Every student by name and need at Mullingar Community College
The warm, safe atmosphere and the easy interaction between students and staff at Mullingar Community College is striking.
But it’s not accidental, reveals school Principal Seamus Mohan, who was appointed in January 2019: “We really put an emphasis on getting to know our students as individuals, and we make a point of listening to them and to their families and working with them to deliver an educational experience best suited to their needs”.
“And,” he continues, “what we want is for our students to be the best they can be.”
Mullingar Community College has a long history of strong results across all subjects. As a modern community college Mullingar Community College have expanded its subject offering to encompass a large range of both academic and practical subjects. As a result, whether a student wants to head to college, pursue an apprenticeship or head directly into a job they will find their needs met.
Within the school, there is a very structured approach taken to career guidance, helping students make subject choices suitable for their hoped-for direction in life. It starts right from when they start as first years with the Career Guidance teacher, Ms Coyne, speaking to all 1st years and offering them advice and guidance from the outset.
The school boasts a comprehensive curriculum: “There’s a huge emphasis on practical subjects and we have a lot of students coming in who want to pursue their interest in areas such as Engineering, Construction and trades. Similarly, we have huge numbers taking Science and indeed our Science subjects would tend to be our most popular subjects at Leaving Cert level,” says Seamus.
“We are always exploring changes that will enhance teaching and learning,” he continues. The school is introducing Transition Year in September 2021 and, according to Seamus, “the level of interest has been overwhelming so we are relishing this latest development in Mullingar Community College”.
Seamus says that, thanks to the existence of the Student Council, there is ongoing consultation with the students as well as with staff and parents.
Seamus praises the dedication and talent of his colleagues: “Our staff are known for going above and beyond for our students and this has been evident over the last few months” he says, adding that while there is a friendly atmosphere among the 364 pupils and the staff of 49, the school is strict on discipline: “We do have expectations of students, and therefore, you do need rules,” he says describing the school culture as “warm-strict” in the sense that “you will not meet a more welcoming staff than what we have in the school, but we also have very high expectations of our students. If we didn’t have expectations, we would be failing the students.”
Within Mullingar Community College the parents are viewed as a vital part of the decision-making process and Ms. Hogan, our ‘Home-School Community Liaison Teacher’, plays a pivotal role in keeping our students’ parents and teachers in tune with their individual needs.
Mullingar Community College is a member of the Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board. Seamus says this is one of the great strengths of the school, as the support from ETBs, particularly LWETB, coupled with the support of the DEIS Programme, ensures that the school has more resources to offer all students.
Thanks to the support of LWETB, the school is currently in the process of enhancing its facilities to incorporate more toilet facilities, additional classroom space and several other small improvements which will further develop the school and safeguard against COVID-19.
Seamus points out that, “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our school community with a unique set of challenges. However the excellent safeguards which we have put in place and with the incredible on-going efforts of staff, parents and students alike, we have been able to get on with the business of teaching and learning in an environment whereas always our priority is our students' safety and wellbeing”.
To further support and enhance the wellbeing of their students; every student who enters the school is offered access to a lunch. Seamus emphasises that education “should be as affordable as possible” and states that the school will always aim to reduce costs for parents and guardians.
Ordinarily we would be looking forward to welcoming you all to our traditional open evening. However, considering the current restrictions, this is unfortunately not possible. For that reason, we have produced a short video, which will be published on numerous social media channels and the school website in the coming days. We believe that this video will give you a quick glimpse into the wonderful learning opportunities on offer in Mullingar Community College.
Speaking about the video, Seamus pointed out that, “It’s an opportunity to see our students and teachers in action, to see the wonderful things that happen in our school. We hope you will enjoy it and we look forward to welcoming our class of 2021 next September. You will be entering a warm, welcoming school and, as we are a small school, we pride ourselves on getting to know all our students and families personally” .