A highly favourable teacher/pupil ratio of 1:14 enables the College to ensure that each pupil develops to his maximum potential whatever his ability. The provision of the most up-to-date computers, general science, physics, chemistry and biology laboratories allows Castleknock to teach science and technical subjects to the maximum effect. The humanities receive similar attention, with particular emphasis on written and oral English in accordance with the Castleknock tradition of fostering communication skills. Each year is looked after by at least one year head (Form Teacher) and four tutors. Along with all other members of staff, these year heads and tutors are continuously available on appointment for consultation by parents.
Each boy follows the Junior Certificate Programme as laid down by the Department of Education and Science. The examination subjects provided in the College are Irish, English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, French, German, Spanish, Classical Studies, Technical Graphics, Music, Art, Business Studies, C.S.P.E., S.P.H.E. and Civics. Religion, Computing and Physical Education are also important parts of the curriculum.
In addition to the prescribed syllabus for the year, each boy is required to complete a Reading List of English novels, as well as a written project for which prizes are awarded. For each of the three years of the Junior Cycle, there are two formal written examinations. There is also a programme of Continuous Assessment leading to regular reports on each boy. The combination of terminal and continuous assessment enables the College to monitor progress effectively, to reward effort and to take remedial action where deemed necessary.
To emphasise the importance of its academic core there are four examinations (October, December, March and May) in Maths, English, History and a Modern Language.
The Fourth Year boys are under the care and guidance of a team of teachers, directed by the Transition Co-ordinator.
All boys follow the College Transition Year Programme, which fully meets the criteria of the Department of Education. At its core is a strong emphasis on academic achievement and self-discipline. To emphasise the importance of its academic core there are four examinations (in October, December, March and May) in Maths, English, Irish and a modern language. Generous scope for personality development is provided through regular exposure to a wide range of co-curricular activities. These include a Social Awareness Programme, Drama, Debating, Fencing, Music, Coaching Skills, Sports Conditioning, Law, First Aid, Canoeing, Photography, Computing, Public Speaking and Sport. Adventure trips are organised, as well as visits to concerts, theatres, museums and art galleries, along with lectures and talks by specialists in the arts.
Of particular importance is the exchange scheme whereby pupils have the opportunity to spend some time in Castleknock's twin Colleges in France, Germany and Spain. As well as facilitating the language programme, exposure to another culture promotes personality development and formation in the most practical way.
A major focus of Transition Year is towards self-directed learning and the building of confidence in achieving academic goals. To this end, each boy is required to complete and present at least two major projects. Initiative is fostered through participation in enterprise education and in the Young Entrepreneur awards. In addition, all boys are encouraged and assisted to participate in a Work Experience Programme.
In March, the boys are asked to submit their personal choice of the seven subjects that they will study during 5th and 6th year in preparation for the Leaving Certificate. These subject choices are processed in such a way that instead of imposing a rigid set of subjects, the College meets the wishes of the individual pupil.
In the Senior Cycle, the boys study in preparation for the Irish Leaving Certificate. This is an internationally recognised examination which is deemed to be above par when compared to the final examinations of other countries. Throughout this two year course, assessment involves fullexamination twice each year,with detailed reports being furnished toparents.
To facilitate student choice, a wide range of subjects is offered at Senior level: Irish, Mathematics, English, French, German, Spanish, Latin, Art, Music, Accounting, Business, Economics, History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Applied Mathematics, Agricultural Science and Design and Communication Graphics.
The College places great emphasis on Career Guidance. A comprehensive programme supports the students in their studies and guides them towards third-level education. This programme is under the direction of the College's full-time Guidance Counsellor.
Each year, pastmen conduct a workshop on various career options. This enables the boys to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a particular career with someone who has recently set out on the career in question.
The main timetable at Castleknock College Dublin operate on a five-day week basis. Class begins at 8:40am and finishes at 3:45pm. Then follows a wide range of co-curricular activities including sport, language clubs, debating and music. Teachers and specialist coaches co-ordinate these activities. Wednesday is an academic half day with classes finishing at 12:55pm. Both Wednesday afternoon and Saturday involve a wide range of sporting activities for all pupils.
The College library is under the care of a qualified librarian, who ensures that it is well stocked with subject reference books recommended by the teaching staff. As well as a wide variety of fiction and light reading, the library has comprehensive sections on history, biography, travel and careers. Serious periodicals, sporting and recreational journals and magazines are also purchased. The daily newspapers are always available. Boys wishing to take books from the library can avail of the lending facility.
These are arranged for all Years with the dates and times scheduled on the College Calendar at the beginning of the school year. Special arrangements are made for parents of overseas students to meet with teachers when visiting.
The College has two modern well equipped computer rooms. Specific classes in computer studies are available for 1st year students and Transition Year Programme students. Other teachers have access to the computer rooms for subject-specific use.