School Plan

School Plan Pobalscoil Iosolde 2015 –2016


Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide an inclusive learning environment, happy, safe and secure, which would enable students to develop –

Intellectually               Morally                       Spiritually

Socially                                    Physically                    Emotionally

Cultural and Aesthetic Appreciation

In partnership with parents/guardians and the wider community, we are committed to the provision of quality teaching and learning which promotes –

  • Respect for the individual, others and the environment
  • A love of learning and a healthy work ethic
  • An ability to think independently
  • A commitment to life long learning
  • An understanding of and a respect for diversity
  • A supportive, positive approach to physical and mental well being


By adopting this holistic approach to education, we seek to enable our students to achieve their full potential.

School Ethos

Pobalscoil Iosolde is a Community School dedicated to the education of boys and girls.  It provides a broad education where truth, honesty and justice are promoted among the school community.  The pursuit of academic excellence is integrated with the personal, emotional, physical and spiritual development of the child.  The school works in close liaison with parents in providing a well-balanced integrated person-centred education.


Pobalscoil Iosolde, which was founded in 1982, is a modern, well equipped, inclusive co-educational community school.  It was set up originally under the trusteeship of the Sisters of Mercy but they have withdrawn from that role in recent times.  It was established to meet the needs of all the young people in Palmerstown and Chapelizod.  The name of the school was chosen to reflect the local historical connection with the Tristan and Iosolde legend.

Pobalscoil Iosolde is run by a Board of Management under the auspices of the current dual trusteeship of the Archdiocese of Dublin and the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board

Mr. Peter Murphy was the first Principal of the school.   He was succeeded by   Mr. Pádraic Gallagher in 2000.  Ms. Lorraine O’Toole, the current Principal, was appointed in 2009.

On 19 September 2008, our new Sports Hall was opened by the then Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan.  This event was much celebrated, being the culmination of a twenty year campaign by parents, teachers and local politicians, to secure the facility.

The school has experienced success in a multitude of areas over the years.  In addition to significant achievements in the sporting arena, Pobalscoil Iosolde has also received awards for project work in science and business and in the area of social inclusion.  Staff and students have also had a long involvement with international projects and have gained considerably from same.  We are delighted to announce a new extension, a significant development in the history of Pobalscoil Iosolde, which is due for completion in early 2015, consisting of five classrooms, two resource rooms and a brand new state of the art modern library.

Staff and students have long been associated with the performing arts, including participation in school pantomimes, fashion shows and in talent shows.

We are very proud of all of our past and present pupils.  Many of them have achieved distinction in academic and in sporting life and also in the world of business.  They are making a meaningful and significant contribution in civil, social and cultural life.

Structures and Resources


The school is managed by a Board of Management.  There are eleven members on the Board: Three nominees of the Dublin Archdiocese                                                                                                  Three nominees of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board                                                                                                                  Two nominees of the Parents                                                                                                                              Two nominees of the Teaching Staff                                                                                                      The Principal acts as Secretary to the Board                                                                                                   The Board is elected for a three year term and meets on a regular basis during the school year.



Senior and Middle Management

While the overall running of the school is the remit of the Board of Management, the day to day running of the school is the responsibility of senior management, which consists of the Principal and Deputy Principal.  However, there is also a cohort of teachers who assist in this matter.  These teachers are posts of responsibility holders and are in one of two categories – Assistant Principals and Special Duties. There are four Assistant Principals, one Programmes Co-ordinator, eight Special Duties Posts and an Adult Education director at present in the second level school.  These posts of responsibility are based on the needs of the school and accordingly are reviewed on a regular basis.

Teaching and Special Needs Assistants Resources

Teachers are allocated to the school in accordance with DES regulations.  The number of teachers serving depends on DES Teacher-Pupil ratios.  There are forty seven teachers currently working in the school.

Special Needs Assistants are allocated to the school in accordance with DES regulations.  The number of Special Needs Assistants serving depends on the allocation given by DES.  There are fourteen Special Needs Assistants currently working in the school.

