The College places an enormous emphasis on pupils’ physical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing.
Wellbeing includes “learning opportunities to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of students. It will enable students to build life skills and develop a strong sense of connectedness to their school and to their community” (NCCA, Guidelines for Wellbeing in Junior Cycle 2017).
At St. Columba’s, our pupils’ wellbeing has always been at the centre of what we do. Culturing the physical, mental and emotional growth of our pupils is as important, and a key ingredient in, helping them reach their academic potential.
In truth, promoting pupil wellbeing is engrained in everything we do at St. Columba’s but we have specific curricular structures and events which target specific areas. Through Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) (incorporating the College Relationships & Sexual Education programme), Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), Religious Education (RE), Special Education Needs (SEN) and Guidance, the pupils are exposed to a range of targeted programmes which aim to promote wellbeing. You can find out more about these specific subjects here.
Supplemented heavily by our sports and extracurricular programme, chapel services and our pastoral structures, our allocated hours to wellbeing each year far exceed the requirement of 300 hours for Junior Cycle.
The wellbeing programme is overseen by a team of teachers and support staff called Cúram, who work to ensure the wellbeing needs of our pupils are met.
Cúram, the Irish for ‘care’, is the name of our Care Team at St. Columba’s.
Cúram, the Irish word for “Care”, is a group of teaching and wider staff who coordinate the wellbeing programme within the school, working with all areas of College life and indeed multiple external organisations. The key focus is promoting wellbeing and positive mental health but, of course, everyone goes through difficult times. When this happens, Cúram is there to help and we do our best to put supports in place for them, in the most discreet way possible. In the vast majority of times, working with the School Counsellor will be sufficient but, in more serious situations, Cúram will work sensitively with Housemasters, parents and the pupils concerned to help provide the best possible supports to allow pupils overcome their difficulties.
If a parent is concerned about their child, the Housemaster should always be the first point of contact.
As well as this wider role, Cúram is responsible for organising the annual Bullying Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week in the College.
Who are Cúram?
The Cúram Team comprise a range of roles and responsibilities across the school. In 2021, the Cúram Team comprises of:
Ms Maybury (Head of Pupil Welfare)
Mr Owen (Chaplain)
Mrs Owen (School Counsellor)
Mr Ryan (Head of SEN)
Mr Higgins (Head of Pastoral Care)
Anita Getty (Matron)
Ms Robinson (House Staff Representative)
Mr Jones (Careers Counsellor)
The Cúram Team meets every week to discuss pupils of concern, to organise events, to manage information and arrange training. All meetings are carried out under a strict policy of confidentiality.