The school’s focus on academic excellence centres around the provision of high quality teaching and learning, an emphasis on students taking responsibility for their own work, a strong atmosphere of study within the school, a commitment to giving worthwhile homework, the provision of valuable co-curricular activities, and an emphasis on character education leading to students developing a commitment to academic success.
The school believes that all its students should cover a wide range of subjects to Junior Certificate level. Currently, a student may sit up to ten subjects in his Junior Certificate examination. With new syllabus changes coming on stream, the school will continue to provide a broad curriculum to all its students. (See Curriculum section of the website for information on the new Junior Cycle which will be implemented progressively over the coming five or six years).
All classes are mixed ability and subjects are taught at the higher level. In Irish, English and Mathematics, an Ordinary Level class may exist. However, it is school policy to teach students at the Higher Level in each subject for as long as possible. In the junior cycle the school also has non-exam programmes in Religious Knowledge, Computers, Social Personal & Health Education, Physical Education and Sport.
The school provides an optional Transition Year (4th year) programme for students on completion of the Junior Certificate examination.
The school currently provides fifteen subjects at Leaving Certificate level. Students will usually sit seven of these subjects in their Leaving Certificate. Subjects are timetabled from year to year to maximise student choice. As with the junior cycle, the senior cycle also has non-exam programmes in Religious Knowledge and Physical Education.
Rockbrook’s commitment to providing a personalised education experience results in favourable class sizes at all levels in the school.
Rockbrook does not select on the basis of academic ability. Also it places more emphasis on helping students to manage their own work and less emphasis on preparing directly for exams.
Nonetheless the Leaving Certificate results compare very favourably with other top class schools. In 2011/12 in the Leaving Certificate one-third of students achieved over 500 points and two thirds achieved over 400 points. In 2011/12 in the Junior Certificate 83% of exam papers were sat at the highest level, with 17% sat at the lower level. 79% of papers at the higher level received grades A-C (honours). In 2012/13 again one-third of students achieved over 500 points in the Leaving Certificate with 25% achieving over 560 points. The basic Junior Certificate statistics for 2012/13 were similar to 2011/12. Students sat an average of 10.4 exam papers with 82% of papers at the highest level and with 83% of students achieving grades A-C in these papers. The failure rate was less than 1%.
The school has an oratory where Mass is celebrated each day. Students have the opportunity of attending a class Mass once each week.
Rockbrook gives importance to co-curricular trips abroad. Each year, outside of term, students have the opportunity to participate in a trip abroad. All these trips have a language or cultural emphasis.
Rockbrook’s commitment to providing a personalised education experience results in favourable class sizes at all levels in the school. Fee resources go towards employing additional teaching staff. The class size varies, depending on the overall importance of a subject and the level at which it is been taught, but the average class size throughout the school is approximately 16:1.