Pobalscoil Iosolde Curriculum

Students at Pobalscoil Iosolde follow the curricular programme set down by the Department of Education and Skills. We provide a six year Post Primary Cycle.  Pobalscoil Iosolde endeavour to offer as broad a range as possible within staff and timetable constraints.  The school will also endeavour as much as possible to provide the opportunity for students to take examinations at the level which is suited to their needs.  The school sees its role here as being supportive to students and parents in enabling the student to develop his or her particular talents in subjects and at levels that are suitable to the student.  However, this ambition depends on adequate resources being available to the school.

Junior Certificate Programme

Students follow a set of curricula that leads to the Junior Certificate at the end of three years.  The core curriculum which is taken by each pupil for the first three years consists of Irish, English, Mathematics, Physical Education, History, Geography, Religious Education, CSPE (Civic Social & Political Education), SPHE (Social, Personal & Health Education). Students now choose between French and German.  Students also study three optional subjects from a range including Science, Art, Home Economics, Technical Graphics, Business Studies, Materials Technology (Woodwork), Materials Technology (Metalwork) and Music.

Junior Certificate Schools Programme

A number of students also take part in the Junior Certificate Schools Programme which supports and supplements the Junior Certificate Course by offering students the option of continuous assessment in a wide range of curricular and non-curricular areas.

Transition Year Programme

Transition Year is designed to promote students’ social, educational and vocational development, thus preparing them for their oncoming role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.

The Transition Year Programme consists of four elements:

Core Subjects: Irish, English, Mathematics, French / German, Physical Education and Social Concern. This enables students to commence the Leaving Certificate Programme in order to obtain the best results possible at the end of senior cycle.  All students take part in Learning to Learn and Career Guidance modules.

Elective Subjects: Physics and Chemistry, Environmental Science, Computers, Social Geography, Business Enterprise, Construction, Our Heritage and History, Technical Graphics and Art.  All Students sample a range of subjects in modular form and partake in aptitude testing to facilitate informed subject choices at the beginning of Senior Cycle.

Computers:   Transition Year Students study Computers as an optional subject.

Non-Curricular Activities: Work Experience, Film Studies and/or Outdoor Pursuits. On a modular basis one day per week all students opt for one of the above. This is designed to enhance pupils’ understanding of the world of work, culture and the natural environment.

Senior Cycle

The following Leaving Certificate options are available to students who have completed the Junior Certificate Course.

Leaving Certificate Traditional

The core curriculum which is taken by each student consists of Irish, English, Mathematics, Religious Education, and French / German.

Students choose three optional subjects from a range including Accounting, Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry & Physics, Architectural Technology (Construction), Engineering, Design and Communication Graphics (Technical Drawing), Geography, History, Home Economics and Music.

Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme                                                                                                          This is an enhanced version of the traditional Leaving Certificate with students taking the Vocational Preparation Programme (Link Modules) alongside their chosen Leaving Certificate subjects.

For both the traditional Leaving Certificate and the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme all examination subjects are taught at higher, ordinary and/or foundation level.                                                   These two courses enable students to enter Universities, Institutes of Higher Education, Post Leaving Certificate Courses, Apprenticeships, Training Programmes or the world of work.

Leaving Certificate Applied

The core subjects are English and Communication, Irish Studies, Modern Languages, Social Education, Vocational Preparation and Career Guidance, Information and Technology, Leisure and Recreation and Mathematical Applications. Students are also offered a number of specialist and elective subjects such as Engineering, Graphics and Construction, Hotel Catering and Tourism, Religious Education and Arts Music or Arts Visual.                                                                             Students take part in work experience one day per week, opting for four different placements during the two year programme. This Leaving Certificate course incorporates continuous assessment, task evaluation, compulsory attendance and written examinations over two years.

Career Guidance is also offered to every student.

Special Educational Needs / Learning Support


Pobalscoil Iosolde provides a comprehensive co-educational system of post primary and ongoing education for those living in the locality of the school, according to the deeds of trust.   The Department of Education and Skills actively promotes the inclusion of all students into mainstream education.  The S.E.N. / learning support policy of Pobalscoil Iosolde has developed under the auspices of these guiding principles.

