Profile: Cistercian College, Roscrea, Tipperary

Vital stats: All boys, fee-paying, Catholic.

Number of Students: 175.


Cistercian College, in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, saw admissions dip in the recession but there has been a significant growth in enrolments and expressions of interest in 2016. It was named number two on the top 10 feeder schools in 2015. At its peak, the school, which does not cater for day pupils, exceeded 300 boarders. Fees are €13,500 plus additional costs.


Principal Brendan Grehan says it is important to remember that boarding school is different. "We endeavour to create a 'home away from home'. The advantages that boarding school offers over and above a day school is very much focused on the structure, routines and community.

“Students live in CCR 24/7, they build up a rapport with fellow students and staff. The advantages of a boarding school are that structures are in place to enable all students take part in prayer, classes, sport and extra-curricular, evening study and time to relax in their own space.”

Mental health and pastoral care: "As it is an all-boys school we have ongoing pastoral support with year heads and a guidance counsellor. We also have guest speakers who come in from academics or past pupils to instigate more talk about mental health," says Mr Grehan.

The importance of mental health for young men is a big issue and it is important students can feel like they get support here, be it from a guidance counsellor or house master, he says. The school also holds a mental health awareness week each year.

Extra-curricular strengths: Debating and music are popular but the school is best known for rugby. "Winning the Senior Cup in 2015 with 174 students was a unique challenge to us, while it was the first time we had won the cup, students returned to the college to concentrate on their upcoming Leaving Certificate," he says.

Streaming: No, given the student numbers Grehan says the school has only one or two classes per year. "The only division involved is for higher and ordinary for English, Irish and maths where we would have also language classes blocked with Irish for our international students.

“With regards to the different levels, we would encourage students to do higher level for as long as they feel comfortable and able to.”

Special needs: Yes – "We have a provision from the Department of Education but it is limited because we are a fee-paying school. We have a privately-paid resource teacher and a lot of it is funded by the school. From a student intake point of view we have an extensive resource programme and homework clubs for the entire student body," he says.

Code of behaviour: Grehan says the school's code of behaviour concentrates on the promotion of positive behaviour and on restorative practices. The code is currently being reviewed and the review process involves students, parents, teachers, staff, managers and patrons. As a seven-day boarding school under the Cistercian ethos, Grehan says the school promotes the creation of a safe environment where every young man can achieve their true and fullest potential in a caring, authentic and supportive environment.

Whole School Evaluation: A whole school evaluation report was carried out in May 2013, and was followed up in December 2015. The follow-up was very affirming and supportive on the systems and structures implemented in order to build on the very positive WSE report.

Progression: Grehan says year-on-year, 100 per cent of their students progress to third level either in Ireland or the United Kingdom. "There would be an expectation here that they would be academically very strong," he says. Student progression rate on to high-point courses was fifth on the table for schools with progression to high-points courses in 2015.

Book scheme:The college does not operate a student book scheme. As a boarding school students purchase the books via the school bookshop and they then have use of these books during the day in class as well as during the study at evenings and weekends. The College has a policy to minimise the changing of book titles.

Voluntary contribution: No, as it is a fee paying school