Ethos of the College
Board of Management
The School and Facilities
St Vincent’s Castleknock College
St Vincent’s Castleknock College (also known as ‘Castleknock College’) was founded in 1835
by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians). The Vincentians, named after the French
priest and teacher St Vincent de Paul, remain the College Trustees. The College motto is Nos
autem in nomine Domini.
St Vincent de Paul's charisma is best captured in one statement he made: 'God desires first
and foremost the heart...and then the work.'
The Mission Statement of the College is reflected in the ethos of the College:
To have a College which is concerned with the development of the
whole person in a Christian atmosphere,
which encourages involvement in a balance of
religious, intellectual, cultural and sporting activities;
and which promotes the growth of self-worth and respect for others
in the spirit of St Vincent de Paul.
The mission is achieved through the objectives of Castleknock College which are:
· To pursue excellence in all areas of College life: academic, creative, cultural and
· To nurture a friendly and caring environment which allows each student to develop his
own natural talents and gifts,
· To recognise the College's responsibility towards the wider community in developing a
spirit of service,
· To offer opportunities for the spiritual development of each member of the College
The aim of Castleknock College is to enable each of its students to reach full development in a
harmonious growth of the whole person. It promotes this aim of integral formation by many
varied activities, religious, academic, social, cultural and sporting, which are conducted by
means of personal interaction and shared commitments and experiences by the students in the
context of life within the College. In this task the College recognises that the primary
responsibility for the education of children rests with their parents or guardians and seeks to cooperate
closely with and to be as helpful as possible to them in the fulfilment of that
Castleknock College has learned from St Vincent de Paul the importance of a mild and gentle
approach and of easy and friendly relationships. In the rule of life which he wrote for "the little
company" the name by which he always referred to his Vincentian followers, he asked them, in
a touching phrase, "to live together after the manner of dear friends". They were to be simple
and unpretentious, friendly, and informal. He envisaged the relationship of his priests with one
another as that of the members of a natural family. Castleknock College seeks to inculcate that
family spirit in the college; hence the friendly and informal atmosphere.
Castleknock College has always kept in mind that school days are not merely a preparation for
life, but are part of life, and is concerned that students should be happy within its walls. It
profoundly believes that an atmosphere of physical well-being, moral integrity and mental
stimulation is necessary for harmonious growth.
The College seeks to promote the spiritual and religious growth of its students by creating, as
far as possible, a truly Christian atmosphere. It leads them to maturity within the context of the
Christian faith, which should inform and colour their lives during their school days and continue
to guide their conduct to the end of their lives. Hence it sees education not only as a
preparation for life, but for life eternal.
The development of the personality and character of its students has always been, and
remains, a matter of paramount importance to the College. Personality and character are
recognised as providing the basis for life's achievements and support in its ups and downs.
The talents of some students lie in sport, drama, art or music. Such students are likely to find
particular satisfaction and self-esteem in the extensive cultural, aesthetic and sporting facilities
of the College.
In their relationships with one another the students are encouraged to live in a spirit of trust,
tolerance and respect. St Vincent always saw Christ in his neighbour and his approach to the
less privileged was one of caring and service. Hence, the College seeks to educate its students
in their responsibility to the wider community. It is concerned with the removal of injustices in
society and the promotion of a more human and humane world. Top
Ethos of the College
The Castleknock College ethos is one in which our College embraces a genuinely caring
attitude, built on mutual respect, of a resourceful, flexible and approachable nature,
encapsulating the true and patient commitment of a Christian and creating a collegiate
atmosphere where social consciousness and tolerant attitudes are developed and respected.
Implementation of the Ethos of the College
Our ethos, the spirit and belief of Castleknock College, is the responsibility of everyone at the
College. Both staff and students contribute to its creation and implementation in the day to day
living of our Mission Statement. Since it rarely emerges by accident or by chance, its
development has to be promoted and encouraged by practical means and lines of action.