Pobalscoil Iosolde offers a wide variety of curricular choices both at Junior Certificate level and Leaving Certificate level. These choices help cater for the needs of the individual student. However, some students require additional supports to enhance their learning opportunities and enable them to access the curriculum.


All incoming students sit an assessment test in the February prior to entry. This test helps identify any students encountering learning difficulties who will need the support of this department to engage with the curriculum on entry into second level education. If the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) has assessed any incoming pupil, parents will be requested to make available this report to the school. Further liaison with parents and the primary schools informs the school of each individual students’ support needs.  Students are allocated to mainstream mixed ability classes, with the exception of the Junior Certificate School Programme class which is a streamed class, based on the results of this test.

Students are assessed in January and at Summer and Mock examination times in each of their subjects.  The S.E.N. / Learning Support Department analysis these results to ensure each student is firstly placed correctly and secondly receiving the supports they need.  All necessary adjustments are made.

Referral forms are available throughout the year for individual teachers to complete should they have any concerns regarding the educational progression/behaviour of any individual student.

The S.E.N. / Learning Support Department may request that NEPS and/or other agencies provide an appropriate assessment of a particular student.


A wide variety of learning difficulties present each year, such as students with hearing loss, A.S.D., Dyslexia, and behavioural difficulties. The S.E.N. / Learning Support Department responds to these diverse needs. This may involve the student’s placement on an alternative curricular path within the school or the student being provided with individual or small group tuition by members of the team. Members of the team also provide support through team-teaching methods and the school may provide access to a Special Needs Assistant, as allocated by the S.E.N.O.  Programmes designed to cater for their individual needs will be developed whenever necessary, ie. Individual Education Plans (I.E.P.).

The S.E.N. / Learning Support Department communicates with the school’s teaching staff about students’ educational progress and actively promotes good practice in dealing with students encountering learning difficulties. This involves developing an awareness among the school staff of the different learning difficulties and the best practices they can offer to support these students within the mainstream class.  A presentation is given to staff at the beginning of each academic year identifying each student with special educational needs, indicating the students specific S.E.N., the access and supports granted and strategies for all staff to enable each of these students access the curriculum and achieve their potential.

Active involvement by the parents is encouraged as their role as primary educators is deemed of the highest importance.  The S.E.N. / Learning Support Department meet with parents routinely to discuss their son’s/daughter’s educational progress.

Students sitting the state examinations may require additional accommodations to enable them perform to the best of their ability. The S.E.N. / Learning Support Department actively seek all additional requirements from the Department of Education and Skills, R.A.C.E. Applications.

Overall, the Department works as an advocate with parents, school and Department of Education and Skills for pupils experiencing learning difficulties, promoting their educational rights and needs.

Curriculum Planning and Co-ordination

The school has a formal system of subject departments.  Each subject area meets a number of times each year.   Schemes of work for all year groups are provided by the relevant subject departments on a yearly basis.  All subject departments have folders containing subject plans, schemes of work, action plans, statistical results, relevant policies and details of how these relate to the specific subject area.  All subject departments also have access to computerised resources.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Pobalscoil Iosolde offers a wide range of both sport and cultural activities.

Sporting Activities: The school has excellent sporting facilities including a very large sports hall, fully equipped gymnasium, dance studio and large playing field.  Our extensive sports programme includes soccer, badminton, G.A.A., basketball, outdoor pursuits, sailing, fitness programmes, table tennis and athletics.

Cultural activities include a new intergenerational allotment project with members of the local community, cultural evenings, choir, dance, computer club, library, seachtain na Gaeilge, science week, disability awareness week, anti-bullying week, fair trade week, European language week, school pantomime, variety show, Comenius, games club, book club, and prize givings.  Senior students are also given the option of completing the Gaisce Awards.

Pastoral Care

The pastoral care of students is of great importance in Pobalscoil Iosolde as our mission is to provide an inclusive learning environment, happy, safe and secure.  The personal development of students in a holistic manner is promoted by helping each student reach his/her full potential.  Each student’s intellectual, moral, social, emotional, spiritual and physical development is nurtured to promote an awareness of their responsibilities as good citizens.  Central to this pastoral programme is each Teacher, Special Needs Assistant, Class Tutor, Year Head, S.P.H.E. Co-ordinator, Chaplain, Guidance Counsellor, Care Team, Attendance Officer, Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator, School Completion Programme Co-ordinator, all other Staff, Senior Management, Parents and the fellow Students.

