St Bricin’s staff, preparing for online learning last week, are delighted with the school’s performance. From left: Beryl Trenier, parents representative on the Board of Management of St Bricin’s, Barry Reynolds, teacher; Stephen Smith, deputy principal; David Brady, teacher and Mary Sheridan, principal.

Loreto tops feeder schools’ list

SUCCESS Two CMETB schools move into top three for 2020

There has been mixed reaction to the 2020 Feeder Schools Tables, published in last week’s Irish Times, with some saying predicted Leaving Cert grades and the impact of Covid had skewed the results.

The controversial tables, which record the percentage of Leaving Cert students who progress to university or third level, have long since been criticised for not taking a holistic view of a student’s achievements – academic and extracurricular.

In County Cavan, Loreto College topped the 2020 table with 98% of its students progressing to third level. It was followed closely by St Bricin’s in Belturbet on 95% and Virginia College in third on 94%.

The figures do not include students who opted to repeat the Leaving Cert, those who chose to do Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses or others who pursued apprenticeships or ‘earn and learn’ models.

Commenting on the Loreto performance, Principal Angela McGarvey said: “It is a tribute and reflection of the hard work and dedication of the students and teachers of last year’s Leaving Certificate class.”

The principal of St Bricin’s, Mary Sheridan, was also thrilled. “It is no surprise that St Bricin’s College has increased to top of the league tables this year as they were inThe Irish TimesTop 10 most improved schools in the country, since 2017,” she told theCelt.

“Each year more and more students are opting for university degree courses. We have a small school, which has enabled us to have students achieving over 600 points each year, for last few years,” she added.

Ms Sheridan also credited the Fitzpatrick Bursary as motivating students towards degree courses in universities and Institutes of Technology.

The principal agreed that the data from feeder school tables comes with a health warning and said a school’s performance or worth must be viewed through a wider lens.

The principal of Virginia College, Niall Lynch, agreed.“We are pleased to see that so many of our class from last year accepted places in third level. We are also cognisant that they don’t reflect students who excel in extracurricular activities. There are many ways to achieve in school other than academically, such as leadership and sport and music,” he remarked.

St Patrick’s College, Cavan, a poll topper in previous years, recorded a score of 76%. While Principal Christopher Rowley conceded this is down on previous years, he said many factors applied.

He observed that some of the 2020 Leaving Cert students had opted not to go to college this year given the uncertainty around Covid-19.

Some St Pat’s students deferred their courses, others took up traditional trades; a few pursued different types of professional apprenticeships in area likes accountancy and marketing.

“When we were top of that table, I was not taking much notice of it and, this year, when we are down a bit, I am not taking much notice either,” he told the Celt.

In relation to the predicted grading system last year, Mr Rowley said: “We had one student who was downgraded in four subjects. Certain schools got hit on the profiling and certain schools didn’t. There is a benefit – but that is where we are – it is behind us now.”

More from this Topic