Admissions Policy

Admission & Participation Policy


This admissions policy has been adopted by the school’s Board of Management in accordance with the requirements of Education Welfare Act (2000) and all other relevant legislation.




St. Columba’s Comprehensive School will endeavour to:

* Provide a curriculum appropriate to all students in a safe and caring environment

* Foster a spirit of co-operation and mutual respect between students, staff and community.

* Enable each student to reach his/her full potential.

* Promote the development of personal responsibility founded on honesty, justice and truth.

We hope to achieve our aims by recognising, developing and rewarding the inherent good in all our young people. These aims are encapsulated in our school motto –

“Mol an Óige agus tiocfaidh sí”



(a) Enrolment is conditional upon acceptance of, and adherence to, all School Rules and Policies and the payment of all fees associated with the relevant course being followed. In this regard, the School’s Code of Behaviour must be accepted in writing by pupil and parent/guardian before enrolment can be effected.


(b) To be eligible for enrolment a child must:

(i) be 12 years of age on the 1st January following enrolment (original Birth Certificate must be presented), and

(ii) have completed 6th class of Primary School or its equivalent.


(c) School’s Board of Management must be satisfied that adequate resource and

facilities are in place to meet the special needs of pupils’ with acute learning or physical disabilities. Enrolment will be conditional on adequate resources being supplied by the Department of Education and Science to meet the educational and physical needs of the student. In this regard, professional reports etc. should be lodged with School Principal by 1st March prior to enrolment so that the required resources can be sought.


(d) St. Columba’s Comprehensive School endeavours to accommodate pupils from the primary schools in the catchment area.

q Boundaries of the Schools’ Catchment area are defined as follows:

(a) The Roughra Crossroads between Ardara & Killybegs;

(b) Dunkineely between Ardara and Donegal Town;

(c) Meenacahan, Inver, between Glenties & Donegal Town;

(d) Thower, Inver, between Glenties/Ardara & Donegal Town;

(e) Letterbrick, Cloghan, between Glenties & Ballybofey;

(f) Kingarrow, between Glenties & Letterkenny;

(g) Meenacarn, Lettermacaward, between Glenties & Dungloe;

(h) Ballinacarrick, between Lettermacaward & Doochary.

(i) Narin, Portnoo, Rosbeg, Kilclooney etc.

* Pupils from all feeder schools in the Glenties catchment area which are:

Brackey N.S.; Brackey, Ardara;

Crannogbois N.S., Loughros Point, Ardara;

Gortnacart N.S., Gortnacart, Ardara;

Meentinadea N.S., Meentinadea, Ardara;

St. Mary’s N.S., Hillhead, Ardara;

Wood N.S., Front Street, Ardara;

Drimnacrosh N.S., Kilraine, Glenties;

Edeninfagh N.S., Edeninfagh, Glenties

Fintown N.S., Fintown;

Kilkenny N.S., Kilkenny, Glenties;

Scoil Mhuire N.S., Glen Road. Glenties;

Killian N.S., Inver P.O.;

St. Brigid’s N.S., Lettermacaward;

Meenagowan N.S., Lettermacaward;

St. Conal’s N.S., Narin, Portnoo P.O.

* Pupils from Primary Schools outside the catchment area, if the Board of Management are satisfied as to the reasons for enrolling and if space permits.

* Pupils transferring from other Post Primary Schools if space permits. Class sizes are determined as follows: Home Economics: 20 students; Practical Subjects: 24 students; General Subjects: 30 students. Transfer forms and references from their Principal will be taken into consideration before enrolment.


(e) In the event that there are more applicants than there are places in the school the following criteria will apply, in order of priority:

* Applications from within the catchment area

* Applications from children who have siblings in the school

* Applications from children of teachers in the school

* Applications according to date

* Applications according to age of child with priority given to seniority, in accordance with Department of Education & Science Rules

* Lottery

* Applications from outside the catchment area

* Applications from children who have siblings in the school

* Applications from children of teachers in the school

* Applications according to date

* Applications according to age of child with priority given to seniority, in accordance with Department of Education & Science Rules.

* Lottery



(a) St. Columba’s Comprehensive operates a policy of mixed ability classes.

(b) Students will be assigned to classes on a random selection basis.

(c) Classes will be set for higher and ordinary level subjects where it is felt necessary due to curriculum content.

(d) Assignment to classes is only an initial division of the enrolment and classes will be reviewed by Year Head and teachers during their junior years.



(a) First Years generally embark on the Junior Certificate Programme. Alternative programmes, such as the Junior Certificate Schools Programme (JCSP), may be offered if numbers merit it.

(b) Pupils are required to indicate their choice of subjects at time of enrolment. The school shall endeavour to satisfy pupils’ preferences in so far as resources, time-tabling and class-size limits permit.

(c) Where subjects are over-subscribed the following measures shall be used to determine access:-

(i) Choice “Ranking” assigned to the subject at enrolment.

(ii) Discussion with those pupils in the subject-group and those seeking places, to negotiate a solution to the difficulty.