Class Tutor

Each class group is assigned a teacher who acts as a class tutor to the group.  He/she meets the group every morning at registration time and once a week for S.P.H.E.  The tutor will also teach the group wherever possible, which will afford him/her the opportunity to get to know the class well.

The role and responsibilities of the tutor are as follows:

During tutor time:

  • Enter registration every morning on eportal system
  • Check all students have their journal.  If any student does not have his/her journal send him/her to the relevant year head for a temporary journal.  Make a note of this and sent the student to the year head to return the journal the next morning
  • Check students’ uniform.  If student is not in full uniform and does not have a note explaining this send the offending student to the relevant year head
  • Check for absence notes.  Collect absence notes.  Warning to students who have forgotten absence note, then refer to Stage 1 Discipline Code
  • Update eportal system re reasons for absence
  • Check junior cycle students are not wearing make-up.  Ensure students with make-up on remove it before going to class
  • Disseminate information to class group

Ongoing Responsibilities:

  • Examine the journals of tutor group at least twice a week to ascertain the ongoing progress of each student in tutor group:  Monitor the number of good/bad notes, no homework notes, the number of lates, notes from parents.  If a student receives three or more bad notes in one week the tutor should give the student detention
  • Sign each student’s journal on a weekly basis.  Ensure that a parent signs the journal every week. Non compliance, refer discipline code stage 1
  • Encourage and develop within his/her pupils a positive attitudes to academic work and encourage good classroom/school performance (encourage academic excellence, good notes, good time-keeping, excellent attendance etc.)
  • Problems of discipline should be communicated to parents by means of pupil’s journal.  Contact with parent by phone re issues of discipline
  • Deal with discipline problems of a minor nature
  • Report more serious matters of unsatisfactory attendance, punctuality or behaviour to the Year Head in a written report.   A duplicate book is available for this purpose.
  • Liaison with Year Head/Principal/Vice-Principal.
  • Deliver the S.P.H.E./ R.S.E. programme to students in tutor group
  • Update eportal system re reasons for absence every Monday / weekly


Year Head

The year head oversees the welfare of a particular year group or part of a year group.  He/she acts as a support for the class teacher and class tutor.  The year head in collaboration with the class teacher and the class tutor will help students to mature, develop an awareness of their talents and reach their full potential.                                                                                                                                              The role of the year head is as follows:

  • To plan the S.P.H.E. programme with class tutors
  • To meet regularly with the tutors
  • To arrange and conduct year group assemblies
  • To monitor attendance, punctuality, behaviour and progress of students on a weekly basis.
  • To maintain student records and bring appropriate information, (class / subject changes etc.) to the school office)
  • To liaise with school personnel whenever and whenever necessary
  • To organise Parent / Teacher Meetings, Induction Meetings, assist with sessions on study skills, etc.
  • To assist with administration of options for pupils and organisation of class groups
  • To oversee the management of pupil discipline in conjunction with other relevant parties
  • To meet regularly with senior management in order to discuss all relevant management issues



Pobalscoil Iosolde has the services of a full time chaplain who is affiliated to the Chaplaincy Association and participates in the Dublin West Chaplain’s Cluster Group.  He is a member of the School Care Team.  In addition to offering spiritual advice and guidance, the chaplain also offers support, advice and guidance on a myriad of personal, social and health problems that confront modern young people.  A student or parent/guardian may contact the chaplain for an appointment on an individual basis or through the school.  The class tutor, year head, deputy principal or principal may refer a student to the chaplain for consultation and advice.

