Monday 18 December 2017

Top rugby school urged to tackle its PE failings

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

SCHOOLS rugby giant Clongowes Wood College has been rapped by inspectors for not giving pupils enough general physical education classes.

For the second time in recent years, the Department of Education has told the Jesuit all-boys' boarding school to increase the amount of time pupils spend on PE.

The issue was highlighted in a whole school evaluation report on the Co Kildare college, which is a regular contender for the coveted schools' rugby senior and junior cups.

The inspectors also noted that Clongowes, which teaches over six days a week, was falling "somewhat short" of the 167 tuition days to which pupils are entitled every year.

Clongowes, which has 463 pupils, charges fees of €17,100 a year.

The report praised the school for its student-centred educational environment and very good overall quality of teaching and learning, with some examples of excellence.

Inspectors also recorded the college's "very impressive" extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, such as sports, music, drama and outdoor pursuits.

However, they were concerned that third-years had only a single period of PE, instead of a double, while the subject was not timetabled at all for Leaving Certificate students.

Inspectors also found that third-years did not have a dedicated time slot for social, personal and health education (SPHE).

Shortcomings in relation to PE were raised by inspectors four years ago. In the latest report, they noted that their recommendations had not been implemented.


In its response to the inspectors' report, the school's board of management said PE classes for Leaving Cert students would probably be phased in from next September.

Meanwhile, a return visit by inspectors to the North Dublin Muslim primary school, Cabra, which was the subject of severe criticism in a whole-school evaluation four years ago, has led to a more favourable report.

The school, which is under the patronage of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, has 206 pupils, almost double the 107 recorded in 2008.

After the earlier report, the Department of Education appointed a joint manager for school and a new principal was also recruited.

Irish Independent

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