Our Network of Schools
Rockbrook Park School is a private secondary school located in Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. Rockbrook International is the international office of Rockbrook Park School. It is in the business of organising school programmes for international students. Rockbrook is in the unique position of being both an educator and a provider. It collaborates with local primary and secondary schools who participate in its international programmes. A certain number of international students study in our school but the majority attend other local schools who participate in our programme. For over thirty years it has been building a network of local schools who accept a certain number of our international students every year. The majority of the schools are located in south Dublin but we have also expanded our operation to neighbouring counties like Wicklow, Meath and Kildare.
These schools have been carefully selected to meet a demanding criterion. Schools play a key role in developing the intellectual, emotional and spiritual capacities of children so it is very important to build up a strong level of trust with the schools we work with. Having a close cooperation between the schools and our staff is essential for the smooth running of the programme. These schools are mostly ‘day schools’ but we also have access to a number of boarding schools. They are public and private and can be single-sex or mixed. Each school has its own sports programme and offer a range of extra-curricular activities. The schools we work with typically have a Catholic or Christian ethos.
Our goal is to provide an effective and nourishing learning experience for our students so they can have a memorable experience during their stay with us.
The Irish Education System
Our international students study the same subjects as Irish students when in school. The curriculum they follow is laid out by the Irish Department of Education. The secondary school cycle in Ireland lasts for 6 years. The age range is 12 – 17 years of age. Typically, international students study in Ireland for a year or a semester. 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th year are generally the most popular years for international placements.
1st – 3rd year – JUNIOR CYCLE
In the first 3 years of secondary school students prepare for the Junior Certificate. Students typically study 7-10 subjects.
Maths, English, History, Geography and CSPE (politics) are compulsory. Students also study a modern language and usually business studies, art and science. However, there is a wide variety of subjects and these vary from school to school. Students may take certain subjects at higher or ordinary level like Maths and English.
Irish students sit the Junior Certificate exams at the end of 3rd year but this is not mandatory for international students. Results of the Junior Certificate are issued in September.
4th year, or TRANSITION YEAR
4th year is a very unique year in the Irish Education curriculum. It is mostly focused on personal development and broadening the student’s horizons. It is a particularly popular year among international students as it is a very interactive and dynamic year. In most schools students are exposed to a mix of new and interesting disciplines they may not have taken before. They also work on projects that encourage teamwork and leadership. This enables them to choose their subjects for the senior cycle in a more informed and mature way. Some new subjects are introduced in modules of 6-12 weeks, for example drama, public speaking, photography, cooking or philosophy may be studied for these short periods.
Work experience is an important part of TY. Students do three weeks in total, usually at a week a time and at different stages throughout the year. Irish students are expected to consider an area that they might like to work in as adults and try to get work in those areas. International students tend to work more in coffee shops, restaurants, creches etc. as these are less demanding and more accessible and they have the opportunity to interact with other staff and the public which is beneficial for their personal and language skills.
An overnight trip is also organised during this year. This could be abroad or in Ireland, usually to an adventure centre where students do a variety of fun activities. There are usually several other day trips organised to more local places.
Transition Year comes at an additional cost of €400-€800, depending on the school.
5th & 6th Year – SENIOR CYCLE
The final two years of secondary school are focused towards preparing for a state exam called the Leaving Certificate. Students will study Maths and English (at ordinary or higher level) as well as 4-5 other subjects which they can choose. The subjects typically available during Senior Cycle are Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, History, Geography, French, Spanish, Business Organisation, Accounting, Home Economics, Art, Technical Drawing, Music, Computer Science, Engineering and many more. Every school will offer a different selection of optional subjects depending on the requirements of that school.
International students who wish to graduate school in Ireland and go on to university in either Ireland or the UK must do both 5th and 6th year. They sit the Leaving Certificate exams in June and results are issued in August. It is a points-based system that will determine which 3rd level courses the student can access.
Rockbrook also facilitates international placements in Primary Schools for students of 10 – 12 years old. In Ireland, the primary school cycle lasts for 5 years, from 2nd class up to 6th class. Students of 10 -12 years old would attend 5th – 6th class.
The format of primary school education is very different from that of secondary schools. One teacher delivers all the subjects to their class. Students don’t change classrooms and remain in the same classroom for the year. The atmosphere in primary school education is very different to that of secondary schools. There is much more relaxed and caring atmosphere and the children are not put under any unnecessary pressure. They study a range of subjects throughout the year such as Maths, English, Irish, History, Geography, Science, Music, Art, Religion, Physical Education and Social, Personal and Health Education. They are given only a small amount of homework to do and have exams at Christmas and Summer.
Rockbrook has in its network of schools many fantastic primary schools who every year accept a certain number of international placements from us.