Life at St. Columba’s College is very busy, rich and fulfilling
College life is busy, intense and rewarding. It demands much from pupils and staff alike. Looking through the pages in this section of our site, we hope you will get a good sense of the elements that make up our community.
The school day begins with breakfast for all pupils between 7:00am and 8:05am (dependent on your Form). A whole-school Chapel service begins at 8:20 with lessons beginning at 8:45am (the times on Wednesday and Saturday – both half days of lessons – are a little different). There are three lessons in the morning before a break from 11:00am to 11:30am. Two more lessons then a hearty two course lunch before the final two lessons in the afternoon. There are compulsory games for all pupils in the late afternoon before evening supper. After supper, there is supervised prep (homework) before all pupils go back to house to socialise.
All individual pupils benefit from the close attention of teachers and the immense commitment of all members of staff to the very full life of the community is central to school life. This page describes the formal roles of teachers outside the classroom.
Housemasters and Housemistresses are in charge of the welfare of pupils in their houses. Please see the Boarding and Day section for a full account of their importance. Furthermore all houses have assistant staff.
Many pupils have Academic Tutors, who help them with work difficulties when necessary. All VI formers are offered tutors who help organise their work in this most important year, and also give personal attention to their university and college entrance demands, under the aegis of the Careers and Guidance Service.
There is an on-site Careers and Guidance teacher, always available to counsel pupils in confidence, as is the College Chaplain.
The College has a formal publicised policy to deal with bullying, and a clear reporting system, which is co-ordinated in confidence by two designated teachers. There is a special group of teachers called Curam, who oversea such concerns.Health matters are in the hands of the College Medical Officer and Matron.
The dress code is set out in a clothes list and is simple and practical. An academic gown is worn in working hours.
Terms, Holidays and Exeats
The school year is divided into three terms of which the first, the Michaelmas Term (September to December) is the longest. The Hilary Term is from January to March. The third is the Trinity Term, from April to June, and this is when external public examinations are taken. The Michaelmas Term has a substantial holiday at half-term, when the College closes down. There are also shorter half-term breaks in the other terms, including following the St Columba’s Day celebrations in late May or early June. Each term there is a three or four-day ‘Exodus’ during which the College closes : most pupils from outside Ireland stay with their guardians, or Irish school friends.
During each term boarders are normally allowed Sunday exeats by their Housemasters from about 11 am to about 8 pm. Each pupil may take two overnight Saturday/Sunday exeats each term.
The Sanatorium is situated in a purpose-built house in the College, and the Matron is resident. The College Medical Officer visits the College weekly and at other times when requested. The Matron is a qualified nursing sister who works under the direction of the Medical Officer. Except for minor ailments, parents are notified immediately their son or daughter is admitted to the Sanatorium.