Civic, Social and Political Education

Civic, Social and Political Education is taught at St. Columba's with the aim of promoting good citizenship among our pupils. This is done primarily by fostering a sense of social responsibility through a human rights perspective. The importance of being an active citizen within the community, the nation and the global context is especially stressed.


Each form group is usually divided into either 2 or 3 sets depending on the size of the form. This results in small class sizes and high levels of pupil engagement in learning activities. These sets are not streamed by ability.
There is 1 lesson, of 45 minutes duration, allocated to CSPE per set per week.

Department Policies

Staff Meetings

At present there is one member of staff in the CSPE department.

Inter-departmental Relations

The CSPE department liaises with other departments to avoid overlap and clashes in activities, particularly in the area of excursions and work with NGOs. The latter also involves close communication with the Transition Year co-ordinator.

Setting and Marking of Prep

It is not the policy of the department to necessarily set prep work after every lesson. Ongoing work on projects comprises a good deal of the pupils' endeavours outside the classroom. Research prep enquiring into the work of various bodies or issues relevant to the seven key concepts is a very useful form of self-directed study. The importance of the internet in these activities cannot be overstressed.

CSPE Expeditions

It is important and desirable that pupils gain the opportunity to make visits into the wider community. On such expeditions they can gain invaluable insights into the work and functions of both State and non-governmental bodies. Several such trips are organised annually for both Form II and Form III.

Visiting Speakers

Visiting speakers are welcomed into the school to share their knowledge and expertise. Pupils are encouraged to suggest visitors that could speak on work relevant to one of the seven concepts, perhaps individuals known to them or their families. Visits by speakers from outside the school community are usually organised as part of an action project.

In-Service Training

Every opportunity is provided by the school for teacher in-service training days.

CSPE in Form II


Pupils are introduced to the subject and its aims initially and then given an overview of the 7 key concepts that are integral to the syllabus. Pupils are also introduced to the 4 separate yet connected levels at which to consider these concepts at play, namely the Individual, the Community, the State (Ireland) and the Global community.  

The concepts of Rights and Responsibilities, Human Dignity, Stewardship and Democracy are focussed on in this year. A range of different active learning methodologies are used to explore issues raised by various topics covered.

Pupils are encouraged to engage with current affairs and news stories as thoroughly as possible through the print media, television, radio and the internet.

Action Projects

A heavy emphasis is placed on the importance of action projects and of taking action. Either individually, in groups or as an entire class pupils will complete at least two (perhaps more) action projects during their first year in the subject.

A simplified, in-house action project report write up form has been developed to ensure that pupils not only take action but then write up their findings and reflections. This is an essential part of the process and invaluable training for their Junior Cert. Action Project proper.


There are two exams for pupils in Form II. Pupil progress is assessed in an ongoing basis through their work on action projects. Some written and learning preps may be set through the course of the year. Occasional tests may be given at the end a topic or concept.

CSPE in Form III

The concepts of Law, Development and Interdependence are covered in this year.

Pupil independence is fostered in this year with regard to their Action Project. The importance of choosing the subject for their action wisely is emphasised clearly. Their teacher is available to discuss and fine tune the scope of any action project they may be thinking about undertaking. Pupils are guided but not 'spoon-fed' through the process and the experience gained with trial action projects in Form II stands them in good stead.

Pupils do a 'mock' action project write up before committing their final work to the examination form. A morning is set aside by the school during class time to facilitate the filling out of action project report forms together.

Pupils are encouraged to engage with current affairs and news stories as thoroughly as possible through the print media, television, radio and the internet.


Pupils sit a Christmas and a 'Mock' Junior Cert. examination in this year.


The CSPE department has not yet been inspected by the department of education inspectorate.


Mr. R. Swift: BA, HDipEd, Housemaster of Glen.
Ronan studied Ancient History and Archaeology and Sociology at Trinity College, Dublin. As well as CSPE he teaches Classical Studies, English, Latin and Drama.