Care Team  

The care team, an initiative since 2009, promotes a shared responsibility for the care needs of students including their emotional, behavioural and educational needs.  This team is actively supported by the school’s N.E.P.S representative.  It is a student focused team put in place in order:

  • To co-ordinate the support available through the school
  • To promote good mental health among the student population
  • To assist staff deal effectively with students encountering difficulties
  • To encourage students access supports when they need it
  • To facilitate links with the community and non-school support services

In the case of a critical incident the care team which currently consists of Deputy Principal, chaplain, career guidance counsellor and a member of the S.E.N. team is the key body in the school that has responsibility for the management of the school response, in accordance with the N.E.P.S. Critical Incident Guidelines.


Students may refer themselves to the school counsellor and / or may be referred by a Tutor, Year Head, Care Team member or parent.  The school employs the services of a psychotherapist as part of Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (D.E.I.S.) initiative.  Students are referred to the psychotherapist through the Care Team.  Occasionally students are referred to external agencies to receive counselling.

Buddy programme

The buddy programme is a mentoring programme, whereby a number of senior students are trained to help and assist first year students in their transition from primary to secondary school.  The programme is co-ordinated by the chaplain.

Career Guidance and Counselling


Overview Career Guidance and Counselling in Pobalscoil Iosolde


The Guidance and Counselling Department, working to the school’s mission Statement, has a remit to help students make informed personal, educational and career decisions. In addition to this, the guidance counsellor assists students in setting realistic personal and career goals and to develop the necessary skills to accomplish these goals. The service offers additional support to students coping with personal problems or academic concerns. Pobalscoil Iosolde offers a comprehensive guidance programme with a full time guidance counsellor. In accordance with the guidelines, Schools are required in accordance with the Education Act (1998) to “ensure that students have access to appropriate guidance.” The Guidance Plan has been drafted with consultation with the school principal, BOM, chaplain, HSLO, teaching staff and auxiliary staff.  The guidance programme which corresponds to the Mission Statement of the Community School which aims to ‘provide an inclusive learning environment, happy, safe and secure, which would enable students to develop – intellectually, morally, spiritually, socially, physically, emotionally and cultural and aesthetic appreciation.’ The Guidance and Counselling Department provides an ‘Open Door’ policy to students, parents and teachers. All students are made aware of the programme and information posters are dispersed around the school. Students can request an appointment with the guidance counsellor or a referral system operates. Fellow students, teachers, parents or management can refer students to the service. All Leaving Certificate students meet with the guidance counsellor at the beginning of the year and again before the Christmas tests to keep the students focused. Each exam student is furnished with a study guide and study skills classes are given by the guidance counsellor. The guidance counsellor makes all resources available after school hours for any student wishing to take resources from the library.

The Career Service

The guidance service offers a full range of interventions and activities, which assist students to make choices about their lives. This is carried out by the key area of development in guidance

  1. Personal
  2. Educational
  3. Careers

By the end of the academic year, students will have experienced

  • Guidance in educational and personal learning management
  • Vocational exploration and information
  • Individual/group counseling for any student on request and/or referral
  • Students will have access to information for their personal, educational and vocational development
  • Parents will have met the guidance counselor at information evenings throughout the year
  • Students needs in our school will always be evaluated by the guidance counsellor and the student support team to ensure the best service is available for our students.
  • Confidentiality: The Guidance Counsellor operates her service in the highest regard for the respect and well-being of the student. Each student is advised on initial visit about the confidentiality agreement..
  • Assessment: The Guidance Counsellor uses a range of psychological tests for a variety of purposes. Assessment Tests: Differential Aptitude Tests (DATs);   Careers Interest Inventories.   WRAT IV, GRT11, NRIT, Mathematics Competency Test are used to determine:  (a) whether students will need extra tuition in certain subjects, (b) to establish what special aptitude students may have, (c) to help students to make informed career choices.



Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator (H.S.C.L.)

Pobalscoil Iosolde has a full time H.S.C.L. Co-ordinator.  Her work involves promoting partnership between the home, school and community by developing open communication and providing opportunities for the development of members of the school community.  The purpose of partnership is to enhance students’ opportunities and to promote their retention in the education system.

