To help staff to get to know our incoming students, first year boys are invited to write a letter to St. Mary’s entitled ‘All About Me’. Having St. Mary’s to themselves on their first day they are given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings and get to know their classes. A study skills course is run during the first term to help prepare students for the challenges of their secondary school academic life. During their first year students participate in an SPHE course which helps them with such areas as settling into secondary school, time management, personal health, and how to deal with bullying
A very successful mentoring programme is in place whereby senior students act as volunteer mentors for first years. Each mentor is usually assigned a small group of students who they help to adapt to their new surroundings.
Each class in the school is assigned a tutor who plays a role in counselling, offers academic guidance, and acts as a vital cog in the college discipline system.
Each of the five years has a designated year head with overall responsibility for the behaviour, discipline and welfare of the students in their year group.
Pastoral Care Team
A dedicated Pastoral Care Team is in place to help students with advice and to counsel students those who may be experiencing difficulties at home or at school. This group meets once a week during the academic year.
The aim of Guidance and Counselling in St. Mary’s College is to provide for the personal, social, educational and vocational development and needs of the students. Personal Counselling facilitates students who are experiencing difficulties or crisis in their lives. A safe, secure and confidential environment is available for any student who wishes to avail of it. Educational Guidance begins upon the student’s entry into the College. It includes assistance in the areas of subject choice, coping with the transition to secondary level, organisational skills and study skills. This service is available on request to all Junior Cycle students on an individual basis. Career Guidance classes are given to all leaving certificate students. Career Guidance is seen as a process not an event. Students are encouraged to develop greater self-awareness, to identify their broad range of skills, abilities, interests and values, and subsequently the career areas which best compliments them and will enable them to flourish. The career guidance service provides individual appointments for all students, career information, personality profiles, aptitude and interest tests, college-visits, guest speakers and consultation with parents. The underlying aim is to facilitate all our students in the process of making good career choices.
The College Chaplain meets with each of the first year students to have an informal chat and help them settle into life in the college. He is available for open discussions with any students who find themselves in need of a little advice and understanding.
Special Education Needs
St. Mary’s College values the educational well-being of each and every one of its students. For those students who have Special Educational Needs, whether they be educational, medical, psychological or social, we endeavour to ensure that whatever support they require is available. It is imperative that each student feels he is an integral and valued part of the college community and that he can achieve to the best of his ability. Specialized qualified teaching staff ensure that his path through St. Mary’s is a rewarding one.