We are known for academic excellence and our girls consistently achieve results in the Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations that are well above the national average. 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.
During their time with us at Alexandra College Senior School, we aim to prepare our girls for the next stages in their lives and careers. We know they need more than academic qualifications to succeed. They also need the right behavioural and social skills, a breadth of interests and understanding and a clear perspective on what they wish to achieve. So everything we do is designed to give them all of these skills and ensure that when they leave us, they are fully prepared for life.
We value the individual abilities and goals of each student. Our Resource Department ensures that every student, whatever her academic ability, will reach her potential and succeed.
Pursuit of excellence
All of our classes and activities are structured to help girls enjoy a challenge to do their best without pressure or anxiety. We celebrate success and recognise the effort put in by our students. And we are very proud of the success we have in academic, artistic, musical and sporting arenas where, every year, girls and teams from Alexandra College get recognition, achieve their goals and win prizes at all levels.
We value the individual abilities and goals of each student. Our Resource Department ensures that every student, whatever her academic ability, will reach her potential and succeed. She will succeed first, as a person who is valued in our community and secondly, as a young woman who will contribute personally and professionally to society.
We are committed to the pursuit of excellence for all.
of students who complete their studies with us accept offers from universities at home and abroad
Learning by questioning
We go beyond the exam syllabus and 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 life beyond school and university. They are taught to solve problems and love learning for its own sake.
The number of subjects students can choose from at Alexandra College
Broad academic curriculum
The diversity of our student group means we have a broad range of academic subjects that may be studied for the State examinations. Our students select from a list of approximately 25 subjects in the areas of language, the sciences and maths, business and the creative and social subjects. Our results are excellent, over the past five years our students have received A or B grades in two-thirds of all examinations taken. In the Leaving Certificate more than 80% of exams are taken at Higher Level and our students obtain almost 50% more points than the national average.
Study and exam preparation
Every year, more than 90% of students who complete their studies with us accept offers from universities at home and abroad. We help to support the development of strong study habits by organising supervised study periods in the afternoon, evening and at weekends, as well as encouraging respect for health, happiness and relaxation.
We are very proud of our well-stocked library, where staff help the girls to use resources to the fullest in researching, studying or simply reading for enjoyment.
As our students go through periods of great change and development during the years they spend at Alexandra, our staff are very experienced at looking after and supporting their needs. We provide counselling care, faith care, and the students themselves play a great part as role models and friends providing a natural support network for each other. We also work hard to ensure bullying and victimisation does not occur in our schools.
We have extensive guidance options available to students at all stages, combining library materials for research and face-to-face meetings 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.
Over the years many Alexandrans have received sporting and academic scholarships enabling them to study at major universities in the United States and Britain.
Social and charitable project work
Alexandra College has been known for community work from our earliest days, with a history of social involvement in the life of Dublin’s poor. This continues today though our connection with local Irish charities and home-grown College charities such as the Alexandra College Bursaries Committee. Our students are involved in fundraising for overseas causes in Nepal and India. Every year a group of our 5th year girls travels to India with the Hope Foundation to work in Kolkata, where they help to care for the street children of the city. A sense of communal responsibility and caring has always been prominent in our values and continues well beyond the school years through the work of Alexandra College Guild.
the amount in € raised for the Hope Foundation by Alex girls in the last 10 years
An excellent academic education is the cornerstone of what girls can expect at Alexandra College. Each student receives a broad education as she progresses through the school, typically taking ten or eleven subjects in the Junior Certificate and seven to eight in the Leaving Certificate, with a selection of language, business, science and creative subjects, as well as the core offering of Irish, English and Maths.
We are proud of our approach to teaching and learning in the school, and of our examination results, which prove the understanding and knowledge gained by Alex girls in their chosen subjects.
As we provide a broad range of subject choices to our students, we advise them carefully on the ways in which their choice of subjects affects their chosen career path in the future.
At present Alexandra girls are studying the following subjects:
Other languages by private arrangement.
Civic, Social and Political Education
At Alexandra College, we are very proud of our excellent record in the State Examinations. Every year the grades and points obtained by our girls comfortably exceed the national averages. This means that they have a great opportunity to pursue further studies at the third level college of their choice. Below is a summary of state exam results in recent years.
Our girls typically study seven subjects for the Leaving Certificate exam each year. From an early stage we encourage each girl to work hard and challenge herself, with the result that our students take more than 80% of papers at a higher level each year.
Applications to Irish third-level colleges are managed by the Central Applications Office, who base eligibility on each student’s best six results in the Leaving Certificate – representing a maximum score of 625 points. At a national level the average Leaving Certificate student scores around 300 points and most national university courses require 300-500 points. So there is a lot of competition for places, with many courses in subjects like medicine and law requiring more than 500 points.
We have a strong record on points obtained by our girls, with an average score each year comfortably above 400 points and more than 30% of girls achieving more than 500 points (compared to a national average of less than 10%), as shown in the below.
of papers taken at higher level each year.
Of students Received 500 points or higher in this year's Leaving Certificate
OF STUDENTS RECIEVED OVER 300 POINTS (THE NATIONAL AVERAGE) IN THIS YEAR'S LEAVING CERTIFICATE
We also have a strong record in the Junior Certificate examinations each year, with 98% of papers taken at higher level.
of Junior Certificate papers were taken at higher level in 2015
of all Junior certificate papers taken received either an A, B, or C higher grade in 2015
of all papers taken received a higher A grade in 2015
Transition Year (TY) is a one-year programme in the fourth year of Senior School. It provides girls with a mix of learning experiences and serves as a bridge between the structured learning of the Junior Certificate and the more independent, self-directed learning of the Leaving Certificate.
At Alexandra College we ensure that TY is challenging, varied, different and fun. We want the girls to mature as learners and individuals, to learn about teamwork, to encounter new areas and to build their knowledge of careers and the working world.
We do this by presenting a full and organised programme that blends academic, physical, social and work activities. Every girl can discover new subjects, explore her talents and abilities outside the classroom, and learn about teamwork and cooperation in the world of work.
Our TY programme
The programme provides a balance between academic and non-academic areas. It is learning-led rather than exam-led, and has a range of teaching and learning styles to help girls develop effective learning habits both individually and within groups.
Core subjects include English, Irish, a modern language, maths, science, ICT, history, geography, religion, and physical education.
Girls can take optional modules in art appreciation, choir, classics, creative writing, culinary arts, ECDL, film making, guitar, international relations, a second modern language, music technology, public speaking and communication, psychology, textile craft and website design. There are also performance modules in dance, drama and stage management, music, animation, videography and fashion design.
There is plenty of project work covering social awareness – Education for Living and Young Social Innovator – and the world of work – Young Entrepreneur Mini-Company and Alex Artisans. And TY students are also asked to undertake assignments, interviews and research, helping them to learn in new and active ways.
The TY programme helps girls to connect with adult and working life by providing work experience and career guidance. The girls research and seek their work placements and they discuss and assess the experiences in class.
There are many other TY experiences for the girls during the year, including activities in music and drama, charity work, outdoor events and trips, and inter-school sporting competition.
The TY programme challenges students in all areas of their development. In particular it promotes maturity amongst the girls in a broad sense:
- Maturity in studies by making students more self-directed learners
- Maturity in relation to work and careers by developing work-related skills
- Personal maturity by providing opportunities to develop communication skills, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility
- Social maturity by developing greater people skills and more awareness of the world outside school
A sense of completion
Although the TY programme does not lead to an exam there is definitely a sense of completion and achievement bound up in the programme. Every girl has her level of commitment and achievement assessed as the year progresses. Certificates are awarded at the end of the year to all students who have submitted the required assignments and achieved the required standards in each subject. Awards are presented for excellence and for Student of the Year. And a Department of Education and Skills Transition Year Certificate is awarded to each student who completes the TY programme at the College.
But the true value in TY comes from the opportunity to learn about yourself, your potential and your strengths and weaknesses. It gives you the chance to develop your skills and interests and to decide how these may be used in your own personal and career development as well as in outreach to the community and service to others. TY is also a time to develop several important skills: working as a member of a team, working and co-operating with adults and meeting deadlines.
Used effectively, everyone can benefit from the TY programme and will find themselves better equipped and better motivated for the next stage in their development.
