Academic Excellence

Not only does Cistercian College commit to delivering the very highest standard of education, they also achieve outstanding number of entrants to Universities. In 2016 The Sunday Times ranked our school No 16 in Ireland (No 6 in Boys Schools) for average number of entrants to University. The Sunday Independent published their school league tables and from the 700 schools nationwide, between 2009 and 2017, only six schools maintained their 100% record of sending students to third level. Cistercian College was No 4 of those 6.

Cistercian College is the fourth best school on the Sunday Independent League Table with all of its former pupils securing college places in the past nine years – with 71pc placed in universities.

Normally one in three of our students achieve more than 500 points in their Leaving Certificate each year.

The boarding school environment provides fewer distractions and helps students focus better on their studies because television, video games, phones and other distractors are limited. This is why they usually perform better academically because they live in an environment that is conducive to study and learning. Not only will they spend an average of 20 less hours a week watching TV or playing games, but they will be able to spend about twice as long studying as students who attend day schools. We have an active weekend program that ensures homework is completed, and education enhanced.

A rigorous and challenging academic programme.

Teaching and learning are central because of the need for our students to be skilled and educated people in a competitive world. While it aims to bring each student to the full academic potential, it does not emphasise the attainment of high examination marks at the expense of the more general development of the student’s personal qualities and talents. Cistercian College recognises that each student’s capabilities are unique and individual.

Cistercian College provides all students with a holistic education allowing them develop their full academic potential through a broad and diverse curriculum. The Junior cycle is a three year programme and at the end of the third year, students sit the Junior Certificate exam. The exams are nationally standardised in all subjects and facilitated by the State Examination Commission. The Senior cycle is a two year or three year programme, depending on whether students participate in the (optional), but fantastic, Transition Year (4th Year). During 5th and 6th year, students prepare for the Leaving Certificate examinations which they sit at the end of 6th year.

Individual attention and smaller classes.

With fewer students in a class, the teachers develop a close bond and get more involved with their students development – emotional, physical, academic or sport. In Cistercian College, classes typically are 10-15 students.
Each year head meets with students to create study plans that helps students focus on their individual strengths as well as their weaker areas that might need more time and support.

A Student is never a number in Cistercian College.

Regular reporting to Parents

Parents receive regular updates on their son’s progress through school reports at October, Christmas, Easter and Summer and through Parent teacher meetings.

Great subject choice

Junior Cycle Curriculum

1st Year

In 1st year students will take all of the following subjects, Irish, English, Maths, German, French, Business Studies, Science, History, Geography, Art, Music and Technical Graphics.

In addition they will have Wellbeing, Religion, Choir and Public Speaking.

2nd Year

The new Junior Cycle Programme limits students to a maximum of 10 subjects for assessment and so in this year we limit students to that number of subjects.

Students will continue with the core subjects of Irish, English, Maths, Business Studies, Science, History and Geography. They will choose 3 more subjects:

  • One from German or French
  • Two from Art, Music and Technical Graphics

They will also continue with Wellbeing, Religion, Choir  and Public Speaking.

2nd Year CBA 2021-2022

3rd Year

Students will continue the same academic curriculum that they studied in 2nd year.

Junior Cycle Assessment:

Each subject will have a new syllabus, new teaching methodologies and new modes of assessment. The new Junior Cycle also has a new grading system as outlined below. This will replace the previous A, B, C system.

New grading system:

Grade Range (%)
Distinction ≥90 up to 100
Higher Merit ≥75 up to 90
Merit ≥55 up to 75
Achieved ≥40 up to 55
Partially Achieved ≥20 up to 40
Not Graded ≥0 up to 20


All results received by the students in each of their subjects will be reported on the student’s Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA).

  • Each subject examined under the new Junior Cycle will also have two Classroom Based Assessments. The first CBA is completed in 2nd year and the second CBA is done in 3rd year. These are both assessed by their classroom teacher and the full subject department works on the standardising of the assessments. The results of these two assessments will also be included on the JCPA.
  • The work completed in the second CBA is also further assessed in an Assessment task (AT) which is completed in the last term of 3rd This is corrected by the State examination system and will account for 10% of the final exam result; the other 90% is awarded to the written exam completed in June of 3rd year.    3rd Year CBA Schedule 2021-2022
  • The JCPA will also give a more holistic account of the student’s progress in that it also reports on Other Areas of Learning (OAL ). This allows the College to report on a student’s engagement in the full College curriculum including Sport, Music, Liturgical events and Debating.
  • English, Irish and Maths can be studied at either Higher or Ordinary level while all other subjects will be taken at a Common level.

Leaving Certificate

The Leaving Certificate programme is taught over two years and most subjects are offered in any given year. Students select between seven and nine subjects from a broad curriculum of 20. The timetable can facilitate three science subjects, three business subjects and three modern languages.

Subjects offered at leaving Certificate level are:

  • English
  • Irish
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Music
  • Art
  • German
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Design & Communication Graphics
  • Agricultural Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Economics
  • PE

5th Year Subject Choices

These are the subject choices that will be offered each year to 5th year students.

Core subjects: Maths, English and Irish

and One subject from each of the following bands;

Band 1: French or German or Spanish

Band 2: Ag, Science or Accounting or Biology

Band 3: History or Business or Chemistry

Band 4: Geography or Economics or Physics

Band 5: Music or Art or PE

Optional Evening Subject: Design & Communication Graphics

  • Please note that in Band 5, there are 3 timetabled class periods per week for these subjects plus one evening class per week for Art during study.
  • Spanish is timetabled in the evening time only – it is not timetabled during the day.

5th Year Subject Choices

Full time Careers Guidance Counsellor.

There is a full time Careers Guidance Counsellor available to all students to help them with their subject and career choices. He helps to identify each students potential and advises them on their third level and career options


Great Teachers who love to teach.

Our teachers love working with young people, and take an interest in and care about their students. They establish and maintain a learning environment where students can learn from their mistakes. They take their mission seriously and reflects the ideas and beliefs of the College clearly. They are accessible and available to our students and create an environment that is friendly and welcoming. Our dedicated teachers have high expectations for our students and they encourage their students to reach for the stars and not to settle for anything less than the best of their capabilities. They all subscribe to the ethos of the College ‘that the strong may have something to strive for and the weak may not be discouraged.’ Promoting a healthy sense of accomplishment is vital in a classroom setting.


Excellent preparation for college.

Many students struggle in the first year in University: the more challenging academic environment, the sudden autonomy, and the vastly different social scene can all lead to some tough times for even the most mature student.

Cistercian College cultivates self-reliance, independence and the idea of being away from home. This makes it easier for them to make the transition from school to life at University, as well as equipping them with the independence they need to succeed when they leave the education system altogether and go out to work.