ABOUT JESUS & MARY SECONDARY SCHOOL
A warm welcome to you!
I hope as you browse through our website you will get an insight into what we are about as an educational establishment in the beautiful secluded setting of Gortnor Abbey on the shores of Lough Conn.
The school, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, is rooted in the ethos of St. Claudine Thevenet and the past century has continued in its efforts to meet the education needs of young people in the catchment area and beyond.
In 2009, like many other smaller religious communities, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary joined Le Chéile Schools Trust so as to continue to offer educational opportunities to the local students based on the Catholic tradition.
Today, as a co-educational school, we offer a broad and varied curriculum, encompassing technology, business, the creative arts, sciences and modern languages, together with a rich extra-curricular palate, providing each student with endless possibilities to develop and express their individual talents and interests.
In keeping with the educational philosophy of St Claudine Thevenet, in Gortnor Abbey we see real education as being more than an emphasis on academics.
Education is about liberation of the individual to experience life to its fullest and in all its diversity: liberating each of us to see the richness of our life. We strive to create a home away from home, where students feel welcomed and safe. A place where each student is valued for their rich and varied personalities; encouraged and supported to reach their full potential. As a school we look out for and support the student most in need.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and if you would like to make an
appointment to chat with me please do not hesitate to contact the office.
What is it about Gortnor Abbey?
We are often asked what it is about Gortnor Abbey that makes it so special. While you have to experience our school to really know it, we believe that the following elements make us what we are.
• Our co-educational school’s idyllic rural setting on the shores of Lough Conn and its wide range of facilities provides the ideal environment for learning and teaching.
• We seek to live out the ethos and educational philosophy of the founders, the Religious of Jesus & Mary under the Trusteeship of the Le Cheile Trust. Our Whole School Evaluation report stated “Fostering a sense of responsibility in the young and nurturing the leaders of tomorrow is a central part of the Jesus & Mary educational philosophy and is evident in many ways at Gortnor Abbey. Gortnor Abbey succeeds in creating a caring and strong sense of community where the holistic education of each student guides all endeavours.”
• The well being, happiness and success of each of our students is at the heart of everything we do. We believe in the limitless potential of young people and expect the best from and for our students.
• A strong sense of mutual respect permeates the school. This atmosphere is constantly commented upon by visitors.
• Our students achieve the highest academic results. Many students have received awards and entrance scholarships from Universities to mark and celebrate their success in the Leaving Cert due to achieving high CAO points. Among the awards received are JP Mc Manus Scholarships, Naughton Foundation Scholarships and entrance awards to TCD, UCD, DCU, NUIM and GMIT.
• The percentage of Gortnor Abbey students transferring to 3rd level each year is the highest in the locality. Currently we have past students attending Trinity, Royal College of Surgeons, UCD, DCU, UL, NUIG, Colleges of Education and Institutes of Technology.
• We are especially aware of and sensitive to the needs of special needs students and have a specially dedicated learning centre for students with special needs as well as a new centre for ASD students which we call the Claudine Centre.
• We strive to create a warm, friendly and caring atmosphere where each student’s uniqueness is cherished. For us the welfare and safety of each student is always a priority and is well catered for through our Pastoral Care, Year Head and Mentor system. Regular Care Team meetings take place during which the needs of students are addressed.
• We offer an effective transition programme and mentor system to ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary education
• We have a truly dedicated staff, who teach to the highest academic standard. We strive for excellence in everything we do and believe in going the extra mile.
• We assess, monitor, acknowledge and reward academic excellence and genuine endeavour in each class group, beginning in 1st year. All school reports are individually assessed and signed by the Principal.
• Our excellent T.Y. Programme bridges the gap between Junior and Senior Cycle. The T.Y. Programme is carefully balanced to include academic study as well a broad and striking programme aimed at “education for life”.
• We are very proud of our strong tradition of music including choirs, orchestras and musicals. As part of our Centenary Celebrations the music department produced a CD comprising of pieces submitted by past and present pupils. The School Choir held a Carol Service at Christmas for the school and the local community. Clips of music in the school are available for viewing on youtube /Gortnorabbeymuisc. The Young Americans returned to the school in 2014 and this year we will stage the musical Oklahoma on 13th and 14th March.
• Our renowned Art Department has inspired many students over the years as exemplified by the number of past pupils and artists who contributed their work to the Centenary Art Sale and Exhibition held as part of our Centenary Celebrations. We continue to offer our students a wide range of opportunities to develop their artistic talents. Our students have been awarded many national titles and we count many Texaco Art winners among our present and past pupils.
