appeal to a broad range of ability levels and styles, and they get full scope to explore their ideas, techniques, media and skills. This means that their artistic creativity becomes linked with competence and enterprise and they become confident in their work.
The Drama Department in Alexandra College is a vibrant and growing department with many activities and events throughout the school year. Students can choose between speech and drama classes, joining the Drama Club, taking the drama or effective communication modules in Transition Year, or taking part in local and national public speaking competitions. We also run an annual Festival of Poetry & Drama, we take part in the One Act Drama Festival in St. Andrews College and we encourage students to enter exams twice a year in a number of different disciplines.
In the Drama Club first and second-year students build confidence and learn about co-operation and how to develop technique. It is a great introduction to the areas of creative drama. The annual Festival of Poetry & Drama runs for three days and includes competitions in solo acting, poetry speaking, duologue drama and Shakespeare. At that time we also stage our Drama Club play and our entry from the One Act Drama Competition. It gives an exciting opportunity for all our girls to perform in front of an audience. Every two years, we stage a large-scale musical that is open to all fourth and fifth-year girls, who audition to take part. Months of rehearsal lead up to five full performances that are one of the highlights of the school year. Recent years have seen performances of Anything Goes, The Pajama Game and Oklahoma, and girls have delighted in the opportunity to be involved in a full, complicated musical production.