Hence, while our goal is for the highest academic achievement coupled with a strong work
ethic, we must all be concerned for the development of each individual's potential, value and
self worth. This will primarily be achieved through the expertise, commitment, and positive
influence of the teachers and the Special Needs staff.
Spiritual and moral development is not to be seen as the exclusive responsibility of religious
education. Each subject offers its own unique opportunities for promoting and consolidating
gospel values. Indeed it is very often outside the classroom that spiritual and moral values are
To best promote and foster the religious growth and development of the students, opportunity
for prayer, celebration of the sacraments, retreats and meaningful liturgies will be provided
through the school year.
Everyone within the College community must know that they belong to the Castleknock Family,
and we must ensure that our visitors and new members experience a warm welcome and are
cared for properly.
Our relationships with one another are based upon the recognition of the dignity and of the
uniqueness of each individual and are conducted in a spirit of loyalty, understanding, and
All members of staff recognise their pastoral responsibly towards one another and towards the
students. The pastoral-care programme and work of the chaplaincy is an integral part of our
school-life, helping us to identify and promote the gifts and needs of each person in the
So as to ensure that our students recognise their Christian and social responsibility,
opportunities are given to them to voice their opinion on social issues, to study the social
teaching of the Church, and to work with the under-privileged in our world. This will enable
them to be grateful for all they have received, form their conscience in line with the gospel
values and hopefully in later life to champion the cause of the poor in a truly Christian way. Top
Board of Management
The College has a Board of Management, or the Board, constituted in accordance with Irish
educational law. There are eight members on the Board. Four of its members are nominated
by the Trustees (the Vincentians), two by the full time teaching staff and two by the parents.
The Board is responsible for the conduct, management and financial administration of the
College subject to the general supervision and control of the Trustees. In addition to their
general responsibilities as set out in the articles of Management, the Board also have special
responsibilities with regard to the upholding of the College Mission Statement and College
Ethos, the observance of the liturgical calendar, the continuation of the College traditions and
the induction of first time students and parents into a Vincentian college.
The Headmaster is responsible for the internal organisation, management and discipline of the
College subject to the direction of the Board. The Headmaster is supported by the Deputy
Principal, Assistant Principals, Special Duty Teachers, Special Educational Needs Officer,
Guidance Teacher and the staff of teachers. They have the responsibility to make sure that the
decisions of the Board are carried out in the day-to-day running of the school.
The President of the College, a Vincentian, acts as a representative of the Trustees at the
College. He is the head of the Vincentian Community who live at Castleknock College.
Each student year group (from 1st through 6th year) consists of between three and four classes.
Each class is assigned a Class Tutor from the teaching staff who has a pastoral role:
generating a positive class atmosphere, setting targets, ensuring that all students are content,
and organising events and tours for their class. Each class in 1st and 2nd Year also has two 6th
year prefects assigned to it who get to know the students and makes sure that they are getting
on well. Each year group is assigned a Year Head from the teaching staff who looks after the
discipline, attendance and academic direction of the student year group.
Each year group in the College has its own Parents' Core Group. They consist of volunteer
parents. These are charged with maintaining positive channels of communications between
home and College. Two representatives of each Core Group are on the Parents'
Representative Association (PRA) of Castleknock College. The PRA meets with the
Headmaster about five times a year to ensure that there is good communication between the
parents and the College.
The students have an elected Student Council. This body has its own constitution and
chairman and is facilitated by a member of the teaching staff. There is also a system of College
Prefects who are appointed by the Headmaster, having consulted with the staff and students of
senior years. Top
The School and Facilities
The school building comprises one linear building running east-west, and includes a recently
constructed extension which links Cregan House with MacNamara House. Cregan house dates
from the 1950s and some parts of MacNamara House date from as far back as the 1830s. In
recent years, the entire school was refurbished, extended and restored at a cost of close to €15
million. The centre piece of the school, where all student, teaching and administration staff
interacts on a daily basis, is St Vincent’s Hall which serves as a main junction between
classrooms, chapel, refectories and sports facilities. The classrooms are located on all three
floors of the buildings with a lift to cater for students and visitors who are less-mobile or who
have special needs. Newly constructed specialist rooms include modern science laboratories,
music teaching and practice rooms, an art studio and fully equipped computer rooms. The 19th
century College Chapel and pipe organ have also recently been restored, as have the College
Concert & Assembly Hall and the College library. The College is situated within seventy-acres
of beautiful mature parkland which includes ten sports pitches, a gymnasium, a weights room,
a running track, a cricket crease and a table tennis room. In 2011, the College opened five
newly constructed tennis courts complete with floodlights.