Welcome to the English Department
It is the mission of the English Department to foster each student’s potential as a thinking, sensitive, responsible, articulate and confident human being and in this process, to impart a love of language and literature.
The study of English is traditionally seen as one of the key components in the education of the students at Alexandra College and the English department is very much aware of the significance of English, not just in terms of the subject itself, but also in terms of the overall development of the individual in all subject areas. To that end, we try to ensure that each student is given the opportunity to develop her personal strengths fully in the rich resource areas of the subject.
Ms. Catherine O’Donovan (English Coordinator)
Dr. Michael Crudden
Ms. Sheila Diffley
Ms. Katie Fanagan
Mr. Malachi Friel
Mr. Paul Kilduff
Thinking is promoted through the development of reading skills all the way through the secondary years. From First Year the courses involve an intellectual engagement with an extensive range of literature. The student’s response to literature may be developed in many forms but the primary focus of the department is on written expression. Understanding language is seen as the key to development of the intellectual process. Students may represent their engagement in many forms, but the primary method at the moment is the written word. Students are encouraged to think about literary texts and to achieve a personal and independent understanding of texts. Their developing understanding and expression will be reflected in their oral and written language.
Sensitivity to the written word is also at the heart of our mission in the English Department. It is hoped that a sensitive approach to a rich variety of material, from a range of backgrounds and origins will engender a love of literature and expression. Sensitivity to subject, theme and an objective treatment of material is essential for profound critical understanding. In the end it means that students will be sensitive to the power of the written word and that, through a close study of language, they will also come to use language with sensitivity and delight.
With the power of the written word comes the responsibility to use it fairly. The role of the Department is to distinguish between excellence and mediocrity both in writing and in reading. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of responsibility in their writing and in their approach to English studies. This is also reflected in the day to day effort and responsibilities necessary for students to achieve their best in the English class.
The remit of the English Department reaches far beyond the needs of the Certificate Examinations. While it is the aim of the Department to prepare students in every possible way for excellent results in the exams, it is also our aim to reach out to those who do not fare quite so well in written exams, for a variety of reasons. As part of that aim, we endeavour to engage all students in order to develop their understanding and enjoyment of ideas. We seek to encourage those who need it, to assist those who make great efforts to succeed and also to challenge those who may be limited by the narrowness of the examination syllabuses.
Articulation is a key skill for any student and while the written response is still the form of assessment most significant to students, it is also the role of the department to encourage oral expression both informally in class and formally in debate. Modern Irish society is looking for thoughtful, articulate individuals and we give our students every opportunity to express their ideas openly, freely and effectively. An articulate student is a confident student and it is our aim to encourage all our students to develop a sense of confidence through effective communication.
To encourage independent learners and critical thinkers.
To nurture an appreciation of literature in all its forms.
To enhance students’ creative imagination.
To create confident, competent writers.
To enhance listening and oral skills
To prepare students for exams by equipping them with the necessary skills to sit examinations – both house and State exams
The English department has dedicated English classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards and overhead data projectors. Each member of staff has their own iPad and laptop computer. The English Department is proud to have such a well-resourced library and full-time librarian, Ms Aileen Ivory, at our disposal. The library is a valuable space for library classes, research, competitions, class discussions, debates and visiting speakers. The English Department also makes extensive use of the computer room to encourage research and to help students to perfect their writing and editing skills using IT.
The English Department recognises the value of learning outside of the classroom to bring the world of literature and language alive for the students. To this end, many excursions are undertaken throughout the school year to the theatre, cinema, and workshops.
What makes us unique:
Mixed Ability Classes. We in the English department believe that students perform better in mixed ability groupings. Our excellent results in the State Examinations prove that this approach is successful. For example, in the 2014 Leaving Certificate, 93% of students achieved a C grade or higher in higher level English, while 26.5% achieved an A grade.
Teachers who are experienced examiners with State Examinations Commission and the International Baccalaureate.
Well resourced library and full-time librarian.
Book Clubs for each year group and library events.
Writing Competitions and Prizes.
Fáilte chuig Roinn na Gaeilge. Tá roinn ghníomhach agus dhíograiseach againn anseo i gColáiste Alexandra ag comhoibriú ar son gach scólaire chun a cumas a bhaint amach san ábhar féin agus chun comhshaol deafach a chothú i dtaobh na teanga i gcoitinne.
Welcome to the Irish Department (Roinn na Gaeilge). We have an active and diligent team of teachers working together to improve every student’s standard of Irish and to promote a positive environment for the learning of the language.
Mission of the department / Ár misean
Is é misean Roinn na Gaeilge ná gach iarracht a dhéanamh chun freastal ar leibhéil chumais gach scólaire; atmaisféar dearfach, spreagúil Gaelach a chothú sa rang Gaeilge agus i gcomhshaol na scoile araon; agus a chur ar shúile na scoláirí go léir gur teanga bheo fheidhmiúil í an Ghaeilge sa saol inniu.
It is the mission of the Irish Department to help every student achieve her full potential, and to create a positive and stimulating atmosphere in the classroom and in the wider school environment. Our hope is that each student here will recognise Irish (Gaeilge) as a living and viable language.
Aims & Objectives of the department – Ár spriocanna
Is í aidhm na Roinne ná cumas cumarsáide sa Ghaeilge a fhorbairt i ngach scoláire trí chomtháthú a dhéanamh ar na ceithre scil teanga- scileanna labhartha, éisteachta, scíbhneoireachta agus léitheoireachta. Chomh maith leis sin tá sé mar sprioc againn múinín an dalta a chothú ina cumas féin, agus go mbainfidh sí caighdéan ard amach sna Scrúdaithe Stáit. Mar aon leis sin is mian linn meas agus bród a chothú i dtaca le teanga, cultúr agus oidhreacht na Gaeilge le linn saol na scoile agus ar aghaidh sa saol lasmuigh den scoil.
It is the aim of Roinn na Gaeilge to develop every student’s ability to communicate through Irish by enhancing her spoken, listening, written and reading skills. It is also our aim to instill a confidence in every student as to her ability, and to help her achieve her full potential in the State Examinations. We aim to nurture a love for the Irish language, culture and heritage in our students during her time here in Alexandra College and beyond.
Timetabled Periods / An clár ama
An chéad bhliain/First year – 4 rang sa tseachtain/periods per week
An dara bliain/Second year – 4 rang sa tseachtain/periods per week
An tríú bliain/Third year – 4 rang sa tseachtain/periods per week
An idirbhliain/Transition year – 3 rang sa tseachtain/periods per week
An cúigiú bliain/Fifth year – 5 rang sa tseachtain/periods per week
An séú bliain/Sixth year – 5 rang sa tseachtain/periods per week
How many teachers in each department / An fhoireann teagaisc
Mr. Reuben Ó Conluain (Ceann na Roinne/ Coordinator)
Ms. Paula Swan
Ms. Sinéad Miller
Ms. Líosa Breatnach
Facilities / Acmhainní agus Áiseanna
Tá réimse leabhar i nGaeilge ar fáil i leabharlann an choláiste. Anuas air sin eagraítear ceardlanna litríochta go rialta sa leabharlann. Labhraíonn aoi-chainteoirí le scoláirí na hArdteiste agus bíonn seisiúin ceisteanna agus freagraí ar siúl anseo. Go dtí seo tháinig Áine Ní Ghlinn. Eilis Ní Dhuibhne, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill agus Manchán Mangan chun na scoile.
Freisin bíonn comórtais idirscoileanna ar siúl go bliantúil sa leabharlann .i. Scrabble agus Beach Litriú. Go dtí seo ghlac Coláiste Íosagáin, Coláiste Eoin, Coláiste Gonzaga, Scoil Sandford agus Loreto Beaufort páirt sna comórtais seo.
The School Library. The college library offers students a number of books in Irish for additional reading. Furthermore, together with our school librarian we organise literary workshops with well know Irish language poets and authors for our Leaving Certificate students. We also invite neighbouring schools to partake in our annual Scabble ‘as Gaeilge’ and Beach Litriú/Spelling Bee competitions.
