Tales of a castle in the information age

School profile: St Eunan’s College, Co Donegal

 

Principal: Chris Darby

St Eunan’s may look like Hogwarts but visitors should not be fooled as tech is very much in evidence at the school.

The all-boys school currently has 850 pupils on the books and projections say it may hit the 1,000 pupil mark before long so a new school building is coming on train in the next two or three years.

Despite the school’s old appearance and lack of internet access it is leading the way with using technology in school and offers subjects such as coding and computer studies.

Referring to the phased introduction of new subjects on the Leaving Cert curriculum, principal Chris Darby says he is proud his school was chosen to pilot the new subhects.

“One of the things we are particularly proud of is that we were chosen to be a pilot school for Politics and Society, leaving cert computers and leaving cert PE,” he says.

“In terms of technology in the school - a few years ago we were unhappy with the ICT subjects (Information and communications technology) we were offering as part of the GCSE so a number of teachers got together and made their own ICT course which was certified through Letterkenny Institute of Education.

“We now offer 12 classes a week: coding, financial computing and 3D printing which complements the leaving cert computer studies during transition year,” he says.

The two new subjects have been a hit with students and the school has earned a reputation as being au fait with technology in the classroom.

“We have two classes doing computer studies and the lads are loving it so far. Every first year that comes in gets a computer class every week in the computer club which takes place at lunchtime,” he says.

It’s not just technology - literacy and reading are also to the fore. “One thing we are really proud of in the whole school evaluation was literacy and encouraging lads to read,” he says.

The school, built in 1904 in castle form is reminiscent of Hogwarts. “Kids think it looks like Hogwarts so we do “Tales in the castle” each year.”

“This year we invited all of the first years and their parents to come in on a night and we had readings, essay competitions and re-enactments of various pieces of literature.”

“At the end we give the present of a book to pupils and a book to encourage reading - that is a big highlight of the year,” he says.