A Fee-paying School
Castleknock College is a Voluntary Catholic Secondary School under the trusteeship of the
Congregation of the Missions, more commonly known as the Vincentians. It is a fee-paying
school which prepares students for the Department of Education and Skills (DES) Junior
Certificate and Leaving Certificate State examinations. The College follows the curricular
programmes prescribed by the DES, which may be amended from time to time, in accordance
with Irish law. Top
The Junior Certificate subjects are:
Irish, English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, SPHE (Social, Personal and Health
Education), CSPE (Civic, Social and Political Education), Art, Music, French, Spanish, German,
Classical Studies, Technical Graphics, and Business Studies. The College also provides
Religious Education, Computer Education and Physical Education.
All students do Transition Year (4th Year). Subjects are the same as for Leaving Certificate
with extra activities including Fencing, Swimming, Martial Arts, First Aid, Driver Awareness,
Media Studies, Public Speaking, Environmental Studies, Enterprise, teaching computers to the
local Active Retirement Group and Computer Studies.
For Leaving Certificate the subjects are Irish, English, Mathematics, History and Geography,
Art, Music, French, Spanish, German, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Agricultural Science,
Applied Mathematics, Business, Economics, Accounting, Religion and DCG (Design and
Communication Graphics). Classes are also provided in Religious Education and Physical
The College has a library with a qualified librarian and assistant librarian. There is a wide
collection of books and research resources including Internet search facilities, newspapers,
film, audio-books, and chess sets. Students have access at designated times to two fully
equipped Computer Rooms.
The Guidance Office provides guidance and counselling service to all students.
There is a wide range of co-curricular activities. There is a musical or play performed each
year. Music lessons are offered on a range of instruments. The choir sings at many
ceremonies. There is a vibrant chess club. There are clubs for Irish, French, Spanish,
Mandarin, Maths, Computers – and a lot more. There are vibrant debating societies in English,
Irish, Spanish and French. The Gold Medal Debate is a significant annual event.
There is a vast array of sports. Rugby is played by almost everyone and is actively
encouraged. All students in 1st and 2nd Year should play at least one sport through the winter
and another in the spring and summer. There is a place for everyone and everyone has a
place irrespective of ability. The sports are: rugby, tennis, cricket, athletics (track and field
events), cross-country running, table tennis, soccer for senior students. Students also play
basketball, Olympic handball and badminton as part of the physical education programme.
Gaelic football and hurling are played in the summer term. Top
For students who require extra assistance, a Learning Support Department and Special Needs
Teachers are available. The Learning Support Department works with the student and his
family to make sure that any necessary tests are carried out, that all documentation is in order,
that the Special Educational Needs Officer (SENO) is informed, and that an appropriate
learning programme is put in place.
While every effort will be made by Castleknock College to meet the special needs of every
student, there may be cases where the school will be unable to meet some or all the needs of
an individual applicant student or student. Top
Class begins at 8.40am Monday to Friday and ends at 3.45pm on each day except Wednesday
when class ends at 1.00 pm. Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings are usually
dedicated to sports activities (matches, competitions, etc) albeit training sessions will be
undertaken on most other days. Each school day starts with a 12-minute period in class with
the Class Tutor. This period is known as LAPC (Literacy and Pastoral Care). During this time
the Class Tutor takes the register and deals with any pastoral care issues. However, the real
purpose is to enable students read any book of their choice in silence so as to enhance their
literacy skills. Top
The College is open for 167 days in the school year.
A parent-teacher meeting is arranged once a year for each year.