Bíonn ciorcal comhrá ar siúl sa bhialann ar an gcéad Aoine de gach mí ag a mbíonn deis ag scoláirí a gcuid Gaeilge a chleachtadh ar bhonn taitneamhach trí bhíthin chomhráití agus cluichí cainte.
The Canteen. Students have an opportunity to practice their spoken Irish in an enjoyable way on the first Friday of every month by attending a ‘ciorcal comhrá’ (conversation circle) at lunchtime. It is also an opportunity for students to mix with other year groups and have fun ‘as Gaeilge’.
Filed Trips / Turasanna agus eile
Gearrscannáin san IFI
Mar chuid de Sheachtain na Gaeilge freastalaíonn lucht na hIdirbhliana ar na gearrscannáin Ghaeilge is déanaí san IFI.
Short films ‘as Gaeilge’. During Seachtain na Gaeilge the Transition Year students attend screenings of the latest Irish language short films.
Freastalaíonn scoláirí na hArdteiste ar an drama An Triail agus ar léachtaí agus imeachtaí ábhartha eile nuair is ann dóibh.
Theatre. Leaving Certificate students attend performances of the play An Triail and other plays and lectures relevant to their studies as the opportunity arises.
Páirc an Chrócaigh
Mar chuid den mhodúl ar an oidhreacht ghaelach tuganna lucht uile na hIdirbhliana cuairt treoraithe ar an staid stairiúil Páirc an Chrócaigh.
Croke Park. All transition year students go on a guided tour of historic Croke Park as part of their culture and heritage module.
What sets this department apart from how it is taught in other schools?
An Coiste Gaeilge/An Ghaelbhratach 2014
Gach bliain cuirtear Coiste Gaeilge le chéile le labhairt na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn timpeall an choláiste. Tá sé mar scroic ag an gcoiste reatha an gradam Gaelbhratach de chuid Chonradh na Gaeilge a bhaint amach. Aitheantas is ea an gradam seo ar iarrachtaí an Choiste chun an teanga a chur chun cinn i ngnéithe de shaol an choláiste. Chuige sin eagraítear cruinnithe ar bhonn seachtainiúil agus imeachtaí spreagúla ar bhonn rialta. Toghtar Cathaoirleach, Rúnaí agus Ionadaithe ó na ranganna éagsúla le feidhmniú ar an gCoiste. Go dtí seo eagraíodh an Lá Gaeilge agus go leor imeachtaí do Sheachtain na Gaeilge.
Coiste na Gaeilge/The Irish Committee. Every year a committee is formed with the aim of promoting and encouraging spoken Irish around the college. The current committee is also aiming to achieve a Gaelbhratach award from Conradh na Gaeilge. This award recognises the efforts made by the coiste/committee to organise meetings and activities ‘as Gaeilge’ during the school year. The coiste is made up of an elected cathaoirleach/ chairperson, rúnaí/secretary, and representatives from every year group. To date they have been involved in organizing and participating in a Lá Gaeilge- a challenge to speak Irish for 24 hours-and in organising Seachtain na Gaeilge/Irish Language Week in March.
An Gaelbhratach 2014
Is scéim ghradaim é an Gaelbhratach a thugann aitheantas do scoileanna a oibríonn le húsáid na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn tríd an scoil ar fad. Is í aidhm na scéime ná scoileanna dara leibhéal na tíre a spreagadh chun úsáid na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn tríd an scoil ar fad ar bhonn pleanáilte, leanúnach agus taitneamhach. Bhí Coláiste Alexandra mar chuid den scéim phíolótach anuraidh agus bhunaíomar Coiste Gaeilge a bhí i gceannas ar roinnt mhaith imeachtaí i rith na bliana, imeachtaí a bhain le ceol, spórt, an pobal, 7rl. Tá Coiste nua i gceannas ar na himeachtaí seo i mbliana, déanta suas le hionadaithe ó na blianta ar fad, chun an Gaelbhratach a bhaint amach don scoil.
Ta céimeanna faoi leith le comhlíonadh ag an gCoiste Gaeilge sula mbronnfaí Gaelbhratach ar an scoil. Is comhartha aitheantais é don obair ar fad atá déanta le húsáid na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn go gníomhach.
Go dtí seo tá coiste bunaithe agus ceapadh cathaoirleach, rúnaí agus ionadaithe ó gach bliainghrúpa. Tá leathanach Facebook acu chun fograí a scaipeadh faoi chruinnithe agus imeachtaí. D’fhreastail beirt ionadaí ar cheardlann ag tús na biana, ceardlann a bhí eagraithe ag Conradh na Gaeilge. Bhí deis acu seo foghlaim ó scoileanna eile agus plean gnímh a thosú.
Debating Competitions / Comórtais díospóireachta
Díospóireachtaí Gael Linn
Glacann foireann shóisir agus foireann shinsir páirt i gComórtas Díospóireachtaí Ghael Linn gach bliain. Eagraítear díospóireachtaí idir ranganna go rialta le linn na bliana. Slí iontach atá anseo le Gaeilge a fhoghlaim, a úsáid agus a chloisteáil, gan trácht ar na scileanna saoil a fhorbrátear lena linn. Sa bhliain 2009 bhaineamar Craobh na hÉireann amach.
Irish language debating
Every year a junior and senior team enter the Gael Linn debating competition. This provides a wonderful opportunity for students to hear, improve and use Gaeilge, and also develops other life skills. We have had great success with some of our teams in the past reaching the all Ireland final in 2009. Inter class debates are also organised during the school year.
Duaiseanna ar leith don Ghaeilge
Bronntar duaiseanna ar scoláirí na Gaeilge as cumas ardchaighdeánach a léiriú sa Ghaeilge labhartha agus scríofa.
At our annual prizegiving ceremony, prizes are awarded to the best students in Irish for their excellence in written and spoken Irish.
Plans for the coming year?
It is our aim to be successful in the Gaelbhratach scheme next year.
We hope to increase the use of Irish at all formal school occasions in the form of a greeting, prayer or song.
We hope to expand our use of Irish in our communication with the whole school community.
We intend to award a Gaeilgeoir na Bliana prize to a student in every year group who made a special effort to speak Irish both inside and outside class time.
Our Junior cycle students use i-Pads in the classroom. As well as interactive exercises that accompany their textbooks we encourage independent learning through a range of educational apps available.
Students present their work using the following applications:
Additional resources include:
Is tionscadal comhoibritheach idir Coláiste Oiliúna Froebel agus muidne é seo. Déanann ár ndaltaí idirbhliana taighde ar ábhair a mbeadh spéis ag an aos óg iontu a mbaineann le cúrsaí spóirt, siamsaíochta nó le scéalta nuachta na seachtaine, agus cuireann altanna gearra le chéile bunaithe orthu, faoi stiúir a múinteoirí Gaeilge. Déantar eagarthóireacht ansin ar na haltanna i gColáiste Oiliúna Froebel le haghaidh a n-úsáide le ranganna 5 agus 6 sa bhunscoil. Scaiptear an nuahtlitir ansin trí ríomhphost chuig na céadta bunscoil agus ionaid foghlama eile maidin Dé Luain agus uasluchtaitear chuig suíomh idirlín an Choláiste www.froebel.ie í.
Cuirtear fiche eagrán de ‘E-leathanach’ amach in aghaidh na bliana.
Sa bhliain 2009 bronnadh An Séala Eorpach Teanga ar an tionscadal rathúil seo. Léigh anseo faoi
E-leathanach: Schools’ Newsletter ‘as Gaeilge’
Our Transition year students work in partnership with Froebel College NUIM in producing a weekly newsletter for all gaelscoileanna around the country. The newsletter is aimed at 5th and 6th class students and covers stories of interest such as sport, entertainment and a topical news item of the week. Many other schools also make use of this popular learning resource. Our students research the news story and then write a short article which is edited at Frobel College and emailed to several hundred schools – and to other groups of Irish language learners – on the Monday morning of every week.
In 2009 the project was awarded the European Language Label Read more here
The Modern Language department in Alexandra College is very proud of its tradition of excellence and record of achievement. Languages currently on offer are French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.
Increased contact with Europe is demanding more employees at all levels in Ireland who are able to communicate in foreign languages with confidence. Young people who have acquired a Leaving Certificate level of competence in at least one foreign language will find it easier to secure employment at home and abroad.
