The Rockbrook learning experience
Dynamic and inspirational teaching in a distraction free learning environment.
Striving for academic excellence is what we do best in Rockbrook. Every student is expected to put in his full effort and achieve the grades he is capable of attaining. The school provides a robust and broad curriculum for the Junior Cycle, augmented by its own pioneering courses and programmes. This is followed by Transition Year, and then two years of Senior Cycle.
The school’s Academic Council focuses carefully on every student’s academic progress throughout his journey in Rockbrook. On-going, timely and formative assessment for learning is part and parcel of our classroom teaching practice. Each year is monitored by its own dedicated Year Head, who liaises closely with the boys, their mentors and their parents to maintain a spirit of serious study and high goals. Our innovative reporting system provides essential milestones of student learning throughout the school year.
Building skills in Junior Cycle
Building solid academic foundations from day one in school.
When entering 1st year, students begin with the following subjects, and continue with them for three years:
1st Years also take both Art and Music, and at the end of the year choose one to pursue for the full Junior Cycle.
Our ‘Men of Character’ (Wellbeing) programme runs for all three years, following two strands: ‘Leadership and Service’ and ‘Healthy Living Skills’.
From 1st Year, students also do:
- Foundations of language (for 1st year only)
- Rhetoric & public speaking (runs throughout 1st & 2nd year)
- Great Questions course (runs throughout 1st & 2nd year)
2nd Year students start additional courses in:
- Applied Technology & Digital Skills (runs throughout 2nd & 3rd year)
- Business & Finance (runs throughout 2nd & 3rd year)
In 2nd and 3rd Year, students engage in continuous Junior Cycle Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) and in June of 3rd Year they sit State Exams in eight of the subjects they began in 1st year.
Learning to learn
The cultivation of a free and discerning mind.
During a boy’s first year in Rockbrook, there is an emphasis on cultivating a spirit of intellectual adventure, developing solid study skills and setting high goals in literacy and numeracy. The school believes that its students should explore a wide array of knowledge at Junior Cycle level. Our distinctive educational approach helps students to ‘join the dots’, that is, to build connections between diverse fields of learning. Fostering these intellectual and cultural skills leads to a discerning and growth-focused mindset, as opposed to one merely crowded with technical knowledge. The result: a broad understanding of reality, clarity of thought and effective speaking skills – all of immeasurable benefit in higher education and later life.
Coming of age: Transition Year
Equipping students with the skills needed to navigate their coming of age from boy to young man.
Transition Year is a challenging one-year bridging programme which enables students to develop the ability, confidence and maturity they need to succeed in Senior Cycle. Besides continuing to attend lessons in the subjects they have been taught to date in Junior Cycle, students take specific courses in Leaving Certificate subjects such as Economics, Business, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (which they can then opt to pursue in 5th Year as part of Senior Cycle). They also take school courses in Digital Skills for Work, Outdoor Man, Media Studies, Classical Studies, Career Guidance, Drama, Leadership and Politics. The emphasis is on active and experiential learning strategies that develop a range of transferable critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.
Our Coming of Age Programme comprises educational activities that promote personal maturity and better social competence. Once a week Transition Year students participate in off-site sporting and outdoor pursuits, coupled with local heritage visits. The class takes to the road in March/April for an unforgettable seven day trek on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Their two weeks of Work Experience during the year gets them out into the ‘real world’ and provides essential insights into adult working life.
Academic success in Senior Cycle
Developing in students optimal work habits leading to exam success.
Senior Cycle in Rockbrook is when each student forges his future as he wants it to be, laying stable foundations for everything that will be strong, enduring and successful in his career. Students take seven subjects for the two years: Irish, English and Maths and four options of their own choosing. The school keeps a sharp eye on student progress from week to week throughout Senior Cycle and regularly reports to parents. On-going Career Guidance sessions map out their road to university and the interim goals needed to ensure they attain the third-level course of their choice. Many of our Senior Cycle students make good use of the after-school study facilities available in school Monday to Friday every week.
To join 5th Year, students need to be aged 16-and-a-half years old on the 1st September of the year they intend joining; the school’s Academic Council also needs to be satisfied that they are capable of meeting the academic expectations which will be set for them in Senior Cycle.
The school currently provides fourteen 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.