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AVS Useful Information
 

The School Day Structure

All class periods on the school timetable are 40 minutes duration.  Some subjects require 'double classes' to allow for practical work.
Classes begin each morning at 9.00am and finish at 4.00pm on Monday and Tuesday with an earlier finish of 3.20pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Morning break takes place at 11.00am until 11.15am each day.
Lunch on Monday and Tuesday is from 1.15pm to 2.00pm.
Lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is from 12.35pm to 1.20pm.
The bell rings five minutes before the start of the first class each morning, after morning break and for the first class in the afternoon.  Students move to class immediately on hearing the first bell so that they are in the classroom for the beginning of the class.

Structure of Classes

All year groups have approximately six class groupings.  Students in a junior cycle grouping will normally be together for the core subjects unless the class has divided for higher and ordinary levels.  For the elective subjects, students will be mixed with students from other class groupings.  In the senior cycle, students are mixed for almost all subjects.

Curriculum Provision

Junior Cycle: Presently, we provide the Junior Certificate Programme to our Junior cycle students.  All students study: English, Irish*, Maths, History, Geography, Science, C.S.P.E (all examined at J.C.), P.E., S.P.H.E., Religion  (compulsory but not examined at J.C.)
Our optional subjects at Junior Cycle are Materials Tech. Wood, Music, Art, Business Studies, Technical Graphics, Home Economics, Metalwork, French, Spanish. Students are asked to list their optional subjects in order of preference prior to starting in first year. This information is inputted into a software programme which then creates the option bands which will accommodate the top preferences of as many students as possible.  Those students who have not received their top 3 preferred subjects will be contacted and informed of the subjects they have been provided with and invited to a meeting in the school if they so wish.  All other students will be contacted via text informing them that they have achieved their top three preferences.
*Irish must be studied by all students unless they fulfill the criteria set out by circular letter M10/1994 as set down by the Dept. of Education and Skills.

Senior Cycle: At senior cycle we offer the following Courses: Transition Year; The Traditional Leaving Certificate; Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP); Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA);

Third year students will be informed of their senior cycle options by means of an information meeting where coordinators of the various courses accompanied by the career guidance teachers will present on the courses which the school provides.  A similar information session for parents is held after school and all third year parents are invited to attend.  Students are also encouraged to discuss their options with their present subject teachers and some may also make individual appointments with the career guidance teachers.  When the necessary information has been imparted on the students and they have had an opportunity to discuss it with their parents, each student is asked to complete a survey.  Here,  they will be asked to indicate their preferred option of Transition Year, Leaving Certificate or the Leaving Certificate Applied course.

Traditional Leaving Cert: Those who select “Leaving Cert.” as their preferred course for the following academic school year will then be asked to list their top 7 option subjects in order of preference. This information is inputted into a software programme which then creates the option bands which will accommodate the top preferences of as many students as possible. New option bands are generated each year so as to maximize the level of successful subject options requests among the students. All the students involved will be informed of their subjects for the following year. Those students who have not received their top 4 preferred subjects will be informed of the subjects they have been provided with by the careers department.  In addition to the four option subjects each student must study English, Irish*, Maths, (examined at L.C.), P.E., I.C.T. and Religion (compulsory but not examined at L.C.)
*Irish must be studied by all students unless they fulfill the criteria set out by circular letter M10/1994 as set down by the Dept. of Education and Skills.

Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP): By virtue of the combination of option subjects which students have selected, they may be eligible to take part in this course.  All students who meet the entry requirements are expected to complete the L.C.V.P. course.  The only exemptions to this are those students who are studying 7 Higher Level subjects and are studying an extra subject at higher level outside of school in their own time, or students who have applied for and are preparing to undertake entrance examinations such as the HPAT.

Transition Year: School Management, the TY coordinator and the Year Head for third year will meet and discuss the list of students who have indicated their interest in undertaking this course.  As long as the school has the resources required, all students who have indicated this option will be facilitated unless there is a record of previous poor behavior and it is felt that their presence may undermine the integrity of the Transition Year programme in the school.  In this event,  they will be informed of the decision, their parents will be invited into the school and they will be included in the subject options process for the Traditional Leaving Cert.

Leaving Certificate Applied(LCA): School Management, the LCA Coordinator and the Year Head for third year will meet and discuss the list of students who have indicated their interest in undertaking this course. As long as the school has the resources required all students who have indicated this option will be facilitated.

Procedures for Dealing with Over-Subscription

It is often the case where demand exceeds the available space in many elective subjects. In this event the subject choice software creates the class lists which maximize the satisfactory outcomes throughout the entire year group.  After individual meetings have taken place with those students who have not secured all of their most preferred option subjects, a waiting list is compiled.  This list is based on those who are not satisfied with the options they have been given and their original option preference form.  If a space becomes available in a subject, then this list is used to determine to whom that place may be offered. In the event of two or more students having equal rights to a place then a random lottery will be used.