Modern language learners have a wide choice of careers open to them, careers both closely related to the language, but they also find that qualifications in a modern language are useful in many other fields.
The study of one or more foreign languages is not only enriching for our pupils, it is also essential in the modern world.
The department of Modern Languages in Alexandra College aims to foster interest and enthusiasm for language learning and to equip our pupils with linguistic skills that will serve them well in their future lives.
We introduce our pupils to the culture of different countries, thereby enriching them as individuals and broadening their horizon in an ever-expanding world.
Aims and Objectives
The modern languages taught in Alexandra College have common aims and objectives:
To enable each student to acquire the four main linguistic skills to the best of her ability
To equip each student with the desire to read, write and communicate confidently in the target language
To provide opportunities for students to communicate in the target language and to learn to express themselves in the target language in order to communicate in everyday life
To introduce the student to the way of life in countries where the language is spoken, as well as to the cultural heritage they have to offer
To have an understanding and appreciation of the chosen modern languages and cultures
To encourage language fluency to the level of capability of the individual student
To promote learner autonomy and a spirit of enquiry
To reach the highest possible level in state examinations
Timetabled periods for Modern languages
In first year we currently offer three languages – French, German and Spanish. Pupils follow a 5-week taster course in each language (from August to December) and then choose which language they would prefer to study for Junior Certificate. First years are timetabled for 3 modern language periods per week.
In second and third year pupils are timetabled for 4 modern language periods per week.
Pupils in Transition Year continue with their chosen language (3 periods per week) but they also have an option to try out a new language – beginners’ French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese are currently offered. Pupils may then continue to study two languages for the Leaving Certificate examination. (Classes may be subject to a minimum number of applicants.)
French, German, Spanish and Italian are all offered at Leaving Certificate level, with pupils sometimes choosing to study two languages. Senior language classes (in fifth and sixth year) are timetabled 5 periods per week.
Ms Cathy Maxwell (Coordinator)
Ms Nathalie-Anne Leonard
Ms Sinead Miller
Ms Gráinne Zakrzewska
Ms Cathy Maxwell (Coordinator)
Ms Líosa Breatnach
Ms Chiara Biondi
Ms Gráinne Zakrzewska (Coordinator)
Ms Dara Duggan
Ms Nathalie-Anne Leonard
Currently, the core textbook used in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year in all three languages offered is a digital e-book on an iPad. The use of ICT in the modern language department is an important element of our teaching, complementing the more traditional methods that we also depend upon. There is a wide range of foreign language books, magazines and DVDs available in the school Library.
Pupils are encouraged to be more independent in their language learning, through their use of ICT and of iPads (in1st, 2nd and 3rd year).
The use of ICT in language learning gives very immediate access to resources such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts and podcasts. Up-to-date information is vital in pupils’ preparation for both written and oral exams.
Languages are taught in a ‘communicative’ way and so the teacher is one of the valuable resources in our language classroom. The target language is spoken by the class teacher as often as possible, and pupils are encouraged to respond in the language that they are learning.
In past years we have organised valuable, enjoyable trips to Barcelona, Paris, Saint Raphäel (near Nice), Berlin and Cuneo (Italy). The trip to Cuneo, near Turin, involves a school exchange begun in 1992.
Pupils from Alexandra College have also had the opportunity to visit Greece, Italy and Portugal in the last two years, as part of our involvement in a Comenius Project involving pupils and teachers from seven other European countries.
Excursions to attend a foreign language film, play or exhibition are always highlights in the modern language calendar in Alexandra College. Previous such outings include:
200 Jahren Kinder- und Hausmärchen: Die Brüder Grimm (interactive exhibition in the Goethe Institut)
“Bikini” a play by the Junge Akteure Bremen, in the Mill Theatre, performances by the French Theatre for Schools.
Performance in the College by the French Theatre for Schools.
What makes us unique
European Language Day
Each year on 26th September, pupils of Alexandra College join together to celebrate European Language Day. A variety of activities take place during the week, both during and outside of language class time. Activities in previous years have included quizzes, poster-making competitions, treasure hunts, foreign language film screenings and multi-lingual assemblies.
Joutes Oratoires Françaises
Alexandra College enjoys a long and successful participation in the Alliance Française debates (Joutes Oratoires Françaises). It is a great opportunity for the girls to improve their French language skills, as well as a human experience and a big challenge for the pupils to express their opinions in another language on various topics concerning current affairs.
We are very proud of our many modern language pupils who each year continue to progress their study of languages at third-level institutions. These pupils have found a love of languages and an understanding of their importance. They pursue a variety of options, either as a pure language student, as a student combining a foreign language with another discipline (popular options include Law with German, Law with French, a language and Business) or as a student taking a modular course in a language alongside her studies.
We also have a Twitter account that we use to share useful information with our students @ModLang_at_Alex.
The mathematics teachers will promote an appreciation and enjoyment of their subject. Teachers will help students develop the knowledge and problem solving skills needed for further education, vocational training and personal fulfilment in everyday life. Within the context of the national syllabus, teachers enable students to apply mathematical methods to daily experiences while recognizing its beauty, structure and use in the environment. The teachers will promote excellence in mathematics in Alexandra College by challenging students to take the highest level they are capable of. In addition, this approach will encourage higher confidence and skill in the students’ approach to mathematics.
Aims and objectives
It is the aim of our department to adhere as closely as possible to the general guidelines as outlined by the NCCA with regard to general aims of mathematics education. With that in mind mathematics education should contribute to the personal development of the students. Mathematics education should also help to provide them with the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding needed for continuing their education, and eventually for life and work.
Timetabled periods in Mathematics
All classes are provided with five periods of mathematics per week (six for the honours leaving certificate classes). Mathematics classes are timetabled concurrently within each year group to facilitate movement of students between levels and to enable students to study mathematics at the level most suited to their abilities.
Ms Elaine Whitty (Coordinator) Ms Colette McMahon Ms Mary McLaughlin Mr Patrick Cushen Mr Gavin Duffy Ms Elva MacGowan Nicola Carroll
The mathematics teachers are all based in classrooms that have an interactive whiteboard. All of the mathematics teachers have laptops, I-Pads and access to data projectors. Broadband internet access is available throughout the school. The computer room is available on a booking system. There are also computers available for use in the science lab and a number in the library. Teachers can use mathematical programmes, such as GeoGebra, in class to demonstrate mathematical concepts. Mathematics teachers share their experiences and expertise in the use of the interactive whiteboards to allow for optimum use of the resource as a teaching tool for mathematics. The chosen textbooks have an online version with resources that can be used with the interactive whiteboards. All students have access to the computer room. First and second years have I-Pads. All the classrooms are networked and have access to the school’s intranet. The maths department have developed a number of resources that can be freely accessed by all mathematics teachers, when required.
What makes us different?
We have smaller class sizes which allows our students to receive more individual attention. Mathematics is actively promoted. Consequently we have a high percentage of students studying the higher level courses at both Junior Cert and Leaving Cert attaining grades above the National average.
Plans for next year
We want to continue to increase the participation at Higher Level and to increase grades at all levels. We want to continue to develop our IT skills and further integrate the use of technology into the classroom.
With the implementation of the new project maths since 2010, many new active methodologies have been developed in the past number of years. This has allowed the mathematics department to become at once more focused yet at the same time more expansive in its development of the pupils and teachers skills.
In science we strive to offer quality teaching of the subject, we set high priorities in the department for effective teaching. Science is compulsory for all students from first to fourth year. In fourth year students take modules in science. A large percentage of students then go on to choose at least one science subject in the Leaving Certifciate programme. We offer agricultural science, biology, chemistry and physics to senior students.
Science is a very broad subject, covering a wide range of distinct areas. These range from the highly technical and electronic areas, to simple ecological studies of nature, and include a study of the physical world, and the nature of materials. In delivering a science education to students at Alexandra College, we strive to:
Foster an appreciation of the beauty and diversity of organisms present in the natural world.Encourage curiosity, and a desire for discovery for discovery of new ideas and concepts. Develop a lifelong interest in all things science-related. Nurture a wish in students to pursue further education in scientific areas and a career in Science.
