Profile: Coláiste Gleann Lí, Tralee, Co Kerry

Second-level school has one of the highest computer-to-pupil ratios in county

Pupils participate in a class at Coláiste Gleann Lí, Co Kerry. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

Pupils participate in a class at Coláiste Gleann Lí, Co Kerry. Photograph: Domnick Walsh


Coláiste Gleann Lí is a co-educational second-level school under the aegis of Kerry Education and Training Board (ETB). The school is non-fee paying and interdenominational.

Number of pupils: 138.


The school has one of the highest computer-to-pupil ratios in Kerry and it has high-speed internet connection and computer data projectors in each classroom. It has a state-of-the-art DCG (design communication graphics); art and computer laboratory facility since phase one of its extension was completed in 2013/14.

Many of the school’s staff have been trained by Prof Barrie Bennett (associate professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto), a leader in the field of instructional intelligence.

Put simply, it has encouraged teachers to embrace active learning approaches and strategies to ensure relevant and interesting and engaging instruction is taking place.

Mental health and pastoral care: Assistant principal Maryanne Lowney says the school is built on their core values of learning, caring, respect and inclusion. The school has been awarded several honours in recognition of sustained commitment to mental health and pastoral care.

Last year, it was the first school in Kerry and one of only six nationally to be awarded the ISPCC Anti-Bullying Flag award. “We were also chosen to launch the new ISPCC stand up to bullying bangle in conjunction with Penneys in September this year.

“We have also been awarded the Amber Flag in recognition of our in-school supports for mental health and our young people. The school has a student support team which meets weekly and supports and monitors students. This team supports students in a milieu of different ways offering academic supports, counselling, mindfulness courses, mentoring programmes.

Extra-curricular activities: The college’s collaborative agreement with Tralee Sports Complex offers a high standard of sports facilities. There are three all-weather astroturf pitches, a Gaelic games pitch, a 20-metre swimming pool, sports hall, gym, squash, and handball courts.

The school also has its own on-site astroturf pitch and received the highest sports capital grant in the county in 2015, amounting to €90,000 for the construction of changing facilities and flood lighting to compliment the astroturf pitch. This will also be completed in phase 2 of the extension process.

Streaming: The school does not engage in streaming outside of English and maths classes and all classes are of mixed ability.

Special needs: The school has an enrolment policy which is open and inclusive. Students are valued and every member of the school community is expected to show respect for the diversity of all students. All students are encouraged and supported to achieve their full potential.

Code of behaviour: All incoming students are presented with a copy of the code of behaviour rule book and are asked to enter into a good behaviour contract with the school on enrolment. There is an onus on students to show courtesy and respect to their peers and school visitors and reciprocate the positive and respectful behaviour shown to them by staff.

The school advocates a system of positive reinforcement where good behaviour is recognised and rewarded accordingly. The school also applies a restorative approach to behavioural issues which essentially seeks to ascertain the reasons for the misbehaviour and empower the student to make amends.

The approach enables students to identify where they may have engaged in inappropriate behaviour and allows them the opportunity to identify how it can be prevented in future. It regularly leads to a student asking for support and our student support care team is on hand to offer meaningful support in such cases.

Whole School Evaluation: A recent (2016) subject evaluation for Coláiste Gleann Lí geography department noted that: “Through skilful differentiated questioning, in a very encouraging and positive classroom environment, the teacher was successful both in pacing this lesson towards the achievement of the shared learning intention, and in gauging students’ understanding”.

A French department evaluation in 2014/15 stated: “The quality of teaching was excellent in the lessons observed. Lessons were well structured and paced, and allowed students many opportunities for participation and engagement. The target language was used very effectively and students demonstrated a good understanding of the language.”

Progression: “As a small school, we pride ourselves on getting to know our students well and therefore we offer meaningful guidance in terms of accessing further educational and training opportunities,” says Ms Lowney. The majority of students progress to third level with UCC and Kerry Further College of Education popular choices.

Book rental scheme: Yes.

Voluntary contribution requested: No.