To enable me build partnership the H.S.C.L. Co-ordinator undertakes the following duties throughout the school year:

  • Home visits to establish home, school, community relationships
  • Supporting families through a Primary/Secondary School transfer programme
  • Providing courses and classes for parents – personal development, leisure and curricular
  • Implementing literacy and numeracy initiatives with parental involvement and organisation of celebratory certificate presentations for students and parents
  • Facilitating the training of parents as educational home visitors
  • Inviting parents to assume the role of visiting speakers and reading tutors where appropriate
  • Setting up and chairing a Local Committee for the school community with continuous coordination of its activities
  • Staff information and development through presentations at staff meetings and informally through liaison with relevant staff members on issues of attendance and planning work
  • Linking and networking with voluntary and statutory agencies to support the work of parents and teachers
  • Communication with staff and parents – publication of a HSCL newsletter, maintenance of staff and parent notice boards, attendance at Parent Teacher meetings


School Completion Programme (S.C.P.)

Pobalscoil Iosolde is part of the School Completion Programme, within a cluster group of five schools.  One of the aims of the programme is to improve and promote school retention through a variety of initiatives. These include the Attendance Officer, after school study, transfer programme from primary to secondary, home visits, links with the community and other agencies, Summer Programme and extra-curricular activities for targeted students.

Student Council

The role of the students’ council as set out in The Education Act is “to promote the interest of the school and the involvement of students in the affairs of the school, in co-operation with the Board, parents and teachers.”                                                                                                                 The Student Council seeks to provide a line of communication between students, teachers and parents, representing the views of the student body on matters of concern to them. The aim of the student council is to create a caring school environment which is supportive and inclusive. In Pobalscoil Iosolde the student council is made up of elected representatives from class groups and a number of volunteers. The council play an active role in the school in which their views are valued and they are considered to be very important stakeholders in the decision making process of Pobalscoil Iosolde.

Links with Parents

There are two parent representatives on the Board of Management.

Pobalscoil Iosolde has a Parent Teacher Association (P.T.A.) which all parents are invited to join.  This Association is affiliated to P.A.C.C.S.  This acts as a channel for greater involvement in the school. The P.T.A. arranges talks given by external agencies and / or individuals on current relevant issues for parents.  Parents are given opportunities to discuss and input into the development of school policy, guidelines and procedures.  The P.T.A. meet with the principal twice a year to discuss school matters.  In addition to its liaison role, the Parent Teacher Association raises and distributes funds for a host of extra-curricular activities in the school.                                                                                                                                                          There is a dedicated Home School Liaison Officer who provides a link between the school and the home for parents. The Liaison Officer provides information about services, supports and programmes the school offer students and parents.

Established Policies

  • School Plan
  • School DEID Action Plan
  • Mission Statement
  • School Enrolment/Admissions Policy
  • Child Protection Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools (Policy on Protection and Welfare of Children)
  • Student Code of Behaviour and Discipline Code
  • Student Suspension and Expulsion Policies
  • Anti-Bullying Procedures for Pobalscoil Iosolde
  • Student Attendance Policy
  • Homework Policy
  • Assessment Policy
  • Examinations Policy
  • DEIS Plan
  • Literacy Policy
  • Numeracy Policy
  • Special Educational Needs Policy
  • EAL Policy
  • Team Teaching Policy
  • Substance Use Policy
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Crisis (Critical Incident) Management Policy
  • Internet Safety:  Acceptable Use Policy
  • Guidance Plan for School?
  • Care Team Policy
  • Library Policy
  • JCSP Policy
  • Transition Year Policy
  • LCA Policy
  • LCVP Policy
  • SPHE Policy
  • Physical Education and Sports Plan
  • Religious Education Policy
  • Finance Policy
  • CCTV Systems & Data Management
  • Code of Practice for Processing Complaints by Parents/Guardians or Students (who have reached the age of 18 years) against Community and Comprehensive Schools
  • Code of Practice for Dealing with complaints of Bullying and Harassment/ Sexual Harassment of a member of staff in Community or Comprehensive Schools
  • Code of Practice for Persons with Disabilities
  • ACCS, IMPACT and SIPTU Grievance, Discipline and Dismissal Procedures
  • Policy on Data Protection


Each subject department has subject folders which contain subject plans and all relevant documentation.