Aims and Objectives
Aims at junior cycle should
encourage the development of manipulative, procedural, cognitive, affective and communication skills through practical activities that foster investigation, imagination, and creativity
provide opportunities for observing and evaluating phenomena and processes and for drawing valid deductions and conclusions.
enable students to acquire a body of scientific knowledge.
appropriate to their age, and an understanding of the relevance and applications of science in their personal and social lives
foster an appreciation of and respect for life and the environment, while at the same time developing awareness of the potential use, misuse and limitations of science, and of health and safety issues relating to science
provide a balanced understanding of the physical, biological and chemical dimensions of science, thus facilitating the further study of science in the senior cycle.
develop a sense of enjoyment in the learning of science.
The aims are:
to contribute to students’ general education
through their involvement in the process of scientific investigation and the acquisition of biological knowledge and understanding
to encourage in students an attitude of scientific enquiry, of curiosity and self-discovery through
(i) individual study and personal initiative
(ii) team work
(iii) class-directed work
to develop an understanding of biological facts and principles
to enhance an interest in and develop an appreciation of the nature and diversity of organisms
to create an awareness of the application of biological knowledge to modern society in personal, social, economic, environmental, industrial, agricultural, medical, waste management and other technological contexts
to develop in students an ability to make informed evaluations about contemporary biological issues.
The aims are
To stimulate and sustain students’ interest in, and enjoyment of, chemistry
To provide a relevant course for those students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level
To provide a foundation course in chemistry for those students who will continue their studies in chemistry or in related subjects
To encourage an appreciation of the scientific, social, economic, environmental and technological aspects of chemistry and an understanding of the historical development of chemistry
To illustrate generally how humanity has benefited from the study and practice of chemistry
To develop an appreciation of scientific method and rational thought
To develop skills in laboratory procedures and techniques, carried out with due regard for safety, together with the ability to assess the uses and limitations of these procedures
To develop skills of observation, analysis, evaluation, communication and problem-solving.
The aims are:
to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life and technology
to develop an appreciation of physics as a human endeavour, thereby enriching the students’ experience of life
to provide a reasonably broad perspective of physics, thus developing an understanding of the physical environment and of how human beings interact with it
to provide a general education in physics for all students, whether or not they proceed to further studies in physics
to develop the ability to observe, to think logically, and to communicate effectively
to develop an understanding of the scientific method
to develop an appreciation of physics as a creative activity, using informed intuition and imagination to create an understanding of the beauty, simplicity and symmetry in nature.
The Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science syllabus is designed to provide pupils with the necessary skills, practical experience and knowledge in a range of agricultural and scientific principles. An agricultural background is not a necessity, and the course covers a wide variety of topics. As well as being classroom and lab orientated, a number of field trips and excursions to farms, universities and laboratories will allow those undertaking the course see the practical applications of their learning. Throughout the two year course the students will keep a portfolio of their practical experience, which will be assessed and contribute to their overall grade in the Leaving Certificate.
Timetabled Periods for Science
First Year: One Double Class and one Single Class.
Second Year: One Double Class and two Single Classes.
Third Year: One Single Class and two Double Classes
Transition Year: One Double Class and one Single Class.
Senior classes: Two Double Classes and one Single Class.
Note: Class duration: 40 minutes, except for last class of the day (35 minutes), all classes are 37 minutes on Fridays.
Mr Patrick Cushen (Coordinator)
Dr. Carina Byrne
Ms Farida Ryan
TY trip to W5 in Belfast.
Multiple farm trips for Agricultural science
Ecology for Biology and Agricultural science
Science talks during science week
TY science/history trip to London
What makes us different?
Usage of ICT is high with teachers and students.
Students are encouraged to carry out science projects, we run our own science fair in February/March each year
Two 5th year students are selected annually following a rigorous application process to travel on an internship to the faculty of Translational Medicine at the university of Pennsylvania in June each year.
We run an annual science lecture with invited speakers from across the science spectrum.
We have an annual science week with various activities and challenges that cater to all student abilities.
We offer a bursary to the leaving certificate student achieving the highest CAO results who takes a science based discipline at third level in Ireland.
Plans for next year
ISTA science quizzes
Integration of key skills and development of learning outcomes through the syllabuses in recognition of coming changes to junior cycle and senior cycle sciences. Seamless integration of ICT: in many cases student work is produced digitally and submitted to shared online course management systems for considered feedback and review.
Business at Senior Cycle
Do you think of yourself as the next greatest entrepreneur, masterminding new products and running a global corporation; or maybe you dream of opening your own restaurant, or making a living as a successful writer, film producer, or recording artist? Perhaps you fancy running your own publishing company like Rosemary Delaney, Managing Editor of ‘Women Mean Business’ Magazine http://www.womenmeanbusiness.com/live/.
Business opportunities are at your fingertips – just be prepared to work hard and keep an eye on what is going on around you in the business world.
Business is mainly about people, products and services. It’s about having ideas, spotting opportunities, having the courage to chase your dreams, and sticking with it when the going gets tough. It’s about understanding people as customers, investors, employees and business partners.
The Leaving Certificate Business course has been designed to prepare you for this dynamic (rapidly changing) business environment. It emphasises the practical skills needed by entrepreneurs, the essential elements of a business plan, the steps involved in developing new products and marketing them to a national or international market. It focuses on the key principles and activities of management.
It outlines the global economic environment in which all business now operates and it examines the ethical and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
If you have already studied Business at Junior Certificate level, this course will build on your knowledge. If you are new to the subject, however, the course is designed to take you through everything from the beginning. To succeed in this subject, you will need an interest in what’s going on around you, a willingness to try new things, and plenty of common sense.
The Business Syllabus for Senior Cycle
The course deals with the more practical aspects of business. It encourages the students to place themselves in the role of entrepreneurs and business managers and to develop a critical understanding of the overall environment in which business operates.
The course is divided into three main sections:
Section A: People in Business – This section looks at the importance of people in a business setting whether they be managers, investors, producers, suppliers, trade unionists or consumers. It looks at their interaction with each other.
Section B: Enterprise – This section illustrates the process of enterprise both in setting up a new business and in developing a new product or service
Section C: Environment – In this section students analyse those factors that govern modern business such as competition from multinationals and the impact of technology. Generally speaking, much of the material covered is encountered by students in everyday living e.g. Advertising, Marketing, Insurance, Taxation, European Union, Privatisation, Cash flows etc.
The syllabus is also linked to an exciting coverage of Irish companies each Friday in the Irish Times – www.business2000.ie
The Leaving Certificate exam paper is divided into three sections, which reflect the content of the syllabus and within which there is ample choice.
Career Links: Banking, Insurance, Business Management, Marketing, Advertising, Hotel Management etc.
Why Study Business?
- Studying business encourages initiative and self-reliance in each student.
- It develops a clear understanding of the role of enterprise.
- Students learn the appropriate enterprise skills.
- Students develop a positive and ethical attitude to enterprise in personal, business and public life.
- It develops a critical understanding of the overall environment in which business functions.
- Students are prepared to participate in an ever changing and evolving business environment and to face the challenges of their adult and working lives.
- It contributes to a balanced and appropriate general education and also acts as a basis for further education.
The syllabus is assessed in relation to the syllabus objectives laid down by the Department of Education and Skills. There is a written terminal examination – the Leaving Certificate paper. The syllabus contains outcomes common to Ordinary or Higher Levels and some that are designated Higher Level (HL) only.
A variety of questioning techniques are used, while a flexible and varied approach is taken to the style of questioning in the written examination. The paper consists of a series of short questions, one compulsory Applied Business Question (ABQ) and a considerable choice of long questions.
Mission of the department
The Geography department of Alexandra College aim to provide all students with an awareness of and an appreciation of global issues for the world they live in. We foresee that our students will develop a range of geographical skills that are necessary for interpreting geographical data. We endeavour to promote a respect for different cultures, an appreciation of the natural environment and an understanding of the physical and human processes shaping the environment we live in.