Changing Subject

If a student has a desire to change one of their option subjects then they must discuss this with the teachers involved and with the career guidance teacher.  The career guidance teacher will be in a position to inform the student if there is another subject available at the same time that the student may transfer into. If the student concerned wishes to proceed with changing those subjects the career guidance teacher will consult with the teachers concerned and confirm the change with school management.

Changing Class

Class groupings are formed randomly. Students are sorted by gender and alphabetically by surname. Students are not allowed to change class unless there are exceptional circumstances. Any requests to change class must be directed through the Principal / Deputy Principal.

Changing Subject Level

Students will be advised on the subject level they should study appropriate to their ability by their subject teachers. If a student wishes not to follow the advice of their subject teacher then a signed letter form a parent is required. If a teacher has concerns about the ability of a student to work successfully at a particular level they may discuss this with the students parents at a parent teacher meeting or by sending a note home in the homework journal. Parents may contact the school and discuss the issue of subject level with the teacher involved. In accordance with State Examination Commission instructions Junior Cert students are not allowed to change level after they have submitted the relevant information. If they wish to change when the exams are approaching they must meet with the S.E.C. secretary in the school.

Students with Special Educational Needs

Students with Special Educational Needs have equal access to all subjects, subject levels and courses. The only exemption to this may be where there is a real threat to the health & safety of the student concerned. Supports for students with S.E.N. are provided by the N.C.S.E. and are distributed and managed by a learning support team in the school. A separate S.E.N. policy is available.

Repeat Students

A student who wishes to repeat a year must consult with the school principal. The Principal will discuss this with the relevant year head and career guidance teacher and will then invite the students’ parents to a meeting where it will be determined if repeating the year is in the best interests of the student. Factors such as previous attendance, work ethic and behavior will be taken into account as well as the physical resources required. Students who wish to repeat a year in school must fulfill the requirements as set out in circular letter M2/1995.

Supports for Students

Pastoral Care: The school operates a separate Pastoral Care policy which details the procedures in place in the school. Students are often reminded about the structures in place and that they should speak to some member of staff in confidence if they have any worries or concerns.  Each class has a teacher assigned as a "Class Tutor".  When appointing these Tutors, management ensures that they will also be teachers of that class.  We have two career guidance teachers in the school, one of whom is mainly timetabled for Guidance Counseling duties.  A separate Guidance Policy is in operation in the school.

Subject Option Support: A lot of time is spent advising students and their parents when there are important choices to be made in school. Students are spoken to in groups and individually; course coordinators present what their various courses involve; handouts and leaflets are prepared by subject departments; an open evening for incoming first year students where subject departments promote their subjects; information evenings for parents; presentations by subject teachers.  Every effort is made to satisfy the preferred options of as many students as possible as this is in the best interests of the student and the school as a whole.

Assessment

In-Class Assessment: Each subject department plan describes how they assess their students within their individual subjects.  Correcting work, class tests and reviewing class-work completed are some of the methods which may be used. Teachers are encouraged to keep ongoing records of progress and attainment by their students.

House Exams: Timetabled In-House exams take place each summer for first, second and fourth year students.  These exams are usually held in a selection of specially prepared centres throughout the school during the final three days of the school year.

Reporting: Results of school based assessment are sent home at Halloween, Christmas, and Summer and after the Mock Exams for third and sixth year classes. Teachers carry out the Halloween and Christmas tests during their own class time and some may use continuous assessment to generate results at these times.  Reports will include a list of all subjects being studied, the grade achieved and a comment indicating the progress being made by each student. 

Assessment for Learning: As it has been recommended as best practice during a number of recent subject inspections, we are in the early stages of deploying these methods of assessment.  Information on assessment for learning has been distributed to the teaching staff and they are encouraged to try some of the practices that are described.   It is hoped that after this initial introductory phase that this will become the norm for assessment in the school.

Mock Examinations: Mock examinations are timetabled for all Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate students.  Students contribute to the cost of buying the exam papers while the school provides the stationary required.  A number of classrooms are made available for the week and the examinations are timetabled to run as close as possible to the real scenario that the students will face in the summer while still condensing them into as short a time frame as is possible. This is mainly achieved by having several versions of exam paper for some of the elective subjects which minimizes wasted time during the mocks.  Our teachers correct the mock papers for their own students and we are very grateful for this as it saves the students in excess of €100 each if they were to be corrected by private companies.  It also ensures that the papers will be corrected to a very high standard and returned to the students in a much shorter timeframe.  When completed, the papers are returned to the students with feedback on how they might improve.  This process ensures that our students gain the maximum benefit possible from the mocks process.

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