• We have a strong ethos of participation in competitive and non-competitive sporting activities and are the proud holders of several Connacht and National Titles across a range of sports including boys and girls Gaelic, boys and girls Basketball, Hockey and athletics. Camogie and Rugby have been introduced as new sports in the school. Our Senior Girls Basketball team have qualified for the All-Ireland Final to be played in the Tallagh Arena on 21st January
• We believe that students need and indeed welcome healthy structures which enhance the learning environment for all. We work very hard to prevent bullying and deal immediately with any incidents reported to us. We have recently updated our policy in line with DES guidelines. Students are actively encouraged to approach the Principal/Deputy Principal with their concerns. Our approach to discipline is firm, fair and consistent.
So what is it about Gortnor Abbey?
We think 3 comments from our students reported by the Inspector following our Whole School Evaluation sum it up well –
“everyone reaching their full potential”
“feels like a second home”
“safe and caring school”.
The Le Chéile Schools Trust is a collaborative Trust set up initially by twelve congregations, one of which is the Congregation of Jesus and Mary.
The Trust will carry out the increasingly complex legal and inspirational role of the Patron previously exercised by the congregations. In setting up the Trust, the congregations wish: to affirm their commitment to the future of Catholic Education to provide for the needs of the students and communities in their schools
to honour their partnership with the government in the education system The Trust is established as a legal entity, under company law. Central to the operation of the trust is its Charter. The Charter outlines the Mission and Vision that the congregations entrust to this new venture. The Charter aims to capture the spirit in which the congregations have come together to plan for the future. It states the hopes and aspirations that the congregations brought to their own work in schools, and that they are confident will be carried into the future. These hopes are translated into the particular circumstances of each school’s Mission and Vision Statement, as well as the practical policies that outline its operation.
More information on ‘Le Chéile, the Catholic School Trust can be found on their website: www.lecheiletrust.ie
We are very proud of our facilities and do our utmost to stay up to date.
We are truly committed to the provision of top class educational facilities. A multi million extension was completed in 2009, so we can boast that our facilities are second to none.
Home Economics Kitchen: A newly refurbished Home Economics Kitchen
Multi Media Language Suite: A Multi Media Language Suite complete with 27 computers. This will help to hone the language skills of the students, complement the excellent language departments in the school and above all better prepare students for the all important oral elements of the Leaving Cert in French, German and Irish.
Wood Work Room:
A Construction Studies/Architectural Technology Room complete with the most modern machines, tools and equipment. This room also has its own Computer Suite.
Technology Room: A Technology Room complete with “high tech” machines, gadgets, equipment and a Computer Suite
Music Suite: A Music Suite with 12 i mac high spec computers, overhead projection and surround sound. This area was designed with performance both dance and choral in mind.
Science: Three fully equipped Science Laboratories, complete with computers and data projection, a Demonstration Room and an Amphitheatre.
Art: Art Room with five potters’ wheels and kiln, a darkroom, facilities for screening printing, tapestry and carving in plaster.
CAD Room: A new Computer Aided Design Room with the most modern equipment
Computer Room: Houses 27 top of the range computers.
Needle Work Room: fully equipped with modern appliances.
Learning Support Room: Designed and equipped to meet the needs of small groups with a laptop for each student.
Careers Room: and Careers Library.
Internet access & Data Projection: in all classrooms and specialist rooms
Church: Due to the generosity of the Jesus & Mary Sisters we have a beautifully appointed Church on site which we use for various school liturgies.
School Restaurant: Our restaurant provides students with a wide variety of warm wholesome and healthy food and beverages. This food can then be enjoyed by the students in the comfortable surrounds of our student dining room.
Locker Areas: Each year has a specially assigned locker area. First Years are provided with double sized lockers in an effort to ease the transition from primary to post primary school.
Full Size Gym: with facilities for a wide variety of indoor sports.
Drama: The school has a large stage in the sports hall with state of the art camera, sound and light equipment, as well as a Costume Room.
School Library: Overlooking Lough Conn. An ideal location for student reading and research.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Provision in Gortnor Abbey
Newly opened in September 2013, the Claudine Centre in Gortnor Abbey has specialist rooms and qualified and experienced staff catering for the needs of students with ASD. Research shows that students with ASD progress better in a structure mainstream learning environment.
Each student has an individualised plan and a variety of best practice methods are employed to meet the varied needs of the students. Gortnor Abbey places emphasis on developing each student to their full potential, mindful of the need to assist them in developing their communication, social, behavioural and independent life skills. ASD students have access to the mainstream curriculum and an effective programme is tailor-made for each student. Inclusion with mainstream peers is sensitively managed. We promote and facilitate close links with parents in order to compliment the learning environment and encourage independence.