Aims and objectives of the department
Our role as Geography teachers is to involve our students in a body of knowledge, which has wide horizons, incorporating the three strands of physical, human and economic geography. Aims To encourage the students to develop a better understanding of their physical, social, cultural and economic environment – at local and global levels. To help students to function more effectively as members of society, towards which they should learn to show an attitude of tolerance and respect. They should develop a positive attitude towards such matters as interdependence of peoples, a social conscience and the need for social co-operation and should attain an understanding of other people’s problems. To encourage students to show a developing concern for the declining quality of the environment and learn to play their own role in the conservation of the world’s resources. To acquire a range of skills including: An enquiring mind Observational skills Analysis and evaluation of data and issues Organised thinking A creative approach to possible solution of problems Throughout the study of the various courses (i.e. Junior Certificate, Transition Year, and Leaving Certificate) it is intended that the students should develop a clear understanding of concepts and issues at both local, European and global level. Objectives: Geography is a broad, interesting and very relevant subject, concerned primarily with the study of people and their environment. Geography, at all levels should help students develop a deeper understanding of their physical and human surroundings. Through their study of this subject, students should develop a range of geographical skills that should help them make informed judgements about issues at local, national and international levels. Students taking Geography in the Senior Cycle will be building on the skills and knowledge acquired at Junior Certificate level. The Leaving Certificate Course allows students to: Develop a knowledge and understanding of contrasting physical and human Environments. Promote conservation and sustainable management of the earth’s resources. Recognise and develop a sensitivity to peoples of other cultures Promote active citizenship Develop a range of geographical skills e.g. spacial awareness, investigative and evaluation skills, presentation and communication skills. At all levels, Field Work is included in order for the student to move outside the confines of the classroom and to learn to observe, first hand, some aspects of the local area. In this way, Geography is made more relevant for the student whose basic research skills of observing, collecting and recording should be enhanced.
How many timetabled periods are there each year?
Junior cycle = Each form class has 3 x 40mins periods per week Transition year = 3 x 40 mins periods per week. Senior cycle = 5 periods per week (two double and one single).
Ms Sarah-Jane Macken (Coordinator) Ms Una Clay Ms Caoimhe McDonnell Ms Katie Fanagan
Use of the enhanced I.T. in the College is playing an increasing role in the Geography Dept. and we are delighted with the vast resources of current information that can now be available to both teachers and students of Geography. We are grateful to the Council for their ongoing support of this important facility. 1st and 2nd years are very fortunate to have ipads and use their iBook in every class. Transition years have access to the computer room for research.
We as a department have seen the benefits that active participation and fieldwork methodologies can bring to both students and teachers through the implementation of the Geographical Investigation for the Leaving Certificate. This supports the argument that learning activities need to be based around a range of intelligences. While we introduce more fieldwork during Transition year. Oppptunities could exist in completing a soil profile study, weather measurements, land use studies, traffic counts and demographic surveys. Fieldwork trips with various classes currently include: First years to Tayto Park, TY to the Zoo, Sixth years to Glendalough.
What sets this department apart from other schools?
Extremely popular in this school with excellent results. We hope to bring a junior cert class to visit the Tara Mines in Navan. Lots if information technology used in teaching and learning. Use of student I pads in the junior cycle
Plans for the Year
First years will cover physical geography – the earth & surface processes. From there they will explore economic geography. Second years will start by completing a unit on weather & climate. Students will then study social geography for the remainder of the year, exploring population studies and urbanization. Third years complete a unit on inequality and aid. They will then develop their mapwork and aerial photograph skills by completing OS mapwork. Fifth years start the Leaving Cert syllabus by studying patterns and processes in the physical environment until Christmas. From there they will continue with the core unit and study regional development. Sixth years will complete their geographical investigation in 6th year. This is worth 20% of their final grade. 6th year students will also complete studies of the human environment as well as geogecology.
We are very fortunate to be able to transfer a lot of geographical content to life situations and to the world we all live in. This role of assessment is to measure the amount of material absorbed. However, this doesn’t always imply understanding. Teaching for understanding puts the emphasis very much on understanding. Students learn to apply their understanding of various issues (demographics, climate change, migration, economic development) in a number of ways – through explaining in their own workds, applying principles learnt to problem solving etc. Teaching for understanding involves ensuring that students are aware of their goals for each class and topic (learning outcomes clearly specified to focus the girls). It also involes drawing upon images, visual aids and examples. This can include case studie and illustrations. When possible we make every effort to draw on their own prior experience and past experiece, e.g. through travel, the place they live etc. This also involves drawing on links from the Junior cycle.
Home Economics has a direct relevance to the present-day lives and future of every young individual. Its purpose is to equip young people with the skills required for everyday living and self-sufficiency. Emphasis is placed on the areas of nutrition, home management, consumer studies, human physiology and sociology
Aims & Objectives
The main aim of Home Economics in schools is to help to prepare students for the important aspects of everyday living and the adult responsibilities of family life. Regardless of social, cultural or ethnic background, students will gain the competence needed to make informed choices in matters of hygiene, safety, health, diet and consumer issues.
1st Year – 1 double, 1 single
2nd Year – 2 doubles, 1 single
3rd Year -2 doubles, 1 single
4th Year – Culinary arts – 2 doubles. Form & Fusion – 2 doubles
5th Year – 2 doubles, 1 single
6th Year – 2 doubles, 1 single
Ms Jacqui McCoy (Co-ordinator)
Ms Lynn Fitzmaurice
Two fully equipped modern kitchens. Secure storage area for project work. A wide array of Singer and Janome sewing machines, including overlocking and computerized machines.
What sets Home Economics in Alex apart from other schools?
One of only five schools in the country that offers The Fashion & Textiles Elective at Leaving Cert. We also run a Masterchef competition for our Transition Year students.
History Department Mission Statement:
In the history department we aim to stimulate the students interest in, and understanding of, the past. Our aim is to equip every student to comprehend society, culture and politics in all their diversity through using the skills of the historian. By fostering independence of thought it is hoped to encourage appreciation of diversity of opinion, attitudes and values. Students learn to work collaboratively and independently, thus perfecting and developing different techniques, skills, and critical faculties.
To this end the teachers in the history department also undertake to continue to develop their own learning and education as historians and teachers.
The history department incorporates the aims of both the NCCA’s Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate syllabi into our own subject aims. We aim to:
Enable students to acquire knowledge of human activity in the past in order to promote a greater understanding of the contemporary world
Provide opportunities for students to investigate how the interaction of individuals, groups, and institutions creates human history and shapes the world of succeeding generations.
Develop in students the knowledge, understanding, concepts, skills and values that are fundamental to the study of history.
Develop the ability to think independently.
Develop a range of research skills appropriate to their age and level.
Foster in students an interest and enthusiasm for the work of the historian and an enjoyment of the study of human activity in the past.
Encourage recognition that historical narratives must be based on evidence, that evidence may be open to different interpretations, and promote a commitment to the pursuit of objectivity and fair-mindedness.
The objectives of Junior and Leaving Certificate History are to:
Investigate the concept of historical evidence and the different types of sources of evidence.
Develop students’ ability to interrogate and evaluate a range of historical sources.
Enable students to distinguish between fact and opinion, detect bias and identify propaganda.
Explore the principal trends, issues and events in the historical topics studied and acquire knowledge and develop an understanding of how events fit into a larger context such as how Irish history topics fit into a broader international context.
Enable students to carry out historical research at a level appropriate to their age and abilities and communicate their research findings in a variety of ways. They will learn how to select, record and collate data from primary and secondary sources and present their findings in a well-structured, logical format.
Equip them for the Junior and Leaving Certificate History Exams and enable them to fulfill their potential.
Ms Michaela Rochfort (Coordinator)
Ms Emma Malone
Effective Teaching Methodologies:
At Junior Cycle we employ a variety of teaching methodologies, which aim to develop skills of effective reading, note taking, evaluation of source material, essay writing and exam technique.
Encouraging students to participate in class discussions, where they can ask questions or express their opinions is important for developing a deeper understanding of the subject and encouraging a positive attitude to history. Group work encourages students to work with their peers and to reflect on their own learning. The use of worksheets and source material both documents and visual sources is essential for enhancing the students understanding of the skills of the historian.
Range/Variety of Resources:
The resources, i.e. the I pads, computers, videos & DVDs are useful in all areas of our work in history. They are employed in different ways with all year groups.