(iii) Class subject-group membership may have to be decided by lottery, should difficulties still exist.

(d) Class assignment and subject groups will not be determined until the first school day of the New School Year, annually.



(b) Enrolment is taken annually in the months of March/April through the local Primary Schools as defined within the catchment area of the School. Application Forms together with supporting documentation, on curriculum, pastoral care, school policy and support structures, will be distributed through the Primary Schools.

(c) New students and parents/guardians will be made aware of the closing date for application.

(d) It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to provide the school with information and relevant reports regarding the health, safety and educational needs of their child.

(e) Students will be invited to spend a day at the school during the month of May to meet with the staff and with their mentors for the coming year. Students may be asked to sit a basic reading and numeracy test to ascertain which students, if any, need learning support.

(f) St. Columba’s Comprehensive School shall request most recent ‘Reading/Numeracy’ ratings and a report on the behaviour, ability and special needs of each pupil from their Primary School Principal.



Parents/Guardians attend information Meeting on Senior Cycle options in February/

March of third year.


Pupils, in consultation with parents, fill in forms indicating choice of course and subjects, in Spring term of third year.


Obtaining one’s preferred subject choices depends on numbers choosing particular subjects and availability of spaces in class.


Participation in specialist courses such as Transition Year, L.C.A., and L.C.V.P. may be subject to interview to determine suitability.


Participation in higher level classes for the Leaving Certificate Programme is influenced by grades achieved in the Junior Certificate, subject motivation and parental/guardian wishes.



(a) 1. Pupils transferring from other post primary schools must complete Transfer

Forms and Enrolment Forms, and the procedures outlined in Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act 200 will apply.

2. In cases where a child is coming from outside the ‘normal catchment’ area, or

from a different educational background, or who wishes to enrol after term has commenced, an appointment must be made to discuss the child’s needs, the availability of resources and available spaces in specific subject classes. Contact should be made with school prior to Summer to plan for such enrolment, if at all possible.

3. The following procedure will apply to any student wishing to transfer from another school:

* References from Principal of previous school.

* Two of the most recent School Term Reports.

* Copy of State Examination Results (where applicable).

* Record of his/her attendance.

* Psychological Reports (where one exists).

* Special needs requirements (with supporting documentation).

* Other Reports that assist the applicant and the school authority.


(b) Repeat Leaving Certificate

Application should be made, on the appropriate form, as soon as possible after Leaving Certificate Results are issued.

The school will consider each application individually, interviewing each applicant in early September. The student’s record to date will be taken into consideration and specific conditions may be placed on repeating. All fees payable, e.g. Book Rental, Extra Curricular Fee etc. must be paid before enrolment. It is the policy of the school to fill Leaving Certificate subjects from existing students first. Repeat Leaving Certificate students will be enrolled subject to availability of places in the subject areas of their choices.


(c) Non-English / Irish Speakers

Pupils whose first language is other than English or Irish, will be accommodated when school authorities are satisfied that adequate support structures and tuition is available from the Department of Education & Science.


(d) Special Needs

The Board welcomes diversity and will make every effort to provide for Special Needs within the limits of the resources provided by the Department of Education & Science subject to the provisions of Section 7.4(b) of the Equal Status Act, 2000.


(e) Adult Students

The Board of Management will accept applications for enrolment from students over 18 years of age if space and class sizes permits. The school rules will apply to these students, though exceptions may be allowed on agreement.



* A pupil’s behaviour record, especially incidents of detention, suspension or misconduct on school outings etc., will be taken into consideration where participation in school tours and extra-curricular activities is concerned.


* Where the behaviour of a pupil has been established to be such as to endanger the safety of self, other pupils or staff, or may compromise the education of other pupils, the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Behaviour, and if unresolved may be referred to the Board of Management.


* The School’s Board of Management reserves the residual discretion to refuse admission, to the school, to pupils whose presence has been established to be such as would adversely affect the health, safety and welfare of the staff and/or the health, safety, welfare and educational progress of other students attending the school.


* (a) Final Decisions on Enrolment rests with the Board of Management, subject to appeals procedures under Education Act (1998) and Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

(b) Parents are expected to familiarise themselves with the School Rules and Policies as contained in the School’s Code of Behaviour and “Guidelines on Communication with the School”.

(c) Enrolment is conditional on acceptance, in writing, of the School’s Code of Behaviour.



(i) There is a statutory obligation on parents/guardians to ensure that their child attends school up to age 16, or completes three years of Junior Cycle, whichever is later.

(ii) All part-day and full-day absences must be explained promptly by note on child’s return to school.

(iii) The school is obliged to monitor attendance and must inform the Department of Education / Educational Welfare Officer, whenever a pupil’s cumulative absence reaches 20 days in any school year (includes sick days, suspensions etc.)


St. Columba’s Comprehensive School is a second level school funded and staffed by the Department of Education & Science (D.E.S.). The school operates in accordance with the regulations as set down from time-to-time by the D.E.S. and provides a Curriculum as set down by the D.E.S.