I pads are used with junior classes for PowerPoint presentations, access to e books and for research in class and to enable students to access class notes.
In Transition Year through the use of the computers in the IT room and the library we have the facility to encourage and develop independent learning and research skills essential in history. New ways of presenting assignments are encouraged in TY; these include the use of Keynote & PowerPoint Presentations, together with podcasting and videos.
We also use data projectors, maps and current articles from magazines such as History Ireland and History Today.
We also have a large variety of Junior Cert and Leaving Cert textbooks, which we use to supplement our own textbooks.
Availability/Use of ICT Facilities:
At present all 1st and 2nd year students have their own I pads which they can bring to class for classwork and research activities. They can also use their I pads with their digital textbooks for homework assignments.
There are computers in the computer room and the library for all students.
Salvete, omnes! Welcome to the Classics Department of Alexandra College, where students learn about the world behind veni, vidi, vici and carpe diem, where they come into contact with the Classical civilisations of the ancient past, those of Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, of Virgil and Homer, of Cicero and Plato.
Mission of the department
The influence of the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome on the formation of modern Europe and the development of Western society has been profound. In order to understand our own civilisation properly today, we must understand and appreciate what classical civilisation was in its various manifestations and how it has been transformed and enriched in the passage of time. The study of the Classics — through the three secondary school subjects of Latin, Ancient Greek and Classical Studies — is crucial in keeping awareness alive of our shared inheritance from Greece and Rome, an inheritance which is the unifying foundation of our European culture.
In particular, through the study of the Latin language students are brought into immediate contact with the ancient Romans themselves — with their literature, history, political and social institutions. From this, they can gain a fascinating picture of Europe’s first cosmopolitan culture and in addition, can acquire an insight into ancient Rome’s continuing influence on the modern world. Students also become conscious of the way in which Latin lives on in languages that are spoken by millions of people today: Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Romanian and other Romance languages are direct descendants of Latin. Knowledge of Latin is invaluable in understanding the roots of these languages and how they developed.
The advantages afforded by knowledge of Latin extend beyond the Romance languages. The English language, while not descended directly from Latin, has borrowed extensively from it over the centuries, with the result that much of its vocabulary derives from Latin. In order to have a thorough understanding of English, it helps greatly to have some knowledge of Latin. On a broader level, the study of Latin will give students an appreciation of how all languages evolve over time.
Latin should be a vital part of every child’s education. Through the study of Latin students will benefit by improving their literacy and linguistic skills and by understanding how the modern world emerged from the Classical past.
Aims and objectives of the department
In teaching Latin and the other Classical subjects—Ancient Greek and Classical Studies—we aim to enable students …
to read, understand and enjoy the ancient texts, whether in the original language or in translation
to acquire a knowledge and appreciation of the Romans’ civilisation through the study of Roman literature, history, art, architecture, myth and legend, social and political life
to engage in a critical exploration of Classical civilisation at a level appropriate to their age and stage of development
to become aware of the common European heritage deriving from the civilisations of Greece and Rome
to improve their level of literacy, particularly in English
to make links between the Ancient Greek/Latin languages and modern languages
to gain greater insight into how languages work
to develop their creative faculties through their exposure to the outstanding achievements of the Classical world
1st Year – 2 periods
2nd Year – 5 periods
3rd Year – 5 Periods
Transition Year Classical Studies – 4 Periods
5th Year – 5 Periods
6th Year – 5 Periods
Resources available to the Classics Department to support its teaching include the following:
a dedicated Classics Room, Room 25, where all the Department’s classes are scheduled to take place
lockable cupboards housing the Department’s books, CDs, DVDs and other equipment to provide visual and aural stimulus to students in their learning
laptop and tablet computers with Internet connection, loudspeakers and projection facilities
wall-space for posters, illustrations, wall-maps of the Classical World, and student work
What sets Alex Classics department apart from other schools?
The Classics Department of Alexandra College is one of the few remaining in the country with the capacity to offer instruction for interested students in all three Classical subjects — Latin, Ancient Greek, and Classical Studies.
The Classics Department organises an annual lecture on a topic related to the Classical world, open to students, parents, staff and members of the public. This lecture honours the memory of a former principal of the College, Miss Eithne Ryan, who was herself a noted Classicist, and also serves to increase awareness and knowledge of the Classical world within the College community and beyond.
The progress of students within the Classics Department is assessed through…
Regular written homework (normally assigned once per week)
Class presentations and projects (involving oral explanation and visual aids — g. posters, artwork, Keynote/PowerPoint)
The Christmas and Summer examinations (for First, Second and Fifth Year)
The ‘Mock’ examinations (for Third and Sixth Year)
The Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate Examinations (for Third and Sixth Year)
Latin students are given practice in translating into English individually. They are also given practice in translating from English into Latin, to help them think more actively about the structures of the Latin language and to give them the possibility of attempting this option in the state examinations. Students are encouraged to read Latin aloud in order to develop their appreciation of the sound of the language, particularly in poetry. Students are from time to time assigned to work in pairs or larger groups, in relation both to learning the language and to studying Roman history and civilisation, so that they may benefit from a collaborative learning experience.
Welcome to the Religious Education department at Alexandra College. At Alex we believe that, for better or worse, religion has been one of the most powerfully shaping forces in human history and that it still shapes our world today. For that reason we strongly encourage our students to wrestle with the question of faith in a modern world. We are passionate about fostering an openness of mind in our students and we endeavour to teach our girls to think critically about the philosophies and worldviews that they encounter every day. In the RE department at Alexandra College students can expect to have their minds stretched, challenged and expanded in ways that will contribute positively to all of their academic endeavours and to their lives after school as well.
Junior students follow the Junior Certificate programme while senior students may choose to study Religious Education for their Leaving Certificate. Only examinable since 2005, Alexandra College is one of the few schools in the country that offers this exciting course of philosophy, theology and ethics.
Have you ever asked yourself a question about religion, God or the meaning of life? Then you are already a philosopher and are warmly welcomed to join us in the RE department where good questions are just as important as good answers.
The mission of the Religious Education department at Alexandra College is to add to the holistic, personal development of the students of the College. The Religious Education team aims to aid the girls in becoming well-rounded, open-minded individuals who have an understanding of and appreciation for the different religious and non-religious worldviews that shape modern life.
Aims and objectives
To engage in the academic study of religious traditions and non-religious, philosophical traditions thoughtfully and respectfully.To contribute to the moral development of students through the study of ethics.To add to the holistic development of the students of Alexandra College by encouraging respect and open-mindedness.To uphold the Church of Ireland ethos of the school while partaking in dynamic conversation with and consideration of other faith and non-faith traditions.
Timetabled periods for Religion
1st Year – 3 periods per week.
2nd & 3rd years: 2 periods per week.
Transition Year: 2 periods per week.
5th & 6th Year – 2 double periods and 1 single period per week.
Ms Stephanie Winn
Mr Malachi Friel
One Religious Education room in the main school building.
A range of ICT facilities including data projector, laptops and iPads.
Previous field trips have included visits to St. Philip’s Church on Temple Road, the Mosque in Clonskeagh, the Jewish Museum in Portobello and the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle.
What makes us different
Religious Education at Alexandra College has broken away from the traditional, catechetical approach adopted in most faith schools in Ireland in the past. At Alexandra College, we passionately believe in the importance of the academic study of religion, philosophy and ethics. At junior cycle we follow the Junior Certificate syllabus as well as being pioneers of Leaving Certificate Religious Education, becoming one of the pilot schools in 2005. This fascinating programme covers a range of topics such as the major world religions, non-religious philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to the contemporary period, religious and non-religious questions of ethics and morality and topics as diverse as science and religion or gender and religion.
Following the Junior and Leaving Certificate syllabi, students momentarily put aside their personal beliefs and engage in the study of a range of religious and non-religious traditions. In keeping with our Church of Ireland ethos, Alexandra College encourages students to engage with issues of faith on an intellectual level in the classroom while they are free to explore their various traditions from a faith-based perspective by additional means outside the classroom with the help of the chaplaincy team for example.
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.
All 1st year students take music as a subject as part of the subject sampling offered to all 1st year students. The aim of the first year programme is to introduce all first years to the three important elements of music: composing, performing and listening.
The programme offered to 1st year students includes:
Understanding music notation and basic rudiments of theory
Listening and responding to a wide variety of music from varying stylistic periods
Developing an aural awareness of stylistic differences across various genres
Performing as a class group through choral activities and classroom orchestra
Developing the skills necessary to allow students to continue their music education to Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate standards
Ms Liz Foster (Coordinator)
Ms Jennifer Bell
Mr Ron Cooney
Ms Monica Errity
Ms Orla Kelly
Ms Elva MacGowan
Mr Hugh O’Byrne
Ms Derval O’Sullivan
Ms Miriam Ross
Mr Barry Rycraft
Mr Nathan Barrett
Ms Elena O’Rourke
Second and Third Year
Music is offered as a choice subject at Junior Certificate level and the students select two out of a possible five subjects alongside their other core Junior Cert subjects. There are five periods a week given to the music course for second and 3rd year students.
As stated in the Junior Certificate syllabus the music course is “designed to enable all students to acquire musical skills suited to their age, varying abilities and musical experience”.
The course is divided into three components that represent these musical activities and experiences:
These three elements are not seen as separate or independent, but activities that support each other and work in tandem with each other.
All students are expected to perform as part of their Junior Certificate examination and this is worth 25% of their overall exam. This performance can be done through one or two musical activities and can be individual or group based. To encourage the development of performing skills all students are encouraged to take part in the many music-making activities that the College offers.
Composing helps students to discover how musical decisions are made. This includes decisions on tonality, rhythm, melodic curve and harmonic progression. Included in this section of the course are the understanding of triads, the introduction to melody writing and the understanding of harmonic progressions and adding backing chords to a given melody.
As part of this skill area students learn how to identify and describe a variety of different musical features, to analyse and compare these features and to interpret and evaluate the music using formal descriptive language. The syllabus in this area includes a set of songs and orchestral works that students must study and be able to identify features aurally and through written stimuli. Included in this skill area is a section on Irish Music.
The practical assessment that takes place around Easter time each year is worth 25% of the overall marks. The listening and the composing components are assessed in June and this written paper is worth 75% of the overall marks.
As part of the Transition Year programme every student takes part in a performance module.
There are 2 elements to the Music Performance module.
1. Music Outreach Programme
The students undertake to do research, prepare and perform a musical programme in the wider community.
As part of the performance nights the students prepare for two public performances. The students in the music module are involved in the choice of music to be performed and they are expected to participate with enthusiasm and energy, ensuring a productive and enjoyable module for all. The performance module consists of the following elements:
Development of Singing Skills
Development of Performing Skills
Development of Part Singing
Development of Stage Production Skills
2. Music Technology is offered as part of the post performance modules/options
This module consists of the following elements:
Exploration of technology assisted composing
Adding soundtracks to other media
Introduction to sequencing
The programmes used are Sibelius and Garage band
Leaving Cert programme
Music is offered as a choice subject at Leaving Certificate level and there are five periods a week given over to the study of music.
The syllabus follows on directly on from the Junior Certificate where the three essential activities of performing, composing and listening are central to the structure of the syllabus. The syllabus is structured so that students can specialise in one of the three areas above by selecting one of them as a ‘higher elective’. Each section is worth 25%, and students then select one of the three activities to be worth 50% and do an extra course of work in this area.
As with the Junior Certificate students can perform individually or as part of a group. It is common practice for students to use existing groups within the College as part of their practical exam and many students use the choir or various orchestral groups for this. The genres that the students can present their practical through are very flexible and include traditional, rock, jazz and musicals. The content of the performance must show diversity in style and technique. Music technology can also be offered as part of the performance examination and students can elect to make a backing track or edit a music score through appropriate software.
Students will learn the skills necessary to compose a 16 bar melody that includes a modulation to a related key and do a harmony exercise that demonstrates an understanding of chord progressions and cadences. The composition paper totals 25% (100 marks), with 40 marks going for the melody writing question and 60 marks for the harmony question.
The listening course contains prescribed works, Irish Music and Aural skill development through an unheard question. The Listening paper is worth 25% and all Ordinary Level and Higher Level students must study all the four set works prescribed. They need to understand, identify and describe the musical features used, study style and historical context and analyse and describe patterns of repetition and change in the music. In the Irish Music section students will study the dances, instruments and players associated with Irish music and the traditional and non-traditional features of performances. Throughout the fifth year and sixth year cycle there is an emphasis in the classroom on the development of aural skills through unprepared listening exercises that cover all styles and genres.
Arts and drama give students 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 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.
Ms Lynn Brehony (Coordinator)
Ms Clodagh Rycraft
Write, shoot, direct, edit.
The Filmmaking Department is designed for TY Students and oragnised by Ms Clodagh Rycraft.
They can take a module in filmmaking & scriptwriting during Transition year and learn how to write, shoot, direct and edit their own short film. Students also have the opportunity to film various school events
Mission of the department
The Filmmaking Department aims to develop the students in the following areas
To develop the student’s confidence and creativity in writing directing and producing a short film.
To explore the student’s creative ideas of personal and current issues in a safe and secure environment.
Team work – to encourage social interaction, co-operation and friendship amongst the group.
To develop and encourage our student’s knowledge and understanding of the film world and how to analyse and develop their opinions of characters, themes, plots etc.
To develop cross curricular activities – The documentaries made by the students can be used as a teaching resource in some classes e.g – the documentary on the DSPCA can be used in CSPE and the documentary on Bullying can be used in SPHE. Foreign language films can be used by the language department.
Students have the opportunity to film various school events and classes.
Aims and objectives of the department
To introduce the students to the structure of a script and how to tell a good story.
To develop an understanding of character development and conflict.
To be able to interpret a script and use a storyboard.
To enable students to develop techniques for short film production.
To understand how to use the camera to tell a story.
To manage a crew and to direct using the correct set procedures.
To understand the principles of continuity, editing and how to operate iMovie (a movie application on theMacc computers).
To foster an atmosphere of mutual support and appreciation of students individual creativity.
To broaden their knowledge of films, genres, and writers.
The students will design a script according to taught guidelines.
Operate film/audio visual equipment – Cameras, sound, editing facilities (imovie)
Students will develop teamwork skills when designing their script, filming scenes and editing their film.
They will develop an understanding and appreciation of film genres, writers and what makes a good film
How many timetabled periods are there in your subject in each year
Four classes per week
How many teachers in each department
Filmmaking Department – Clodagh Rycraft
In March we will take a trip to the regional finals of the ‘Fresh Film Festival’ in the IFI in Temple Bar – the students’ short films are screened here.
If we are selected to go through to the finals we will take a trip to Storm Cinema in Limerick in April.
What sets this department apart or above how the subject is thought in other schools.
This module can help to develop independent learning and creative thinking.
It gives students a great opportunity to work as a team in writing, shooting and directing their own film which will be screened at the various film festivals. Some of the filmmaking students assist in organising the film festival week in May. This can give the students practical experience of the work involved in running a film festival.
Plans for this year
Students work together in small groups to script, shoot and edit a short film. The film is then entered into the Fresh Film Festival competition in January. The Fresh Film Festival then invites the students to a regional screening of their films in the IFI temple bar in March.
The audience at the screening will vote for their favorite film to win an audience award. Selected films from the regional finals will go forward to the finals in Limerick.
The films are also screened at the Alexandra College Film Festival which will take place in the school in May. Prizes will be awarded to the film makers at the Oscar Ceremony at the end of that week.
Some of the filmmaking students assist in organising the film festival week in May.
Students also have the opportunity to film various school events and classes.
This subject is taken as part of the Junior Certificate Exams. An Action Project is worth 60% of the overall exam.
Ms Paula Swan (Coordinator)
Mr Reuben Ó Conluain
Ms Katie Fanagan
Mr Nathan Barrett
Trip To DSPCA Stocking Lane or any charity organization
Government Buildings, Dáil Éireann and the Seanad
Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate street
What sets this department apart from other schools
The subject focuses on active learning where the students engage in activities inside and outside the classroom.
The emphasis is on learning-by-doing. Examples include:|
Giving an Assembly to raise awareness
Inviting Guest Speakers
Case studies / Case Tracking
Drama / Film